Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 7 & 8

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! This pair of episodes throw reveals at us faster than the speed of light, almost, and I don’t know about y’all, but I am left in a suitably impressed, dizzy heap. 🤩 I mean, honestly, Show gets so much done in an hour!

I hope you guys are ready to chat about Money Flower episodes 7 & 8! 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 7

Woof. We get some pretty shocking reveals this hour, and, not gonna lie, I could barely keep my jaw from hanging open, as the reveals hit me in the face. 🤯 This is the benefit of giving yourself lots of time between rewatches – you tend to forget the details, and everything feels fresh again. 🤩

First of all, it becomes clear that Pil Joo understands Mal Ran like the back of his hand. He’d known, that once she heard that he’d lived with Ahn Ho Kyung for a time, that she would become suspicious of his identity, and he pre-empted that, by having Yong Goo sprinkle his own hair on Pil Joo’s bed, for Secretary Oh to find, and submit to the DNA lab.

I know it can come across as a bit of a stretch to some viewers, but given that Pil Joo has spent years closely observing Mal Ran, and himself has a startling ability to psycho-analyze others with a penetrating level of accuracy, I’m not even that surprised that Pil Joo would be one step ahead of Mal Ran, even in this.

Also, I still find it remarkable that Pil Joo’s able to keep such a cool, unruffled demeanor, even while Mal Ran’s talking about his mother. That look of pure, blank innocence is so.. affecting, to me. I feel like this is a glimpse of the innocent boy who’d been swallowed up by Pil Joo’s resolution of revenge. And, I also feel like there is so much pain and dysfunction that he hides, beneath that pure, clear-eyed expression.

That said, I notice that there’s a hint – just a tiny hint – of tears in his eyes, as he asks Mal Ran what she plans to do, when she finds Eun Cheon, and this makes me wonder if part of Pil Joo hopes – yearns? – for welcome and acceptance, from the family that had once thrown him away.

How startling, though, that at the end of the scene, that look of pure innocence morphs into one of pure menace, in a matter of seconds. Again, Jang Hyuk blows me away with his masterful control of his micro-expressions. 🤩

As it turns out, Secretary Oh is much more intimately involved in Pil Joo’s history than he’d seemed to know, since, this episode, we see Pil Joo make the connection that Secretary Oh had been the man on the boat who had thrown him and his mother and brother into the water. Yikes. Talk about finding your enemy nearby.

This episode, I’m also paying close attention to the relationship between Mal Ran and Secretary Oh. She’s clearly toying with his feelings, to her advantage.

For example, she thinks nothing of saying to him, that only Pil Joo would be able to find Eun Cheon for sure; this, when Secretary Oh is the one who’s been managing that task for her all these years. That’s a metaphorical slap in the face for Secretary Oh, and Mal Ran delivers it with apparent thoughtlessness, as if it’s an afterthought. On further thought, however, I do think that she is being very deliberate in toying with Secretary Oh’s feelings and self-esteem. I think that’s how she’s kept him in the palm of her hand, all these years.

And now, when she decides that she wants him to kill Eun Cheon, whom she thinks they’ve found, she takes Secretary Oh’s hand, even though she’s appeared to have pushed him aside for so long, like she knows he’s helpless putty in her hands.

I’m both repulsed and fascinated by Mal Ran, honestly. I find it quite disgusting that she uses sex as a tool to control the men who are close to her; we’ve seen how she is with Pil Joo, and now, we see her use the same tactics on Secretary Oh as well. It seems like her modus operandi, and it feels like a cheap trick, that she’d literally prostitute herself for power. At the same time, I do find her intriguing, in her messed-up dysfunction.

I also wonder at Secretary Oh, as in, why does he choose to be blind in the face of Mal Ran’s manipulation? Because she’s beautiful and sexy, and she’d come on to him, when he’d been her righthand man, and he couldn’t bring himself to say no? I mean, from where I’m standing right now, it sucks to be him. He seems hopelessly devoted to Mal Ran, while Mal Ran’s clearly turned her favor elsewhere, in Pil Joo’s direction. I have to wonder at how Secretary Oh feels, towards Pil Joo. 🤔

I have to say, though, that I found it pretty darn satisfying to watch Pil Joo outsmart Secretary Oh this episode, particularly when he lay in bed, in fake Eun Cheon’s gosiwon room, and then beat up Secretary Oh, while foiling the assassination attempt. I guess Mal Ran’s correct in her assessment of Pil Joo’s capabilities versus Secretary Oh’s, after all. 😆

On another note, I have to agree with many of you, that Boo Cheon appears to be genuinely happy with Mo Hyun. For all of Mo Hyun’s wide-eyed innocence, which can feel rather jarring to watch, her wholesomeness does seem to rub off on Boo Cheon. The look on Boo Cheon’s face, as he tells Mo Hyun over the phone, that her promise to stay with him no matter what, has given him confidence in everything that he does, is one of genuine happiness. In this moment, I do believe that he’s sincerely happy to be marrying Mo Hyun.

I believe him too, later in the episode, when he looks at Mo Hyun with a sense of wonder, and asks if she could move in right away. Their exchange of “I love you”s feels heartfelt and true, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d be convinced that this was a love match for real.

But, Seo Won is still very much in the picture, and she’s making sure that she stays in the picture, what with her efforts to reach out to Mo Hyun, so that they can be friends. I have to say, I agree with the general sentiment among you guys, that Seo Won is much more suited to Mooshimwon than Mo Hyun.

Ah, on a related tangent, I know that Mo Hyun and Boo Cheon explain this episode, that Mooshimwon means “a hill where you live without greed,” while I’d earlier mentioned that Mooshimwon literally translates to “heartless garden.” The thing is, both can be correct. “Shim” (the hanja of which is “心”) can mean heart, and it can also mean intent. Therefore, the lack of “shim” (ie, 無心) can mean heartless, and it can also mean without intent.

Now that I think about it, since Boo Cheon mentions that Grandpa Chairman had been the one to name Mooshimwon when it was built, taking inspiration from a Great Monk, it makes me wonder if Grandpa Chairman had always intended the double meaning, since he’s all about that upright facade, while nursing a viper heart underneath..? 🤔

I love that Pil Joo stays in such complete control, through all the various upheavals and reveals. When President Jang tries to threaten Pil Joo into calling off the marriage between Boo Cheon and Mo Hyun, I love that Pil Joo just threatens him right back, with Yeo Cheon’s embezzlement of the slush fund money, and then excuses himself. Ha. Our Pil Joo; he’s always so prepared. 🤩

Also! What. A. Reveal., that Boo Cheon isn’t even related to Pil Joo! 🤯 This means that Pil Joo, the rightful blood heir of Cheong A, has been serving a fake heir all these years, while plotting his revenge. The implications of that are.. complicated, to say the least. In this moment, as the information sinks in for Pil Joo, I feel like there are shades of.. reproach in his gaze, as he looks up at Boo Cheon. Poor Pil Joo. I can only imagine how wronged he must feel, in this moment. 💔

Episode 8

I’d like to take a moment to give our music PD some love, because the way the music is managed in this show is nothing short of spectacular. Not only is the music itself perfectly suited to our story, it’s applied so meticulously, to create the perfect impact, at the perfect moment.

For example, in our opening scene, while Boo Cheon talks with Pil Joo, the music is restrained, even as it pulses, and then, the moment Boo Cheon leaves the room, and Pil Joo is alone with his thoughts, the music amps up and starts to swirl. I practically feel like I’m experiencing Pil Joo’s thoughts, as they hit him, wave after wave, while he processes this new information, that Boo Cheon is not his father’s son. Beautifully done, and so brilliant.

It feels significant to me, that Pil Joo, who’s observed Mal Ran for years, and at close range, actually seems to be at least a little bit blindsided by the realization that Boo Cheon is not his father’s son. The way Pil Joo mutters, “Jung Mal Ran-sshi.. My gosh, you are a piece of work,” makes me think that Mal Ran is even more messed up and dysfunctional than Pil Joo had thought – and that’s saying a lot, since Pil Joo, as we’ve seen, knows her very well indeed; well enough to predict just about her every move.

This intimate understanding flows both ways, at least to some extent. Even though Pil Joo has been carefully impassive around Mo Hyun, Mal Ran’s managed to pick up on Pil Joo’s soft spot for Mo Hyun. That’s pretty impressive, actually. She really does know him.. well, quite well.

And once again, the dysfunction in the relationship between Mal Ran and Pil Joo rises up to hit me in the face. Given how Mal Ran appears to jealously guard her position as Pil Joo’s lover, it’s quite surprising to me, how she tells Pil Joo to treasure his feelings for Mo Hyun, because it’s important for a man to have such a memory.

Does she mean that, I wonder? Or is she just saying that serenely as a form of power play with Pil Joo, while hating Mo Hyun with the fire of a thousand suns, for daring to catch Pil Joo’s eye? I’m.. kinda leaning towards the second possibility, since I don’t see Mal Ran as the kind of woman who would generously tolerate the wandering eye of a man whom she sees as her own.

I do think that Mal Ran is being honest in her answer to Pil Joo question about whether she’d loved her husband. How interesting, that she would be vulnerable like this, to Pil Joo. That definitely tells us quite a bit, about his standing with her.

I’ve been quite fascinated by how Pil Joo alternates between allowing signs of intimacy with Mal Ran, and withholding it. It strikes me as his way of controlling her, and it seems effective too, because Mal Ran definitely seems to crave his affection and attention. And in this instance, it seems to me, that Pil Joo puts his hand to Mal Ran’s cheek, because she’s picked up on his feelings for Mo Hyun. This feels like he’s doing this to distract her, and convince her that she has his attention, and no one else.

The way Mal Ran removes his hand from her face, and states that he always gives her the right answers, and that’s why she likes him, makes me think that she knows he’s lying to her, but she chooses to pretend to believe him anyway.

Given how twisted it is that Pil Joo, the rightful, blood-related heir of Cheong A, has been serving a fake son of Cheong A all these years, I’m quite stunned at the relative kindness that Pil Joo shows Boo Cheon, in revealing the truth to him. I mean, even though Pil Joo could have told Boo Cheon the truth in malice, he doesn’t; I feel like Pil Joo’s perhaps even sorry for Boo Cheon, as he tells him the truth.

Not only does he give Boo Cheon some of that nostalgic candy, he actually hesitates, before telling him. And, as Boo Cheon points out, that’s something that Pil Joo rarely ever does. And, as Boo Cheon reels from the news, and acts out in various ways, Pil Joo just stands there waiting for Boo Cheon, with an expression that appears both troubled and rueful. This seems very.. humane and sympathetic of Pil Joo, I feel, considering the implications of the reveal to him personally.

Credit to Jang Seung Jo’s delivery, Boo Cheon’s reaction at learning that he’s not his father’s son manages to land quite sympathetically, for me. Even though he’s still whiny and weak, and therefore more than a little annoying, he also feels genuinely shocked, forlorn, wretched and lost, and that makes my heart go out to him. Very nicely played, I feel.

Given Boo Cheon’s sudden loss of his blood ties to Cheong A, I feel like I can understand why he would now reach out to Seo Won, and start showing interest in the baby that she’s carrying. This baby now represents the blood ties that he’d “lost,” so to speak, and it makes sense to me that Boo Cheon would now want to hold onto his ties with this baby, more than ever.

As usual, Pil Joo is way ahead of the game, with his anticipation that President Jang would make an attempt to test Boo Cheon’s DNA.

I’m quite blown away by the fact that Pil Joo is the one who creates that opportunity for President Jang, by having Boo Cheon orchestrate an accident on purpose. It makes sense to me on hindsight, though. Because it’s when the situation is initiated by Pil Joo, that he has more room to control the situation, and create the space for Yong Goo to swap Boo Cheon’s blood sample with Pil Joo’s, thus foiling President Jang’s attempt. Our Pil Joo; he’s just so shrewd and so prepared.

Pil Joo is also very shrewd, in getting Boo Cheon to tell Mo Hyun the truth about his parentage. As Pil Joo proves, he understands Mo Hyun really well, while Boo Cheon truly doesn’t know Mo Hyun very well at all, because she doesn’t take it badly like Boo Cheon had expected, and instead sympathizes with him, and pledges her loyalty to him even more fiercely than before.

Again, though, as with each occasion when Pil Joo’s pushed Boo Cheon towards Mo Hyun, Pil Joo ends up relegated to the sidelines, with that sadly wistful look in his eyes. Which is exactly how Pil Joo looks, during the wedding as well. 💔

I can only imagine how  completely messed up Pil Joo must feel on the day of the wedding, because, not only is the woman he loves marrying the fake son of Cheong A, whom he, the real son of Cheong A, has been serving all these years (like, that could have been him marrying Mo Hyun, no?), but also, his kinda-sorta stepmother (since she was his father’s wife) is clinging onto him and looking at him with “don’t leave me” eyes.

This is the most explicit and direct Show has been, in indicating a sexual relationship between Mal Ran and Pil Joo, and honestly, even though Show doesn’t show us more than Mal Ran holding Pil Joo’s hand in an unspoken request to stay, and the subsequent shutting of the bedroom door, it’s plenty clear what we are meant to assume is happening behind those closed doors. It’s completely messed up, but also completely compelling. I have to wonder what’s going on in Pil Joo’s mind, as he seduces his stepmother, who is the very person who’d essentially asked for him and his mother and brother to be killed. 😳🤯

I’d kind of forgotten about the 5-year time skip, so it did take me by surprise, a little bit. It makes sense for our story, though, because Boo Cheon needed to put in the time in New York, and our story only really rolls forward, when he’s in Korea with Pil Joo.

Given how Boo Cheon’s been showing us that he seems sincerely grateful to be marrying Mo Hyun, I have to admit that I kind of gasped, when Seo Won showed up in the rest area on the plane, to share a drink with him. Dang. This means that he’d taken Seo Won and the baby to New York with him, and had housed them and provided for them, and likely taken time to nurture a family life with them, all while Mo Hyun was innocently and faithfully fulfilling her wifely duties by his side. 🤯

Honestly, it makes me question everything Boo Cheon’s ever said to Mo Hyun about loving her and being grateful for her, because he’s literally living a lie with her, and has been doing so, for 5 whole years. Even the way he excuses himself on the plane, while Mo Hyun gets a drink, feels like he’s trying to get away from her. I feel so bad for Mo Hyun, who seems clueless about Boo Cheon’s betrayal, and appears to still be wistfully yearning to have a child with him.

Now that Pil Joo’s caught sight of Seo Won and her son at the airport, it does feel like things are going to get complicated really fast. Because, surely Seo Won didn’t come all this way, just so that Pil Joo could get rid of her? 😬

48 thoughts on “Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 7 & 8

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  3. Trent

    AAAAGGGHHHH.

    Is the next open thread here yet?!!! I think my head just exploded from the next two episodes. Just too intense.

    Sorry. Had to vent. Carry on.

    Reply
    1. Shyama

      @ Trent
      I know! My head is about to explode! It took everything I had not to watch the next episode! OMG😱

      Reply
  4. Georgia Peach

    Ah, guys! What a good read from all of you on the subtleties of this drama. These characters have become ‘real people’ because of the superior acting and depth of the writing. Guess the stand out to me in this my second watch is still….the unanswered question of what is the ‘depth’ of MalRan and PilJoo’s relationship. I do not want to think he has so lost his soul that he would literally sleep with the enemy. I keep going back and forth in my opinion on this! What you see in this drama is not always what you get. Guess that’s what makes me keep wanting more.

    Reply
  5. slimharpo

    I’m really upset now because I had written a whole essay here that was eaten and I’m never going to cover it as well again, but here we go.

    I don’t think Pil Joo was actually sleeping with Mal Ran. Partly because the implication that she’s maybe been abusing him since he was a teenager and he’s so dead inside he’s allowed it to continue is too grim for a show which ultimately not cynical, but it’s also a very defensible interpretation for both psychological and (in later eps) logic reasons, imo.

    Pil Joo uses the illusion of intimacy to distract and manipulate her and that would be most effective if she’s never remotely secure about where they stand and her desire has never been satisfied. She doesn’t ‘possess’ him, she covets him. This is borne out by how incredibly thirsty she still is for him in much later episodes, to the point her eagerness completely clouds her judgement when she thinks consummation is finally imminent. Would she really be so blinded by desire if they were already a regular thing? Would she need so much reassurance? She is very comfortable in her ‘ownership’ of Secretary Oh and the knowledge that she always has something to hold over him, but she is never confident she has her hooks in Pil Joo deep enough. She never threatens him with revealing the affair to Mo Hyeon in order to wound him, she never considers it as revenge, nor does she ever imply this kind of claim on him in any of her clashes with Mo Hyeon. And I feel like there’s no reading of her character where she would never play this card if she had it in her hand.

    I think he always keeps things right on the boundary between plausibly platonic and definitely sexual in order to keep her placated but uncertain. Their interactions are very frank and lacking coyness (like when she walks in on him in a towel and pointedly refuses to avert her eyes) but they’re never casual; every touch is a powerplay, and Mal Ran would consider the game over if she had ever actually had him. The only leverage Pil Joo had over her for a very long time was that their fucked up bond was sexually charged but never explicitly sexual. In his position, crossing the line would leave him extremely vulnerable where stringing her along is essential to his long term plan to become indispensable and fully ingratiated.

    Again, we’ve seen how she treats men who submit to her. She clearly has some feelings for Secretary Oh, but she sees him as a tool just like her husband. She doesn’t have to give anything up to use them, Pil Joo forces her cede more and more emotional power to him because she wants things to progress but he always remains just out of reach. He manages to do this without her catching on that he’s using her because he keeps her so desperate and on the cusp of having him.

    There’s also a disturbing undercurrent of mother/child subtext to their relationship, where she’s protective of him as well as possessive, sometimes almost maternal. I think Pil Joo is very aware of this and uses the dichotomy of her feelings towards him to keep her from pushing him any further. He wants her to think she’s seducing him but never that he’s been seduced.

    Reply
    1. Drama Fan

      These are excellent arguments. I’ve always been on the camp of “I don’t think they are actually doing it” but, Ive never been able to explain why so eloquently. Thank you!

      Reply
    2. Trent

      This is definitely a smart look at the opposing position (i.e. Pil-joo and Mal-ran aren’t actually engaging in physical/sexual conact). Now I’m less sure than I was. Hey, let’s hear it for ambiguity!

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        The show is really good at not giving us a definitive answer, or rather presenting us with convincing arguments for both points of view. Masterfully done, Show!

        Reply
    3. Ele Nash

      I missed your comment, SlimHarpo, last week so just replying to it now. It’s an interesting interpretation and, as you say, I think the show did intentionally leave it ambiguous as the whole Mal Ran-Pilju dynamic has so much ambiguity in itself.
      I find that I do agree with lots of what you say – the illusion of intimacy from Pilju, and the need for possession from Mal Ran – but even if Pilju just slept in the same bed as Mal Ran that one time after Mohyun and Bucheon’s wedding, that still would be a really strange level of intimacy for no discernible purpose. Neither at that time needed to control the other. Mal Ran, as far as I could see, was lonely to see her favoured child marry and then go off to US. Pilju was lonely to see Mohyun marry, the woman he’s really infatuated with – maybe in love with. So, to me, it came down to loneliness. Why would they turn to each other then if they hadn’t in the past? Even just sharing the bed is way, way beyond the boundary of step-mother(ish)-son, boss-employee, son’s friend, master-servant. What else is their relationship that would justify them doing this? According to Bucheon’s (and Pilju’s) sister, Pilju has never had a girlfriend. Has it all got so twisted up the only comfort he can find is with the very woman he seeks to destroy? Urgh, I think so. I don’t want it to be so but is so! Whether ‘sleeping with’ Mal ran is sexual or not, it’s beyond (it seems) both of their control, despite them both being desperate to have control over the other.

      Reply
      1. Sharra

        @Ele Nash. So your post got me thinking. I have always thought there was a sexual relationship between them. One that Mal Ran initiated as means of control but the relationship ebbed and flowed as Pil Joo got older with him having more control. The one thing that struck me when I read your post is that I wonder if at a deeply sub conscious level Mal Ran sees and recognises similarities with Pil Joo and his father and is trying to capture or in Mal Ran’s case conquer the love that evaded her all this year’s? With Pil Joo I have always read it as repulsed with himself but sees the sexual relationship as a means to an end but deep down he and the viewers all know there a deep sexual attraction.

        Regardless of the toxicity of their relationship.They are
        in fact a constant in each others lives. And that means they seek each other out for comfort when they most need it. Deeply enthralling but so so wrong.

        Reply
        1. Ele Nash

          Yes, Sharra, I’ve wondered if for Mal Ran there’s the thirst for her husband’s love that she never got when he was alive and now, unwittingly, she is searching for that with Pilju, recognising in him his father without comprehending that’s what attracts her to him. It almost makes me feel sorry for her and is arguably a better reason than Pilju’s – though, eek, she is still far from right in grabbing Pilju’s wrist to make him stay. And as for him choosing to stay… as you say, deeply enthralling but so so wrong!! 😳

          Reply
  6. MC

    Ohhh this show just keeps getting better and better. And so is Jang Hyuk’s acting. All of the micro expressions and the voice and the intensity…. I’m loving it. And him. As if you couldn’t already tell! Haha. Also the music in this show is sooo good. It’s at My Mister levels and that is high praise from me since I love that show and every aspect of it to death.

    These 2 episodes pack a huge punch. Boo Cheon being a fake heir? I do think Piljoo felt bad to tell BC about his non-father – as much as he can’t stand BC they do have a bond and a friendship of sorts; Piljoo also knows how it hurts to not have a father and have your world rocked upside down. So I do see that he is genuinely sorry for Boo Cheon. And the actor playing Boo Cheon is doing such a great job. I liked how he touched base with Seo Won and their baby – he probably needed that grounding and (maybe?) wanted to be a good dad to that boy.

    As for Secretary Oh, Mal Ran and Piljoo – I did get a sense that Secretary Oh was the killer but I felt so sorry for Piljoo. I’m sure he was shocked – as much as this world is filled with backstabbing and betrayals, this was a man who watched him grow up and had ramen with while studying etc. And Piljoo and Mal Ran – oofffff soo sick but they’re so compelling together. As for Secretary Oh and Mal Ran, I did get strange vibes from them from the first episode – he was too concerned, too close, it wasn’t a servant-boss relationship. Now seeing how close they were and how she (probably) has slept with him, it makes sense that he seems so possessive and concerned seeing as that they were/ are lovers. And makes sense why Secretary Oh has this strange antagonistic relationship with Piljoo – Piljoo essentially usurped his favoured position with Mal Ran and he probably feels resentful and jealous. Pretty sure all of them know that Mal Ran is sleeping with Piljoo. Yet he did watch Piljoo grow up and probably does have some slightly fond feelings for him. What a twisted relationship! This Mal Ran really. So manipulative. But acted so well.

    I was so surprised by that 5 year jump! Boo Cheon has been taking care of 2 families all these years … just like Jang senior (his “dad”). And I’m sure the families aren’t happy that Boo Cheon and Mo Hyun don’t have kids yet, seeing the importance of children in Asian culture and in this family especially. Can’t wait to see the act 2 of this show so to speak. Bring it on!

    Reply
  7. Shyama

    What role does the daughter play, if any? She’s a doctor and seems pretty independent, free of the viper nest? I’m interested in seeing her character development.

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      I think she’s there to show how little she’s admired or appreciated (even though most families would be stoked to have a doctor in the family) as the rest of the vipers are intent on Cheong A and Cheong A only. There’s no other value in anything else. I just about forgive Pilju’s lack of interest in her (she is his sister, after all) because she can’t help in his schemes (other than draw his blood!) and he obviously was keener to build a relationship with Bucheon, a brother as he’d lost his brother, and also as heir to Cheong A. Still, I think it would be nice if she could be shown to save the day somehow.

      Reply
  8. phl1rxd

    The opening piano music to E7 is just perfect. That simple melody conveys the mood just right. I said it before but I will say it again (and probably again) – the music in this drama is outstanding.

    How in the name of all that is good does Pil Joo keep his cool during the conversation with Mil Ran in that opening scene? To say that Jang Hyuk does an amazing job is an understatement and you can see his jaw tighten ever so slightly as he holds in his emotions. The pain is real.

    I keep seeing a complete disaster ahead for Assemblyman Na who is being corrupted in front of our eyes. It is really hard to watch. In fact, seeing Jang Sung Man approach him in the vacant building after Pil Joo left and seeing him squirm – it is sad.

    So it looks like there is more to Mr. Oh than meets the eye and that flashback was eye opening. Pil Joo’s self-restraint was admirable. Then to hear Mal Ran imply that now Mr. Oh has to finish what he started (kill Eun Chun) is so evil. Ugh – what an evil woman. I started to hear the ELO song “Evil Woman” in my mind.

    What a dirty nerve Mil Ran has to tell Assmblyman Na that the wedding date needs to be changed so that the couple can breed – like she was talking about cattle (then to have the Grandfather refer to the ‘farm’ later on – ugh!). All of this while rocking a fabulous outfit in black that is enough to make you salivate of the though of ownership of said outfit. But she outdoes even her own low level of humanness when she tells Pil Joo to “hide it or kill it” in her ‘holier than thou’ tone of voice. Just how does Pil Joo remain so calm?

    What a great performance Jang Seung Jo puts on when he is told the facts by Pil Joo concerning his heritage. Props for his acting! His 2017 MBC Excellent Actor award was well deserved.

    The level of snark being thrown around at the meeting of Mal Ran, Pil Joo and Jang Sung Man and his wife was pretty amazing.

    I have to really feel sorry for Mo Hyeon at this point. Between her father and this dis-functional bunch she has a world of hurt on the way and it has to be right around the corner. It is made all the worse as she really is an innocent in the ocean of all of this cray-cray. Again, how will she change once all is revealed? Will she swim with the ‘snarks’, be destined for a tuna casserole on someone’s dinner table or somehow manage find the courage to hop on a current bound for the open ocean?

    I cannot fathom how Pil Joo could sleep with Mal Ran. I cringe at the thought.

    Another epic cliffhanger – the kind that makes you go woof! The past two hours felt like they flew and again, I am left wanting more. It really is all I can do to stop myself from binging the rest of this drama.

    Thank you Fangurl for making this all possible. It really is better the second time around and I am enjoying the heck out of this re-watch.

    Reply
  9. Sharra

    So everyone has already said everything that I would want to. I did just want to say that photos you have you of JH captures everything about Pil Joo. And the one under your sentence about microexpressions. Just wow.🔥How can JH emote so much through a screen grab! He is so absolutely mesmerising . I can’t look away.

    Reply
  10. Ele Nash

    I kind of told myself sternly to calm down with my adulation and general rah-rahing comments on your Money Flower reviews, Kfangurl, but then, dang it, I just can’t help myself! Oh, woof indeed, these episodes are my favourite so far! Squee!!

    First up, I totally read Pilu differently. Yes, of course his plans are all twisted up finding out Bucheon isn’t his father’s son. Maybe he did waver for a moment – as Yong Goo suggested – to jump ship to the smarmy Yeocheon. But I truly believe (perhaps because I’m always seeking the good in even the bad) that Pilju was gutted on Bucheon’s behalf and for himself in terms of having a brother only to lose one again. Psychologically, that’s got to be a mind-blower. I really think, in the flashback scene, Bucheon is like an over eager puppy and Pilju even then his master, but almost like the father-figure to Bucheon. Solid, certain. But it’s not unreciprocated. I feel like Pilju needs Bucheon as much as Bucheon need Pilju – not only for his schemes for revenge but actually for family. He sees in Bucheon a chance to have a younger brother again and I think when adult Pilju tells Bucheon the truth, his hesitation is in part because saying it aloud breaks a certain bond he thought he shared with Bucheon. It hurts him to say it as much as it hurts Bucheon to hear it. Also, the “i won’t let you die” to me was a promise he’s perhaps always silently made to Bucheon; that unlike poor little Kyungcheon, Pilju will never let go of Bucheon and leave him drowning in Cheong A.

    As for Jang Seung Jo acting in these two episodes, I LOVE him!! I thought he played it so so well. Bucheon is meant to be a flippant, incapable (in a business sense), philanderer so for him to handle news of this scale was going to be hard to play. But I loved his reaction. Oh, the water was too cold! Thanks goodness, there’s been too much near and actual drowning. Finding Seowon immediately after made total sense. Yes, he’s being cruel to Mohyun by not confessing but I don’t despise him for continuing seeing Seowon. It strikes me he’s only seeing her to form some relationship with his child. But, yep, the plane was too much. And Seowon absolutely looks like she wants much much more from Bucheon…

    As for Oh – urgh! He’s a wretched person, isn’t he.? Mal Ran’s manipulation of him is horrible to see. I feel like Oh turns her lack of interest inward; that he has such low self-esteem he doesn’t blame her for wanting him then not wanting him. His and Pilju’s relationship errs on strange too. Like Pilju was surprised by Mal Ran’s affair (though, hello, why would he be surprised when she’s evidently a vulnerable beautiful woman often neglected by his father for, well, him and his mother and brother?) I find it surprising he’s surprised that Oh was the one hurling him in the lake as a child. Who else around Mal Ran could it have been? He’s been studying Mal Ran for over a decade, how didn’t he suspect Oh?

    OK, effusive commentary over. Well, except for that bedroom door closing… Eek! Pilju must hate himself as much as he hates Mal Ran. How COULD he? I mean, actually?? Is loneliness what it came down to? Utter despair? I feel like there was no scheming reason either of them needed to sleep with each other so all that’s left is a twisted need and dark, oh so dark, mutual understanding.

    xx

    Reply
    1. j3ffc

      While we’re all “was it just me”-ing it, did anyone else flash on “Gong Yoo” after reading the rote from “Yong Goo”?

      Reply
        1. j3ffc

          Yong Goo is Pil Joo’s enabler. He’s been there all along but I just saw his name for the first time in ep 7 (it came up on a phone or a message and then in kfangur’s review). And I’ve never met a spoonerism I didn’t like…

          Reply
    2. Trent

      Ooh, good catch, drawing that linkage between “I would never let you die,” said by Pil-joo to Boo-cheon, who he’s always assumed is secretly his younger half-brother (and only just shockingly learned isn’t), and Pil-joo’s deep lingering guilt over not being able to save his younger brother from drowning when they were kids.

      I hadn’t thought of that link, but once you say it, it’s kind of obvious.

      Reply
      1. Drama Fan

        He looked so genuinely concerned about Bucheon, not just his plans possibly getting affected, at that moment he looked and behaved like a brother so this totally makes sense. Loved it!

        Reply
  11. Shyama

    Is it just me or does Pil Joo gets more attractive as his character spirals into more darkness and manipulation..

    Reply
  12. Leslie

    ON THE SAME PLANE!! I gasped (and couldn’t wait to post my shock & disgust on this thread). I’d been building some sympathy for Boo Cheon, and a little respect that he’d begun to realize what a gift he had in Mo Hyun. And then. Not only is he horribly disrespecting Mo Hyun, but also perfectly illustrating the rot in the Jang house. Even if he’s actually a Kim or a Park or a Lee. And the look on Pil Joo’s face. This is one move he did not see coming. I can only imagine how this will amp up his quest for revenge.

    Reply
  13. Snow Flower

    Woof indeed, Kfangurl and everyone! I would call these 2 episodes The DNA Dance. So many tests done, who was doing them, for what reason, who knows the real results, and who knows who knows, my head is spinning!

    On Pil Joo and Boo Cheon: I think that Pil Joo had (maybe still does) a tiny soft spot for Boo Cheon. Despite being so insecure and whiny, he was Pil Joo’s only living blood relative, a half-brother. So the reveal must have come as a complete shock to Pil Joo. Now he is free to be unscrupulous with Boo Cheon, but he still chose to be the one to reveal the truth to Boo Cheon.

    On Mal Ran: Kfangurl’s assessment of her is so accurate, she really does prostitute herself for power. I am wondering if she was pushed into that kind of behavior by her own family. It was mentioned in an earlier episode that she was from a wealthy banking family. I think that Grandpa pretty much ordered his elder son to marry Mal Ran in order to establish a connection with her family. Mal Ran was used by both families (like Mo Hyeon is), but, unlike Mo Hyeon, she was capable of playing dirty in order to gain power.

    Boo Cheon seems to genuinely love Mo Hyeon, but his bond with Seo Won is pretty much unbreakable because of their son. I wonder if he would still stay in contact with Seo Won if there was no baby in the picture or if he and Mo Hyeon had a baby of their own. Poor, poor Mo Hyeon…

    This drama is set in modern times, but it plays like a sageuk. The power struggle within the Jang family could easily take place in a palace. The obsession with lineage and the exclusion of illegitimate offspring are popular sageuk tropes and the modern twist makes for a compelling watch.

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      Yes, I often wonder what Mal Ran was like when she entered the Jang (as Trent accurately said last time) pit of vipers. Was she already a snake herself, or has life experience turned her out that way? It must have been nasty indeed for her to find out her husband already had a mistress and child he loved – and even more that he never stopped seeing them, having another child along the way. Ouch! And Bucheon has just done the same darn thing to Mohyun. But she doesn’t seem capable of being a baby snake, let alone a viper.
      I’m also curious about Grandma Chairman. Grandpa is evidently a philanderer too, what with all those illegitimate children Pilju has to discredit, so was the ‘beautiful’ wife as put upon as Mal Ran and Mohyun? Regardless of blood, are the Jang men incapable of being loyal to their wives, and is that because they never really marry for love but for personal gain? Even Pilju made the decision to use Mohyun instead of actually loving her openly – though for revenge rather than money. Or is all a form of greed?
      Sigh. There’s a lot of masterfully shown meaning that elevates Money Flower over and above melodrama.

      Reply
    2. j3ffc

      I think it says something about Pil Joo’s father – and by extension probably Boo Cheon – that he even posed for a “family photo” with PIl Joo, his mom, and his brother in the first place. And maybe that photo somehow led to Mal Ran’s subsequent actions.

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        @phl1rxd, I have been listening to the OST of Money Flower a lot! My favorite track is Death Star.

        Reply
          1. Snow Flower

            I am contemplating about composing a Money Flower-inspired piece right now…Stay tuned!

            I just uploaded my Chuno piece on Youtube. I will post on the final Chuno rewatch thread.

            Reply
  14. Trent

    As each couple episode block has come to an end, I have felt the urge to plunge forward, and never more so than the last five minutes of episode eight! So far I have resisted, but it’s getting harder. I was not at all expecting the “5 years later” time jump at the end, but in retrospect it makes sense. We are at the one-third point, so it is like a curtain is drawing closed on our preliminary section. That last scene was masterfully framed and presented: Boo-cheon and Mo-hyun in the airport arrival area, with Seo-won and her son opposite, and Pil-joo standing in between the two pairs. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! (Yay, I can find out now…)

    I am so glad to hear your thoughts on that scene with Mal-ran and Pil-joo when he lays her on the bed, because as I was watching that I was like…my inner subtext translator might be busted, but that’s gotta be meant to communicate to us that they are makin’ the beast with two backs, right? So I’m glad to see it wasn’t just me interpreting it that way. So so messed up and dysfunctional, and still impossible to look away from.

    I also felt that Pil-joo was being quite compassionate in how he informed Boo-cheon about his parentage. It was like he realized the likelihood that Boo-cheon would find out in circumstances and by people who meant to do him harm (a possibility if Pil-joo’s scheme to switch blood samples hadn’t come off or had been circumvented some other way), and he was determined to cradle him and tell him in “safe” circumstances. As Boo-cheon in response throws out all the wild things he’s going to do, Pil-joo agrees he should go ahead, and then tells him he’ll never let him die (paraphrasing from memory…).

    We’ll no doubt find out soon, but I was definitely also thinking…five years, and no indication that Boo-cheon and Mo-hyun have any children? Given all the plotting of the elders, how Mal-ran was brazen enough to ask her soon-to-be in-laws to change the wedding date so that the honeymoon would be in sync with Mo-hyun’s monthly cycle and so more likely to conceive then…wow, no kids after five years, that’s gotta be a major issue, isn’t it? And then Boo-cheon’s secret child is right there (does he know Boo-cheon is his dad, and his own place in the scheme of things? Probably, right? Just like Pil-joo in the prior generation, basically–we know Pil-joo and his brother had a relationship with father Soo-man, how did they understand their place as children of the mistress?)

    Also, did I detect a hint of change in Mo-hyun there at the end? A hint of dissatisfaction or questioning? Or am I just imagining that?

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      I agree, Trent. I think Pilju was very caring in his own stiff, restrained way to Bucheon. I think he always has been. It makes sense he’d feel a bond with the man he’d thought was his family – and Bucheon, for all his awkward recklessness, isn’t unlikeable like the rest of them. He’s always quite affectionate to Pilju and lord knows, Pilju needs some genuine love in his life.

      Reply
    2. phl1rxd

      Ah Trent, you really made me laugh with the beast correlation! 🤣😂😉 I cannot wrap my head around the psychology of this. Not to be rude, but how does Pil Joo manage? The only thing I can think of is that he has had so much practice with his emotional control that he can successfully go through the motions.

      Yes, it looks like poor MH may be unable to have a child. This poor girl is getting hit from all sides. You had to love Pil Joo’s expression when he realize that it was Seo Won that just walked past like whoosh….and the perfect music plays….

      Reply
      1. Leslie

        Not to be rude either @phl1rxd, but I wondered the same thing. It’s amazing how one is compelled to contemplate (I search for the right words) sex so frequently in this show, when not even a bare shoulder has yet been seen. Although, Pil Jo’s robe…😅 Really twisty, and disturbingly well done.

        Reply
      2. Trent

        Ah, I wish I could claim originality there, but that particular phrase goes back to Shakespeare’s Iago trying to wind Desdemona’s father up with thoughts of his daughter being intimate with the noble Moor Othello. We thought we were so cool back in high school when we read Othello and learned a new euphemism for makin’ whoopee (speaking of euphemisms…),

        As for the whole “how does Pil-joo manage” question, I suppose this is a very particular application of the principle “fake it until you make it.” As you say, he has extreme control over his emotional reactions, and Mal-ran, whatever else she is, is a not-unattractive woman, so–not to be crass, but–I imagine he fakes the early stages until pure physiology kicks in? I dunno, man.

        Reply
  15. j3ffc

    This show does not lack of scenes of Pil Joo staring longingly at Eonnyeon, uh, Mo Hyun, but the one where PJ is doing his slow burn at MH getting photographed, followed by MH’s acknowledgment and then the attendant closing the door between them was beautifully done. The whole wedding sequence, including the background goings-on and aftermath, felt very “Godfather”-like.

    Ep 8 was the first episode where I felt sympathy for Boo Cheon (until the last five minutes, that is). His entire sense of identity has been based on being a Jang chaebol and it is hard to imagine how difficult it would be to have that snatched away with no warning. I share the sense of many of my fellow watchers (hi all!) that Seo Ran is a more interesting, and minimally better acted, character than Mo Hyun, although not necessarily the better choice for a stable relationship. And Mal Ran? Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson. My favorite line this week: “Jang Mal Ran is QUITE amazing.” (But even I saw the Secretary Oh thing coming a mile away.)

    This was the also first episode where I felt as though I understood who everyone was and how they are related above the 80% confidence level. But I was taken aback at the time skip…I’ve rarely seen them in the middle of a drama. I like the sense that we’re all getting right to it and skipping a lot of the preliminaries. While I doubt that revenge dramas are going to rise to the top of my watch list, this show is well done, interesting, and a good addition to my drama education. Thank you, kfangurl!

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      So glad you’re enjoying it, j3ffc! It’s on paper not something I’d ever think I’d like but my goodness, it really is one of the best dramas I’ve seen. It’s so dark and yet I find I laugh quite often (mostly over the audacious throwaway comments from Grandpa Chairman). I think the main reason I love it is the acting. I’m obsessed with so many of the characters and how they’re played.
      Mal Ran absolutely is a Mrs Robinson! Pilju almost seems awed when he realises how deep her secrets and duplicities run. Poor Pilju at the wedding – though the wistful stare-outs would be totally obvious to anyone vaguely observing. I even think surely to Mohyun.

      Reply

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