Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 9 & 10

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Woah. We get some major developments this pair of episodes, and it feels like our drama world is tilted on its axis, as a result. It’s kind of mind-blowing that we’re not even at our halfway point yet! 🤯

Also, in case any of you missed it, slimharpo makes a compelling case for the idea that Pil Joo and Mal Ran are not actually sleeping together. You can check out her comment here. Personally, I think Show purposely leaves it ambiguous, so that viewers can interpret the clues in the way that works for them.

I hope you guys are ready to chat about Money Flower episodes 9 & 10! 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 9

The tension gets thicker, and things get murkier this episode, and I found it all very edge-of-my-seat gripping; I felt the mounting dread, but I also couldn’t look away.

A big part of this episode’s tension comes from the fact that Seo Won is back with son Ha Jung in tow, and she does not seem to have any intention of staying out of sight, like what Pil Joo had once advised her. Instead, despite Boo Cheon’s discomfort, she seems set on getting nearer to Mooshimwon than Boo Cheon would ever want.

Watching her is like watching a moth playing with an open flame; her daring is quite fascinating, but I can’t help asking myself if she will survive – especially since Mal Ran, who’s ordered inconvenient children killed before, would definitely not want Ha Jung anywhere near the Jang family.

Boo Cheon clearly has created a situation where Ha Jung is used to spending time with his father, but this is proving to be a routine that’s difficult to keep up, now that they are back in Korea, and surrounded by observant eyes.

If anything, Boo Cheon should know to be extra careful around Pil Joo, but it seems that Boo Cheon just can’t keep that nervous, my-hair’s-on-fire-but-I-hope-you-don’t-notice look off his face, when it comes to Seo Won. Even though Pil Joo appears extra indulgent now that Boo Cheon is back and seems to be working hard at his job, it really was only a matter of time before Pil Joo caught on to the details of the whole thing.

I feel really sorry for Mo Hyun this episode. She’s clearly under a lot of stress, especially with Grandpa Chairman and Mal Ran exerting pressure on her to bear a child as quickly as possible – like, yesterday, if they could have their way. Poor Mo Hyun. It can’t be fun to feel like you’re looked upon as a baby-making machine – and a failing baby-machine, at that.

It doesn’t help matters, that Boo Cheon’s being distant from her, and lying to her. Despite Boo Cheon’s efforts to be the sweet husband that he’d set out to be, all the sneaking around definitely wears on the marriage, and I feel like Mo Hyun is able to sense his emotional distance, even though she probably doesn’t want to acknowledge it.

Show continues to serve up the idea that through it all, it’s Pil Joo who understands Mo Hyun best. It seems like the canola honey drink that Pil Joo asks Ms. Go to make for her, is one of the small glimmers of actual contentment, in Mo Hyun’s life. That scene of Mo Hyun taking comfort in the honey drink, while Pil Joo muses over the same drink in his own hand, feels like an unintentional alignment of souls, in that moment.

I’m happy for Mo Hyun that she learns she’s pregnant this episode, because it’s clearly something that she’s been longing for, all this time. The sense that I get, is that she doesn’t want it because of her baby-bearing duties, but because she sincerely wants to be a mom, and because of this, I hope that Mo Hyun’s pregnancy goes smoothly and ends in the safe delivery of her child.

I feel bad for Mo Hyun, that she’s miscarried before. We’re not told how many times, but given Mo Hyun’s aura of grief around this, and the agreement that she and Boo Cheon have, to not tell the household elders if she conceives, until the pregnancy is stabilized, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d miscarried more than once. I hope that Pil Joo, whom Ms. Go refers to as someone who literally knows everything, is right in his assertion that Mo Hyun won’t suffer any miscarriage, going forward.

Another reason I feel bad for Mo Hyun, is how she cleaves to her mom and cries, the moment she steps into her family home. She says that she’s just so happy to see her mom, but Mo Hyun’s tears feel like they come from a place of pain, and it feels like she’s doing everything she can, to absorb Mom’s love and good vibes, as a balm for the wounds that she’s sustained while away. In this moment, it feels like Mom might have an inkling of all that her daughter has suffered, but is unwilling to ask any questions, almost as if she’s afraid that the knowledge of her daughter’s actual pain will be too much for her to bear.

For the first time in our story, Pil Joo’s plan hits a significant hiccup because of President Jang. Technically, it’s not even the case that President Jang outsmarts Pil Joo, since the money is stolen directly from Congressman Na’s assistant, after Pil Joo’s side has handed the money over.

The fact that Pil Joo sees it as detrimental to his credibility with Grandpa Chairman and Mal Ran, if he doesn’t solve this on his own, tells us a lot about the kind of expectations that are in place, for the people who work for Cheong A. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your fault or not; if things don’t go smoothly according to plan, it becomes your fault. How utterly suffocating and unfair, honestly.

It’s also unreasonable of Congressman Na, I feel, to expect Pil Joo’s side to re-deliver money that’s already been delivered and subsequently stolen, while in his assistant’s care. But, that’s just the way these murky deals work, it seems. If Pil Joo’s side doesn’t re-deliver the money, Congressman Na’s campaign gets stuck, and if he can’t achieve his goal of becoming President, he’d be unable to help with Cheong A Tower, like he’d agreed to.

I can understand why Pil Joo sees the need for him to re-supply the money, and I can see why he would choose to do this out of his pocket. What crazy deep pockets those turn out to be, though, eh? That scene of a queen-sized mattress completely stuffed with 50,000 won bills was quite the spectacle. 😳 It boggles my mind, to consider that this is just one of a number of fund deliveries to Congressman Na. Just how much is Cheong A supplying to him, to uphold their end of the bargain?

Seo Won grows more and more audacious, what with her not only making contact with Mo Hyun, but coming to Mooshimwon with her son in tow, to visit. It feels like she’s there to scope out the luxury that she plans to stake her claim on, and the whole time that she’s there, I kept waiting for her to run into either Boo Cheon or Pil Joo – but she doesn’t.

While I do think that some credit goes to Seo Won for taking Mo Hyun to the hospital when Mo Hyun starts to experience abdominal pain, I do think that she’s really asking for it, by hanging around the hospital instead of making a quick exit. I know she’s probably looking for a way into the Jang family, but the way she’s going about it makes me really nervous.

That last scene that rounds up the episode, felt like wave upon wave of anxiety being layered onto the situation, with Boo Cheon first entering the hospital room and doing a stunned double take to see Seo Won there, then Pil Joo coming in and instantly putting two and two together, and making as if to approach Seo Won, only to have everything come to a standstill, when Mal Ran herself enters the room.

In this situation, I feel like Mal Ran is the most dangerous of them all, because even though it’s Pil Joo’s intention to remove Seo Won from the equation, he wouldn’t actually kill Seo Won or her son. And Mal Ran would, and without hesitation too. Eep. 😳

Episode 10

Dang. Mal Ran is really quick on the uptake, I have to say. She doesn’t even need more than 2 seconds, it seems, to conclude that Seo Won is Boo Cheon’s lover, and Ha Jung is Boo Cheon’s illegitimate son. And, once she makes that connection, she doesn’t hesitate for a second, to take Seo Won aside and threaten her in the gentlest, most benign tone that I’ve seen her use, ever.

Whoever decided that that was the best direction for Mal Ran’s threat to take – whether it was a request by the PD, or Lee Mi Sook’s own interpretation – it’s brilliant, and encapsulates so well, the kind of gracious yet deeply cold sort of cruelty that Mal Ran uses as her modus operandi. The way she talks so innocently about the deaths of other women and children that had the misfortune of existing out of wedlock in relation to the Jang family is spine-chilling, and I have to admit that I got quite a bit of satisfaction from the horror on Seo Won’s face, as she finally realizes what and who she is dealing with.

All this time, I’ve felt like Seo Won has been playing with fire, without ever really knowing the true depth and strength of the fire that she’s playing with. That smirk that she’s worn so often, as she considers Mo Hyun with contempt, stems from ignorance, and I’m glad that finally, that smirk is wiped right off her face.

Unfortunately, it seems that Seo Won’s slow to learn her lesson – probably because her greed and ambition is bigger than her fear – and thanks to her, we get some Dramatic Developments this hour.

Just like what I’d talked about, with Pil Joo having to take responsibility for the stolen money even though it wasn’t his fault, Pil Joo also has to bear the blame, for allowing things with Seo Won to come to such a state. Mal Ran’s first instinct is to lash out at Pil Joo, because he hadn’t taken care of things well enough, to prevent this from happening. It’s hard to be Pil Joo; he has to be just about perfect, to gain the trust of the Jangs.

I can understand why Mal Ran’s so upset, though. This entire thing with Seo Won mirrors her own experience with her husband’s secret family, and pokes at old wounds that she’s never quite recovered from. We don’t know if she ever loved her husband, but the sting of rejection hurts anyway.

I think it was Snow Flower who mentioned that this show feels like a sageuk, and I do very much agree. The fact that Grandpa Chairman is putting pressure on Mo Hyun to give birth to a boy, when she’s already pregnant and the gender of the child is completely out of her control, is ridiculous. But that’s just the sort of thing I’d expect in a sageuk, and it’s also just the sort of unreasonable mindset that we’ve come to expect from Grandpa Chairman. It almost feels like it doesn’t matter if gravity works a certain way; if he expects things to fall upwards, they better fall upwards, if they know what’s good for them. It’s all very bizarre, and yet, that’s like a foundational truth of this drama world. That’s just how things work.

I really have to say that I hate how shameless Boo Cheon is, this episode. He knows full well that he’s in the wrong, and yet, he has the audacity to keep asking for help, so that his son can bear the Jang surname. He claims that it’s to get Seo Won and Ha Jung out of Korea and out of everyone’s hair, but I feel like there’s more to it than that.

Given how Boo Cheon’s got a chip on his shoulder about not being true Jang blood, I feel like he dearly wants to give Ha Jung legitimacy, to make up for his own lack of it, as it were.

To Boo Cheon’s credit, it does seem like he knows how awful and shameless he’s being, judging from how he asks Pil Joo to beat him up. It strikes me that Boo Cheon is like a frightened animal trying to stand its ground even though it knows it’s at a disadvantage; Boo Cheon knows that he’s overstepped his boundaries and he’s terrified, but he wants to hold out anyway, for the sake of the thing he wants.

I know that Boo Cheon isn’t willfully awful, in that he didn’t set out to have a mistress after meeting Mo Hyun; his ex-girlfriend just caught up with him and managed to play on his weaknesses to ensnare him, but I still feel a measure of contempt for him, for how weak he’s being, and how miserably he’s treating Mo Hyun. Because of this, I actually feel quite gratified, that Pil Joo does beat him up, at least a little bit.

Augh. One of the toughest scenes to watch this hour, is when Pil Joo finds his brother’s remains. His building anguish, as Yong Goo digs up the grave, is so clear in his eyes, and the way he wraps his little brother in the coat off his own back, because he fears that the boy is feeling cold, is absolutely heartbreaking. 💔 There’s so much guilt and grief in Pil Joo, over the death of his brother; he’s never forgiven himself for letting go of his brother’s hand in the water, and he’s also dealing with a lot of survivor’s guilt, I think. I’m relieved for him, that he gets to hold his brother again, and it does feel like a gained connection to his brother, when he finds his brother’s necklace.

It boggles my mind that Pil Joo is able to face Mal Ran the next morning, with such unruffled composure. When she asks him why he’s not hurrying to find Eun Cheon, he looks completely clear-eyed and innocent, as he tells her that he’s been busy with Congressman Na. The only giveaway is how he hesitates, when he reaches out his hand to touch her hair. The way he clenches his fingers for a moment, before actually stroking her hair lightly, tells us just what an effort it is for him, to maintain this calm facade.

It’s clear that beneath the surface, Pil Joo’s thirst for revenge has increased even more. We hear him bite out in controlled, measured voiceover, “Jung Mal Ran-sshi. Don’t rush me. The time’s getting near to tell you that I’m Jang Eun Cheon. Just wait… a little longer.”

I have to love how shrewd Pil Joo is. His idea, of getting the truck back with Secretary Woo’s help, is nothing short of brilliant. Secretary Woo gets a pile of money from the deal, yes, but Pil Joo gets the satisfaction of President Jang thinking that Pil Joo’s overturned his victory, and that’s worth a great deal, in our drama world. And, if Pil Joo’s going to lose the money anyway, he might as well lose it while creating the illusion that he’s one-upped President Jang at his own game. Bravo, I say! 🤩

As for Seo Won, I’m horrified at how she basically invades Mooshimwon and dangles the truth at Mo Hyun, in the most insensitive manner possible. Ugh. I mean, there are many different ways that Seo Won could have approached this, and the manner in which she chose to reveal the truth to Mo Hyun, is smug, like she’s savoring Mo Hyun’s horrified reaction. Just goes to show what kind of person Seo Won is, really. Huh. 😪

It didn’t even hit me until much later, that Mo Hyun loses her baby, from the shock and trauma of it all. That is terrible, and I feel even more contempt for Seo Won, because of this.

The fact that Mo Hyun, who’s always been such a romantic dreamer sort, who’s always believed in true love, reacts the way she does, says a lot about how her married life has changed her. She seems to default to playing the ideal Cheong A daughter-in-law, with her completely rational decision to adopt Ha Jung as her own son, so that Boo Cheon wouldn’t be divided between his family with her, and his family with Seo Won.

It’s a shrewd move – it completely throws Seo Won, that’s for sure – but it’s one that I would have never imagined coming from the Mo Hyun that we’d first met, at the beginning of our story. And that in itself is sad, because it’s clear that Mo Hyun’s lost the innocence that used to characterize her. And it’s also sad, that this is how she earns her first instance of sincere praise from Mal Ran, for being considerate and mature.

The way Mo Hyun tells Boo Cheon that she doesn’t want to be pathetic by yelling at him or hitting him, feels so.. hollow. It’s like large chunks of her have died on the inside; she seems unable to even muster the anger that she has every right to feel. I have to admit that I felt some satisfaction at Boo Cheon’s look of shock, when Mo Hyun informs him that the child she’d like to have with him, will be a test tube baby, because she doesn’t feel able to sleep with him. I feel like this is the first time that Boo Cheon even has an inkling as to how badly he’s hurt Mo Hyun.

Last but not least, What. A. Cliffhanger., that Show serves up, this episode. With Mo Hyun happening on Pil Joo at the exact same house where they’d met each other as teenagers, will Pil Joo still be able to keep his cover intact? What explanation could he possibly give for even being there, though? 😱

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MC
MC
3 months ago

Sorry folks, I’ve been lagging behind – I JUST caught up with eps 9 and 10 yesterday and today and now we’re supposed to be ready for 11 and 12! Gosh. That’s partly why I’ve not written anything. KFG, please know that I so appreciate your efforts in having this group watch despite the lower comment numbers! I just don’t always have time to watch or type!

Here are my 2 cents’ worth for these 2 episodes. Actually this entire show is pretty makjang… with all the “bloodlines! sons! illegitimate children must be killed! murder is acceptable! shady business all the way!” storylines which i don’t typically like but somehow it all works so elegantly and beautifully in this show. It’s never too OTT, it’s always just… restrained, barely, you know more will be unleashed soon yet it’s moving along in a calculated, purposeful manner. Part of it is due to the music. The OST is honestly absolutely wonderful, it’s like another actor in terms of its impact. Like how the home stadium fans atmosphere is often seen to be like the 12th player on a football/ soccer field. Props to the music director. I love listening to the soundtrack as I do my work!

These episodes though. Seo Won. She’s really going to get burnt soon and burnt badly. After Mal-ran’s threats, after Piljoo almost strangling her, after seeing the blood droplets and the knife on her floor – isn’t she scared? I would be! But this woman I got to give to her, she’s got guts. She wants that inheritance/ legitimacy for her son and isn’t going to let anything stop her. I know she was so cruel in showing those photos to Mo Hyun but I can kind of understand – she is hurting, the father of her child and (I suppose) man she loves is never going to commit to them, she knows her son could be so much more if he is part of the Jang family (of course she has no idea how insane they are but to her the money and power looks good!) so when she’s threatened to go away she hits back the way she knows how – by hurting Mo Hyun. I like this show because most of the villain’s are not one-dimensional. Even Secretary Oh is suffering from regret and guilt, Mal-ran can be pitied (though she’s absolutely a viper). Only Grandfather I suppose is pure crap. Haha! I really can’t stand the whole ‘have a boy! Girls will inherit less” thing so maybe that’s why I’m biased. Maybe I’m a little biased as a new mother myself, but if I put myself in Seo Won’s shoes, I also want the best for my son.

I’m a little conflicted over Mo Hyun’s reaction to the affair. I thought she was too nice in “forgiving” Boo Cheon. But later I saw how she wanted a test tube baby (also I wish writers could stop using that term. Its not factually accurate and so derogatory!) and deliberately wanted to separate Ha Jung from his mother. Mo Hyun has a spine after all! She knows she can’t divorce Boo Cheon so she’s going to hurt him and his mistress. I feel sorry for Ha Jung though. He only wanted a dad and now he’s a pawn in this game. Also not the biggest fan of all the childhood tropes for Piljoo and Mo Hyun and the “coincidences” of meeting at the same cabin. But nevermind. I’m all ready for the fallout! Bring it on!

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  MC

I’m not writing much lately but Im loving all the first time watcher reactions including yours MC. I agree that Seo Won seems both brave, bold but also reckless. However, we can add to that a sense of desperation. Like you, I don’t think her behavior is guided by pure greed (although there is that) Its survival too. I think she realized she is already entangled in this web, and staying silent will not guarantee her surviving this (Cheong A already tried to kill her) so maybe appealing to those she thinks are more “humane” might help her? She did looks like she was enjoying the reveal though and she looked “evil” then. I felt personally “insulted” both when Bucheon and Seowon said that “Mo Hyun will understand and forgive because she is nice” Its like they equate being nice with being a moron or someone you are allowed to step on! When a “nice” person explodes, you don’t want to be there! And I think Mo Hyun is going to show us soon. She is definitely more than they(we) thought.

BE
BE
3 months ago

Aside: I left a post on the February Announcement thread fwiw about our current group watches. At the time there was a great deal of enthusiasm being expressed about both shows, but our enthusiasm appears to be waning at this point. Just saying.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

Im still enjoying Money Flower very much but I have not been able to post much. I plan to join again on the next thread 🙂 I finished watching Doctor Romantic because my mon wanted to but I never truly enjoyed it as a whole so I figure my contributions on that thread would be negative and pointless.

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

I am certain your wealth of info and insight into Money Flower will be both welcome and generate response.

phl1rxd
3 months ago

I am pretty disgusted with Bu Cheon right now after seeing Seo Won get off the airplane with their son. Any respect I had for him is pretty much gone. I picked up a few times when MH looked like she was not as happy as she appears to be with him. Perhaps she is picking up this affair on a deeper level?

We can see how corrupted Assemblyman Na has become. It is pretty sad.

Seo Won has some moxie to show up at Mushimwon with her child. Poor MH looks has been made to look like a total fool.

The ending to E9 was thrilling. Everything came to a halt when the big bad Mal Ran showed up. You can feel the room just freeze over. Then, Mal Ran’s discussion with Seo Won was chilling. I felt that BC deserved that whooping Pil Joo laid on him.

It is eye opening to see Mal Ran suffering in her car as she looks at her husband’s other family and sees their loving relationship. Something tells me that she is not suffering from having loved her husband but only from what she will lose financially.

Now we are all crying to see Pil Joo realize his brother’s grave has been right there the whole time. Ugh, this is so, so sad.

Wen Mal Ran is helping Pil Joo select a watch I sense that she has doubts about him. Seo Won seems not to understand how crazy this family is and what they would do to her. When Pil Joo steps out of the darkness after getting access into her apartment he is frightening (I do need to note however, that Jang Hyuk certainly rocks a black turtleneck like nobody else). It also looks like Mal Ran does not trust Pil Joo to handle the situation.

Bam! The ball drops, rather smashes on top if MH. Seo Won is as cray-cray as the rest of the Cheonga A bunch and truly she deserves them and they deserve her. Then MH drops the ball on Seo Won and BC both. This is about as fine as drama gets. Wow.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

About Mal Ran, my mon has been asking me/herself/the universe, why is she so angry? Was she jealous? It didn’t seem that she loved her husband. I think it’s about losing her money/power yes, but I sense its mostly about pride. She mentioned she sorta identified with Mo Hyun’s situation right? (go figure) being made a “fool” and sharing her husband with someone she probably considers “lowly” must be what triggers her (its my theory, not 100% sure I have her totally figured out)

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

I also think that Mal Ran’s pride had been wounded by her husband.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Her “pride” which I think it’s mostly narcissism and arrogance is wounded easily though. She hates “losing face” and it seems that protecting her ego is the most important thing for her, which is why I sense, this goes beyond money and greed. Her “image” is also important to her and to Grandpa. They will kill to protect it.

j3ffc
j3ffc
3 months ago

I had actually been feeling some sympathy for Seo-won. Done with that, though. Although if Mo-Hyun starts to be more able to act in her own self-interest, that would be one positive development.

I will admit that I was really bugged by MH ending up at that one particular location after asking for the next ticket, no matter where. I’m going to rationalize it that she was on her random bus route and realized that she was going by Pil-joo’s little house and got off on a whim.

Random q: how many words are there in Korean for “cold”? ‘Cause I think they need a lot of them.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago

Woof again, fellow Money Flower watchers, all members of the Exploding Heads Club.

The Pil Joo-Mal Ran dynamic in Episodes 9-10 seemed to support the theory that they are NOT physically involved. I like how the show is deliberately ambiguous. I am sure everyone’s imagination is in overdrive.

Poor Mo Hyeon! She has suffered so much, but she does have the strength to endure. Like Eon Nyeon from Chuno, there is much more to her than meets the eye.

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Haha Exploding heads club – so aptly put!!

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago

Wow, how much tumult can they fit in one episode?! 😱 I don’t know how much more I can take – oh, lots more, of course!! Thanks for sharing SlimHarpo’s take on the whole Mal Ran-Pilju dynamic. I hadn’t seen it. Intentionally ambiguous for sure but I can’t help thinking the worst, possibly because even if Pilju just slept in the same bed as Mal Ran after Mohyun and Bucheon’s wedding, that still would convey an unusual degree of intimacy that, OK, is less physical than if they’re having sex, but is still way, way beyond any reasonable relationship you could think of giving their dynamic as: step-mother(ish)-son, boss-employee, son’s friend, master-servant. I personally find it’s decidedly off-kilter, tangled, manipulative, desperate, dark, disturbing whichever way I try to rationalise!

Your comment about Bucheon’s terrible poker face made me snort on my morning cuppa, kfangurl! He is very transparent, but I’d argue that’s what makes him so likeable despite the very awful lies he’s been telling Mohyun. When he’s stroking Ha-jung’s hair, I forgive him everything (well, except the not telling Mohyun the truth). Was it just me, or did anyone else see Pilju as a child when watching Ha-jung? That must have been the relationship he’d have had with his own father – fleeting but loving. I imagine little Pilju / Euncheon would have been stoic about his dad always leaving even then.

And, oh, my heart really did break watching that digging scene. It was the little shoe 😭 And then Yong Goo starting to cry (what a kind friend he is, though, to do this for Pilju) and then Jang Hyuk – who acts crying like he really is crying. In fact, I don’t see how he wasn’t really crying – cradling the cold remains is one of the most terrible things I’ve seen in any kdrama. It went beyond sad. What will he do now? Wouldn’t he have to report it to the police?

As for Mal Ran, she really gave lots of glimpses I thought into her unhinged mind. Telling Pilju to effectively bump Seowon off, warning Seowon that mothers and illegitimate offspring have drowned before, not even turning a hair that the little boy is her grandson, shows an unstable mind to say the least. I fear for Seowon, despite disliking her.

I agree, these episodes I felt most for Mohyun. When she hugged her mum I thought it showed how great an actress Park Seyoung is. She expressed that vulnerability, home-sickness so believably. It made me think again that Mohyun’s character really only comes off weak when surrounded by the Jang vipers. At least she showed a painfully restrained assertiveness after the miscarriage. I loved Pilju being the only one to really understand that her curt composure were cries of agony. In fact, I’d say she reacted in a very Pilju way: calculated, definite, masking her true emotions. It was fascinating that it was the one time Mal Ran showed an unguarded approval of Mohyun. Was there empathy in there too? She’s been here too, learning of her husband’s other family. I wonder if Mal Ran at all comprehends that her own mask of ‘composure’ hides a banshee?

And the end! Oh, I so want Mohyun to know who Pilju really is: the boy she’d saved from drowning. And I think the show does such a good job of likeness. I always think the teenage Pilju (Jo Byung-gyu) really does have a Jang Hyuk vibe, and that he also looks so much like a member of the Jang clan – like he and Yeocheon could believably be cousins – it’s a wonder no one ever notices 😊

Shyama
Shyama
3 months ago

It’s only episode 10, I cannot count the number of times my mind has been blown! What’s going to happen for the next 14 episodes?
And that cliff hanger at the end!! Oh, man! How is Piljoo going to wriggle out of this one? Will Mo Hyun be convinced by whatever story he spins for his reason to be at that particular place? As much as I want to smack Bo Cheon, I have to admire the skill of the actor portraying this very grey character.

Trent
3 months ago

Wow. Like I said, these two episodes were almost too intense. I’m not gonna lie, I spent the last five minutes or so of episode 9 yelling at my screen, as our hospital room tableau fills out its players: saintly wife, cheating husband, scheming mistress, Pil-joo to the side, and then in walks the deadly mother-in-law, the character we can guarantee none of the others probably wants to see at just that moment. Described like this, and it seems so very very makjang, and yet this show, so far at least, has had such a precise control over tone and staging that this scene, while positively vibrating with intensity, never feels over the top or ridiculously overwrought. To my eye, at least.

And then of course these episodes answer my speculation from the last thread: yes, Boo-cheon and his son have a relationship, because of course they do. So when young Ha-jeong comes running into the hospital room at the beginning of ep. 10, it was almost unbearable. I swear I had a moment of almost second-hand panic at the thought of what was going to happen when he spontaneously said “ah-ba”. …and then Pil-joo, who’s no doubt a quicker thinker than me, smoothly stepped in front of him and carried him out of the room before he could recognize the other man as his dad.

And Seo-won. What to say about her? On a certain level, I find her understandable? She is ambitious, obviously, for herself and her son. I get it. And she for sure doesn’t lack for courage. She’s got big brass…ovaries, there’s no question. But man, as unprincipled as it feels for me to tell someone they should know their place…Seo-won, girlfriend, y’all should have just stayed in your lane, eat your food, you know? You keep flying too close to the sun, and eventually you’re going to get an assassin that isn’t Pil-joo, willing to purposely botch the job, or who isn’t foiled by Pil-joo during his mission to knife you in the middle of the night.

For a long time, I have been giving Seo-won the benefit of a doubt when it comes to Mo-hyun, thinking that perhaps she had some residual good will or positive feelings for Mo-hyun, who after all has extended to her nothing but kindness and aid. True, she’s been consciously carrying on a relationship with Mo-hyun’s husband, but that seems like almost business, nothing personal, in the sense that Seo-won was continuing an existing relationship, and for her own sake, not to actively harm Mo-hyun. But then that reveal of her relationship and child with Boo-cheon to Mo-hyun at Mooshimwon, by springing those pictures on her–pictures that are so obviously intimate that they could only denote a father-son relationship–is just gratuitously calculated and cruel.

Now, I’m still mulling it over, but my read of Mo-hyun’s reaction is that she is manifesting some strength-through-adversity. Yes, a good portion of her innocence–how much remains to be seen–is dead, but she’s showing that she’s not going to curl up and die, at least not yet. And I really got the sense that she is in a sense carrying out her own proto-revenge in at least a couple of senses. The first is by agreeing to take and raise Ha-jeong–who is, after all, an innocent child–but demanding that Seo-won be cut off. That’s quite a counterstroke in payment for Seo-won’s scheming and cruelty, I would think. And then second, telling Boo-cheon they will stay together as a married couple (from one angle, that might seem like capitulation, but think of it from another angle: she’s saying, I will not be driven out, I will not be voluntarily dispossessed of my place), but then sliding in the knife–any child we have together will be via fertility clinic and test tube. You’ve forfeited any further intimacy as a married couple.

Finally, that closing scene of ep. 10. Now obviously it is wildly coincidental that her randomly chosen bus route turns out to be along that particular road with that destination, but fine, set that aside. I had thought we had wrung all of the tension we could out of this episode, but nope! As soon as I saw flashback young Pil-joo going walking by, I could feel the intensity start to build again. And then her calling out the name “Jo In-ho” and…curtain. I’m sure show has some clever way for Pil-joo to get out of it, but I almost hope he doesn’t. I’m really kind of hoping he’s able to reveal himself to Mo-hyun. Maybe they’ll unite in their personal revenge quests to burn Cheong A to the ground? Probably too much to hope for, right?

Ahhh. Onward. Let’s see how show manages to make my head explode this week…

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent, yes to all this! I too was not against Seowon through this but the way she marched in to Mooshimwon and showed those particularly awful photos to Mohyun – with a smirk on her face, no less – was beyond cruel and revealed what a thoughtless, heartless creature she is.
I’m guessing Makjang’s are like soap operas? I think the plots, the reveals, the double crossing deceits, are very very melodrama but I don’t know quite how Money Flower does it (the music, the settings, the supreme acting maybe?) but it never feels over-the-top. Yes, there are definite moments of contrivance, but it’s always so enjoyable to watch, I never mind.
Argh, it’s just so good!!