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! ❤️
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. 😳
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? 😱