Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We are officially at the halfway point of our story, and boy, are things starting to ramp up in a big way! 😬😅

I hope you guys are ready to chat about Money Flower episodes 11 & 12! 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 11

My gosh. Some hefty truth bombs get dropped this episode, and my brain is still spinning a bit, from trying to keep track of the implications of it all.

First of all, I have to admit that I’m quite surprised that Pil Joo tells Mo Hyun the truth about why he’s at the house (well, minus the part about his true identity, of course). I guess Pil Joo’s always been so evasive and vague, when his past connection with Mo Hyun’s come up in their interactions – like when Mo Hyun had told him about the boy who had given her honey – that I’d expected him to continue to skirt the truth like he always has.

However, I suppose there really isn’t any way out of the situation, with Mo Hyun walking right up to him, and concluding that he’s Jo In Ho, the name that she remembers from the literature book she’d picked up from the ashes.

The time that Pil Joo and Mo Hyun spend together at the abandoned house, feels like such a special, precious pocket of honesty, really. Ok, to be fair, Pil Joo continues to withhold some very key information from Mo Hyun, like his true connection to Cheong A, and also, the fact that he was instrumental in causing her path to cross with Boo Cheon’s. On the emotional front, though, it feels like there is more honesty there than they’ve allowed themselves thus far, and I think this is why this pocket of time feels freeing.

Pil Joo’s answer, about why he’s never told her the truth before now, makes so much sense; it’s a part of his past that he doesn’t wish to remember. While it’s true that Pil Joo’s actively seeking to avenge his brother’s death, I do feel like, somewhere deep in his soul, he wishes that he could put away the past.

The way Pil Joo talks about his thoughts as he was in the water all those years ago, determined to endure it, so that he would be able to be reunited with his family in death, is so haunting and so full of tamped down emotion; I completely believe that Pil Joo is speaking from his heart, in this moment, and I believe that Mo Hyun feels it too. The way she speaks to him is full of her trademark empathy and compassion, and it’s just like her, to remember that he’d once said that he needed to do something for his brother, and ask about it.

It’s really telling, that Mo Hyun feels able to tell Pil Joo how she feels about Boo Cheon, when it relates to such a painful and personal matter of Boo Cheon’s infidelity. She clearly trusts him and feels comfortable with him. That empathy and compassion flows both ways, and we see Pil Joo give Mo Hyun the jacket off his own back, to warm her up, as he tells her that it’s ok to cry.

Even though there is a lot of emotional honesty between Pil Joo and Mo Hyun in these scenes, and therefore an implied added closeness in their relationship, it’s notable that through it all, Pil Joo keeps a respectful emotional distance from Mo Hyun, like in the way he  steps aside, in order to give her some space and privacy to cry.

I think it’s partly out of decorum, because Pil Joo is acutely aware that he needs to draw those lines because Mo Hyun’s married to Boo Cheon. At the same time, I feel like Pil Joo’s expression contains lashings of ruefulness, and it makes me think that he does feel sorry at some level, for dragging her, who had been innocently living her life in a carefree manner, onto his chessboard of revenge.

Boo Cheon getting all up in a twist because he can’t reach Mo Hyun was quite satisfying to watch, for me, because I’m mad at him for treating Mo Hyun in such a disrespectful fashion.

The fact that Boo Cheon can act all petulant in front of his mother, because he feels hurt by the idea that Mo Hyun doesn’t want to talk to him, says SO MUCH about the kind of mentality that he has. After all that he’s done to hurt Mo Hyun, when she goes missing and is uncontactable for hours and hours, he mainly only cares about his own hurt feelings. Ugh. I just can’t, with him. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Even Mal Ran, who’s always coddled him and protected him, says, “Does such a trivial matter bother you? Think what you’ve done to her. You deserve worse than this.” It feels so strange, to actually agree with Mal Ran, for once. 😅

How ironic, that Mal Ran says that Boo Cheon takes after his father in every way – including his softheartedness (in relation to his other family). I guess Boo Cheon is still his father’s son, even though he doesn’t share his father’s blood.

The more I see of Boo Cheon this episode, the more disdain I feel for him. When he can’t deal with the implication of the sight of Mo Hyun being able to sleep soundly in the car while sitting beside Pil Joo, he can’t take it up with Mo Hyun, since he’s basically in the dog house with her, and therefore he takes it out on Pil Joo instead. Huh. That’s such cowardly behavior.

I’m glad that Mo Hyun seems to have a very clear mind about things now. Even with Boo Cheon’s efforts to cuddle up to her and act like a concerned husband, I like how Mo Hyun is able to point out, later in the episode, that he should have told her first, before taking Ha Jung to see Grandpa Chairman. Mo Hyun is right; Boo Cheon’s actions speak louder than words. He may say all the right things, but he’s always sidelining her, such that she’s the last to know, and the first to get hurt.

Mal Ran’s uncomfortable with the realization that Pil Joo had slept in the car next to Mo Hyun, and her expression is.. complicated, to say the least.

My first thought is that the jealous lover in her is acting out again, because the sight of Pil Joo – whose affection she craves – having a moment of apparent intimacy with another woman, would be hard for her to bear. At the same time, I do think that she’s also concerned about the implications of what this might mean to Mo Hyun’s marriage with Boo Cheon.

Additionally, I do think it also contributes to eroding her trust in Pil Joo, at least a little bit, judging from the way Mal Ran tells Pil Joo to keep his hands off Mal Ran’s plan to get rid of Seo Won. Hm.. actually, I wonder if there’s a bit of a petulant lover acting out, in her statement of suspicion that Pil Joo is actually helping Seo Won.

I almost feel like that scene, where Mal Ran literally grabs Boo Cheon by the hair and shakes him, is not only driven by her exasperation at Boo Cheon’s stubborn shortsightedness in bringing Ha Jung before Grandpa Chairman, but perhaps also a convenient outlet for her frustrations that have to do with Pil Joo.

Whatever the truth might be, I just found it very satisfying to see Boo Cheon being shaken by the hair, like a hapless cat who’s being shaken by the scruff of his neck. 😆

I wasn’t expecting it, but on hindsight, it’s not surprising that Grandpa Chairman would also put money into backing Congressman Na’s opponent. Like Mal Ran says, he’s not the faithful sort. He cares more about his desired outcome of building Cheong A Tower, than about who the person is, who’ll help to get him there.

I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how Grandpa Chairman protects President Jang in front of Pil Joo, when Pil Joo reveals that President Jang had stolen the funds meant for Congressman Na. I guess for Grandpa Chairman, blood does flow thicker than water – or at least, it should, on the surface of things. In the end, Grandpa Chairman does punish his son, by removing him from management duties, saying that he will personally manage things, while Cheong A Tower is being built.

I guess Pil Joo does understand Grandpa Chairman very well, after all. I feel like even though Grandpa Chairman made a fuss and accused Pil Joo of being arrogant, when Pil Joo revealed the truth, in the end, Grandpa Chairman does act in line with Pil Joo’s expectations, to punish President Jang for daring to cross his own father.

With Secretary Oh snooping around Gapyeong, to the extent of breaking into Pil Joo’s old family home and finding the real Kang Pil Joo’s tablet, I was really nervous about what this might mean for Pil Joo and his ability to keep his true identity a secret. But Show turns things around in one fell swoop, with Pil Joo instantly gaining the upper hand, as he dangles Secretary Oh’s secret over him instead; that Secretary Oh is, in fact, Boo Cheon’s biological father. Woah. 🤯

Episode 12

It looks like just about everyone’s shifting gears into playing hardball now, and as a result, stuff.. is starting to hit the fan. Uh oh? 😬

I’d vaguely remembered from my last watch, that Boo Cheon’s father was Secretary Oh, but the reveal is still no less impactful this time around. I’m stunned that Pil Joo has had this knowledge tucked away as potential ammunition for years, since, as we see from the flashback, he’d learned of it in the lead-up to Boo Cheon and Mo Hyun’s wedding. How like Pil Joo, to quietly keep such a world-tilting piece of information so close to his chest, and then calmly utilize it when he needs it, as if it’s the most casual thing in the world.

The thing that strikes me the most about Pil Joo’s conversation with Secretary Oh, is Secretary Oh’s deep fear that Boo Cheon might find out their relationship. There’s so much.. shame embedded in Secretary Oh, and I feel that it’s because of his own inconsequential status. I know Secretary Oh is a murderer – I mean, he killed Kyung Cheon, and is now actively trying to kill Eun Cheon – but I do feel rather sorry for him, that he would feel so ashamed of who he is.

The other thing that strikes me about this conversation, is how.. hardened Pil Joo comes across, when talking with Secretary Oh as Eun Cheon. Gone are the amiable niceties which Pil Joo’s always used with Secretary Oh, and in their place, there’s a cold disgust which makes complete sense, since Kyung Cheon did die at Secretary Oh’s hands, but which I still find rather startling.

How shrewd of Pil Joo to task Secretary Oh with finding Eun Cheon for Mal Ran, so that she will stop going on about it, and what an awkwardly ironic situation that creates in the scene below, where Secretary Oh reports to Mal Ran that Eun Cheon’s dead – while the real Eun Cheon is standing right there. 🤫

I must say, Mal Ran’s reactions to Eun Cheon’s death are a strange mix indeed. Sometimes she seems thrilled that he’s dead, like his death is a gift that she’s waited for, for a long time;  sometimes she seems almost believably sad that he’s dead; sometimes she seems to feel almost indebted to him, to the extent that she wants to do something for him, even in death; it’s all rather bizarre. And then there are her nightmares, where she says that even in death, Eun Cheon won’t leave her alone. Altogether, she seems almost haunted by Eun Cheon, like there’s a connection between them that can’t be broken.

Another major arc that shifts gears suddenly this episode, is the deal with Congressman Na.

One minute, everyone’s gathered at Mooshimwon to congratulate Congressman Na on the progress in his political journey, and the next, Congressman Na is under investigation for having received illegal political funds. Yikes. That’s definitely not part of Pil Joo’s plan.

I guess the idea that’s thrown around this episode, that everybody has a price, is true of Sang Do, since President Jang apparently managed to get him to sell out Congressman Na.

What a huge blow to Congressman Na’s reputation, especially since he’s built his credibility on being an honest and upright politician. And what a huge shock it is to Mo Hyun, in particular, who’s always believed so strongly in her father, and who, frankly, has dealt with enough recent shocks to last her a lifetime. Poor girl honestly doesn’t need any more emotional trauma.

Pil Joo’s plan to have President Jang take the fall for Cheong A’s supply of illegal funds to Congressman Na, is quite brilliant, I must say. I mean, Pil Joo is right; it was President Jang who started this fight; without his interference, Congressman Na wouldn’t have been arrested, and Cheong A wouldn’t be getting investigated. From Pil Joo’s camp’s point of view, it makes complete sense to make President Jang pay the price for his interference.

And the plan is almost perfect too, with Secretary Woo accepting Pil Joo’s offer of double the initial sum that he’d once received, to do the job. Again, there’s that thing about everyone having a price. Plus, Pil Joo supplies Secretary Woo with a meticulous diary, that includes the alleged amounts and dates that President Jang had ordered him to deliver money to Congressman Na. Devious, but very clever, I must say. Secretary Woo is right, Pil Joo really is something else.

Unfortunately, Grandpa Chairman does seem to value blood ties after all, since he seems unwilling to let President Jang take the fall, even though President Jang is the one who foiled their careful plan in the first place.

Grandpa Chairman’s alternative plan is shockingly cold, and even though I’ve calibrated my expectations of this murky drama world, it still shocks me, that he would make the effort to have Congressman Na transferred to a hospital under the gracious pretense that it’s more comfortable, so that he’d have a chance to visit Congressman Na, and very pleasantly suggest to Congressman Na, that it would essentially be a good idea for him to kill himself. 😱🤯

I feel quite sad for Congressman Na, honestly, because he wouldn’t be in this position today, if Pil Joo had never hatched this plan about Cheong A Tower. Without any entanglement with Cheong A, Congressman Na might not have made as much progress in his political campaign, but neither would he have his in-law sit across from him and amiably suggest suicide. 😳 It’s all so surreal and bizzare.

Granted, Congressman Na has to take responsibility for his decision as well, since he could have stood his ground and turned down Cheong A’s offer. Again, there’s that implied idea, that everyone has a price. Even Congressman Na, whom everyone had looked upon as a paragon of virtue.

It’s really sad that when Congressman Na comes clean to Mo Hyun, she feels unable to understand or forgive him. I mean, it’s perfectly understandable from Mo Hyun’s point of view, since, now, to her eyes, everything she’d ever believed about her father seems like a lie. However, this does mean that Congressman Na hung himself while thinking the worst, that his daughter might never be able to forgive him.

The manic way in which Pil Joo rushes to check on Congressman Na definitely gives us a glimpse at Pil Joo’s humanity; it’s clear that he doesn’t want Congressman Na to die. However, it does seem like Pil Joo’s arrived too late. 😢 And poor Mo Hyun; how awful must she feel, to realize that after her conversation with her father, he’d decided to hang himself? 😳💔

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Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago

“Death Star” from Money Flower OST – transcribed, arranged, and played by me. Sorry for the mistakes!

phl1rxd
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Brava Snow Flower – just brava! This is terrific. I have it on repeat while I am working. So good!

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Oh my gosh! I love that theme song so much. Every time that opening piano riff starts playing on the show I get chills.

Amazing job transcribing and performing, thanks so much for sharing! Wow.

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Spectacular, simply spectacular! Envy your talent and hard work to play so beautifully.

Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@SnowFlower Brilliant!! It’s such a good piece of music. Well done for working it out. You have such a gift 😍

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

That was amazing Snow Flower! I enjoyed that so so much. It looks difficult to play too! Thank you so much for sharing this with us <3

MC
MC
3 months ago

Ok I’ve just caught up and – don’t mind this lifeless being here, I’m just -ded- from multiple moments of forgetting to breathe/ heart not beating/ head explosions these 2 episodes. I thought ep 11 was crazy and then 12 happened and – I’m just gone.

11 – WOAH I did NOT expect Piljoo to reveal himself to Mo Hyun or Secretary Oh. The Mo Hyun parts in the cabin were so poignant. The way he described his attempted suicide and trying to save his brother was so heartbreaking. And Boo Cheon is so irritating in this episode, who’s he to get all huffy that Mo Hyun left her phone behind? He cheated on her! Ok, the baby part isn’t his fault coz the baby was conceived before he met MH but still, he had another family behind her back for 5 years and he’s upset that she left. Uh, no sympathy for you, bro.

12 – Head blown. How are we only at the halfway mark and so many things have been blown out of the water??!! I’m still surprised (though I shouldn’t be) by how far and fast this show goes. In a typical show Piljoo will only reveal himself at the end but we are barely halfway and so many things have happened. I loved Piljoo’s backup plan of sabotaging President Jang but I’m surprised he didn’t expect Grandpa Chairman to protect his son. Grandpa Chairman values blood ties and sonship so much, wasn’t that something Piljoo might’ve forseen? And remember Grandpa Chairman only has 1 living son left since Jang Soo Man passed away. I’m surprised Grandpa Chairman didn’t suggest for Mal Ran to be scapegoated – I would imagine that Mal Ran is no longer “useful” since she already gave him a grandson Boo Cheon. Look at how his granddaughter (the doctor? I forgot her name) is not even present at any family event. Speaking of which, she seems rather throwaway now but I’m sure she will play some part someday. The writers of this show are too good to have left any thread hanging.

Question though – did Mo Hyun definitely have a miscarriage? I know it’s alluded to but I don’t recall any confirmation. I suppose it’s true? I wonder why Mal Ran still tells Grandpa Chairman that the baby is due in April. How are they going to pretend that she’s pregnant? Steal some baby somewhere??!! (I wouldn’t put it past them…)

So much has been said about the acting and writing of this show but I wanted to give some props to the camera angles and directing. The scene where Secretary Oh, Mal Ran and Piljoo are back (early ep 12) and Mal Ran asks where is Jang Eun Cheon? And the camera shifts from Secretary Oh to Piljoo and the way they’re standing, the use of focus, was beautiful. Similarly for the scene when they do Jang Eun Cheon’s funeral and they’re in the car – Secretary Oh and Piljoo are in front with Mal Ran behind and she’s reflecting on Eun Cheon, the way the camera pans amongst the three was just lovely.

The last thing I wanted to say is – can you imagine, all this – Congressman Na committing suicide, his family grieving, the nation losing an upright (if you consider him upright) man as a possible president, the corruption of many aides, the prison time for multiple folks, the break up of the entire family (not that there was any love to begin with but you know what I mean, it’s usually simmering but now it’s all in full display), not forgetting the murders/ attempted murders of illegitimate children, conceiving children covertly (Boo Cheon) – all that and what for? The chance to be Chairman of a conglomerate and a stupid tower. Multiple deaths and crimes – and a tower. Grandpa Chairman is honestly… I can’t find the right words. Cruel. Evil, maybe.

Ok, thanks for sticking with me through this long comment. I love all the perspectives here! Curious though – how is it different for 2nd time/ multiple time watchers? For a first timer like me it’s just shock shock WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED reactions but I wonder what do you guys appreciate more on your 2nd watch?

And thanks always to KFG for the wonderful summaries and commentaries!

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  MC

MC…I’m just beginning my read of these episodes so someone else may mention this. But was struck by your comment on the camera angles and editing. I noticed the sharp focus on PilJoo and Mo Young’s eyes in the home place scene. It spoke to more than just the casual recognition of each other…it spoke to the earlier connection between the two! This is my second watch and I’m still blown away with this drama.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  MC

I still get shocked by certain scenes because Im still always surprised at how early they happened! It helps that my memory sucks lol but honestly there are some scenes where I do “Oh wait, this looks familiar, is this when so and so reveal that??? Is it? IT ISSS omggee *screams. This reaction increases with each episode lol

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago
Reply to  MC

@MC, this is my second watch. I remember the gist of the story, but I have forgotten some of the details, so I find myself surprised by some of the reveals. This second time around I am even more impressed with the acting and the directing. The show is doing a great job of being a well balanced mix of tropey makjang and character-driven psychological thriller. Of course, the comments of KFG and everyone else make this watch a more rewarding experience.

Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  MC

Yep, third watch. Yep, still awed. I can’t get enough of both the melodrama, Grandpa Chairman’s conniving and general audacity, Mal Ran’s unhinged ambition, the wardrobe, the setting, the music and, oh, the mesmerizing performance of Jang Hyuk with his multitude of micro expressions, his voice, and his hair 😍 I do remember pretty much what’s going to happen but it’s so pacey and beautifully acted that it makes me smile the whole time – unless Pilju is crying, then I’m crying too. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching or jabbering on about this show. I loooooove it! 😊

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Thanks @Ele Nash, @Snow Flower, @Drama Fan, @Georgia Peach for replying to my question! It’s heartening to know that this is a show that can be watched multiple times! I always wondered how plot-heavy shows fare on multiple watches but seems like this one fares better than many others. Agree that the directing, acting, camera work are brilliant and can be analysed on multple watches – maybe you all can appreciate that more since you’re less “concerned”, so to speak, by the plot. Can’t wait for more and so glad to be on this group watch with everyone!

Ele Nash
3 months ago

Can I just superficially also gawk at how spectacular Mal Ran looked in her waspish shades and cinched coat at the ‘memorial’ for Euncheon! My gosh, she knows how to rock diva 😍

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Oh yes. That woman may be evil but she’s a flawlessly dressed one!!

beez
3 months ago

Most satisfying moment in the whole show https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvE2-hpAQD163mE3i-so63FbUYFY

j3ffc
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes! It was so out of the blue and so odd but so very fitting that I burst out laughing when I saw it. Certainly meme-worthy.

phl1rxd
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – you pulled another one out of your hat! This is great. That was better than a kimchi slap. 🤣😂 I got a good laugh from that. Thanks.

P.S. RIP Beverly Cleary. Thought of you when I heard the news,

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Oh yes, Ms. Cleary. 💔

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

Best GIF! I honestly think the producers know that we needed to relieve some tension so they got the actors to do this. I love it!!

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago

I’m with @j3ffc – where can Show possibly go for the next 12 episodes? Not suggesting a limitation, but rather a bewilderment that everything in the show so far has been working up to Na’s election and the completion of Pil Ju’s revenge, and then -⚡️! That’s not how it’s going to happen. In fact, the (seeming) end of this particular storyline makes me question whether I know what this drama is really about. 🤔 I wonder if the cast knew where it was going as they were filming? You just can’t let your guard down! 🤯

Old Gramps is, I think, the most evil person in the show, or at least he gives Mal Ran a run for her money. Inciting suicide? Unutterable selfishness? Meanness? Misogyny (I won’t give him a pass because of his generation)? He is the original Jang bad seed. On another hand, though I love to love on Jang Hyuk, and there are very sympathetic aspects to Pil Ju’s character, he is the architect of all the current Na family misery, intended or not. His whole raison d’etre is to burn down the entire Jang family (though they may deserve it.) I admire Pil Ju’s omniscient skills, I love his wardrobe and to gaze upon his beautiful face, and I feel his tendre for Mo Hyun, but he is As Ruthless as Old Gramps and Mal Ran. I don’t know if that’s evil, but I know it’s not virtue. Yet… what a man, what a man.

Yes, Han Eun Shim is over-acted to my taste. Maybe it’s the only way, in her powerless stature, to have any presence on the screen amongst all of the other big, if more subtle, personalities. It takes me out of the show, though, when she simpers and moues excessively.

j3ffc
3 months ago

Indeed: Bravo, kfangurl! I am continuing to learn from your Drama Master Class and join all in thanking you for the effort.

So we’re half way there. What I find striking about this is that, with all of the reveals and twists, it feels more like we’re on episode 14 of a 16-show run. I have no idea how they are going to double down on all of this. Woof.

I’m going to assume for now – and only for now, because I think we all know how dangerous it is to assume anything with this show – that the reveal of Congressman Na was indeed unanticipated by Pil-joo. If so, it’s a welcome plot twist for me as I was starting to think he was just a little too omnipotent for my own tastes. If things are getting messy from HIS perspective, then that introduces a more cogent sense of uncertainty and drama going forward.

We have used many, many electrons to deconstruct Jang Hyuk’s acting prowess, so to expand this a bit, here are some thoughts on three other performances in the show:

— I think that Park Jung-hak is doing a fabulous job as Driver Oh. His solo scenes so clearly indicate his internal self-loathing and struggle, but he really stepped up during the critical encounter with Pil-joo. Very, very good work.

— Park Se-young gets my nomination for “most improved”. Now that she has something more meaty to portray than (literally) wide-eyed innocence, she has become much more interesting.

— I hate to be negative, but I’ll only briefly mention that I think Lee Hang-na is playing grandpa’s partner a little too broadly for my taste. In the context of all of the subtlety and implied emotions, I find her a bit jarring.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I think we are seeing a necessary (and welcome) evolution of Mo-hyun’s character. She could hardly stay the unknowing innocent while in such close proximity to Cheong A. She was undoubtedly shielded to a great extent by being in NY for five years, but no longer. Will she wilt, or will she demonstrate steel in the core?

I agree with you (and Leslie, above) that Mrs. Han is broadly over played, but I view her (and feel like perhaps the writer is viewing her) as playing somewhat the role of court jester. If you think about it, Cheong A does have kind of a feudal power structure–without trying to shoehorn it into Western conceptions, there is the monarch (grandpa), and then there’s his court, vying for power, approval, influence, etc. Mrs. Han is a bit pitiable (she wants so much to be elevated in status and approval, but she’s constantly being put in her place), more than a bit ridiculous. There’s kind of a clownish aspect there that I have to feel is intentional on the part of the creators.

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Oooh. Great analysis of Mrs. Han’s role and the whole feudal power structure analogy. I like it!

j3ffc
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Point taken. The overall quality of the show and the control of the tone is so tight that it is very possible that this is how they intend the character to be played.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I recently saw the actress in Train and I was sooo impressed. She is the polar opposite in that drama!

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Ms Han …. she is the comic relief for all the tension in this drama.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I love this comparison because I’ve often thought Money Flower’s script could work amazingly as a Joseon Palace Intrigue sageuk.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, your interpretation of Ms. Han as the Court Jester is very insightful and very much in line with the show’s feudal/sageuk vibe. I don’t think I have seen a court jester-like figure in the sageuks I have watched, so the presence of this character in a modern sageuk is kind of refreshing.

Ele Nash
3 months ago

Argh, props indeed, kfangurl, for reining in this constantly swerving twisty-turny show – as Trent says, it can’t be easy to do but your review summaries make it all seem perfectly easy!

Ah, I loved Pilju and Mohyun sharing some honest feeling in that cabin. Poor Pilju, telling himself to endure the cold water. Was it a slip that he named rejoining his brother? The real Kang Pilju didn’t have a brother. Let’s hope Mohyun doesn’t slip that info somehow and make Mal Ran all curious again. I especially loved Mohyun telling Pilju she’d thought about the boy she’d saved ‘too often’. Yes, I don’t blame her. 😄

Oof, your opinion of Bucheon, kfangurl, is way harsh! I get he’s betrayed Mohyun in a despicable way but I feel I need to defend him. I think always at his heart is the absolute (and correct) desire to be a good father. I really felt for him when he says (through gritted teeth) that he felt the only way to protect his son after, hehem, Cheong A’s (though I think he maybe guesses it was her) attack at Sewon’s flat, was to formally introduce him to Grandpa Chairman. That should receive points for bravery coming from a man so often easily cowed. And I genuinely think Pilju is impressed. Doesn’t Bucheon’s situation echo so much of his father’s? Wasn’t it as soon as his father died and they had no protection, they all got thrown in the river to drown? And what does Mal Ran do? Pull Bucheon’s hair like his totally good, kind nature and thoroughly understandable wish to save his son is a crime. That he’s detestable for wanting to be a father – reminding you all, he got Seowon pregnant before he even knew Mohyun then found out about the pregnancy after…

As for Oh, oh, he’s so pathetic, isn’t he? I think you’re right that Pilju hardens in an understandable but chillingly cold way when admitting he’s Euncheon. The fact he doesn’t just kill Oh is a relief because he really looks like he’s capable of doing so.

I actually liked that Na gets the whistle blown – not because I don’t like Na, but because Pilju has been getting the upper hand rather too often and though I want him to trip up Mal Ran so he can feel he avenged poor little Kyungcheon, I think his puppermaster schtik is killing his soul. How much control over others should one man exert? And I’m sort of gratified it’s Yeocheon doing the scuppering, in protection of his own father (or so he thinks). Ah, the ever-smiling Uncle President! I do love him and he’s right, isn’t he, that a Cheong A Tower is a pointless showing off exercise and totally unnecessary. But, of course, Pilju has plan Bs scattered about the place and now Uncle looks like he’s off to spend a winter in jail…

Except, oh no, that Grandpa Chairman, he’s so audaciously bad 😱 Pilju running as though his own life depends on it gave me Daegil hero vibes 😍 And I wouldn’t describe Pilju in any way as heroic. He’s not even an antihero, really. In fact, what kind of protagonist is he?! But here, rushing to save a man’s life – and trying to protect the woman he cares about most from seeing – makes him (for the first time in my book since he held his brother’s hand in the water) a true, gutsy, stunning hero.

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Please help me out here, I see several people referring to Cheong A as a person. I thought Cheong A was the company name?

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez No, you’re right, it is the company’s name. When I refer to it that way (as if it’s a person), it’s meant to treat it as a sort of anthropomorphized, monolithic figure of evil that is acting on opposition to the actual people (Pil-joo, Mo-hyun, Seo-won, etc.) that I’m discussing.

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Ahhh. Gotcha. Thanks. It’s probably also due to the fact that I’m not rewatching so don’t remember the names of the characters and I’m only quickly glancing at the comments here and there.

Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez Yes to what Trent says. Bucheon blames Cheong A (the overarching company name Grandpa developed) so that, I’m guessing, he didn’t have to blame his mother directly.

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Well, they do use Cheong A in the same way in the drama. They’d say “Cheong A tried to eliminate so and so” when they either dont know who exactly it was or dont want to mention the exact name.

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

EN…thanks for your defense of BuCheon. IMO he does love MuYoung and we now know how much he does love his son. (We don’t see him showing any affection toward SuWon…only toward his son.) He is carrying a tremendous load. He has his birth secret, he lives in fear of failure at CheonA. He lives in fear of PhilJoo and his mother. Good for him for standing up and outing his secret son…something the other Jang males…notice I didn’t use ‘men’…haven’t done.

Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

@GeorgiaPeach Thanks! I had a feeling when we began the group watch I was going to end up defending Bucheon (a bit like Commander Hwang in Chuno – though way less bad!) I was like, god that Mal Ran is horrible pulling her son’s hair for basically defending his son – from her murderous hands, no less! Now, if it had been Mohyun pulling Bucheon’s hair for hiding his son from her in US for five years, then I’d have been cheering Mohyun on!! Bucheon is a terrible husband but I give him a by because he is trying desperately hard to be a good father. xx

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

EN…I’ll disagree with you on the ‘terrible husband’. This character is way in over his head and his circumstances have taken over. I still believe he genuinely cares for MuYoung. Why else would he be concerned when she left and he couldn’t contact her? Whinny though it was…that’s so him. And I’m thinking he is jealous of PilJoo. Remember the earlier scene when PJ went to the diving tank and BC had something to say about the way PJ was looking at MY? If I’ve missed something…enlighten me.
Well, guys…let’s see what writer-nim has in store for us in the remaking episodes! Thanks FG….you’re tops. You work hard and I appreciate you.

Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

I think it’s terrible that he’d hidden his son from Mohyun – it’s such a whopper of a lie, having been seeing him all that time in US behind her back, taking phone calls from Seowon pretending it’s his boss, that it’s crossed over into unforgivable from her perspective. I otherwise have heaps more sympathy for Bucheon’s predicament than most it seems 😆 I agree totally he’s unnerved by Pilju and who can blame him? Pilju definitely speaks (and swears, as Bucheon says!) with his eyes and those lovely eyes are so very hungry for Mohyun… 😍

Shyama
Shyama
3 months ago

I like that there’s the beginnings of a connection between Mo Hyun and Pil Joo. But will it survive the bitter truth of how he’s manipulated her life? Who knows, the way the truths are being revealed left and right, that reveal could come in the next episode for all we know!
Man, that Grandpa chairman is a viper!

Trent
3 months ago

Half way! Woof.

First things first: big thank you to KFG for these write-ups (and on the other group watches as well). It’s a real skill to accurately boil down an episode, summarize its essential developments, and flavor it with commentary. Big props to you for putting in the work.

Man, the hits just keep coming, don’t they? I was in fact so delighted that Pil-joo owned up to at least some of the truth to Mo-hyun, and they were able to share that lovely little space out in the semi-wilderness. I’m calling it right here: they will have an intimate relationship at some point before this is over, although if I’m right and they do, it won’t end happily (hope I’m wrong on that point). (To be clear, I have not looked ahead, although it has been a sore temptation lately, what with all these tense cliff-hanger-y endings).

The sudden downfall of Candidate Na was more than a bit shocking; Pil-joo’s grand strategy, five years in the making, coming to a sudden end. I thought my loathing for the “honorary chairman” was pretty well topped off, but confronted with his smirking suggestion to Candidate Na that he could solve everyone’s problems very neatly (if he’d just kill himself), I find that I still had empty levels of loathing yet to fill.

I feel bad for Mo-hyun, both because she has not yet developed the cynicism and defensive irony needed to take in stride a bit of political corruption and feet of clay from her own father, but most especially because she’s going to feel such intense guilt and regret if that was in fact her last conversation with her father before he ended up killing himself.

At least now I can go see what the next step has in store for us…

Drama Fan
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

The cliffhangers are wilddddddd!!!! I peaked at ep 13 and I screamed! (No spoilers but thank goodness you’ll be able to see it pretty soon) I LOVE that I don’t remember every single development of this drama because every once in a while I scream with excitement and reveals that I forgot happened so fast. Anyway, Ill be back with more coherent thoughts when I calm down 😆

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan. Well, I have now raced through the next two episodes and all I can say is…

WTF, Show, WTF!!?

I’m telling you, it is messing with my head. I’m going to try really really hard not to rush ahead to view even more eps, but it. is. hard. Very hard, y’all.

phl1rxd
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – When this first aired I had such a hard time (it hit me hard around E12) waiting for new episodes to drop that I re-watched what had aired because it was the best drama out at the time. It remains one of my favorite dramas to this day – a real classic. Still as good now as it was when I first saw it.

MC
MC
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

i’ve watched 13, not 14 and my head was suitably blown again. this show! what a ride.

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I second @Trent’s props for your write-ups kfangurl. In a show this twisty and layered, it’s great to have someone willing to do such a close watch and concise summary. Put another way, it’s great to have someone do some of the heavy lifting for me. 😆 Thank you!

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent…All I can do is quote that famous line of Bette Davis’ character in All About Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy night” ….of KDrama watching! Enjoy.😳

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

I’m ready for it to get crazy… however, I do hope that show is able to keep its precise control over tone and atmosphere and pacing, because I definitely feel like that’s one of the things that has really elevated this so far, and made it something more than just a soapy melodrama.

Georgia Peach
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

IMO….you don’t have to worry.