Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Can you believe that we are already at the end of the epic journey that Money Flower’s taken us on? 😱 I feel as wistful as Pil Joo looks, in this screenshot. Thanks for sticking with me through this one, you guys. ❤️
Just a couple of things, before we begin:
1. If you’d like to visit my Money Flower review, you can find it here.
2. The Nirvana In Fire group watch begins next Wednesday, 26 May 2021, and the My Girlfriend is a Gumiho group watch begins next Saturday, 29 May 2021. See you guys there!
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this final pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
Woah. This was a rollercoaster of a penultimate episode. Everyone’s bringing their big guns to the party, and they aren’t playing around. 😬
Congressman Na’s video announcement sends all our players into a tizzy. No one had seen this coming; it seems like not even Pil Joo had expected this. Even Congressman Na’s attending doc seems to have been kept in the dark; he doesn’t know where Congressman Na is, either.
Given the odd open gates that Mo Hyun’s noticed on and off at her parents’ home, which appear to have been traces left by Grandpa Chairman’s men, it’s quite a feat, that Mo Hyun’s managed to move her father without being noticed.
Pil Joo informs Grandpa that Uncle President had only been imprisoned momentarily because he’d stood in Pil Joo’s way of attaining the Chairmanship, and I kinda love that Grandpa muses to himself, “I wondered whom this nasty lowlife takes after. He takes after me in every way.”
HA. Is that an indirect admission by Grandpa, that he himself is a nasty lowlife too? 😆
Significantly, Grandpa returns the necklace to Pil Joo, saying that Soo Man had probably given it to him, so that he could show it to Grandpa, when he met him.
I take it that this officially marks Grandpa’s acceptance of Pil Joo, since the necklace is a family heirloom. That’s pretty huge.
The sheen of tears in Pil Joo’s eyes is unmistakable; this is a big moment for him, even though Grandpa approaches it gruffly. He officially isn’t alone in the world anymore, finally.
Although, it must be cold comfort to be associated with a family that’s essentially a brood of vipers. 😬
As what looks to be a matter of habit, Boo Cheon seeks out Pil Joo, expecting Pil Joo to fix everything. It’s quietly glorious, the way Pil Joo pushes back, “Boo Cheon-ah. When I gave your mother my last report, I was done being Cheong A’s dog.”
How ironic, that Cheong A’s dog, is now proven to be a blood prince of Cheong A, while Boo Cheon’s been proven to be an outsider.
In the end, Boo Cheon pleads with Pil Joo not to reveal his birth secret, because the Jang name is all that he has left. That’s.. pretty sad, actually. And it is true, Boo Cheon’s lost Mo Hyun and he’s lost the Chairmanship, as well as Grandpa’s regard and trust. He doesn’t have much left.
Pil Joo doesn’t say anything, but his doesn’t object to Boo Cheon’s request.
As it turns out, Congressman Na is putting up at Aide Yang’s apartment. It’s unexpected, considering that Aide Yang had been bribed into betraying Congressman Na before.
But he seems earnest, and the Na family studiously avoids asking him any questions, preferring to take this latest assistance as his atonement for the past.
As Aide Yang transcribes the recordings from Congressman Na’s phone, Mo Hyun learns of Yeo Cheon’s visit, where he’d instigated Congressman Na to commit suicide. Well, that’s one more thing that Mo Hyun can bring against the Jang family.
Mo Hyun secretly meets Pil Joo, and explains that the video was to protect her father, because he’d be safer, if everyone knew he was alive.
Mo Hyun then articulates something that we’ve known all along; Pil Joo had helped keep Mo Hyun’s father alive even though that would be disadvantageous to him, because he’d felt bad that her marriage had gone sour, and he didn’t want her to suffer further by losing her father as well.
I’m glad Mo Hyun’s become cognizant of the heart behind Pil Joo’s actions, even though they both also recognize that there’s been too much damage between them for them to develop a romantic relationship. At least she knows?
Boo Cheon tries to persuade Mal Ran to leave Mooshimwon with him, but Mal Ran states matter-of-factly, that she will only ever leave Mooshimwon in a coffin.
Well, that’s dark. And also, very dysfunctional. It feels like she’s squandering her whole life on the darkness that is Mooshimwon, and for what?
It’s not like she’s really getting anything meaningful out of it, especially now that Boo Cheon’s pretty much fully ousted from his Chairman position.
Mal Ran says urgently that she will bring Pil Joo down from the Chairman position, by accusing him of orchestrating everything, including Boo Cheon’s marriage, because of his desire for the Chairman position.
Ok, technically, this isn’t untrue, but also, it’s not quite the truth, since Pil Joo’s main aim wasn’t actually the Chairman position itself, but revenge on the people who had destroyed his family.
Thankfully, Boo Cheon appears clear on that, since he looks at his mother like she’s lost her mind. Despite the prickliness with which Boo Cheon now treats Pil Joo, there is clearly some loyalty left in him, for Pil Joo.
Uncle President agrees to Grandpa’s request for him to clear up the mess with regard to Congressman Na’s case, meaning that he will be investigated by the prosecution, on Grandpa’s behalf. Mal Ran proposes that while Uncle President takes care of that, she will take on the task of bringing down Pil Joo from the Chairman position.
Uncle President runs into a snag right away, however. Instead of successfully killing off Congressman Na, his hitman only finds an empty bed, because Pil Joo’s already moved Congressman Na to Cheong A Hospital – right into the thick of the viper’s nest, because it’s safest there, in plain view of everyone.
Pil Joo also informs Uncle President that he has all the evidence he needs, of Uncle President’s instigation of Congressman Na’s attempted murder, AND Yeo Cheon’s instigation of his attempted suicide. Suffice to say, Uncle President appears troubled. 🙃
In a shock move, Mal Ran responds to Congressman Na’s video by presenting herself to the prosecution, and accusing Pil Joo of orchestrating everything for his own benefit. And when the prosecutor asks exactly how Pil Joo had threatened her, she spills all the birth secrets.
Pil Joo’s birth secret, and even Boo Cheon’s birth secret, which she’d sworn she would take to the grave.
Woah. 😳 Lady’s not holding back, and is ready to throw herself and her own son under the bus, if it means that it’ll give her ammunition against Pil Joo.
I mean.. it makes sense when we look at it that way, but she has so much shame around Boo Cheon’s birth, that I really hadn’t expected her to tap on it as ammo.
Grandpa collapses when he sees it being reported in the news, and Boo Cheon is devastated that he’s been outed by none other than his own mother.
I have to agree with Mo Hyun, who tells Boo Cheon that it would be best for him to leave Mooshimwon immediately, and live far away from Mal Ran.
In his own limited fashion, Boo Cheon is sincere towards Mo Hyun, as we can see in this scene, where he tells her that it would be best if they don’t see each other anymore, because he just can’t bear the thought that he’s lost her.
I don’t think it’s cool that he doesn’t allow Mo Hyun to finish what she’d wanted to say, but I do think that Boo Cheon is being sincere towards her.
We get an update on Seo Won when Boo Cheon goes to see her. Apparently, Pil Joo’s set her up where she has a cafe to run, and a place to stay.
That seems good for her. Boo Cheon’s request, that Seo Won keep Ha Jung’s surname as Yoon, because at least it’s real, rather than his fake Jang surname, feels extra poignant to me.
There’s a lot of ruefulness in the way Boo Cheon says this, and I can feel his sense of loss, after losing the one thing that he’d thought he still had.
Pil Joo starts the ball rolling on the investigation around Secretary Oh’s death, and it’s Boo Cheon who takes the message for Mal Ran, when the police call. He’s definitely unsettled by this, and is galvanized into retrieving the rifle that he’d hidden under Secretary Oh’s bed.
At the same time, Mal Ran’s not about to take this lying down, and sets up an champagne event for herself and Pil Joo, where she drops poison into the flutes beforehand.
Gah. It’s nail-biting stuff, to watch as Pil Joo downs that champagne, and then start to struggle and gurgle after Mal Ran informs him that it’s poisoned – only to abruptly stop, compose himself, and then ask Mal Ran how she finds his acting.
Ha. The meta! (I found your acting very on-point, Jang Hyuk-sshi. Thank you for asking. 😉)
I guess it should come as no surprise, that Mal Ran would think of killing herself and taking Pil Joo with her. After all, she’d said not so long ago, that the only way she would leave Mooshimwon, is in a coffin.
AND, I guess it should also come as no surprise, that Pil Joo would be two steps ahead of Mal Ran, and (we can infer) have that vial of poison replaced without her knowledge.
However, even though this is all unsurprising on hindsight, Show had me on the edge of my seat anyway, through each step of this deadly dance.
And then, to top everything off, just as we think that everything’s over and Pil Joo’s got the situation under control, Boo Cheon comes charging into the room, cocks his rifle, and fires.
Overall, I do think that I enjoyed the finale more this time around, than on my first watch. Even though I was satisfied with where we ended our story, I remember that I’d felt a bit cheated on a few counts.
One of those counts, was on the transition between the end of episode 23, and the beginning of the finale. Clearly, Show gives us a different version of events this episode, in order to explain how, 1, Pil Joo could have gotten rid of the poison, and 2, how Pil Joo could have avoided being shot by Boo Cheon.
I’m still not hot on the way Show has Mal Ran follow Secretary Ahn out of the room to choose the flowers for the table arrangement, since we saw that last episode, that Secretary Ahn had simply left the room by herself when Mal Ran had rejected the flowers.
However, I am more willing to accept that the rifle changing hands between Boo Cheon and Pil Joo works alright, as long as you accept that PD-nim has creative editing rights. I can buy the idea that Stuff happened between Boo Cheon cocking the rifle, and the final shot being fired.
Also, I’d forgotten that Mal Ran had tried to drink the poison direct from the bottle. Lady really is determined that she’d rather leave Mooshimwon in a coffin than in handcuffs.
Was it really necessary for Pil Joo to shoot her? Maybe not. It might have been possible for someone to take a flying leap at Mal Ran, to knock that poison out of her hands.
But, I suppose it does give him a valid excuse to wound her? And given how she’d killed his brother, I guess I can’t blame him for taking the shot?
Pil Joo reads his mother’s will, which Grandpa had referred to last episode, and we see that she’d wanted Pil Joo to grow up healthy, and without revenge in his heart.
Notably, she addresses him as Pil Joo in the will, which means that she’d written this while they’d lived in Gapyeong, when her sanity had been patchy.
The way Pil Joo sheds tears, then later tells Grandpa that even if he’d understood Mom’s will properly, he wouldn’t have followed it, is so full of pathos.
It’s like Pil Joo’s resigned to the fact that nursing revenge in his heart, was his only choice; that there was no way he could have lived the way Mom had wanted him to.
It’s very interesting to me, that Pil Joo’s revenge basically involves revamping Cheong A, such that it becomes an upright company that’s led by the most competent leader, rather than a Chairman chosen for his lineage.
That’s.. honestly a surprising thing to associate with revenge. One might have thought that Pil Joo’s revenge would have entailed destroying Cheong A completely.
Instead, his revenge is to force the company into a space where it will have no choice but to walk the straight and narrow.
This might feel a little lame by general revenge standards, but actually, it is so in line with how we’ve come to understand Pil Joo as a man with values and a sense of morals, even though he is our antihero who’s bent on revenge.
Also, this reveal by Pil Joo seems to calibrate Grandpa’s attitude towards Pil Joo, since we then see Pil Joo announce the changes to Uncle President, Yeo Cheon, Boo Cheon and Secretary Woo, where Grandpa backs up the announcement by saying that it’s all for Cheong A’s sake.
Plus, Grandpa chooses to have Pil Joo drive him home afterwards, even though Yeo Cheon also makes the offer. It actually feels like Grandpa is starting to accept Pil Joo, for real.
However, Grandpa is not at all pleased that Pil Joo’s pledged $4 billion towards Cheong A Bio’s research in his name, and lashes out at Pil Joo for playing with his money.
I guess it’s either all too much for Grandpa, or it’s just time for his body to give out, because he collapses right after, and is rendered unable to speak for the rest of our story.
The irony, though, of Congressman Na coming to see Grandpa in the hospital, and leaving Grandpa with a book of his favorite poetry.
This feels like a complete turning of the tables, from when Grandpa had visited Congressman Na in the hospital, bearing a gift of poetry also. Instead of threatening Grandpa, however, Congressman Na informs Grandpa that he’s turning himself in to the prosecution, and tells Grandpa to take his time to do the same.
Mo Hyun receives detailed information about the double account of Cheong A Foundation, thanks to Pil Joo, and takes it to the prosecution as well.
I appreciate that she takes the opportunity to tell the prosecutors exactly how much Pil Joo has helped her and her father, and requests for leniency for Pil Joo. That strikes me as the best way to do the right thing, while protecting Pil Joo.
The conversation between Pil Joo and Mo Hyun feels important and momentous, when he goes to see her at Cheong A Foundation. After he suggests that Mo Hyun consider staying at Cheong A Foundation to ensure that it runs cleanly and in a way that benefits society, Pil Joo apologizes to Mo Hyun, for using her in his revenge.
I’m glad that Mo Hyun tells Pil Joo that because she, her father, Boo Cheon, Mal Ran, Seo Won and Ha Jung all owe him their lives, he can take that as fair exchange, and live.
I appreciate that so much. Pil Joo needs to be set free from the guilt that he feels towards Mo Hyun, and she’s giving him a way out, that feels fair, as if it’s something that he’s earned, so as to satisfy his conscience.
The other important thing that Mo Hyun says, is:
“The distance between you and me. I’m well aware that you can’t reduce that distance. The reason you didn’t come close to me was to keep your manner to me. So I never expect that distance to be shortened. I’m going to keep the man I saved, and the man who saved me, in my heart.”
Guh. Such a bittersweet acknowledgement of love, and such a painful pledge, for a mutual regard that runs so deep, and yet has no future.
The way Pil Joo takes a step forward and just gazes at her for a long moment, with tears in his eyes, it feels like he’s doing all he can, to drink in the moment, before he has to walk away from it. 💔
What a great callback, that it’s Mo Hyun who reaches for his hand this time, for a brief moment of connection, before she lets him go. 😭
Mal Ran mistaking Pil Joo for his father while in the penitentiary, isn’t something that I saw coming. I’m really kind of stunned to realize that Mal Ran had been the one to kill Soo Man, even though it had been Grandpa who had pulled the plug.
Woah. That puts a different spin on everything. All this time, Mal Ran’s spoken bitterly of the way Grandpa had pulled the plug on Soo Man’s respirator, even though he could have lived. And YET, she’d been the one who’d tried to kill him in the first place?? 🤯
Dang, that’s messed up.
Boo Cheon finally moves out of Mooshimwon, and his final drink with Pil Joo is full of pathos. The whole conversation feels honest, and also.. futile, like there’s nothing left for the two of them, going forward.
Boo Cheon requests that even if they run into each other in the future, they should ignore each other, and Pil Joo acquiesces. This is goodbye for real, and there’s a definite air of resignation and wistfulness between them.
We see the sentencing of our key Cheong A players, and while I’m reasonably ok with the various sentences, I’m kind of shocked that Mal Ran only gets sentenced to three years in prison. I mean, didn’t Pil Joo have her taken in for murder? Surely this sentence can’t have taken the murder into account?
I remember saying in my Money Flower review that I think Mal Ran gets off pretty easy, and on this second viewing, I still think the same.
I mean, I get that she’s lost her sanity, but surely even then, she shouldn’t get to put on makeup and play dress-up with her caregiver? I think Show wants to demonstrate that she’s still lost in her own world, but surely we could have had that exact same scene, but with her barefaced and wearing a prison uniform?
I feel like that would have made more sense, and also, felt more satisfying to watch.
The other thing that I remember feeling dissatisfied with during my first watch, was the scene of Pil Joo getting stabbed. I’d felt that since he doesn’t die anyway, the stabbing had felt gratuitous and unnecessary.
I know we’ve had that angry maybe-son popping up from time to time in our story, but it is a bit of a stretch that he’d know exactly when Pil Joo was released from prison, and followed him to Cheong A.
HOWEVER. Thanks to dear Drama Fan, who mentioned this in one of her comments on my Money Flower review, I now have a different lens through which to view the stabbing, and it really does help.
What Drama Fan said, is that the stabbing signifies Pil Joo’s death, and therefore Jang Eun Cheon’s rebirth afterwards.
Ahhh. With this lens on, the stabbing does feel a lot more meaningful, I have to agree. It would’ve been helpful if Show had been clearer about what this was supposed to mean, but oh well. I guess there was limited screen time to work with?
I do like this idea of Jang Eun Cheon rising from the ashes of Pil Joo’s demise. And thereafter, everything that we see, if viewed through that lens, feels quite significant.
For example, the way he goes to Seoul, it feels like a new journey and a new beginning for him. And the way he and Boo Cheon ignore each other and behave as strangers, it feels like they are living new lives in a new world.
I would have liked to have heard him introduce himself at the beginning of his interview presentation, along the lines of, “Annyeonghaseyo. I’m Jang Eun Cheon.”
That would have been such a weighty moment; I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see that. BUT. His name is reflected on the title slide behind him, on the bottom right of the screen. “장은천” (Jang Eun Cheon), and that’s enough for me.
I like that as we then watch Eun Cheon walking the streets of Seoul, his eyes – and the camera – pan towards the sky, which is clear, bright and cloudless.
Ahh. Our antihero Kang Pil Joo may have died, but Jang Eun Cheon is just stepping into a new beginning. And in this new beginning, the future is burgeoning with possibilities, for our talented and capable wounded hero, Jang Eun Cheon.
Be free, Eun Cheon-ah. The old has gone; the new has come. ❤️
I have just finished Money Flower for the first time. This series seemed to be the only recap worth reading, so I had been reading it along with watching the show. Although I have a lot to say, I am in post-drama-depression and can’t really find words right now. I do have one simple question, what happened to Pil-joo’s mother? Is she dead?We never see him visit her grave so I’m confused.
Hey all. I’m not sure who will even see this since it’s been a while and the next batch of group watches have started, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU. Thank you everyone who wanted to watch this show with me. Thank you to KFG for picking this as editors choice. Thank you everyone here for journeying with this newbie and gasping, screaming and basically having your minds blown along with me. I would probably never have watched this without you all and I’m so glad I did. And Jang Hyuk 🥰
On the final 2 episodes. This show sure is consistently good. It’s a rare quality so I must commend it. I didn’t quite like the ending, I didn’t understand symbolism behind the stabbing and didn’t know that he introduced himself as Jang Eun Cheon when he applied for the CEO job so I didn’t understand that light, freeing walk at the end. So I was confused. So it was an “aha” moment when I read Drama Fan’s explanation of rebirth and it made so much more sense 🙂 thank you for that! I wasn’t a fan too of Mal Ran going crazy – I thought she got off lightly, so to speak. I would have loved to see her in jail haha. I hope that Eun Cheon and Mo Hyun get a second chance at friendship, if not love. These two have suffered and hopefully they’ll have a happier life ahead.
Ok, that’s it from me. Take care everyone and see you around!
Hi MC!!! So glad that you managed to make time for the Money Flower group watch, despite having to juggle a job AND a baby! And, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it, because you were definitely on my mind when I picked this show for a 2nd group watch! 😉
Yes, DF’s rebirth explanation helps SO much, doesn’t it? Otherwise, the stabbing just felt gratuitous and unnecessary. I agree Mal Ran got off way too easily; I can’t believe they indulged her with clothes and makeup while she was in detention, even though it’s in a hospital environment! 🙄 And yes to your hope of Eun Cheon and Mo Hyun having a second chance to reconnect. I’d be down for a platonic connection too.
Will you be joining us on the NIF watch? I remember you expressed interest in it! 😊
Hey KFG! Hope you’re good! Yes I’m so grateful you picked Money Flower 😀
I’m afraid I don’t think I can commit to a NIF watch 🙁 I don’t have much time for TV lately! but I hope you all have fun and I will get around to it when I’m freer! 🙂
Aw, perfectly understandable that you might be busy.. we’ll miss you.. But, you can always catch up; we’ll be watching NIF for a while! 😉
@Georgia Peach – next year? We’re doing two group watches even now. This is only the first week so you should join us!
I am so glad I watched this for the second time! Love this drama and so loved the discussions here. Can not agree more with Fangirl’s ‘verdict’ or with the very insightful comments. I do think that the shotgun scene was a bit cheesy, right? I’m even okay with the out of the blue stabbing of PilJu.
And so our journey has come to an end. I found the last two episodes very satisfying, partly because although I am not a particular fan of the revenge genre per se, I am very interested in the topic of redemption and how to move beyond tragedy in life. I liked the relative realism of these episodes – ok, beyond the poisoning, knifing, and shooting attempts – even though the tone stayed very much in line with the rest of the drama. Finally, the law was able to address at least some of the misdeeds that were carried out, and I thought the vipers received reasonable punishment (Yeo-cheon getting the least amount of prison time, in accordance with his screen time). My sense was that Mal Ran might have been faking her mental illness (the main clue being that solitary tear going down her cheek) to avoid hard time. While Boo-cheon has maybe an even harder road: how to discover who he really is and make his way without with Jang name (although it seems like he still has enough money that I don’t feel too, too bad for him).
Did others see the final scene with Grandfather as his exit from this mortal coil? One thing that surprised me, earlier, was Pil-joo calling him “Grampa” and rushing to bring him to the hospital. What a complex relationship those two had!
Both fitting and ironic was that only Mo-hyun, among the entire ex-family, ended up continuing her professional career at Cheong A. Chairing a charity arm of the business seems like a good fit for her. And, like others, I would not rule out a future relationship between her and PJ. I would have loved to be in the room when the board are discussing the latest set of job applicants (“so, yeah, Jang here has the skills and knows the company better than anyone, but there is that prison time to consider….”).
I like Drama Fan’s interpretation of the stabbing scene as a death/rebirth and agree with pretty much everyone that thank goodness we didn’t end there. A more prosaic explanation might be that the creative team didn’t exactly know how they wanted to end the story and considered multiple endings, deciding eventually to use them all. Regardless, it was touching and fitting that, once again, it was Mo-hyun who was there to save Pill-joo’s body, analogous to how she may well have saved his soul.
Thanks again to Kfangurl for providing this forum and the wonderful recaps and to the entire community for escorting a reluctant viewer through this land of revenge.
@j3ffc 😆 One ending? Nah, let’s try three… Love that Mohyun saved Pilju from the water, saved Euncheon from the stabbing and saved, yes, his soul start to finish 😍
A brilliant drama from start to finish. Revenge drama perfection. Jang Hyuk perfection too 😍 Thanks for the weekly recaps and great conversation from everyone 🙂
Thanks, All, for a fantastic watch! I could have zipped through this show, appreciating it in a pleasant but shallow way and been done with it. Or not, because I don’t think I would have understood the value of the melodramatic elements well, and possibly dropped it because of its semi-OTT-ness. But KFG’s terrific summaries and everyone’s reflections made it a more thoughtful, thrilling, and fun experience. On, on to Nirvana in Fire and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho!
@ Ele Nash
I agree with everything you’ve said!
Can I say I envy how well you express your thoughts!
“My god, he needs kissing and really I think she’s the only woman to do it.”
“🤯 🤯I couldn’t get enough of my head being blown off each week!”
Brilliant! I look forward to reading more of this kind of stuff starting next week with Nirvana.
@Shyama Thanks, that’s very lovely of you – though I find I’m heavily dependent on emojis that even then they don’t go far enough to convey just how exuberant I really feel 😅 particularly in my appreciation for Jang Hyuk ❤️ Ah, never enough heart-eye emojis for that ever 😍 😍 😍 😍 😍
I don’t know where to begin. You said it all, kfangurl, and so well and with such glorious screenshots and I have just loved, loved, LOVED every single moment of this group watch!! 😍 Thank you so much for all your hard work – it must be a phenomenal amount of work – but I can say hand-on-heart that it’s time well spent for Kdrama fans like me who NEED to discuss “things” and whose family and friends are all like, Jang who now?
I agree so much with your thoughts and think DramaFan’s death of Kang Pilju and rebirth of Jang Euncheon is the only way to make sense of the stabbing. To be honest, I was so sick the first time I watched it (and this time, even knowing what happens) that Pilju was going to the roof to jump off it, that the stabbing was almost a relief 😅
I like to think (and especially owing to the way Jang Hyuk so masterfully played it) that from the moment he let go of his little brother’s hand, Euncheon had been locked away within this shell of a boy who became known as Pilju. Pilju was ruthless, driven by vengeance, manipulative to the point of scary, controlled, unforgiving, merciless – but that it was the Euncheon within him, stifled, suppressed, afraid, traumatised, grief-stricken but essentially a kind, empathetic, loyal man, who leaked out and saved Seowon and her child, who kind of loved Bucheon for all his flaws, who rescued Candidate Na and hid him from harm, who never resorted to murder or violence (well, only sometimes when really pressed) and who AT LAST, when he’d served time locked away in reality as well as internally, was set FREE. The liberation of Euncheon ❤️ Like it took Pilju’s revenge to heal Euncheon. And maybe now (because I am very hopeful that the ‘death’ of Pilju is also the death of those terrible manipulative traits), that man Euncheon can find a way to love Mohyun in actual reality. My god, he needs kissing and really I think she’s the only woman to do it.
Jang Hyuk, locking away his own expressions except for those most pertinent micro ones he allowed to leak – sometimes with just a twitch of his lip, usually with those expressive eyes – and tempering his voice to be oh-so-controlled, amplified for me the whole mesmerising wrong-yet-right nature of Pilju and I think it’s fair to say without Jang Hyuk’s delivery, Pilju may not have worked at all.
As for Money Flower itself, my giddy aunt, what a brilliantly written show! I LOVE it!!! If Pilju was constrained, my goodness, the plot and the play were an unleashed hurricane of twists and turns and secrets and reveals and all so unexpected or at a time you didn’t see coming or just plain wicked 🤯 🤯 🤯I couldn’t get enough of my head being blown off each week!
I also loved everyone in it. There wasn’t a character I didn’t enjoy (though I understand why people find Bucheon whiny and Mohyun insipid). For me, they earned my sympathy as much as Pilju even when I hated them or rolled my eyes or outright disagreed with their motives, deceits, hair-pulls, murders, attempted-murders😆 In a way, I wanted them all to succeed. Is that mad? Probably as mad as Mal Ran, but in the world of Money Flower, as in all good melodrama, credulity is allowed to stretch.
My favourite character hands-down is Grandpa Chairman. Yes, you heard me. I think Lee Soon-jae is simply magnificent. The end, in court, when he looks across at his son and grandsons being handcuffed, the expression – defeat, sorrow, humbled, guilty even – was perfection. What a wonderful actor he is and I thought Grandpa Chairman, like Pilju, was so very, very interesting.
Anyway, I do yabber. I am very much looking forward to Nirvana in Fire and all the group watches. They are so cool to be part of! Thank you for having me. I now need some therapy to help me with Jang Hyuk withdrawal – or maybe I’ll just rewatch Chuno… ❤️
Brava, Ele! I couldn’t have said it better. Literally. Thank you.
One of my favorite Old Gramps scenes is the one KFG noted, where he says “I wondered whom this nasty lowlife takes after. Me, that’s who.” His self-satisfied micro-smile at having passed on ethically and morally dubious traits says it all. I bet it was fun for Lee Soon Jae to play such a nasty piece of work. 😉
Pil Joo was so inscrutable we never really knew what he was thinking, so in that way we didn’t fully know the heart of the man. Well, other than the 😍for Mo Hyun, his hatred of Mal Ran, and his single minded pursuit of revenge on the Jangs… I guess that is a lot to know. But, the last few episodes held additional reveals about his heart – the 10-year plan for rehabilitating Chang Ah rather than destroying it, his embrace of paying his debt to society as a cost of his revenge – that organically allowed for a potentially happier ending… to the drama and his life. Drama could have stayed dark until the very end with Pil Joo murdered or killing himself or becoming a shell of a man post-revenge, and it would have been consistent. But, I did not feel it was inconsistent to also offer a more hopeful option for Eun Cheon’s future.
Mo Hyun will have her way with Pil Joo/Eun Cheon. 😊 He’s met his match in someone who is willing to set the stage for obtaining their heart’s desire, and patiently waiting for it. So interesting and thrilling that Mo Hyun’s tactics for her desired outcome are the opposite of his – that is, offering forgiveness, honesty, understanding, opportunity, respect, and love. Eun Cheon’s mom is smiling in heaven.
@Leslie ❤️ Aw, yes, Mohyun really was incredibly forgiving and understanding.
I also hope, I forgot to add, that Mal Ran stays locked away so Bucheon can actually find a good woman too – or at least, have a loving father-son relationship. I only want good things for Bucheon as, in his way, I feel like he too was forgiving and understanding and deserves a break.
As for Grandpa Chairman relating and recognising himself in Pilju, eek, hopefully only in Pilju and now Pilju is ‘dead’, the goodness, generosity, fairness of Euncheon can shine 🤞
My son just peered over my shoulder and was like, “Mum, you know it’s just a TV show, don’t you? They’re not real.” 😆
😂Well, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion (re: your last comment.)
Yes, I hope for the best for Boo Cheon, too. Mostly not being saddled with a cray-cray (or faux cray-cray) mother for as long as she decides to keep clawing on to this life, but a loving woman would not be too much to ask for, as well. I imagine he would be a 100% better husband second time around. Trauma might keep him stuck, but…
@Ele – wasn’t sure it was clear that I was poking fun at those of us who might have gotten a little too immersed in the world of Pil Joo, when I commented on your son’s assertion about reality. 😉It wasn’t aimed at your reflections.
@Leslie I got you! 😉
I felt like your last comment was a beautiful mini review of the show and I want to save it and frame it, hang it on my wall and re-read it as much as I revisit Kfangurl’s awesome reviews. Your last sentence though 🤣 Thank you and your son for the great laugh!
@DramaFan Aw! Knowing how “immersed” you are in all things Jang Hyuk, I take that as a huge compliment 😍
I think the envelope contained application paperwork for the position of CEO.
Ahh. I hadn’t considered that possibility. Interesting. I guess I didn’t imagine that a huge ol’ conglomerate would have application forms for the CEO job, like applying for a position at the local McDonald’s or something. (I know, it wouldn’t necessarily be a standard form or anything).
That is definitely how I saw it! And maybe it’s a bit surprising that they had paperwork, but with the revolving door of chairmen (apparently all men 🤨) they should probably take applications on line.
I am sure Cheong Ah is accepting applications online, but it is likely that Pil Joo (Eun Cheon) has no internet access at his remote bee-keeping cabin.
I am also sure that Mo Hyeon herself will become Cheong Ah’s CEO in the future.
Thank you, Kfangirl! Without you and this group watch, I’d have missed out on one of the finest dramas ever and..of course, JANG HYUK!
There are no words to describe how awesome he is! I loved Pil Joo. I went on to watch Fated to Love You and fell deeper in love with our guy❤️ I want more..more..more, but ones where he doesn’t die tragically at the end. And why do most of his dramas end with his heroic death😡😡😡 I cannot watch him die!
Yeah, it’s tough watching him die – but he always dies beautifully and often nobly 😊
Please watch Beautiful Mind (so compelling in that) and My Country (so SEXY in that) He gets to live on both.
@Trent, I also choose to believe that there is a future for Jang Eun Cheon and Na Mo Huron. MH realized that he needed time to forgive himself and she gave him that. If he still felt guilty and unworthy of her he could have moved away and/or chosen not to respond to her invitation.
I also thought that the stabbing was a little heavy-handed, but it does make sense as viewed as symbolic death. Which made me think: was Pil Joo planning to kill himself when he went to the roof? I thought the he had nothing left to live for-his revenge was accomplished, and he felt too guilty for using Mo Hyeon.
In the end, he chose to make the first step towards shortening the distance between himself and MH, and that’s more than enough to convince me that there is future for them.
Aw, yes, I hope that Mohyun works out a way to reach Euncheon and they live happily together and spend lots of time kissing and watching the birds in that nice sanctuary place and, you know, have some children who don’t inherit the twisted up hunger for money, status and power… 😁
Mo Huron…Seriously, Auto-correct?
I knew what you meant! (I did laugh though…)
The spellings, though! Can I just really boringly mention spellings of names?! I swear (I may have gone mad) but I swear when I first watched Money Flower it was Bucheon and Pilju and Mohyeon and then on this group watch everyone was Boocheon and Piljoo and Mohyun and I just couldn’t cope* because I was so rigidly Pilju 😆 I tried experimenting with Piljoo but it feels all kinds of wrong 😆
Yes, I realise this is beyond silly 😉
I get it, Ele! It can be distracting. AND, personally, I think the multi spellings of names is one of the charms of the Group Watch. Reflects the different streaming services we use to watch the very same dramas and different reference sources we use to help understand them (i.e. Wiki, Asian Wiki, etc.) base on where we live. Even our different languages and cultural experiences! It reinforces for me what an other-culture (in my case, other than American) experience watching these dramas is. Glad you mentioned it.
ROTFL! I think I spell it all those different ways! Im so sorry for contributing to the mess 🤣
@Leslie @DramaFan I’m so glad it’s not just me – but what a lovely way to think of it, Leslie! Part of this site’s appeal absolutely is how global it is 😊
Well. Here we are at the end. That was…a hell of a journey, wasn’t it?
First, I think this overall was resolved in broadly the way I was expecting it to, after the last several episodes (I know there was a point where I was plaintively saying I had no idea where show was going, which was true at the time…it’s just in the last few episodes I felt like started to get a glimmer of where it might go). I felt like the show was pointing us towards a mini-redemption arc founded around Mo-hyun as the conduit for bringing Cheong A into the light, so to speak, and Pil-joo choosing to use that conduit. And I think that’s broadly what happened. As I’ve been pointing out, I think, many revenge tales do tend to tack on a redemption arc at the end (cf. The Count of Monte Cristo, for example), and so it was not terribly unexpected. Whether it’s entirely satisfying depends, I think, on one’s personal taste. I think I’m mostly okay with it, and I think it grows organically enough here out of the fact that Pil-joo was ruthless, but never really evil in the same way that some of the other players were; he always had a particular integrity, and always seemed to have a potential to act morally that was just often being suppressed in service of the overriding goal.
I do think the ending bobbled a few things, the most noteworthy being the one that you highlighted, the assassination attempt against Pil-joo on the roof. As I was thinking through it, I did arrive at the same conclusion as Drama Fan, that this was meant to symbolize a death and rebirth. But even taken symbolically, I think it fails, since it elevates the purely symbolic over dramatic unity and coherence. In my opinion, even seen symbolically, it sticks out like a sore thumb as gratuitous and jarring. Successful resort to symbolism in a drama requires organic integration into the story in a way that flows and makes sense, and this more or less out-of-the-blue knife attack in the last few minutes just doesn’t qualify. So I don’t like it.
A couple final questions. Do we know what it was that Mo-hyun sent in that envelope to Pil-joo out at the remote cabin? I never did catch what that was or was supposed to be? If the show didn’t reveal it, why show it to us?
In a sense the show leaves us an open canvas at the end, on which we can paint our suppositions and speculations. Will the board choose Jang Eun-cheon to lead Cheong A into a new era? Yeah, I think they probably will. The harder question…are Pil-joo and Mo-hyun truly done? I mean, it would probably be safe to bet that way, given their last, as you say bittersweet, interaction. But if the ending represents Pil-joo’s rebirth into a new life, the eternal optimist in me would like to believe that maybe there will be a rebirth there, too. That’s my bet, at least…don’t try to talk me out of it! (okay, you can if you want, but).
Thanks to all who enriched the viewing experience. It was a ton of fun. And especially thanks once again to kfangurl, who went above and beyond, as usual, in laying out each week’s episodes so meticulously.
I’m with you, Trent. I was so anxious the ending would annoy you 😁 This watch, it didn’t bug me quite so badly and I think the whole ‘rebirth’ of Euncheon is a great lens to view it with – and, yes, one which may let Mohyun find a way to be with him. Ah, that would be nice. 😍
Aw, I’m touched you would worry about my reaction. Overall, it pales next to the whole picture, which is that it was a magnificent bit of story telling.
I’m definitely constructing a whole canonical after-the-curtain-falls romance… The business meeting between the new CEO and the Cheong A foundation director, the careful formality in manner and address; the tentative first steps to bridge the chasm on each side; the unspoken communication that says “we’re good with the past, right? there’s a path to move forward?”; the consideration and mutual regard slowly yielding to warmth and passion…
…whew, I’m all verklempt up in my feelings here.
I’m so flattered that Kfangurl remembered what I said about the stabbing scene 🙈 however, I agree with most of you guys that it could’ve been done better in order not to feel “out of left field”. Anyway, Im glad my “theory” helps a bit to at least “sort of” accept the scene even if its a bit contrived. Regarding the papers that Mo Hyun sent to Piljoo, I think she sent him the papers to apply for the chairman position.
Yeah, I do think that thinking of it (the attempted assassination by knife) on a symbolic level does help to kind of smooth it out, but it still just kind of sticks out because it is, as you say, really kind of out of left field.
I think we did see MH ask he assistant to post THAT envelope in the mail…