Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I chose this screenshot to headline our post, because doesn’t Do Hyun look absolutely beautiful in this shot? 🤩
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. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. 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 set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
I have to admit that Show’s bizarre sense of comedy throws me a bit; I don’t remember being this thrown by it, back when I first watched it in 2015. I’m gonna hafta plead the Ji Sung Effect. I’m sure I was so entranced by his fantastic management of all the different personalities in this story, that I was more forgiving of some of Show’s weirder ticks. Also, not gonna lie; I was quite mesmerized by Shin Se Gi’s intent smolder, guyliner or no.
This episode, as we open with Shin Se Gi trying to determine who / what Ri Jin likes, it all feels pretty baffling, because everything that he serves up to Ri Jin, in an effort to win her heart, is weird AND childish, which is nothing like the badassery that I instinctively associate with Shin Se Gi.
I get the idea, that Shin Se Gi had connected with Ri Jin when they’d been children, but right now, 1, his choice of toys and their significance doesn’t makes sense, both to Ri Jin and to us as an audience, so it’s hard to appreciate, and 2, I suddenly find the idea of Shin Se Gi as a child quite hard to reconcile. What would Shin Se Gi have been like, as a kid? It’s a slightly bizarre thought, no? Especially since Shin Se Gi is all glower and guyliner right now? 😆
Also, for the record, while I get that Ri Jin’s playing along with Shin Se Gi because that’s the best way not to make him angry, her choices to dance and clap along with that monkey, and suck that ring lollipop that he serves her on a platter, strike me as really weird. I mean, he’d never asked her to dance or clap, and she could’ve just taken that ring lollipop and admired it or something? I suppose this is all for the sense of Bizarre Comedy that Show appears to be gunning for, so I guess it’s best to just shrug and roll with it. 🤷🏻♀️
However, I do get that this is all very confusing for Ri Jin. Honestly, I can’t blame her for feeling attracted to Do Hyun and to Shin Se Gi, because they each have their own appeal. Do Hyun’s kind and sweet, while Shin Se Gi’s intent and smoldery. Given that we’ve already seen the Ri Jin had even dressed up once, to go on a date with Shin Se Gi, I’m not actually that surprised that she’s now confused about who she really likes. Narratively speaking, it’s a fun conundrum to play with, since that takes the love triangle idea, and places it such that Do Hyun’s in a love triangle with his alter.
Do Hyun getting confused about who the racing heart really belongs to, is a fun little touch to our story as well.
I gotta say, though, I found myself perking up at Perry Park’s appearance, even more than I did, at Shin Se Gi’s appearance. I find him so affable and endearing. It’s hilarious to me that Perry Park had made friends with Ri On on the plane, and how goes to Ssangri to look for Ri On, the first chance he gets, all because he wants to drink the amazing beer that Ri On’s told him about. I honestly now want Perry Park to be the protagonist of his own story; he’s too cute – and too dapper! – to just be an alter! 😆
Show is definitely pointing towards some kind of shared childhood experience between Do Hyun and Ri Jin, with them both having the same phobias, or fire and basements. Had they both been in some kind of fire in a basement, then? And that’s when Shin Se Gi had been in charge, since Do Hyun remembers nothing?
Ri On might be all smiles and silly drinking stories when it comes to Perry Park, but that entire relationship chart that he’s got on the Seung Jin Group, with a big focus on Do Hyun, says otherwise. From his phone call with his editor, it does seem like Ri On’s researching Do Hyun and the Seung Jin Group, for his next novel. I really wonder how much he knows, right now.
And to top it all off, there’s an indication that Do Hyun might have a sibling, since it was rumored that his mother had come back to Korea with a child. Who was that child? Was it Ri Jin, because we’ve had hints that she’s adopted? Or could that child be Ri On, since the camera cut to a shot of him, right when Scheming Uncle talked about the alleged existence of this child?
Wouldn’t it be pretty ironic, if Ri On turns out to be researching his own family..? 🙊
I hafta admit, I smirk-chuckled at this scene, where Ri Jin basically jumps Do Hyun and demands he finish what he’d started, because he pulls away from the almost-kiss. Pwahaha. How mortifying on hindsight! I suppose at least she can blame it on the alcohol?
I also found it quite amusing, when she blurts out that even though she’s the only one using her heart, she’s still confused. That’s quite perfect, honestly. And like I said before, I do understand her confusion, and her impulse to take the opportunity to test what’s really going on with her heart, when it presents itself.
It occurs to me that there’s a fair bit of death talk in our story, what with Shin Se Gi threatening to kill Do Hyun, and Do Hyun sometimes using the exact same threat on Shin Se Gi, when he feels desperate enough, and on top of that, there’s Yo Seob, whose entire personality is rooted in desiring to commit suicide. What’s different about Shin Se Gi’s scrawled message, is that he says, “Kill you,” whereas when it comes to Yo Seob, his message is “Kill me.”
With Shin Se Gi making such threatening remarks, including a warning about Chae Yeon’s safety, it’s no wonder that it galvanizes Do Hyun into a higher mode of action.
I can’t say I’m surprised by the confirmation that Chae Yeon and Ki Joon are sleeping together, since we’d already seen in an earlier episode that Ki Joon is cozy enough with Chae Yeon, to hang out in her living room in nothing but a bathrobe. However, this is still a little shocking by kdrama standards, and I have to admit that my jaw dropped slightly, at Show being this bold, especially for its 2015 vintage.
Beyond that, though, I think I’m more shocked by the reveal, because Chae Yeon’s always given off this vibe that she is quite interested in Do Hyun indeed, and just reluctant to confirm it. Because of this quality about her, I’d assumed that she wasn’t seeing anyone else, and was just waiting for Do Hyun to make his move – if he ever made his move.
I’m quite put off, to be honest, by the way Chae Yeon carries herself in response to seeing Ri Jin exit Do Hyun’s house. Not only does she seem to go almost blind with jealousy, she even confronts Do Hyun about his feelings for her, at that cafe.
The gall that she has, to look so devastated that Do Hyun might not like her anymore, when she’s actively seeing Ki Joon, and about to be engaged to him, by her own admission.
It feels like she’d always assumed Do Hyun would remain devoted to her, even if she married someone else, and that’s just all kinds of selfish and wrong. UGH. This incident has made me develop a distinct aversion to Chae Yeon.
I get that Do Hyun’s reaction in this scene is actually his way of being cold and detached, but honestly, I really like what he says. When Chae Yeon goes on about how he’s always liked her, I like the way he challenges her to leave Ki Joon for him, essentially calling her out on her rubbishy double standards. He is spot on, when he says, “You don’t want to have me, but you don’t want others to have me, either.”
I think Do Hyun does feel bad for being this “cruel” to his first love, but I’m here in my corner, cheering him on, and hoping that he learns that what he said wasn’t cruel at all. He was being firm and honest, and looking out for his own wellbeing in a manner that was fair.
As for Do Hyun’s offer to Ri Jin, where he asks her to be his secret private doctor, and goes so far as to process a leave of absence for her at work, without her consent, I can understand why Ri Jin is this mad.
I mean, I can also understand Do Hyun feeling that he has to play hardball, if he is to have a chance at beating Shin Se Gi, who seems particularly aggravated and therefore dangerous right now, but this last bit really is crossing the line.
I do feel mollified, though, when we hear Do Hyun tell Secretary Ahn that this is all his plan to protect Ri Jin, because he feels that with Shin Se Gi out to have his own way, the safest option is to keep Ri Jin close by. Also, it helps to know that Do Hyun crossing that boundary was his way of “acting evil” so that Ri Jin won’t get too close to him. Pfft.
When he puts it that way, his attempt at acting evil doesn’t come off as evil, really; he just comes off as rather high-handed and rude, which feels tame in comparison. Do Hyun really is such a decent guy, that his efforts to be cold (with Chae Yeon) and evil (with Ri Jin) end up landing in a super mild sort of way. I’m slightly amused by this.
I am chalking up the fact that the story Ri On’s writing is eerily similar to what Ri Jin is going through with Do Hyun, as mere plot coincidence, angled that way for dramatic effect, rather than, say, the idea that Ri On is stalking Ri Jin and knows exactly what’s happening to her, and thus writes her experiences into his novel.
I hope that I’m right, and Ri On isn’t actually stalking Ri Jin, because as much as it’s not great that he’s snooping around to find out stuff about Do Hyun, it somehow becomes so much worse when I imagine him stalking his own sister, to make her life creative fodder.
On the upside, I do rather like Ri On’s point about Ri Jin’s dilemma, that the rich chaebol who’s asking her to be his secret doctor, is probably more in need of a friend than a doctor. Actually, that’s helpful to us as an audience too, because it helps take the emphasis off the fact that Ri Jin’s not a good doctor at all.
With the pressure mounting on Do Hyun – Ki Joon’s out to make life difficult for him, and Chairman Gran is pushing him towards marriage – it’s understandable that Do Hyun’s condition becomes even less stable than before. It feels particularly fitting, that it’s suicidal Yo Seob, who comes to the fore.
I think that if not for Yo Seob, Do Hyun might never have been able to articulate this part of how he feels. “There’s no point in living anymore. Being treated like a monster… Being the oddball left out… I’m sick of everything. It’d be better to bring everyone along with me, and just die.” Oof. It’s hard to hear that said out loud, even though we know how much Do Hyun has suffered all these years.
I’m actually glad that Ri Jin hears this from Yo Seob, because I have a feeling that these are the words that will unlock the compassion that Ri Jin needs, in order to agree to stay by Do Hyun’s side.