Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Yo Na’s headlining our post today, because I just love how blithely carefree she looks, running with the wind in her hair, and so much delight on her face. So iconic! 🤩
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 found this episode quite muted, for the most part, but on the plus side, we do get some important reveals, that help to flesh out our story – and we do get an appearance by Yo Na, whom I always enjoy.
This episode, we spend more time exploring Ri Jin’s backstory, starting with her nightmares. I don’t know why; it never really registered for me, until now, that Ri Jin suffers from nightmares the way Do Hyun suffers from nightmares. Even her delirious refrain is the same, “Don’t go. Play with me.” That’s the exact same thing that Do Hyun’s said before, in his dreams, isn’t it?
Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t seem to have them all that often, but this episode, we see that they do haunt her, at least from time to time, and it’s been Ri On who’s been helping her, by putting a positive spin on the meaning of her dreams, all this time.
I know I said not that long ago, that I found I wasn’t liking Ri On very much, but this episode, I find that shifting, all over again. He really does care about Ri Jin, and is committed to helping her, to the best of his ability.
The tarot card reading felt pretty random, though I get that this is supposed to provide provocative food for thought for both Do Hyun and Ri Jin, regarding the future of their maybe-relationship.
On this note, I also wanted to way that I found Do Hyun’s question this episode, on whether Ri Jin can see him as a man (ie, as more than a patient), and Ri Jin’s struggle over this issue, rather odd. Given that they’ve kissed and been rather cozy with each other, I’d assumed that they were cognizant of their feelings for each other. So this sudden thing, of putting it on the table for consideration and discussion, also felt rather out of left field for me.
However, I do enjoy the fact that Ri On drops everything, when he hears from Ri Jin that she’s had nightmares again, and needs him. I enjoyed the scene of them talking outside the house, and in particular, I was struck by Ri On’s answer, in response to Ri Jin’s question of whether a first love is difficult for a man to get over.
“That depends. If they can get over it all at once, then that’s great. If they return to it one more time, those are residual feelings. If they turn back twice, that’s sadness. If they turn back three times… that’s pain. If they keep returning to it until they’re all ragged… That’s how their heart gets torn up. And they continue to endure it as their heart is torn apart.”
As he says this, his expression slowly darkens to something rather somber, and there’s a tiny hint of tears in his eyes, as he looks at Ri Jin, and I’m convinced that he’s thinking of his own struggle to get over Ri Jin, even as he articulates this. Nicely played, not just by Show, but also, by Park Seo Joon, whom I think does a lovely job of delivering this scene.
And that moment, when he pulls the blanket over her eyes, in an echo of when he’d done something similar back in school, when he’d seen the boy she’d liked, with another girl, is a nice poignant callback. I feel bad for Do Hyun, of course, but in this moment, I feel that Ri On’s acting out of concern for and protectiveness of Ri Jin, and not out of spite to Do Hyun, and it feels.. bittersweet.
At the same time, my heart goes out to Do Hyun. With his exit from the company, and the now much more overt estrangement from Chairman Gran, it feels like Do Hyun’s more isolated than ever (yay for Secretary Ahn refusing to leave him though!).
Now, with him overhearing Ri Jin talk wistfully of her days at the hospital, where life had been so much simpler, he’s faced with the obligation to let Ri Jin go – at a cost to himself. On top of this, he’s trying to find out about the child in his memories, and Mom isn’t being veyr helpful. I can imagine that this just adds to Do Hyun’s stress, and so, it’s no wonder that it isn’t long before Yo Na makes an appearance.
And what an appearance it turns out to be! Ahahaha. I kind of feel bad for how terrified Ri On is, but I couldn’t help giggling at the Yo Na hijinks. She really is so bold and feisty; I can see why Ri On doesn’t know what to do with her. 😂
My favorite bit is when Yo Na stops running to reapply her lipgloss, and then decides that since Ri On can’t catch her, it’s time that she catch Ri On instead. Muahaha. I love how in-charge Yo Na is, even though she’s supposed to be a high-schooler.
I also love how everything’s all so tongue-in-cheek. It looks like PD-nim had deliberately allowed that crowd (of real fans, with handphones in tow) to gather and gawk at the scene of Yo Na running down the street, with Ri On and Ri Jin in her wake. That feels like one of Show’s self-aware nods. And, can’t lie; if I was there, I wouldn’t be able to pass up a chance to watch Ji Sung running around in a skirt and lipgloss either. 🤩😆
Also, what a surprise, that Ri Jin actually knows that she is adopted. Woah. I didn’t see that coming, especially with how Ri Jin’s been leaning deep into family, and how everyone’s been treating her as absolutely not in the know.
Our plot thickens further, as we end the episode, with Do Hyun’s mom expressing to comatose Dad, that she intends to find that child and get rid of her, so that she never appears before Do Hyun (whoops, too late?), and Do Hyun finding that scrap of photograph, which proves that someone in Ri Jin’s household knows – or at least, knows of – Min Seo Yeon, Dad’s lawful wife. Ooh.
Because it keeps coming up, I think it would be helpful for me to touch on the thing that Do Hyun keeps saying to Ri Jin. My subs translate it as, “Our stories have to corroborate,” but the more literal translation is something akin to, “Our lips have to match.” This is understood in modern Korean to mean matching your stories, but the literal translation, which I believe is also similar to how a kiss is referenced in sageuk-speak, provides the opportunity for the pun that Show keeps using, this set of episodes.
Even though I’ve grown more fond of Ri On in recent episodes, I’m still not sure how much I believe him, when he gives Do Hyun the explanation for why Min Seo Yeon’s photograph was ever in his possession. It feels like part-truth, certainly, but I also feel like a lot of it has to do with Ri Jin herself being connected to the Seung Jin Group, which Ri On is certainly not talking about.
I’m thinking back to how Ri On was pretty much stalking Do Hyun for a while there, and I can’t decide whether his given reason – that he’d planned to write a novel inspired by events related to Seung Jin Group – is the whole truth. Therefore, I don’t blame Do Hyun for acting suspicious either, and questioning Ri On with a relentless, laser-sharp sort of focus.
The whole sequence, of Do Hyun continuing to question Ri On, while Dad keeps popping up and scolding them about doing chores, is played for comedy, and I had to keep reminding myself that this is basically part of Show’s core nature. Show had been clear from the start, that farcical, broad comedy is part of its DNA. I’d just.. forgotten about that, for a little while, with Show delving into more meaningful themes of late.
I do appreciate that out of this seeming detour, we get a couple of important happenings. 1, Do Hyun gets to enjoy the experience of receiving allowance from a parent on New Year’s, which he’s apparently never gotten to enjoy, all these years; 2, Do Hyun gets to hear Ri Jin talk about her dream, which is a rather important piece of his mental puzzle; and 3, Do Hyun gets to see pictures of Ri Jin from when she’d been a kid, which is also an important piece of his mental puzzle. We are definitely gearing up to have some of these fragments pieced together.
Ah, and Do Hyun gets to enjoy some family warmth, which, unsurprisingly, is a pretty novel thing for him as well. I do love how happy everyone looks, as they huddle around, and snap pictures together. Ri Jin’s family might be a little weird, but they are really warm. I mean, how nice is it, that Dad refers to himself as Do Hyun’s parent, when giving Do Hyun the allowance? 🥰
While I’m not much into the petty rivalry that springs up from time to time between Do Hyun and Ri On, particularly when Ri Jin is involved, I do love that Do Hyun thanks Ri On, for helping him to meet good people, and a good friend. And, I also love that Ri On, who’s basically been quite unwilling to have anything to do with Do Hyun, actually tells him that he’s not a good friend but a bad one – but if he’s ok with having a bad friend, that he’ll be Do Hyun’s friend. I mean, that’s pretty huge, isn’t it? Yes please, I would like these two to be friends.
We also seem to finally get past the hurdle of Ri Jin and Do Hyun angsting over whether she can see him as more than a patient (which, like I said, feels a bit like an irrelevant point to me, since they’re already on kissing terms).
I do like how Do Hyun frames his question, in such specific, everyday terms, and in terms of him wanting to be the first person she turns to, in various situations. “Whenever you’re in trouble, or you’re curious about something or you want to talk to somebody… Can’t I be the first person you run to? When you’re too scared to go down to the basement alone… Anytime there’s something you want to avoid… Can’t I be there with you?” Aw. It’s sweet and endearing.
…And, we finally have agreement, as Ri Jin tells Do Hyun that she’ll be there with him, and we get a sweet, unhurried OTP-minting kiss. Y’know, I find it odd that the previous kisses don’t seem to count, and if they didn’t count, I find it odd that they never actually address the issue of these patient-doctor kisses, but well, I guess this is just part of Show’s quirky DNA at work.
Show leans a bit heavily into its makjang tendencies (which, for the record, I’m ok with in principle, because makjang can be entertaining) in our final stretch, with Do Hyun’s mom getting all upset at Do Hyun saying that he will find the child, and that he would even sell Seung Jin Group to make it up to her, if he has to.
Ooh. That’s just the thing to get Mom moving in overdrive, because the next thing we know, Ri Jin’s getting kidnapped right out of her front yard. That’s sooo the kind of thing you’d see in a makjang drama, isn’t it? 😆 Especially with Ri On giving chase, and then losing her because he has to avoid crashing into a passing motorbike.
And then we get a casual, convenient reveal, that Secretary Ahn’s installed a GPS tracker on Ri Jin’s phone, which is how Do Hyun tracks her down to the summer villa where the kidnappers have taken her.
It’s all quite dramatic, but I very much appreciate two things. 1, Se Gi actually tries to take over when the fighting starts, but Do Hyun insists that he will take care of it himself. That’s a Huge Deal, given that he’d never had a choice in the matter before. He’s able to maintain control, and is no longer at the mercy of Se Gi.
And 2, all the fragments of memory about the memory come rushing in at the same time, when Do Hyun’s hit on the head, and we finally have a full picture of what had been going on. Ri Jin had been locked in that basement (probably for being an illegitimate child), and Do Hyun had secretly visited her, to keep her company. But Dad had not approved, and that’s why he’d walk into the basement, ready to punish.
Suddenly, all the fragmented soundbites from the various fever dreams that Do Hyun and Ri Jin have had over the course of our story – “Don’t go, play with me” and “I’m sorry” – finally make sense. Even “10pm” suddenly has a context, because that’s the time that Do Hyun would promise to visit Ri Jin, and that explains Se Ge’s fixation with that hour. I have to say, I do kinda love how everything fits together, in context.
Do Hyun’s finally arrived at the truth that he’s been trying to unlock all this time, so this feels hard-earned. At the same time, it also feels costly, for the pain that he’s had to endure, to get here. What a bittersweet milestone this has turned out to be. 💔 Now I’m more curious than ever, to see what Do Hyun will do with these recovered memories.