Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I thought it would be nice to have a happy shot of Do Hyun and Ri Jin headlining our post, since their happy moments are so hard to come by. 🥲
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! ❤️
This worked out to be just an ok episode for me, in that, while we do get some important, poignant moments, it also feels like, 1, Show is just moving things into place for more important developments, and 2, getting ready for some noble idiocy.
Combined, it feels like we don’t move a whole lot, plot-wise, and I think that’s why I’m feeling less than enamored with this episode.
It’s also hard to see both Do Hyun and Ri Jin suffer in the present. Not only is Do Hyun’s brain imploding from all the fragmented memories flooding in and piecing together, he’s also getting totally beaten by the thugs hired by his mother.
On this point, I really wish that there had been a point where Mom realizes that Do Hyun’s all wounded and bruised because of an order that she had given, but we don’t get that, and I’m a little disgruntled about that.
On Ri Jin’s side of things, it’s sad to see her hyperventilating at the fragmented return of her memories, and that reflex of hers, to curl up into a ball and hide her face, at the opening of the door, is heartbreaking too.
She doesn’t really remember what had happened, but the muscle memory is there, and the subconscious memory is there, and it’s just.. sad, really, that it actually is still haunting her now.
Also, there’s that beat where injured and bleeding Do Hyun stumbles towards Ri Jin, apologizing that he’s late. This moment mirrors the past so eerily, that I find it heartbreaking; it’s almost as if Do Hyun’s stuck in a cycle of trying to be there for Ri Jin, and failing to do what he’d promised.
While Ri On’s actions this hour do come across as controlling, I can’t help thinking that his concern is warranted, since he confirms that it had been Do Hyun’s own mother, who had ordered Ri Jin’s kidnapping.
With that discovery, I can understand why Ri On’s so antsy about the idea of Ri Jin continuing to be around Do Hyun. I can imagine that in Ri On’s head, all sorts of other bad things could happen to Ri Jin, now that Do Hyun’s mom is aware of her existence, and is the sort who would resort to kidnapping.
And, there’s the thing where Ri Jin says that she’d like to recover her lost memories, in order to help Do Hyun recover his.
With those memories being as traumatic as they are, and with her saying that she’s doing this to help Do Hyun, I can see why Do Hyun would feel guilty about it, and consider how to help her avoid recovering the painful memories.
After all, it does appear that if Do Hyun had never appeared in her life, she might have been perfectly happy living her life, without ever recovering those memories.
The thing is, Ri Jin really does care about Do Hyun very deeply. Her impassioned spiel to Do Hyun on the roof, when she’d thought he was Yo Seob contemplating suicide, is viscerally touching.
From the way she sobs with relief, when Do Hyun tells her that he won’t die, it’s clear to see that she is extremely invested in Do Hyun’s wellbeing. I found this very touching to witness.
I do appreciate that Do Hyun talks with Ri Jin about her intention to recover her lost memories, and tells her that if it’s for his sake, to please stop. This at least gives Ri Jin the chance to speak for herself, and explain why she wants to do this, despite the potential pain it might cause her.
And, Ri Jin’s empathy and gentleness really shines through, as she reminds Do Hyun that they’d promised to overcome everything together, and hypothesizes that there may be pleasant memories from the past, that they would be happy to regain.
It’s all very selfless and caring, and I can see why Do Hyun would find it difficult to hold back the tears. I imagine that no one’s cared for him like this, that he can remember.
..Especially not his own mother, who proves herself to be more interested in her scheme to get an inheritance out of Seung Jin Group, than in her own son’s mental health. I’m disgusted, but not surprised, by her reaction, when Do Hyun tells her that he’s suffering from DID because of everything that had happened in the past.
Even when he’s literally weeping for her to give up everything and leave Korea with him, she can’t see his pain for her ambition.
Poor Do Hyun must feel so messed up and broken-hearted. Especially since he’s agreed to Ri On’s plea to let Ri Jin go, before she gets more hurt.
The way Ri On puts it to Do Hyun, that whomever had targeted Ri Jin this time, would likely do it again, there’s really no way Do Hyun could or would turn down the request. It’s just not in his nature to put someone else in danger, least of all Ri Jin, whom he’s promised himself to protect.
He sincerely believes that Ri Jin would be safer, if she’s not in his life. I get that, I really do.
What I don’t like, is how Do Hyun makes the decision to let Ri Jin go, without telling her, and plans this perfect final day together, as some kind of farewell outing. She deserves to know what this outing means, and I’m rather disappointed that Do Hyun doesn’t see that.
The breakup date goes pretty much as I’d expected, with Ri Jin happily enjoying herself, and Do Hyun trying to tamp down any sadness, in an effort to be happy in the moment.
It does appear to my eyes, that Ri Jin’s being a touch overly bright, and at first, I’d assumed that this was just PD-nim’s interpretation and direction of her character. So I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to realize that, Ri Jin had, in fact, caught on to Do Hyun’s intention to cut ties with her, somewhere along the way, and had been pretending not to know.
Ahhh. That would make her over-brightness very understandable.
It’s also rather poignant to have Do Hyun’s conversation with Ri On interspliced through Do Hyun’s farewell date with Ri Jin, as he talks about his childhood trauma, and why he’d ended up shattering himself into pieces, in order to deal with everything.
It’s so sad to hear him say that his memories ended up being warped, because he’d hoped so hard, to be the one punished, instead of Ri Jin, and so he’d ended up mistaking those things as having happened to himself.
I know in my head how much Do Hyun has suffered, but this thought, and this cause-and-effect, is so poignant and raw, that I find it heartbreaking. 💔
I actually like the thoughtful, open tone of the conversation between Do Hyun and Ri On. For once, Ri On isn’t regarding Do Hyun with suspicion or misgivings, and they are finally talking empathetically, while on the same side.
Ahh. It’s really nice, actually, and it makes me wish that these two had reached an understanding much earlier. (Although, if reaching an understanding had to come with a side of noble idiocy and breakups, then maybe no thank you. 😅)
I do love the compassion that comes through in this conversation, particularly the part where Ri On tells Do Hyun that it’s not his fault, and that he, too, was a victim, like Ri Jin. This is the most understanding and kindness that we’ve seen Ri On show Do Hyun, and I really like it.
Innteresting, that Do Hyun asks Ri On to consider writing that story about Seung Jin Group, and even volunteers to provide him with all the information that he needs. Ahh. So is this how Do Hyun intends to stop his mother in her greedy tracks? By blowing the lid off the complicated, warped truth in his family?
That’s a huge step, and in a manner of speaking, makes Do Hyun appear as a sort of betrayer of the family, since he’s playing a key role in outing the family’s secrets. But at this point, it does feel like this is quite possibly the only way to put a stop to the generations of manipulation and misery.
Also, it occurs to me that this is a huge personal step for Do Hyun, because, from always having to hide his secrets, he’s now choosing a path that will have him basically stand before the world with all his secrets laid bare for all to see.
And he’s taking that step with such a calm unflinching sort of steadiness, that I can’t help feeling rather impressed, at his boldness and courage. He’s going to let the gawkers gawk if they want to, but he’s not going to hide who he is, any longer.
I don’t particularly care for the way the breakup is handled, because even though there are well-intentioned, caring touches built into it, like having Ri On be there for Ri Jin, after Do Hyun leaves, there’s a strong sense of “I know better what’s good for you” that runs through this.
And even though Ri Jin sometimes comes across as too childlike for my liking, she is a grown woman who should have more personal agency to decide what she wants to do, than what Do Hyun and Ri On are giving her.
We’ve seen and heard Ri Jin say, this episode, that she feels it’s time that she know the truth of her parentage and childhood. But Do Hyun and Ri On are simply ignoring her, albeit with good intentions.
Plus, despite their efforts, Ri Jin’s memories come back anyway, particularly with her being summoned by Chairman Gran, and Ri Jin happening to see the photograph of Dad, while there.
I’m glad that at least Mom is honest with her, when Ri Jin tells her that she’s like to know the truth.
For the first time, we hear about how Min Seo Yeon had been pressured into marriage because of her family’s suddenly desperate financial situation, and how she’d eventually asked for a divorce. The biggest shock, this hour, however, is the reveal, that Ri Jin’s name had originally been Do Hyun.
OH MY GOSH. That’s why Ri Jin had had to be hidden, all the time that she’d lived at the Cha household.
She’d been entered into the family register upon entering Korea with her mother, but once Dad had come back with a son, somehow, the decision had been made, to hide her away, so that the boy could take her official place – and that’s when her name had been given to Do Hyun.
Woah. I had not seen that coming.
What a mind-bender it must be for Do Hyun in particular, since he’s been talking about how he had so desperately wished for the child Ri Jin’s pain to be his own.
What a cruel twist this has turned out to be, because not only did he mistakenly believe her pain to be his own, he’d inadvertently taken her identity too. 😳
@KFG – Really?! We did?! I don’t remember (no surprise there). But I’ll add the two you mentioned to my list. Maybe if I describe the show I started you’ll recognize it? It’s definitely a comedy. The main character is maybe (maybe not) a fashion blogger or something like that. I remember she’s super girly-girl (into fashion & make up trends). Somehow she and a friend end up joining the military. I only watched one episode so don’t have much to describe. However, I took a screenshot of the main character because I liked the blouse she had on and want to make it for myself. Maybe you’ll recognize the actress and deduce the show?
@KFG @merij1 – Aa long as requests are being made – Kfangurl – what are some good Singaporean dramas? I started one that seems cute but I can’t remember the name so I can pick it up again! I was watching on “the dark place” so no way to track it. I should’ve written the name of it down.
@beez I think we had a conversation about this some time back. I remember suggesting My Star Bride and The Little Nonya, though I honestly am not super familiar with Singapore dramas since I haven’t watched one in quite a while! 😝
@KFG – you know, I listened to you in that podcast and didn’t detect any accent at all. Sounded very American to me (please forgive my ignorance because I guess we westerners are the ones with accents to you.😳) I hear Singaporeans speak every Sunday (on Joseph Prince-New Creation Church broadcast)but you didn’t sound like any of them. Usually I think the accent falls somewhere between British and Indian although much more pleasant to my ear than either of those accents. There’s no high pitched sing-song tone of India nor the nasaly tone of the Brits. No offense to anyone. I’m just stating my observations and how it sounds to my ears. I know we Americans have many, some downright horrid, sounding accents from state to state.
@beez What you heard on the podcast is how I normally speak, which I suppose leans a bit American, perhaps thanks to consuming American TV in the past. It became my default since it’s not helpful to have a Singlish accent when conducting workshops for an international audience (which I did for quite a few years). I do speak Singlish with friends though, so it’s not like I don’t know how to speak it. It’s just a different mode, I guess you could say? 😅
Can someone explain the deal with Park Seo-joon? (Actor who plays Ri-on, the twin brother and secret bestselling author.)
Kfangurl, I know you’ve mentioned him in the past as one of your crushes. And both Ann and Ben (comedy bloggers from Singapore) chose him as the heartthrob in that hilarious country song parody about K-drama addiction you turned us onto:
Is this a Singapore thing? He hasn’t been in that many shows or films, although Parasite was big, obviously, and Fight For My Way, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim and Itaewon Class are on my list of shows-to-maybe-watch.
While I like him just fine, he would never have made my A list for swoony MLs. I just don’t get it.
Another actor who strikes me the same way is Son Ho-jun, who played the younger brother in Dazzling/The Light In Your Eyes and was in another of my maybe-watch shows, Was It Love? Again, totally likeable . . . but swoony?
I am exactly the wrong person to address your question, but will wait with bated breath for someone better qualified to explain.
But seriously, that video is hilarious. Recommend that all check it out if they haven’t done so.
KFG, I’ve been meaning to ask, is Ann/Annette’s English accent and the odd ( to me) pacing of her lines typical for a person from Singapore? I find it very endearing, but I can’t quite put my finger on why:
Jeff, she has a large catalog of amusing clips, but her trying to explain the notion of “videos” to Ben in the one-minute teaser for their new show is quite funny:
I saw that, too! Definitely will look forward to upcoming posts from them….
@merij1 The short answer is yes, Annette’s accent is fairly typical for a Singaporean.
The slightly longer answer is, even for Singlish, there is a scale, and in the videos Annette’s accent is touched with a bit of formality, which we can hear in this Singapore news clip:
For a more casual rendition of Singlish than Annette’s you can check out this video:
Edited to add: ok, sorry, that video is also an example of Singlish that’s similar to Annette’s. It’s got a touch of formality about it, but with glimpses of the Singlish cadence. THIS following video is a more accurate representation of more casual Singlish 😅:
I hope that helps! 😃
Oh yes, I totally hear it now. It’s a lovely style.
So I guess not everyone in Singapore sounds like Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan or Jimmy Yang? (Much less Constance Wu or Awkwafina…)
Totally joking, obviously, since none of them are exactly from there! Fun movie, though.
However it does lead to two follow ups: would you say that Singlish sounds distinctly different from the accent in the urban portions of Mayalsia?
And do people in either country get annoyed when outsiders confuse them for the other? (I think I mentioned that I’ve found it’s really not a good idea to confuse a person from New Zealand for being from Australia, but less a problem to make the reverse mistake.)
Ha. I do appreciate the time you took to find those links.
So please consider these unsolicited AMA requests as a Dear Fangurl request for a piece on Singapore’s culture, relative to other k-drama-loving nations.
I’m always curious about other parts of the world, so when I meet someone from a country I don’t know much about, I tend to ask too many questions!
@merij1 – Thanks for the video – cutest thing ev-VER!
I used to really wonder about Park Seo joon’s appeal, but a few shows later and I understand. But that other actor you mentioned, I’ve seen him in a few things, and I can’t see me ever changing toward him.
BTW, I think I heard PSJ will be doing something with the Marvel movies.
After posting that comment I watched a clip from Itaewon Class and saw that he has matured with age. It also looks like all the images that song parody uses of him are from that show.
Agreed, I love that moment at the beach when it turns out she knows what the point was of the trip on the railroad.
And, yes, even though the answer was obvious to TV viewers a few minutes prior, the “what is your name” reveal, seen in his/her stereo, was wonderful.
I also like the way they do montages of prior scenes featuring his alternate personalities to show him starting to re-integrate his memories and personalities.
I didn’t read all the comments in the prior weeks, so I don’t know if these things were covered, but they deserve repeats, even so:
Auditory Hallucination is such a great theme song! It feels weird to hear or see a Korean rapper, but obviously it’s no weirder than a white American rapper, which my stepson happens to be. For this song, the blend of pop and rap works exceptionally well. Every now and then since watching KM/HM last year, I’ll look it up YouTube — whether the studio version, the live version from the 2015 DMC Festival or what appear to be covers by others.
I love several of the portrayals in the secondary roles, including the characters I hate:
+ Choi Won-young is so caring and efficiently calm as Ahn Gook, Do-hyun’s Secretary. If only we all had someone like that in our lives.
+ Shim Hye-jin as Do-hyun’s despicably grasping mom. What a horrible excuse for a human being. She epitomizes the person you don’t want getting a toehold into your family. Although her character in Secret Love Affair was also motivated only by greed, that woman was strong, whereas this one is just plain broken.
+ Both Kim Yoo-ri as Do-hyun’s first love and Oh Min-seok as his cousin — her current fiancée and Do-hyun’s corporate/family rival. Neither are exactly likeable, of course, but they are fairly nuanced in that space between “villain” and “tool-of-the-true-villains.”
+ The less nuanced villains — Do-hyun’s cold grandmother and his uncle — are fine. Just not as interesting, although I keep hoping to catch even a glimpse of humanity/remorse from the grandmother.
+ Ri-jin’s parents, of course, are wonderful but I know they’ve been covered by others here.
+ Go Chang-suk as Do-yun’s original psychiatrist and Ri-jin’s colleague.
+ Ahn Nae-sang doesn’t get much to work with as Do-yun’s sad-sack/weakling/abusive father (besides being in a coma other than the flashbacks!) His role in Dazzling/The Light in Your Eyes was similarly sad-sack, but so different from the scholar/teacher/confidant of the King in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. (I realize he’s been in a gazillion shows and films, but these are the ones I’ve seen him in, plus Into The Ring.)
+ Oops. I left out Myung se-bin, who plays Ri-jin’s ultra competent — but long dead — birth mother. It’s not a big role, since we see her only via flashback, but she knocks it out of the park. By which I mean, you can totally believe that the chaebol grandfather would have chosen her as his firm’s CEO, even back in the day when, I presume, only men (and actual family members) were offered such positions.
I’m still here, too. I’m just not commenting much because I lacked the discipline to not binge ahead and so I’ve been afraid of possibly spilling spoilers in the wrong episodes.
Thanks again for the great write-up and commentary, kfangurl. There may be only a few of us left here, but I for one am going to ride this snowflake train right into the station!
Did anyone think we’d be able to avoid noble idiocy? I mean, why should the other tropes have all the fun? At least the show is self-aware enough to call some of these out when they occur. And it was a novel mode of breakup, although I do think that KFG was being kind in giving HJE the benefit of the doubt by saying that her unnaturally happy manner was due to her knowledge of what was to come.
And talk about a reveal! I certainly didn’t see this coming. I’ve been confused about the family tree from the beginning, and am looking forward to my weekend watch to see whether things start to come into focus or if I will be left in the genealogical dust yet again. Isn’t it at least clear that Ri Jin is a rightful heir of
Acme CorporationSeung Jin Group? Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Do-hyun’s (the male one’s) Mom!
Finally, I want to give a shout out to one truly lovely relationship in the show, that between Ri Jin and, Ji Soon-young, her adoptive mother. The love between them is so palpable – I nearly teared up when she said that she got (something, sorry forgot what) from “my mother’s heart” – and mom treats her with respect and candor. Kim Hee-jung is great in the role (and goes on to play a similar character in “The Beauty Inside”).
@j3ffc As I understand it, it was Min Seo Yeon’s first love, whom she’d gone to seek out in the US (and who’d died), who’d fathered Ri Jin. Therefore, Ri Jin’s not technically Seung Jin blood.. Only (male) Do Hyun is, and that’s why Dad had made the decision to hide Ri Jin, and give his own son her name.
Thanks for the clarification! I realized the error of my ways about 15 min into ep 17 😩
Oh, my head aches with the whole my-name-is-actually-your-name reveal!! Woah, I did not see that coming and now I feel all mixed up that the Do Hyun who presents himself as the main person of the personas might not be… I mean, isn’t the mum’s name Shin? Does that mean Shin Se Gi is his actual name and the main persona!? That would be… complicated! Did I lose the thread of what’s actually going on?! It feels very tangled and sad.
Their little trip was like that feeling when you visit someone who you know will die soon – trying to be ‘normal’ and chat while just wanting to ball your eyes out and cling to them 😭 I felt so much for both of them. And actually I agree with you kfangurl, that Ri On stepped up quite nicely there, not only to support Ri Jin AKA Do Hyun, and also Do Hyun AKA… Umm….
My side note comment about It’s Okay, That’s Love (just because I’m watching that too and both shows come from similar places, trying to show mental illness while often not accurately but with a whole lot of heart) I wanted to note that where that show is possibly better is that the OTP are new to each other so although the MH problems for both stem from childhood /teen, they don’t overlap which for me makes the growth of their relationship somehow clearer and deeper. God, the OTP is really good, right? I like the OTP here too but it feel imbalanced somehow and less honest and I think it’s because kdrama seem always so keen on shared childhoods. I mean, with their shared trauma, can they really find a future together? Maybe they will recollect happier shared childhood memories?
Anyway, I feel like I should add that while the inaccuracies around the mental health problems all these characters struggle with is sometimes (maybe oftentimes) galling, I do really, really appreciate how these shows are trying to represent the characters as perfectly imperfect people who want love, understanding, compassion as much as everyone else. That has my respect.
Excellent catch on the birth mom’s name being Shin!
Quick q: where are you watching It’s Okay, That’s Love?
It’s on Netflix here in the UK. I heartily recommend it.
@Ele It never occurred to me, that Shin Se Gi took on Mom’s last name!! Excellent catch, as j3ffc said!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Ah yes, I remember being very taken with the OTP in It’s Okay That’s Love.. definitely the big highlight of my watch!
I actually double-checked the name wondering if it was another strand of story I’d got muddled 😆 Ah, the It’s Okay, That’s Love OTP is the highlight of the show. It’s so very beautifully done 😍