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. 😳