Open Thread: My Mister Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I wanted to have this shot headline our post today, because this is such a life-giving moment, for Dong Hoon. ❤️

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:

1. ZERO SPOILER POLICY ON THE OPEN THREAD

We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.

The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD. ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).

*This includes (but is not limited to) how characters or relationships evolve over the course of the story. Just pretend that this is Past You, on this Open Thread!*

2. SPOILER ZONE AVAILABLE

HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 11

Things are boiling over, this episode, and it’s not pretty. Not only does it feel like things are falling apart, it also feels like people and relationships are on the cusp of falling apart as well.

This episode, we see that Ji An had been very cognizant that Dong Hoon was being tailed, when she’d provoked him to hit her for her love confession. Again, that drives home the point that Ji An’s willing to do a lot, and go very far, in order to protect Dong Hoon.

We’ve seen how much Dong Hoon means to her, and for someone as isolated as Ji An, her connection with Dong Hoon must provide her with a lot of solace and comfort.

And so, for her to risk throwing it all away, by provoking him with a love confession – which is something that has a strong chance of causing Dong Hoon to distance himself from Ji An – it really shows how sacrificially she cares about him.

Everything that Ji An does in relation to Dong Hoon, this episode, lines up with that.

Even though she tries to bluff Joon Young, that she’s doing what she can to bring Dong Hoon down, it’s clear, from how she tells Dong Hoon to fire her in front of everyone – complete with instructions on what to say – that she’s willing to throw herself under the bus, if it would mean saving Dong Hoon.

In the wake of this confrontation, it’s clear that Dong Hoon’s troubled by it, even though Ji An puts on her expressionless mask and goes about her work as usual. He keeps looking for her, as if to check to see if she’s ok.

Like when he takes a smoke break outside Jung Hee’s bar, and looks into the distance, as if he expects to maybe Ji An walking home from work. Or like when his eyes linger at her empty desk, when she’s not at her workstation.

I feel like on top of being perplexed by her actions, he’s likely also worried about her, and is curious to know why she would suddenly act so strangely.

I do love that he takes up the matter of the slippers with Ji An, and basically tells her that there’s no way he’s going to cut her out of his life. His entire spiel is so detailed, and so great, at painting a picture of exactly how he wants to continue to have Ji An in his life, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“I’m too old to immaturely fire you for liking me and I feel sick thinking about firing you and then ignoring you when we run into each other in the street. I have plenty of people I feel uncomfortable facing. I can’t stand to have any more. I can’t, because I feel sorry for myself for putting up with people like that.

“Also, even if I didn’t talk to a guy while we were in school once I meet his parents and say a few words, we’re not strangers anymore. That’s how I am. I’ll be at your grandmother’s funeral, so you’d better be at my mother’s. So get over it. Don’t sulk over it. I’ll treat you the way I treat Chief Song and Deputy Kim, without any spite so treat me the same way.

“And be nice to people. Isn’t it basic etiquette to treat people nicely? Why do you act like that? Did someone commit an unforgivable sin against you? I know the other employees didn’t treat you nicely. I’ll make sure that changes, so do better from now on.

“I’m going to see you finish your contract term and I’m going to hear that you’re doing well at another company. And then in 10 or 20 years when I run into you again I’m going to greet you warmly. I won’t avoid you because I feel uncomfortable. I’m going to face you with a smile. Let’s do that. I’m begging you. Let’s do that.”

And, I have to love Dong Hoon’s parting shot, “Buy me another pair of slippers.”

Ji An looks completely moved, that Dong Hoon would fight this hard, to keep her in his life, and I love it.

Besides this, there’s also how Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon attempt to carry on with life as usual, and I find their conversation about him going to the bar because there’s no point in coming home to an empty house, and her coming home late because she thinks he’ll be at the bar, painfully relatable.

Not that I’ve found myself in a similar situation; it just feels like something that can happen to any couple. An unhelpful downward spiral of assumptions and lack of communication can lead to a serious eroding of a relationship, and I feel like that’s exactly what’s happened with Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon.

Neither of them can figure out how it started, but at the same time, even when Dong Hoon says that he’ll only go to the bar twice a week to hang out with his brothers, Yoon Hee demurs and tells him to just keep going, because it would be weird if he suddenly changed his habits.

It feels like things have deteriorated to a point where an offer to do something to fix the situation, probably feels like too little, too late.

On top of this already difficult situation, we have all the political shenanigans, with Joon Young trying to dig into Dong Hoon, as much as Dong Hoon’s political camp is trying to dig into his life, in order to try to help him cover up anything that needs covering up. It just feels very invasive in general, at a time when he least needs it.

It’s no wonder Dong Hoon feels the need to step away. I can see why he’d go to the temple, to seek out his friend Gyeomduk, for some quiet company, and some perspective.

It’s pretty poignant, to hear Gyeomduk say that one of the reasons he’d decided to walk away from it all and become a monk, was because, watching Dong Hoon, he’d decided that that was all his life would amount to, too, if he went the corporate route.

That’s pretty sad, honestly, that Dong Hoon’s lived so earnestly, and yet, it had always been clear that it would end up pretty thankless, in the end.

I’m glad that even though Dong Hoon doesn’t say anything about his troubles to Gyeomduk, Gyeomduk gives him that long, brotherly backhug. It feels like Gyeomduk’s imparting some of his serenity to Dong Hoon, almost.

..Until I realize that what Dong Hoon actually takes away, is the thought that he can think of himself and no one else, and it’s ok to do so. Because, that’s essentially what Gyeomduk did, when he walked away from it all.

And how that gets expressed, in Dong Hoon’s case, is his confrontation with Joon Young. I know it’s going to be an uphill task for Dong Hoon, now that he’s thrown down the gauntlet in such a fashion, but DANG, it was satisfying to see Dong Hoon punch Joon Young in the face. Joon Young’s way too smug and annoying to be let off the hook, yes?

On another note, there’s Ki Hoon, who’s basically building up to exploding point, regarding Yoo Ra.

The more we see him fidget with his phone incessantly, checking to see if she’s seen his texts, and texted him back, the more obvious it becomes, that he likes her. If it hadn’t been clear before, it’s crystal clear now, because you only do that with someone whom you like. And Ki Hoon clearly likes her.

The way rushes to her apartment, when he receives her text, saying that she’s home and abou to go to sleep, is cute at first. But when I realize that the first thing he does, is to clean up her vomit, so that she won’t have to worry about her neighbors complaining about it, I’m honestly really touched.

I mean, that’s true love, in a way, isn’t it? I’m slightly surprised, and yet, not really that surprised, when Ki Hoon blurts out to Yoo Ra that he loves her.

Sadly for Yoo Ra, this isn’t something that brings her any comfort, because, as she puts it, she’s all wrinkled up on the inside, all over again.

As it turns out, she’s a terrible actress even when she works with a different director, and she feels really stuck. I do feel rather sorry for her, that she feels so lost and so beaten down.

This episode, the biggest thing that blows up, is the situation between Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee. More than once, it seems like Yoon Hee’s girding herself up, to tell Dong Hoon the truth, and each time, Dong Hoon appears to studiously avoid the situation.

As he’s said before, he doesn’t want a situation where he knows about her infidelity. He wants to do all he can, to preserve things the way they are, and he just can’t see himself managing to do that, once it’s clear that he knows.

However, I can see how Yoon Hee feels, too. It’s hard to live with a guilty conscience, and the more she tries to carry on as usual, it seems that the harder her guilt bears down on her.

It gets to the point where it becomes unbearable, and the only thing you feel you can do, to get relief, is to confess your wrongs. It gets to a point where it feels like a physical need, to relieve your conscience, failing which, you feel like you literally won’t be able to breathe. (I know I’ve felt this way before, at least once in my life.)

Therefore, I can understand why Yoon Hee persists in wanting to tell Dong Hoon the truth, even though it’s clear that he doesn’t want her to say anything.

Oof. How completely heartbreaking it is, though, to watch Dong Hoon finally overtly process his pain.

The way he hits and breaks that door; the way he keeps hitting it, even though his knuckles are bloody; the way he crumples to the floor; the way he keeps crying out to Yoon Hee, asking her how she could do this; it’s all completely heartbreaking to witness.

And, I can imagine, it must be heartbreaking to hear, as well. Ji An bears witness to it all, as she listens in, and I’m sure it hurts her to hear it, as much as it hurts us, to see it. 😭

“Why did you do that? Why did you do it? Why did you do that? Why?”

“You’re Ji Seok’s mother. You’re his mother. As soon as you cheated on me with that bastard… you pronounced me dead. Because you thought it was okay for me to be treated that way. That was you saying that I’m worthless and that I should just die.”

Oof. That’s just so painful to hear. 💔

Episode 12

They say that it always takes two, in a relationship, and it’s also usually the case, when considering the breakdown of a relationship.

As we see Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee hash things out in flashback, I can’t help but sympathize with the grievances that Yoon Hee brings up. It can’t have been easy for her to deal with Dong Hoon’s enduring, constant connection with his friends and family, after their marriage, especially since she herself didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood.

In this respect, it does feel like Dong Hoon didn’t do enough to reach a workable compromise with Yoon Hee, that would allow him to stay connected with his friends and family, without alienating his wife.

That said, it does also feel like the two of them didn’t talk things through very much. Based on the bits and pieces of information that we hear in this conversation, it does sound like they tended to assume how the other person felt, instead of actually talking things out.

Like when Yoon Hee had hoped that moving to a new neighborhood would give her and Dong Hoon a fresh start. She says that she’d decided to give up, because of how quiet Dong Hoon got, each time she brought up the subject.

In this case, I feel like if either of them had leaned into the discomfort of an honest conversation, it’s possible that they could have arrived at a workable solution that would have made their relationship happier.

But, neither of them did, and I’d say that when it comes to the nuts and bolts of what went wrong in their marriage, both Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee have a part to play.

All that said, I appreciate that even as Yoon Hee spills her tears and her guts about how she feels about all of these things, she doesn’t attempt to shirk her responsibility when it comes to the affair with Joon Young. She admits that she was in the wrong, and that nothing can change that. I do think that that counts for something.

Additionally, the way Yoon Hee tells Dong Hoon that she’ll do what he wants to do, ie, she’ll stay in the marriage if that’s what he wants, or she’ll divorce him, if that’s what she wants. That seems fair, since, in the case of the affair, Dong Hoon is the aggrieved party.

From the way this conversation keeps echoing in Dong Hoon’s mind, I do think that this has given him a lot of food for thought as well.

I personally feel like this relationship may have suffered too much damage to actually be properly salvaged, but learning about your flaws in how you navigate a relationship, is always a good thing, I think.

This alone would be enough to preoccupy an average person’s thoughts to the point of distraction, but in Dong Hoon’s case, he still has the interview for Directorship to deal with, and all the politics around that. I can only imagine the stress that he’s under, as a result.

And yet, Dong Hoon continues to be a good manager to his team. I love the little detail, that after his “cram session” at the hotel, he goes back to the office, to work with his team on that report, so that they can finish earlier, and hopefully catch the last train home.

No wonder he’s so well-loved by his team. I think I said this in my review, but honestly, the only thing that could have made Dong Hoon’s arrival back at the office any better, is if he’d shown up with food for everyone. That would have been perfect.

But still. Considering all that Dong Hoon’s going through, he’s being an amazing manager, and I just wanted to give him credit where it’s due.

That scene in the train, where Dong Hoon tells Ji An that the reason she likes him is because she finds him pitiful, just like her, and Ji An tells him that he likewise is kind to her, because he finds her pitiful, just like him, feels like a pretty great distillation of one of the foundations of their connection.

There is empathy and solidarity in this connection, because he sees her hardship, and she sees his.

It feels like a pretty big milestone, for Dong Hoon to introduce Ji An to his friends, when they meet outside Jung Hee’s bar. This is his way of opening up his world to her, isn’t it? This definitely takes their connection beyond the office, if there was any doubt before. I personally still don’t see this as a romantic thing; I just appreciate this gesture, of one human to another.

Like, I know you’re suffering, so let me share one of my key solaces with you, so that you can get some solace too.

I love how easily and readily the neighborhood gang embraces Ji An, and treats her like one of their own. The way they walk her home, making easy, cheerful conversation, as if she herself is welcoming and cheerful, even though she’s not, and the way Sang Hoon calls out to his friend Moon Chul, to look out for Ji An, all adds up to such a warm experience.

It’s no wonder Ji An looks almost stricken, from all the warmth and kindness. The way she calls out, “Thank you” to them as they leave, is so uncharacteristic of her, that it’s clear to see how much this casual act of kindness on their part, has meant so much more to her, than they might imagine.

As for Ki Hoon and Yoo Ra, I remember having felt perplexed by their arc on my first watch, but I find that I appreciate their loveline more, this time around.

The fact that Ki Hoon comes out and admits his shameful secret, for the sake of setting Yoo Ra free, says a lot about how he feels about her. Yes, it horrible that he’d ever treated her that way, and yes, it’s horrible that he’d knowingly used her and destroyed her self-confidence, for the sake of preserving his pride.

At the same time, knowing how much his pride in his reputation as a genius means to him, it feels like he’s making the ultimate sacrifice, for Yoo Ra’s sake, and that’s got to count for something.

I believe Yoo Ra gets that too, which is why she comes at him with such conflicting reactions. On the one hand, she wants to slap him for what he did to her, but on the other hand, she wants to embrace him, for what he’s now doing for her.

Jung Hee is right, these two are right for each other. And Mom’s right in estimating that Yoo Ra must be very weird, to be the right match for Ki Hoon, ha.

I appreciate that when Ji An contacts her, Yoon Hee does all she can, to get Joon Young to leave Dong Hoon alone. Despite all that’s happened, Yoon Hee does genuinely care about Dong Hoon, and doesn’t want him to be destroyed by Joon Young.

In fact, when she later calls Ji An to confirm that Ji An means what she says, when she says that she likes Dong Hoon, Yoon Hee looks both saddened and relieved.

Saddened, probably because it feels, more than ever, that she’s losing Dong Hoon. And relieved, I think, because she feels like someone else would give Dong Hoon the care, love and consideration that she’d failed to give him.

For the first time, I feel a measure of sympathy for Kwang Il, as he tells Ji An that he can’t decide whether to kill her, or kill himself. He looks genuinely miserable, like his life has tormented him as much as he’s tormented Ji An.

On a similar sort of note, I also feel sorry for Jung Hee, who’s still tormented by the fact that Gyeomduk’s decision to walk away from everything and become a monk. I feel really bad for her, because I’m sure she wants to move on, as much as everyone else wants her to move on. She just.. can’t. And that’s got to be a torture in and of itself.

Certainly, I don’t think that Gyeomduk realized just how much his decision would affect Jung Hee, and that guilt must be weighing on him, even as he lives the monk life, away from the troubles of this world.

That final interview at the end of the episode, where Director Yoon tries to play dirty by having Ji An take the interview instead of Seok Beom, is a great scene, because of how raw and honest Ji An is, in answering that question.

It literally feels like she’s laying her heart bare, for the first time, and it’s all for Dong Hoon’s sake, because there’s nothing she won’t do, to protect him.

“In this kind of work culture… where people treat you based on your background I decided to work here quietly as if I’m not even here. I’d never been invited to a company dinner… with that kind of kindness.. until Manager Park invited me one night. Manager Park never treated me poorly… for being a temporary employee and his junior.”

“I like him. I respect him. I got used to being neglected… so I didn’t expect much from other people and I never tried hard to hear praise from other people.

But now… I want to do a good job. I don’t know if the fact that I like someone… will produce an unfavorable outcome… but even if you fire me today… I’ve been treated like a human being for the first time. And I thought… that I could be a decent person after all while working here.”

“So I’ll always… be thankful to Manager Park. In the three months that I’ve worked here… I’ve felt warmer than I’ve ever felt in my 21 years. Whenever I pass by and see this building, I’m happy… and I’ll always… wish the best for Saman E&C.”

Her entire spiel is so heartfelt and sincere. I’d be surprised if the board were to find any fault with Ji An’s testimony, or with Dong Hoon as a manager.

The best moment of this episode, though, has to be the scene at the end, when Dong Hoon and Ji An sit together in that restaurant.

Dong Hoon tells Ji An that she’s courageous, but also, that he’s not as decent a person as she makes him out to be.

Ji An’s response, “You’re a really decent person. You’re a good person. Really,” feels like a literal balm for Dong Hoon’s soul, so freshly wounded by Yoon Hee’s infidelity and what that means to him. His watery smile says it all; Ji An’s words have comforted him, more than she knows.

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matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Neither of them can figure out how it started

Technically, that’s what she says after accusing putting the whole blame on him, when he finally snaps back at the absurdity of it all and tells her he doesn’t want to come home to an empty house. Then she backtracks to the “vicious cycle” and tells him she understand how she could see things that way. He does not reply to that point and she does not seem particularly keen on taking responsibility for her own actions.

tells him to just keep going, because it would be weird if he suddenly changed his habits.

Actually, before that she nitpicked whether football was included. I wondered whether this was to be read in the light of wanting to keep the affair a secret (if he doesn’t show up they will become suspicious).

The way Dong Hoon spaces out, after busying himself with the housework, and also, the way he literally turns right around, after taking the elevator to go up to his apartment floor, show us how much he’s struggling to actually do what he’d set out to, to act like everything’s normal, and the past is nothing.

an offer to do something to fix the situation, probably feels like too little, too late.

Remember how he saw her car outside the apartment, and he was physically unable to go through the door. How he is alone at home and in the moments of pause he can’t help but think about his wife’s affair.

She now knows that he knows, and she remembered in the car all the times he apologized, responded to her snapping at him with kindness, and nursed her back to health in bed, despite knowing of her betrayal. Still, she now questions multiple times his commitment (despite the absurdity given her flashback that should have dispelled any doubt he has about that, as well as her own betrayal that does not really give her any leg to stand on).

The thing I found incredible was the complete lack of any compassion. As we see, even if he is trying to leave the past in the past, he is suffering terribly, he thinks about this every time he is alone and there is a moment of pause, and when he sees her car he physically cannot enter the apartment, and turns around. It’s impossible to me to understand the level of self absorption it would take to take him to task for not wanting to come home to her and spending time with his friends, given he is going through this impossible suffering.

In terms of too little too late, consider how accomodating he was, and how he is still wiling to compromise at this point, when doing so almost physically hurts him, while she, that raised the issue by attacking him (with no consideration for the obvious reasons that would make him want to stay out of the house and lean on his friends) not only spurns the offer, but doesn’t offer anything on her side to address this, despite acknowledging (not without his pushback) her major contribution to this situation. The most charitable interpretation would be that she finally realized that she has no right to question his commitment, and that given how terribly she hurt him, it’s normal for him to want to be outside the house and see his friends, as him being unable to force himself to enter the apartment after seeing her car demonstrated to the viewers. But given her attitude toward him in this scene, I find that pretty unlikely -not once in the whole conversation did she spontaneously stop to consider his point of view-.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

On the topic of her not considering his point of view at all, we can a clear example when she takes her lover’s call in the home while her husband is in the other room, her lover tells her to keep silent about her knowing, and she tells him he knows of the affair anyway. Not a thought spent on the fact that her husband could hear her, and how this might hurt him. The focus is, once again, on her own feelings.

Not that I disagree with the point of her coming clean (if we can use the term when he already knows), in fact this is something she should have done even before knowing he knows, as she had no right to continue deceiving him, and he should have been able to make an informed decision: he is supposed to be an equal partner, not a spare tire for her to dispose with as she pleases.

No, what I have an issue with is the casual disregard with which she picks up the phone call and talks with her lover about this while he is in the other room, uncaring about what he might hear or about what hearing her talk to her lover, and about the affair to boot, might do to him.

Complete self absorption, the thought of what DH might think or feel where he to overhear the phone call in their apartment not even making an appearance in her mind.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

the way he literally turns right around, after taking the elevator to go up to his apartment floor, show us how much he’s struggling to actually do what he’d set out to, to act like everything’s normal, and the past is nothing.

In this respect, it does feel like Dong Hoon didn’t do enough to reach a workable compromise with Yoon Hee, that would allow him to stay connected with his friends and family, without alienating his wife.

Considering his all too accomodating nature, and the facts above, namely him being willing to compromise even if when he is so devastated by the affair that when he sees her car outside the apartment he is physically unable to enter it, and has to turn around, I would say that it’s impossible to say that he was the one unwilling to reach a middle ground.

By contrast, we see how, despite being the one raising the issue and attacking him, she does not offer to compromise on her coming home late, and even nitpicks and spurns his offer (not showing, in all of this, despite knowing he knows of the affair, any sense of compassion or empathy for how difficult it would be for him to be remembered of her affair every time he has a moment of pause at home, and all the more every time he sees her -which is why he turns away-, not that she is helping matters, by discussing her affair with her lover in their own apartment, uncaring of what DH in the other room might ear). This tells me pretty clearly who the one unwilling to accept a compromise is, between the two: she wants to monopolize his attention, it’s all or nothing.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

It’s not at all clear to me why he should be the one to bring up the compromise unilaterally. She can do that too, and between the two of them she was the one that married him knowing the situation, but really just pretending to go along with this while biding her time to distance him from friends and family. Notice, however, like she does not go for a compromise at all, neither in the past nor when DH proposes it:

  • She goes from doing favors and meeting her brothers, not because she felt they were family and wanted to, but in order to get DH to her side and mold him into who she wanted, to routinely making excuses and skipping family meetings: episode 1, episode 7, the time she went to see the brother’s new business and it was clear that she routinely avoided meeting them, seeing her mother in law so rarely that she cooks her specialty when they eat together. Basically, as long as she no longer needs to get in DH’s good graces, because her attempt to distance him from friends and family failed, she drops them like a pair of old shoes.
  • She says that he is her top priority in her life, a ludicrous statement in light of her horrific betrayal -involving not only cheating on him with his worst enemy, who wanted to fire him, but conspiring to get him out of a job-. Yet , as he points out, he was the one doing the housework before she came home in order to support her in her job, while she went right to her studio and he couldn’t even turn on the volume on the TV. How is being unavailable a problem only when he wants to see his family and friends? Is he not allowed to feel abandoned? Would appear not, from how she pushes all the blame on him, without even acknowledging his feelings of loneliness at coming back to an empty apartment. Yet, even after raising the issue, she nitpicks his offer of compromise and does not give an inch of her own.
  • Her “solution” was not a compromise at all, it was for him to move to another place and be physically separated from family and friends. That’s not in any way, shape or form, a compromise.
  • As he does not blame her or make her feel wrong about her profession, it would be appreciated if she could return to the attitude she showed in the first episodes, where she acknowledged that this was, after all, a difference in perspective not an intentional slight towards her. Now, instead, her attitude is that his life outlook is not just a different perspective, but it’s outright wrong.
matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Quick explanation of my thoughts on the notion of accepting any compromise that would jeopardize the relationship, or distance him, from people that would love him unconditionally, always have his back (and in some cases had been with his his entire life, though how his wife’s willingness to betray and stand by someone willing to fire him shows (only to break up with him over words behind the back and lying about camping), merely knowing someone for a long time is not a guarantee.

https://thefangirlverdict.com/2022/01/12/spoiler-zone-my-mister-episodes-11-12/#comment-113965

Tldr, it would be complete foolishness.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

That she would treat him like that and the, while knowing that he knows the truth, she would still ask him to limit the time spent with his friends, is just crazy. Does she still believe that after all she did she has the right to dictate where he spends the time? At least she has a reasonable certainty he is not in bed with someone else (as per his friend’s words, who he went in search of the monk with, he is completely trustworthy).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I would have liked to see her at least show some concern for his psychological safety while she was in the middle of her screed, him having just confessed to having been made to feel worthless. No, another job for Ji An.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Ji An is really his guardian angel. Always on the lookout for solutions, now even reaching out to his wife, who she doesn’t like too much -and is always ready to get her away from Dong Hoon… really liked to see Ji An provoke her and pay her back with her own coin, if only in fantasy-.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I mean, by how the evil boss behaves it’s as if he is the one that has been cheated and betrayed, and Dong Hoon the lucky one that inspires loyalty all around. In Ji An’s case, obviously yes, and also in his friends, family and subordinate. Certainly not in his wife, for the longest time. Pretty funny to see him exasperated about that, considering him and the wife were previously conspiring to get him out of a job, one way or another.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago

I think that Dong Hoon’s wife could have had an even better development if she had realized a few things about her internal dynamics rather than projecting outwards.

In the first episode, the first time we see her with her lover she is having a fight with him over him not carrying a second phone and not calling her, while she checked her phone 12 times a day. He says it’s not safe, she tells him it’s an excuses, if he wanted he could find a way, he just doesn’t care to. Basically questioning his commitment, and they weren’t even married.

Dong Hoon had a parallel experience, in that she ghosted him and his family for the wedding event to spend a day at the beach with her lover, and she didn’t even call him (by contrast, he always called her to ask her whether she needed anything). At home, they are having a conversation, and as soon as she mentions herself and the wedding he shuts down and bottles his pain up inside, instead than exploding and going on the attack like her (the first time she does is in this chapter, where she knows he knows of the affair, but still questions his care and commitment, and doesn’t even show him a bit of compassion, understanding that he needs his friends and support group more than ever, and he probably is not too pleased being around her). He points out that he didn’t like coming back to an empty home, and she backpedals and tells him she understands his point of view (and he immediately offers a compromise, that she refuses, while she, who raised the issue and attacked him first, doesn’t offer anything in the way of spending more time at home).

A strange parallel, her calling her lover and him not calling her, and her husband calling her, and her not calling him. Her aggressiveness (and insecurities) versus his silence. It also tells me that, even had her lover married her (which was not on the table, it turns out), they would have likely encountered the same problems she and Dong Hoon had (minus, maybe, the issue of friends, since he didn’t have any -for self explanatory reasons-, and family also, apparently). They were bubbling up even one year in the relationship, when they saw each other sporadically instead of living together. She was beginning to treat him/attack him with the same pattern as she does Dong Hoon. I would have liked to see her look at herself a little bit more closely, because clearly there is a pattern here.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I think that this should have been better explored at some point, because to me it in hindsight it was a clear parallel. Also pretty funny that the adulterous couple’s first appearance (as far as I can remember) was a fight.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I must say that I find the notion of someone that had done what Dong Hoon’s wife had done having the face to advance any kind of demand rater ridiculous.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I also found ridiculous that she wouldn’t be the one to compromise on her work schedule, but she was the one that raised the issue and attacked him. Though maybe one in his position would like to see her as little as possible, knowing what she had done.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I believe had they given the adulterous relationship another year, or a bit more of reality outside the bubble, issues with her insecurities that were bubbling up would have led them into territory very similar to the one of her relationship with Dong Hoon, barring maybe the issue of attachment to family and friends (evil boss didn’t seem the type to have many).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Actually, I went back and looked at episode one, the scene with her lover at their apartment where she lays into him about her carrying the phone around all day and checking it twelve times, and he has to explain that he cannot carry it around because it would be suspicious, and she replies he could find a solution and just doesn’t have the will. It looked pretty clear that she was clingy/needy/controlling/possessive and insecure, constantly seeking validation. It was eerily reminiscent of what she did with her husband, and frankly I can see how they would develop a similar dynamic.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Maybe it wouldn’t even take too much time… a good dose of reality, and they would have to deal with her insecurities in a real wold context. But of course, him not wanting to marry her for her poor family background and all that, it would have ended even sooner.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

They say that it always takes two, in a relationship, and it’s also usually the case, when considering the breakdown of a relationship.

Depends on what you mean by this. If you mean the ending of the relationship, then the analogy would be a dying patient that gets killed. The cause of death would be homicide, and the culprit clearly the one at fault. In their case, the ending of the relationship could be compared to a plane that is consuming fuel (fuel consumption being the equivalent of her trying to mold him into something she wants -which I found unfair: she knew who he was when she married him, he did not consent to have a core part of his values and personality changed-, and him not wanting to detach himself from friends and family). It could either land gracefully (her asking for a divorce) or be nose-dived and crashed into the ground (her year long affair with his worst enemy, in which they both, at some point, conspired to get him out of a job).

If we are talking about why the relationship was on the rocks, rather than her giving it the coup de grace, then unfortunately the focus shouldn’t be on the vicious cycle describe above (where, anyway, I don’t think they have equal responsibilities: notice how she attacked him and only when he pushed back -which apparently he didn’t do very often, preferring to apologize, the same way instead of complaining about her long hours and putting pressure on her, since he wanted to be supportive of her in her job, he put up with it in silence and leaned more on the rest of his friends and support structure- did she acknowledge her responsibilities in this and that she saw how he could have seen things that way -and yet, despite her being the one to attack him and raise the issue, he was the only one that offered to compromise, which she spurned: no offer of compromise or coming home from work earlier on her part-).

The core issue, to put it plainly, is that she bought a cat and wanted it to bark. She entered a relationship with a man who considered his extended family and friends central parts of his life, the same way Ji An considers her grandma a central part of his life, and wanted to mold him into something different, resenting him for not consenting to changing a central part of his values and personality. Essentially, she hated iron for not being steel.

Now, I am not of two minds about this: she knew who she married, it was unfair for her to try to mold him into who she wished him to be, and even more unfair for her to resent him for not complying, and even more unfair than that that she didn’t divorce him when she understood she couldn’t.

she doesn’t attempt to shirk her responsibility when it comes to the affair with Joon Young. She admits that she was in the wrong, and that nothing can change that. I do think that that counts for something.

To me it doesn’t count like much: she betrayed him with his worst enemy, conspired with the latter to get him out of a job, would have divorced him for, and stood by the side of, someone that would have fired him and enlisted an accused murderer’s help to do so. Then she broke up (because of him lying about camping, not because he wanted to hurt her husband), and felt shame at liking someone unworthy (again, because he lied to her about camping, not because he hurt her husband). Not much regret for the betrayal in and of itself, if at all. Then all of a sudden, she knows he knows, and we have regret.

All of this was on her. As he stresses in the apology scene, feeling unhappy and cheating are two different issues. He was unhappy (almost suicidal, definitely much more unhappy and stressed than her -in part because of her and her lover-), but he didn’t cheat. And she could have divorced if she was unhappy -he would have agreed, and she wanted to anyway, during the affair, and now, after her confession, is ready to do so if he wishes-… I find eyebrow raising that while wanting to divorce when being with her lover, she didn’t leave (or come clean) after the affair’s breakup… unsure about how I feel about that, because it’s unclear to me whether she had residual feelings (but she treated him pretty horrendously, being short and snappy and projecting her flaws on him, taking out her frustrations on him), or he was simply a convenient fallback.

Again, he was not a wife beating drunk, so she was never under the illusion he deserved this, even when was having the affair, or in the interim period before discovering he knew, when she didn’t have any guilt (she admitted to her lover in the first episodes that he was a kind a reliable, if lonesome, husband, and most women would have been happy with him). No, he was not a wife beating drunk, the point of contentions were the following:

  • The “vicious cycle”, where she acknowledged how he could have seen things the way he saw them -him coming back to an empty house and leaning more towards his friends because he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, and vice versa her, in a spiral. This however was “incidental”, not the real problem.
  • Her marrying him fully knowing about his values and doing favors to his family/meeting his brothers not because she wanted to integrate herself in his family or friends circle (claims to hate the latter -probably an exaggeration- and clearly saw his family as in-laws, not as real family, like her sister in law did: to her family were her kid and husband, nothing more than that), then resenting him because he wouldn’t agree to let himself be molded like she wished, and abandoning the efforts (in episode 7 we see that she makes excuses not to visit, which seemed habitual: she clearly had no intention to fit in with this circle at all -compare with Ji An-). This second one is the real reason. She bought a cat and wanted it to bark, and resented it when in didnt.
matrice
matrice
5 months ago

It feels like things have deteriorated to a point where an offer to do something to fix the situation, probably feels like too little, too late.

I frankly find it insulting and unfair that -after attacking him for it first, mind you, and fully knowing that he knows of her infidelity, and therefore has every reason to want to see her as little as possible and want to lean on his friends, do sports, etc.-, she would question his commitment ad care for her (after having flashbacked about his kindness and care when she was snappy and he knew what she had done).

He replied he didn’t want to come home to an empty house, and her backpedaling and admitting (at last) that yes, he came back to an empty house and felt lonely and abandoned, but didn’t want to pressure her because he wanted to support her in her job, so he put up with it without saying anything, and he leaned in more towards his friends, and her vice versa.

She admitted it was a vicious cycle (who knows who started) -again, mind you, after attacking him, without showing a hint of compassion for his situation or self awareness that if anyone had any reason to question someone’s lack of commitment it would be him, not her: he cared for her even when he knew what she did-. She also admitted that she saw how he could have seen things that way and started leaning in more towards his friends.

Having admitted she could see his point of view and understand why he felt like not coming back to an empty house, but didn’t want to put pressure on her, and thus leaned more on the rest of his support structure, and considering the other things she has done to wreck the relationship, he is the one that offers an olive branch and she is the one that spurns it.

Now, where is the part where she offers to come home earlier and don’t let him come back to an empty house? She admitted her part in this, and even how she saw how he could have interpreted the situation this way, thus the spiral. She is the one that complained about the situation (actually pushing all the blame on him, as usual). They both know that part of her absence in the last year was due to her making excuses and cheating with his worst enemy (and she has the gall to nitpick about if soccer is included or not!). So how come he is the one offering to compromise and she turns it down, after having raised the issue? Shouldn’t she, after admitting her fault in this and that she sees how he could “have interpreted it that way”, and after raising the issue (attacking him, really) in the first place, be also the one offering to fix this? Particularly since part of her absence was due to much worse than chatting with relatives or playing sports, and completely uncorrelated with work (at least not in the usual sense: it was partly correlated with her and her lover conspiring, each in their own ways, to get him out of a job).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

She should have left him when she had understood she couldn’t force him to change his core values (and hopefully realized how unfair it was for her to try… it’s one thing to propose a more rational alternative, it’s another to guilt trip him and push on him the blame for her own unfounded insecurities). Then she could have pursued any relationship she wished (his boss would have still been a disaster waiting to happen, given his personality, but then again him hurting her husband was not a dealbreaker).

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Regarding him agreeing to spend less time with his friends, setting aside that it was an unfair request, particularly when they both know she cheated and he needs their support more than ever, I would bet that he would have been willing to compromise (it was honestly kind of his problem, being too accomodating), but this was in the context of her coming home late from work, and him, having finished the usual housework (laundry, etc.), did not want to come back to an empty home and leaned on his friends, and vice versa.

It was a vicious cycle (as she acknowledged after, as usual, accusing him of something she did much worse -ghosting him for her lover while telling him she had to work, as per the apology scene-), and but she acknowledges that he could have seen it that way (feeling a sense of abandonment, but not wanting to bother her because he supported her work, and relying on his friends instead.

But the point is that, as per their confrontation, this was not the real issue, the real issue was her inability to accept he would not change a core part of his being for her, namely his attachment to lifelong friends and family. She spent time with his brothers, and the rest of his family, doing them favors. Not doing it without asking anything in return, but keeping count, and basically hoping to use it as leverage to ingratiate herself with him and get him to distance himself from them (sounds kind of manipulative).

Now, that’s not an uncomfortable conversation they avoided, according to the exasperation in his voice when he mentions who is in first place, etc., as if this was a game. I must say that I don’t know how she cannot get the point he is trying to convey about families not being a competition. I mean, who is more important to her, her son, her mother, her husband? Is this really a competition? Not to mention, if somebody has a right to feel insecure, it would be him.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I other words, the mutual avoidance might have been a vicious cycle, but the other issues had clearly been hashed out in the past, at least with regards to her viewing relationships as competitions (but he really should have turned the tables on her, and asked then who would be first place in her heart, if they had two kids, or if she had to choose between him and the kid (probably the kid, despite her claiming her husband is number one?

Or was, given the way she actually treated him, both in terms of being short/impatient with him, and her various actions in the last year), etc…. I mean, it gets nonsensical, particularly when it comes to close family. Of course a cousin trice removed is less important than your mother, but if he had to choose between his three brothers? They are different kinds of love (friendship, filial piety, love for ones’ siblings, romantic love, love for one’s children, …), but loving someone does not mean you love the other any less. I mean, she has the example of her own son: it’s not as if she loves her husband any less simply because they had a kid and she loves him too.

And frankly, again, given her behavior in the past year, it’s impossible to understand how shameless she could be to act as if he was always her priority and she is the one that gets to question him about his commitment and acting all insecure about his feelings. He could very well turn the tables on her and ask, given her habitual lying, serial cheating, willingness to divorce him for someone that would have fired him, and attempting to manipulate him into quitting his work to make herself feel better about her actions, while planning to leave him for his worst enemy, shattering his confidence and breaking his emotional stability, just when he needed 100% of his focus on the business, an epic failure waiting to happen. Not to mention she fully expected people not to follow him, and suggested he mortaged his house… contrary to what she claims, him finding another company job would likely not be as easy -with what references, those of her lover that was constantly messing with him and his team, and planning to fire him? If it was that easy a marked, every one of their put-down teammates would have found a new job already, plus he was worrying about his eventual subordinates too… last but not least, a failure would have left not only him, but also the rest of his family in big financial troubles… He is right in asking (guessing? Does he know something definitive about her and her lover trying to get him out of a job, one way or the other?) how she could do that to the father of her child.

He is still someone she has known for years and does not thing is a bad person (actually, in the much more balanced first episodes, when talking about him with her lover, she says he is kind and reliable, if a bit lonesome, and many women would have been happy with him… at the time, she seemed to realize that they simply had a difference in opinions and that him being who he is and not who he wanted to change him into (without his consent) was not personal slight (or, to be precise, it was an unfair slight, but in terms of her spending time with, and doing favors to, his brothers and family, in a heartfelt but nonetheless manipulative attempt to get him to his side and convince him to distance himself from friends and family).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Not sure if it was the Netflix translation, but personally I was really irritated to hear her use the term “honey” during the confession/apology scene. Seems rather shameless after what she had done (but then again, she questions about being first or second or mattering, when she had a lover, as if between the two of them she had been the one to cheat and give him cause to question his commitment… she doesn’t know he thought of her wellbeing even when he confronted her lover, accusing him of not wanting to marry her because of her poor background, but she does know the care and kindness with which he responded to her treating him shortly/impatiently).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

They did use “fooling around” in the translation, which makes me thing it might be somewhat quirky (it does sound like a strange phrase to use).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Not to say that the translation was bad, it was generally quite good! (just didn’t want to discourage viewers 😉

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

The sad thing is that, as an audience, we see how valuable his family and friends are. Her kids and Dong Hoon see it. Ji An sees it. His wife is convinced she has it all figured out, and wanted to change his perspective from the get go -trying and failing, and at that point she could have understood it was an unfair request from the get go, and divorced him (much better than what she ends up doing, at least she would have shown him the respect as a human being he deserved, and not broken his unconditional trust -a gift she spitted on, deliberately-, not to mention that she wanted to divorce him anyway during the affair, and is open to the possibility now, waiting for Dong Hoon to take that step if he wants).

But better than divorce would have been an outcome where she could learn to see these people through Dong Hoon’s eyes, or through her child’s (as I said, he loves his extended family, they add value to his life, I wish in the apology scene they made Dong Hoon point that out to her), or through Ji An’s (after all, she is helping to see things clearer, for example regarding her lover). She is depriving herself of such a gift, by letting herself be controlled by her own controlling and possessive nature, and by her unfounded insecurities. She would have been much happier if she had tried to see what her husband and kid saw in those people, loyal individuals that would always have their backs. On the other hand, given what happened with her lover, it’s clear that a good judge of people’s character she is not.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

I feel that in any case now the “damage is done” (not a damage, but something good). The kid apparently loves his extended family, as seen in the call. She is really depriving herself of a lot of joy by insisting on being controlling and possessive, and not accepting this side of Dong Hoon. I wonder if she had ever given consideration to the possibility that he might see something valuable in his family/friends and actually tried to see it too.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

I really hope than by the end of the show she will explicitly come to see the value in those bonds, because they are really so precious. Ji An understands it, this is what she wants to be part of, and that’s why she fits in so well.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

It feels like things have deteriorated to a point where an offer to do something to fix the situation, probably feels like too little, too late.

I will note, though, that she attacked him and then walked it back and said she could see how he could see her missing because of work like that, and that it was a spiral. On the other hand, he simply wanted to support her in her job, and while he was unhappy to come back to an empty home, and felt abandoned, he leaned on the rest of his support structure, rather than bothering her.

it does feel like Dong Hoon didn’t do enough to reach a workable compromise with Yoon Hee, that would allow him to stay connected with his friends and family, without alienating his wife.

A thing that struck me is that during the confession, she basically admitted to only being nice to his brothers, etc. for “him to be fully on her side”, in other words to give her all his attention and distance himself from his family and friends. She made it clear that to her “family” meant him and her. That’s not something that could be fixed with fewer days spent with his friends, it’s a fundamental difference in outlook.

For these reasons, I don’t think that moving to a different neighborhood or even him compromising on the times he sees his family and friends wouldn’t have fixed this. It’s a different in fundamental values: to her, her family are him and their child. To him, his family includes his brothers and mother.

Furthermore, while he would have been miserable if they moved to another place, because he would have lacked his support structure (and would have been left standing in an empty house as she was working), he was someone that wanted to be part of a community, and as you see in the show he also had friends at work that he spent time with, so even in a different neighborhood they would have probably replicated the same dynamic: her being coming home late, him at first doing all the housework as always, then becoming tired of sitting in an empty house and reaching out to new friends, and the vicious cycle repeating.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Regarding the confrontation on the rooftop, I was a bit bothered by some things: the fact that she was still trying to get rid of Ji An without considering he could just replace her with someone worse (a bit short sighted, since she had already told her this in their previous encounter), and the fact that she accused her lover of ruining her (not sure of the dynamic since they never actually show the portion of the confession where they discuss why she cheated, and with him, but it felt kind of like an evasion of responsibility, or like she accused him of not being the person she thought he was -which is true, but also besides the point: if she hadn’t chosen “wrongly”, here meaning someone that would have mistreated and fired her husband but would not have lied to her, what she did would have still been horrific-).

On the other hand, I also liked the explanation of her keeping Ji An a secret, basically because she thought that her husband would feel less hurt if he didn’t think his worst enemy was at fault for the destruction of his family (this was a bit strange… she was not coerced, so he should definitely not think that it’s only his enemy’s fault, but also hers; her lover mentioned that she didn’t want her to know about Ji An because maybe that way her involvement/knowledge of his plans to get him fired would be exposed? He did touch on it briefly in the confession scene, and she appeared scared, but they didn’t spent more time on that, so maybe it was more of a wild guess… the most charitable interpretation I can give here is that she thinks that he would hurt less if he focused less on the fact that this whole situation involved his worst enemy, and she wants to wait till he is ready to divorce her -seems to imply that she thinks he does not love her anymore, which is crazy given the flashback to his kindness in the car, preparing her food and bringing it to her bed, etc., or maybe that she is waiting for him to realize that-). In any case, I appreciated the fact that, however ineffectual/stupid, she was willing to do this for his sake. Supposing it is true (he claims it’s to avoid a divorce… and with these two and many others we are not really sure, it’s left in the balance… did her lover have feelings for her? Obviously not enough to prioritize her above his career, but maybe enough to be hurt by her words when she told him what she thought of how pathetic he was, and here more so for having actually felt something for him? And about her husband, he was telling her in their last encounters that he felt she had feeling for him, and I think that with Ji An in the picture there was some… jealousy, but mixed with the realization that she was a better woman than her and she was by Dong Hoon’s side, trying to save him, basically doing what she was supposed to be doing… I liked that she accepted that in the end, despite the pain it caused, finally realizing that she has no right to throw a tantrum due to insecurity after what she, as Ji An pointed out in the rooftop scene, did, which was much worse (among other things, working to get her husband out of a job)-

At the same time, I also disliked the rooftop scene and her spiel about not wanting him to focus on his enemy, because in practice we know that Dong Hoon does not reason like that. He didn’t seek revenge on the guy, he does no think it is worth it to let him occupy that mental capacity. So it looks like she is investing effort into something useless, when she did not do what she was supposed to do, namely either decide that she was going to be a part of his extended family for real, or decide that monopolizing her husband’s attention and a nuclear family were so important to her that she wanted to divorce him -at least she would have respected her-. In other words, I am worried that she is putting herself through this for something that won’t really do anything for Dong Hoon.

Basically, the kid in school with perfectly organized texts but that didn’t do their homework. Doing something completely useless that costs you effort, after not doing what you should have done. In her case, this questionable plan to deceive her husband for his own good (I don’t like the notion in general, honesty is basically always the right answer in a couple, and he already has enough reasons to doubt her trust.. as her lover tells her on the rooftop, this could easily be misunderstood/misconstrued), which might not help anyone, versus her whole habitual lying and serial cheating, plus the murky business of trying to get her husband fired/out of a job (and standing by the side of someone that mistreated him, wanted to fire him and involved an accused murderer).

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Actually, honesty is probably a good idea generally, not only in a couple’s life. I would have really appreciated it, despite Dong Hoon wanting to keep things under wraps, if she had come clean to him after her breakup and given him the possibility of making an informed choice, in other words treated him like a person with agency, rather than a spare tire she could dispose of as she wished. It wouldn’t have been crazy, considering she was planning to divorce him anyway, before her breakup with her lover.

The show is constantly ambiguous, and between her lover, Ji An, etc. it’s not clear whether she still loved Dong Hoon and didn’t want to divorce (like her lover said), or whether she wanted to keep the marriage (like Ji An said) now that she broke up with her lover… I must say that, given how short and impatient and, frankly, unjustly she treated him (questioning his care, etc, when she was the whose action should have called her commitment into question -or not even a question, as she planned to divorce him-), it did not seem like she was trying to do much to have a civil conversation and improve the marriage.

He was at least civil, though he couldn’t give her what the wanted (which was not compromise, but for him to change and distance himself from family and friends — what she wanted to accomplish by spending time with his brothers, etc. in the beginning, when she hoped to get in Dong Hoon’s good graces and “lure” him to her point of view, that of a family that did not include his brothers, etc., and the “extended” informal family of his life long friends).

Again, if she actually tried to look at the situation with an open mind, like Ji An, and went into it truly wanting to be a part of his friends and family, she would have been accepted with open arms.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

One other nice thing about the rooftop scene was that for the first time, as far as I can remember, she told her lover (and, aside from her “apology”, said out loud) that she is sorry she chose him AND about betraying Dong Hoon. I think it’s the first time she said the latter.

Of course, I would have preferred it that was where the main concern lied, rather than an afterthought (but then again, the truth is that if her lover had merely hurt her husband, rather than lied to her about camping, she would still be feeling no guilt as before and she would have gone on with her plan to divorce Dong Hoon, leaving him alone and without a job/way to sustain the rest of his family -then again, she admitted she only bothered with his brothers because she wanted to get him by her side and persuade him to distance himself from family and friends… certainly they were not a factor when she told him that *he* would be fine even if the business failed because he could always look for a new job (doubtful that it would be so easy, given that otherwise everyone of their mistreated team would be somewhere else, and of course this does not take into account the mortage on his house/debt)-). Still, given the low bar she set in terms of what to expect from her, better than nothing, I guess).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

She didn’t want to be nice to his brothers, etc., she basically tells him she only did it so that he would side with her and distance himself from them, or, in her words “be fully on her side” and focus only on her. She wanted to mold him into who she wanted him to be, rather than accepting him for who he was.

Basically, she didn’t care for them, and only spent time with them as long as she held out hope to change Dong Hond and make him distance himself from them. When that didn’t work she stopped, since she didn’t think of them or the rest of his family as her family, thus the episode 7 scene in which she ghosted them.

This is the reality, one would hope that this was not the case and she could see the beauty in his bond with his brothers and friends, and appreciate how precious and valuable it is, but she doesn’t care and does not see it (on the contrary, Ji An does and is therefore immediately integrated in the group). But if that was the case, they wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.

One would have hoped that through her kid she could have learned to appreciate his extended family, and acknowledged the fact that they brought value to her kid’s life. That’s why I would have liked Dong Hoon to push back on that point.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I mean, one wonders how, between her kid and her husband, she does not understand that three of the supposed components of her nuclear family appreciate, get benefit from and love their extended family.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Pot calling kettle black, really. The most baffling thing is that *she* was the one feeling insecure in the relationship, when she was the one cheating.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Regarding the issue of him not seeing his friends, this was raised in the context of her telling him off and him replying that he didn’t want to come back to an empty home, then her saying that she didn’t know what came first. Basically, they were in a downward spiral. He seemed perfectly willing to compromise, even now when they both know of her cheating and her having no right to question his care for her (frankly crazy after her recent flashback). He was supportive of her work and understood she would have to be away long hours, so he leaned on his friends. In this episode she tells him

I see how it could have been interpreted that way

when he said that he didn’t want to come back to an empty home. He stayed silent about his own feelings of abandonment and leaned on his friends, and vice versa.

Regarding him doing the housework, there was that scene with him doing the dishes, and

I thought it might you mad when you see a mess after coming home after a long day of work, so I did the dishes and the laundry as soon as I got home, but when you went straight to your study, I couldn’t even raise the volume on the TV out here. When you told me to go buy something, I did, … [etc.]

We see him cleaning up the floors and doing the laundry in the past episodes, telling her he will sort out the groceries since she told him she was busy. This is connected to him wanting to be a supportive husband and dealing with housework, and leaning on his friends when she had to work long hours and he felt abandoned, and vice versa. They went in a downward spiral, and she said that she could see how he could have seen it that way (after attacking him first, only to reconsider when he pushed back about the empty house, mind you).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

She also basically admitted that she only bothered with his brothers and did favors to his family in order to get him on his side so he would distance himself from them and give her the nuclear family of three she wanted. When she admitted she saw she couldn’t change him, that would have been the time to stop and divorce him, or realize that it was an unfair plan to marry him with the idea of changing a fundamental part of who he is.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Again, I would point out that her suffering stems from her possessive/controlling nature and her insecurities. Significant that she has no circle of friends of her own, even outside the neighborhood, while her husband has friends at work. It’s clearly not something she is searching for. She would like to live on an island with only her husband and kid, isolated from the external context. He, instead, searches for a community wherever he is, not only in his neighborhood, but also at work.

Being somewhat of a loner with a preference for a small, nuclear family, I partly understand that side of her. I would have still been compassionate if she had admitted to making a mistake marrying him while knowing the importance he gave not family and friends (his good character something that attracted her to him) and divorced him to be with another guy (even his worst enemy). The deception and cheating, particularly when she threw out long spiels about honesty and caring and insecurity, is where my compassion starts to be thrown out of the window. It’s like with Crazy Rich Asian’s cheating husband: I get that her family is classit; I get that you are insecure. It’s not her problem to change herself to fix you insecurity, and if you cheat and mistreat her, you lose all my compassion. The same way I sympathize with people being stuck in traffic, but if someone starts exiting the car and punching people left and right in a road rage episode my understanding and compassion go out of the window.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Her husband supporting the rest of his family, and still caring about her -doing the housework before she came back, for the most part; buying her whatever she wanted, despite being in a financially worse position; always asking her whether she needed something; trusting her unconditionally; I would add, trying to involve her and make her feel part of his family, as in episode 7, while she spurned his efforts with excuses, embarrassing him about having to explain her absence -but he was resigned as it happened often-, only to complain when he was there without her). To see what would happen to someone genuinely wanting to fit in, rather than making a token effort, keeping score of all the favors she made, waiting to throw them back in his face, just look at the immediate acceptance of Ji An by his friends and brother.

This despite her short/impatient and passive aggressive attitude (he was always civil, except for when she tried to guilt trip him about seeing his friends, when they both knew she cheated and he would have wanted to see as little as possible of her, and to lean on his support structure, and he remarked that he didn’t want to come back to an empty home… only then she changed her tune about pushing the fault all on him, and conveniently fell back on “it was a vicious cycle, who knows who started it”), and despite her betrayal and lack of care (she was ready to divorce him for his worst enemy and working towards getting him out of a job -preparing to stand by the side of her lover, who mistreated him, even as he fired him-), not to mention her massive hypocrisy at accusing him of the same.

She accused him about the promotion. He was really waiting to see what happened and was worried about her lover losing it when cornered. He told his brother because the latter felt guilty about forcing him into the job. But they both knew that she was the other contender’s lover. Does she really feel she was worthy of him trusting her with this information, when she was violating his trust in a much bigger way, hiding a much bigger secret? Does she really feel she was worthy of him trusting her with this information, when she was ready to conspire to get him out of a job and would have divorced him for the other contender, that wanted to fire him? If her lover had not lied to her about camping, her husband would have indeed been right not to trust her, because she would have stayed at her lover’s side as he was ready to hurt him. And even now, she is just sitting on the fences and seeing where the chip fall.

Only in chapter 12 she reverses course… which is obviously an improvement, thought noticeably she is *still* hiding from her husband Ji An, and I am not clear about how much he knew of her being willing to stay with her loves as he was ready to fire him, or her own attempts to try to get him out of a job, divorce him, and leave him with a mortaged house, a broken confidence, and obviously a failed business as a result of the devastating emotional hit in a period of major stress requiring complete focus (as per the Han river scene, the guy was already borderline suicidal, imagine how he would have felt if she sprung this on him all at once like she imagined she would, giving she assumed he didn’t know of her relationship and would have learned about it only at the time of her divorce).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

As per keeping tabs on old favors and throwing them his face, favors which by her own admission she did not out of a spontaneous generosity for family, without expecting anything in return, but to ingratiate herself to him, so that he would change a core part of his personality to suit her desires, I should point out that she is the perpetrator here, and this is different from what he does when he reminds here that he did the housework before coming home, never turned the TV on, bought anything she asked him to buy -always asking whether she needed anything- and trusted her unconditionally when she lied to him about work and went to see her lover. Here he is asking, as the victim, “I did all that to support and trust you, was I not even worthy enough of a shred of respect?”, while she is saying, as the perpetrator, “I did all that to get you into my good graces, why didn’t you change a core part of yourself to suit my worldview”, in other words keeping tabs of old favors and saying she expected him to change a core part of his personality/life/perspective to be what she wanted it to be -I do you favor x, y, z, and in turn you change your opinion on something fundamental in your life to suit my tastes-. This is what I mean by saying that it was appalling for her to keep tabs and throw these in his face: he did the things he mentioned because he loved her, not expecting anything in return, while she kept tabs of her favors (rather than doing them without expecting anything in return, out of spontaneous generosity born from seeing the recipients of the favors as family) because she felt he owed it to her to change his opinion about a key part of life -the meaning of family- in return.
Again, this was not relevant to the apology: it was about why she was unhappy, not about why she cheated, and with his worst enemy, on top of everything else she did. He had asked her that explicitly noticing that he would have granted her a divorce if he couldn’t make her happy (and he was even more unhappy -almost suicidal, by the look from the bridge down the Han river, and that also thanks to her lover’s and her actions-). Those answers were left out of the flashback -we don’t learn about how the affair started, why now and with him, etc.-. Again, they were clear she was unhappy (they both were), and from his exasperation he was more than familiar with her seeing relationships like some sort of competition. This was a conversation for a later date (though in truth it should have happened before she cheated, and maybe led to a divorce), and probably conducted with more equanimity (with her understanding, as in the first episodes, that her personal preferences were not absolutes, and him having different opinions was not a personal slight towards her; also, with her understanding that given what she has done and is apologizing for, does she really feel like she is in a position where it makes sense to question his commitment, etc. when she gave him many more reason to doubt hers, so that between the two of them, he is the one that should be feeling insecure -not only about her caring for him, but about her having an shred of respect for him-?).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

I will note that she didn’t answer his question. He told her that if she was unhappy she could have asked and he would have granted him a divonce, but how could she cheat on him with his worst enemy? She only talked about why she was unhappy. You will notice he was unhappy as well. He did all this housework before she came home, not even turning on the TV, so he could support her. He bought her everything she wanted. He always thought of her, asking what she needed before he came home. He trusted her unconditionally, when she told him she had to work late, and she knew it and abused his trust.

I would also think that her trying to get him to distance himself from family and friends, one of the few support structures he had, and resenting him/warting him to change for a core part of his being, would have taken a toll. As would the short and impatient way she treated him, or the fact that, as in episode 7, she ghosted him with excuses when he tried to involve him in his family life, only to complain that he excluded her from his family life. Note that he was alway civil.

Also, her putting the blame for her choices and her insecuritites fully on him. He didn’t want to go back to an empty home, so he leaned on his friend, while she in turn worked later, in a vicious cycle, but she “remembered” only his part, admitting they were both at fault only when he pointed out she was never there. She blamed him for what is essentially a difference in perspective she knew about since they were married (since it’s a core part of his life and personality). She went into this wanting to change a core part of who she is, and even telling him not that she would have preferred otherwise, but that it was wrong. Wanting to distance him from family and friends because she felt instecure (when he has all the reasons to, given what she did and how shortly/impatiently she treated him, to doubt her commitment instead: he spent time with his friends and family, she was a habitual liar and serial cheater that betrayed him with his worst enemy and would have still been by his side, despite him wanting to fire him with the help of an accused murderer, had it not been for his lies about camping).

I mean, if we are talking about who was unhappy, let’s remember that the guy was looking rather suspiciously down a bridge on the Han river (she never quite got to that point of stress and depression -possibly because she only had herself to think of, while he had to take care of things at home before she came back, to support her, and stay in a job where people were prejudiced about him and his boss treated him unfairly (on top of sleeping with his wife) and tried to fire/frame him (which she was aware on, but was not a deal breaker)-, obviously), and yet he didn’t cheat or her worst enemy, who was attempting to fire her, for years, nor did he try to get her to quit her job -not because she really believed she should, but to make himself feel better about the fact they were in fact manipulating him out of a job he was staying in to support his family members, who were economically dependent on him (in his case, she thought nobody would follow him, and she was in parallel planning to leave him for his worst enemy, which would have obviously resulted in him being crushed and the business failing epically, at the very least, and him actually following up on the Han river bridge scene by taking it to the next level)-.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

I appreciate that when Ji An contacts her, Yoon Hee does all she can, to get Joon Young to leave Dong Hoon alone. Despite all that’s happened, Yoon Hee does genuinely care about Dong Hoon, and doesn’t want him to be destroyed by Joon Young.

Well, she was willing to stay by the guy’s side as he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. I also remember that the time she met Ji An at her lover’s nest, as she was packing up, she tried to get her to leave Dong Hoon even if she could be a valuable asset, telling her she was willing to stand by the wayside and let them fight it off against each other.

The only saving grace there is that it might have been her jealousy and unwillingness to have someone knowing her secret around her husband (this last one is what she told Ji An), which would at least mean she has feelings for him (in the self absorbed way she always had, which prioritizes what is best for her to the detriment of her husband… in the case of his family and friends, by having him distance himself from, and spend less time with, them, and in the case of the affair, by deceiving him and sticking around, without giving him the ability to make an informed decision). Not sure that made it better, but jealousy I could accept. Her being actually indifferent to the outcome, as she said, after everything she did to him, would be a tougher pill to swallow. Particularly because she is still treating him badly (being short and impatient with him), while knowing what she did to him. No regret, nor though of not getting on his case for a bit, as compensation for what she did to him.

Her defending him now is… different. But it is part of that general trend of: she was so horrible without a shred of guilt, and wouldn’t have cared about him knowing about the relationship, if her lover had hurt him, but not lied to her about camping. Now I am supposed to believe she feels guilt and suddenly also cares for the guy. After deceiving him for years, cheating with his worst enemy, and working to get him out of a job together with her lover, while at the same time preparing for divorce. And then staying by his side, instead of being coherent and at least leaving (she had wanted to divorce him for her lover), while coming clean and apologizing for her actions and giving him the ability to make an informed choice.

On his friends, from https://thefangirlverdict.com/2018/07/13/review-my-mister-my-ahjussi/#:~:text=Assured%20writing%2C%20tender%20directing%2C%20and,the%20watch%20to%20another%20level.

Dong Hoon’s gang of neighborhood pals go back a long way – all of their lifetimes, literally – and the deep bond and connection shows.

While some (like Yoon Hee) would argue that these people see way too much of one another, I found the matter-of-fact way that these people built their lives around one another very heartwarming.

They bicker everyday and rib one another all the friggin’ time, but when push comes to shove, they are so there, for one of their own.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

she doesn’t attempt to shirk her responsibility when it comes to the affair with Joon Young. She admits that she was in the wrong, and that nothing can change that. I do think that that counts for something.

I mean, color me unimpressed. She not only cheated on him with his worst enemy for years, but also stood by his side when he was trying to fire him, even attempting to manipulated her husband into quitting herself, mortaging his house to start a new business (at the same time, preparing to divorce him for his worst enemy, thus leaving him devastated, which would have obviously resulted in the business failing miserably).

I cannot get over the fact that, had Dong Hoon and Ji An not intervened, there would have never been the “badmouthing” and “lying to her about camping” (the latter was what closed the issue for her), and she would still be with the guy, she would have divorced her husband, now jobless, and not a shred of guilt would have been in sight.

For that matter, had Ji An not told her about it, she wouldn’t know he knew and she would continue to deceive him (and treat him shortly and impatiently) for the rest of his life (despite having planned to divorce him -guess a spare always comes in handy-). Again, no guilt in sight.

She tells him she felt like dying when she learned he knew. She tells her lover she is not shameless enough to pretend he doesn’t know. But she was shameless enough to cheat with his worst enemy for years. She was shameless enough to treat him badly (while he was also unhappy with he, he always treated her civilly, only talking back that one time she accuses him of visiting his friends, when he tells her he does not want to come back to an empty house). She was shameless enough, as said above, to be by her lover’s side as he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. and she would have divorced her husband to be with said lover, had he not lied to her about camping (had it not been, in other words, for Ji An and Dong Hoong’s actions).

I don’t find that this meets a basic standard of acceptability. Her throwing her own insecurities at his feet impressed me even less. What I would have respected: her telling him that she understands they want different things out of family, she a nuclear one and he an extended one. Her telling him that she knew what he was like, and made the wrong choice to marry him expecting to change a core part of his being, which was massively unfair. He was up for a compromise, as shown in this chapter, but it was unfair to as him to change a core part of who he is in the first place. Nobody forced her to marry him. Of course, I would only respect her if she did this before cheating on him. This is not taking responsibility, this is blaming her existential unhappiness and insecurities on him. None of those things is an excuse for betraying him with his worst enemy, and even conspiring to get him out of a job, one way or the other, and at the same time divorce him (by the way, how little did she know him to think that he would have actually sought revenge? He didn’t do that even with her lover, only asking him to stop seeing her and treat him fairly at work).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

she herself didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood.

I get that she truly suffers, but cannot really muster any sympathy. And this comes from someone with her same preference for a small nuclear family vs an extended family and community. But that’s not an objective slight or an objectively better way of life. It’s not that she cannot connect, it’s that she doesn’t want to. She wants him for herself, because of her possessiveness and insecurity. She doesn’t want to love them like he does, she wants him to love them less.

Ji An didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood. She was immediately accepted by his friends and brothers. They are open people, they don’t keep you out if you genuinely want to be part of their group. And she did.

By contrast, Dong Hoon’s wife has been living there for years. She is not “new to the neighborhood” anymore, but has neither chosen to actually get to know people (she does not want to, as he clearly offers her to visit family, etc. and she makes excuses, see episode 7), nor to build her own social group outside the neighborhood. Her lover is not living in that neighborhood, after all, and neither are Dong Hoon’s work colleagues. They live in Seoul, a city with modern transportation. She cannot pin her loneliness on him. If the roles were reversed and she tried that trick to try to get him to distance himself from friends and family due to her wanting him for herself because of her own insecurities, we would immediately recognize it as a creepy and sick emotional manipulation. Not saying that her feelings are not real, only that she really cannot place the blame on him: hers are not reasonable requests, and while, contrary to what claimed in this One Thread, he *was* willing to compromise

Even now after her betrayal, which they both know about, when one in his place would want to see her as little as possible and would want to lean on the connection of his friends as much as possible for some support, he is willing to meet her half way… he is such an accomodating person that he would obviously have been willing to compromise in the past as well, but that’s not what she wanted -you review in https://thefangirlverdict.com/2018/07/13/review-my-mister-my-ahjussi/ was correct:

Yoon Hee’s spiel in episode 12, about how lonely she felt, and how she finally realized that she couldn’t change Dong Hoon, sums up the whole problem.

She couldn’t accept him as he was, and she couldn’t accept his relationship with his family and friends, and she thought she would finally be happy when she was able to change him. If that was the case, she shouldn’t have married him.

She would have known how close he was, to his family and neighborhood friends. She should have been prepared to be a part of them too, if she was going to marry him.

To my eyes, Yoon Hee brought all of her problems on herself – and dragged Dong Hoon down along with her.

She married Dong Hoon without accepting his relationship with his family and friends, and instead of working out a compromise with him, she made herself miserable while piling the blame squarely on him – and then she had an affair, where she was, at one point, working to get her husband out of a job, while planning to divorce him as well. How awful.

All in all, I didn’t have any sympathy for Yoon Hee.

Acutally, I would have had sympathy for her, despite agreeing with your review above that she essentially brought this upon herself, by buying a cat and asking it to bark, had she chosen to divorce if she was unhappy, like he remarked in this episode. But she did what she did -cheating on him for years with his worst enemy, and staying by his side even as he planned to fire him, while she planned to divorce him, not to mention her own emotional manipulation to get him to quit his job, and mortage his home, which was going to be a complete disaster when he saw her divorce him for his worst enemy, destroying his confidence ad shattering him emotionally right at the start of his new business, which would have failed destroying not only his life, but those of his brothers and mother that at this moment are still reliant on him, leaving, frankly, in a worse position than if he was to be fired -capital wise-. In tat context, I find it impossible to sympathize, because there is simply no proportionality, no bridge from here to there that makes any of this acceptable (particularly as she planned to divorce him anyway).

Even less impressed that she felt sorry only because she broke up with her lover over him lying about camping -had he only wanted to hurt her husband and the father of her children, she would have divorced her husband and gotten together with him officially, without a shred of guilt at him knowing-,and because he now knows -had he not known, she would be continuing to deceive him and treat him like garbage, as per your review:

Yoon Hee is short and impatient with Dong Hoon – and then, when Ji An flatly informs her in episode 10, that Dong Hoon knows about her affair, she becomes all scared, tearful and sorry.

So, it was ok to snap at him and get impatient with him, when he didn’t know? It shouldn’t work that way. I was not at all moved by Yoon Hee’s tears, because her tears were always more about herself than about how she’d hurt Dong Hoon.

At least he always treated her civilly. But yes, she would have deprived him of the ability to make an informed decision, treating him like a convenient fallback or a spare tire she could dispose of as she pleased, rather than her equal and an individual with agency and the right to choose knowing all the facts. Despite wanting to divorce him if her lover had merely wanted to fire him with the help of an accused murder.

And she is the one screaming remonstrations abount facts and favors she did years ago (apparently not out of genuine generosity, given how she throws them in her face -she clearly expected something in return, as is clear when she explicitly says she was biding her time to move to another neighborhood).

Let’s face it: moving wouldn’t have helped. It’s not his friends that are the problem. It’s that she is possessive and controlling, and wants him all to herself. She doesn’t want him to have friends, she wants him to have her and the kid. Because otherwise she feels insecure about her position. This is not something her husband can or should be expected to help her with. That’s the job of a therapist. Just because she suffers and we and we see she is sincere, it does not mean what she is asking of him is fair. If the roles were turned, and he was the possessive boyfriend wanting to keep his partner form seeing family and friends, policing who she can see and when, we would immediately see it as unacceptable and scoff at the very notion of compromise,and that’s, paraphrasing the words of Astrind to her insecure, cheating husband who couldn’t fit into her family, in Crazy Rich Asians, what he should have done rather than accept her emotional blackmail is tell her “you are a coward that gave up on us; it’s not my job to change myself to fix your insecurities”.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Re: could have done more to compromise

I don’t think that, given how ready he was to accomodate others, if she had said something he would have been opposed to compromise. Let’s remember that she complained in a completely unfair manner -they both know she betrayed him, and frankly in this period in his shoes I would want to be as far away from her as possible-, and yet even in these circumstances he was ready to compromise.

But the problem remains. Him spending less time with friends and family does not solve it. She does not like his friends and treats his family as in-laws, rather than a true family. That’s just a different world view. She does not want him to compromise, or to help her get in the circle. She wants him out of the circle, distanced by friends and family, by those he loves. So she could be only his (and her kids, thought that’s almost an afterthought, and if she had spent two minutes on it she would have realized the latter benefits from the connection to his extended family, particularly when he is alone abroad.

To me it’s pretty clear that the issue here is her not wanting to be part of his group, but wanting him to “belong” only to her (in a possessive/controlling fashion fueled by her insecurity). If the roles were reversed, we would see how sick and creepy him wanting her to distance herself from friends and family would be.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

alone abroad

Technically speaking, living with the “sister in law” we know basically nothing about, that barely appears (I think it’s only mentioned once, and the first run through I thought they had sent him to boarding school). So, essentially living far from his parents, therefore the general point still stands. He benefits from connection to his extended family.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

It can’t have been easy for her to deal with Dong Hoon’s enduring, constant connection with his friends and family, after their marriage, especially since she herself didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood.

Well, Ji An didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood either, but she was able to hit it off splendidly with his friends and brothers, without the need of transactional money favors. She simply actually *wanted* to be part of their group, and they accepted her with open arms.

By contrast, his wife did not treat them like family (this can be seen by how she was willing to bring up her favors, rather than being the no-string- attached giving you do with family members, like her sister in law does.

It’s not factual to claim he didn’t compromise on his presence. He tried to make her a part of his circle, but she did not really want to be, she disliked his friends and did not treat the in-laws like family, skipping out on meeting them with an excuse, only to complain he was there without her. She didn’t want to love them like he did, she wanted him to love them less.

If Ji An’s boyfriend tried to police who she met with, feeling insecure about her relationship with her grandma or Dong Hoon, we would rightfully call that controlling and possessive. I don’t see why the same standard shouldn’t be applied to his wife. Again, he tried to involve her (see quote below about episode 7), and she apparently habitually spurned his efforts. Someone trying to limit the amount of time Ji An spent with her grandma wouldn’t stay her boyfriend for long, and he wouldn’t deserve to. Trying to take away something that is core to his life (and to her child’s life… despite using him as a token, it’s clear he benefits from the extended family connection, particularly when alone abroad) just because she cannot deal with her (completely unmotivated) insecurities is crazy. He is right in saying that loving his friends/family does not mean he does not love her… and he should be the one feeling insecure and questioning her caring about him, or even having a shred of respect for him, given the context of what she did, how come he is the one she is accusing of something she is a thousand times more guilty of?

From https://thefangirlverdict.com/2018/07/13/review-my-mister-my-ahjussi/:

At least in Korea’s context – and in much of Asia and in other parts of the world too – marriage is considered a joining of families, not just of the individuals.

When she married Dong Hoon, she should have been prepared to accept his family too, including how they would take up space in her life.

Instead, she puts Dong Hoon in that uncomfortable position where he has to show up in front of his family without her, and make excuses for her. Even that scene in episode 7, where Dong Hoon asks if she can make time to visit his brothers’ new cleaning company, is telling.

She declines and makes an excuse, and he looks disappointed, albeit not surprised. That right there, is an example of how it’s probably always been, with them and the issue of his family. It’s no wonder that his mother isn’t all that happy with this daughter-in-law.

All Yoon Hee seems to want is a romantic relationship devoid of context; that’s why she comes alive so much when she’s on a rendezvous with Do Joon Young.

Theirs is a secret relationship that cannot exist with a context. But for as long as they keep meeting in secret, there is a space for her to enjoy what she wants most out of a relationship.

I am very sure that if she were ever to try to put context in that relationship with Do Joon Young, like pursue marriage, or any kind of recognition or legitimacy, things would very quickly go south for them.

Sang Hoon’s estranged wife Young Joo (Jo Ae Ryun) is the opposite of that.

Even though she isn’t even on speaking terms with Sang Hoon and has threatened him with divorce, she continues to spend time with her mother-in-law, and brings her kimchi when it’s nearing her birthday, so that she can have the kimchi with her birthday meal.

That just goes to show, that this daughter-in-law has truly come to see her mother-in-law as family, and not just as her husband’s mother.

Yoon Hee is short and impatient with Dong Hoon – and then, when Ji An flatly informs her in episode 10, that Dong Hoon knows about her affair, she becomes all scared, tearful and sorry.

So, it was ok to snap at him and get impatient with him, when he didn’t know? It shouldn’t work that way. I was not at all moved by Yoon Hee’s tears, because her tears were always more about herself than about how she’d hurt Dong Hoon.

Yoon Hee’s spiel in episode 12, about how lonely she felt, and how she finally realized that she couldn’t change Dong Hoon, sums up the whole problem.

She couldn’t accept him as he was, and she couldn’t accept his relationship with his family and friends, and she thought she would finally be happy when she was able to change him. If that was the case, she shouldn’t have married him.

She would have known how close he was, to his family and neighborhood friends. She should have been prepared to be a part of them too, if she was going to marry him.

To my eyes, Yoon Hee brought all of her problems on herself – and dragged Dong Hoon down along with her.

She married Dong Hoon without accepting his relationship with his family and friends, and instead of working out a compromise with him, she made herself miserable while piling the blame squarely on him – and then she had an affair, where she was, at one point, working to get her husband out of a job, while planning to divorce him as well. How awful.

All in all, I didn’t have any sympathy for Yoon Hee.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

For that matter, if she doesn’t like his friends, I can’t understand why she doesn’t create her own friends group. They don’t have to be in the neighborhood, her lover certainly isn’t. Her husband has also friends from work, who are not in the neighborhood. She has access to transportation, living in Seoul. Yet she does not appear to have any other friend group, I think that it says something about her personality: someone that prefers small groups of intimate connections, who basically wants to live with her husband and kid, full stop. I get that, but she was the one that knew the guy was this way, and married him. It’s rather galling that she would resent him a central part of his being. Especially when he is so affable that he would actually acquiesce to her requests and try to meet her half way.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I mean, none of the facts above really changed. He was actually shown to be willing to compromise with her, so in terms of meeting her half way he was clearly available (he shouldn’t have been: he has no obligation to change himself for such a stupid reason as her feeling insecure because he spends time with family).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

And let’s not forget her treating him shortly and impatiently when she didn’t know he knew about her cheating… at least he was always civil with her.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

Pretty funny how basically she gaslights him with accusations that, given her betrayal with someone that was ready to fire him, etc., he could turn back on her at a moment’s notice. Really the pot calling the kettle black.

Let’s just say that if someone that thinks and is concerned for you even when he should hate you and shouldn’t care (like him confronting her lover about him never planning to marry her after divorce, because he looked down on her background, not to mention the stuff she *knows* about… the love and care he showed her, the kindness with which he nursed her back to health when she was down for the affair’s breakup… all the while knowing. She flashbacked it only recently, does she have amnesia? If yes, then please consider that he took care of all the housework before you came home, bought you everything you wanted, was always attentive and asked you whether you needed something, never even watched tv in order to support you so you could focus on your job…. plus the fact that he was *still* willing to compromise on the time he spends with friends, even at this point -I don’t believe, contrary to that “too little too late”, that he never offered, given how accomodating he was, but she was clearly “my way or the highway”: she didn’t want to enter his circle or love his friends and family like he did, she wanted him to distance himself from them and love them less… sorry, that’s not something he should do, certainly not for the sake of her insecurities: he is right in saying that loving family and friends does not mean he loves her any less… as for her being new to the neighbourhood, so was Ji An, and, being truly willing to become a part of his social circle, she hit it off beautifully with his friends and brothers)

“Inattentive husband”… try inattentive wife. She believed her lover when he told her he would seek revenge (he didn’t, he just asked him to stay away from his wife and never tell her he knew, and that he couldn’t mistreat him without reason at work). She also thinks if he left the company nobody would follow him (won’t spoiler).

He was the one doing the housework at home before she came back, without even watching tv, to support her as she pursued her career. In the meantime, he was working a stressful job and exposed to prejudices (earning less than his wife, working under a junior, neither of which mattered to him, but something people talked about -and his wife tried to use to manipulate him-) and under bad bosses (evil boss that is sleeping with his wife and making life impossible at work), all the while having to sustain his family financially (his two brothers and mother depend on him).

Basically, he is the unappreciated cheating housewife in My Wife Is Having An Affair This Week, except he doesn’t cheat, the spouse taking him for granted does.

Pretty funny how people’s opinion gets swayed by superficial characteristics and their own biases, rather than going by the story. In that respect, he should be happy since his wife’s opinion on people does not seem to be too good (look at the man she chose as a lover, he was absolutely not in the wrong in calling her a fool).

Wife is similar to male character is Crazy Rich Asian: insecure, bad relatiosnhip with in-laws (actually, in My Mister the mother in law appreciates her, she is only socially awkward… then again, this is something that her sister in law makes clear all that time, see last time at dinner).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago

It feels like things have deteriorated to a point where an offer to do something to fix the situation, probably feels like too little, too late.

I actually found rather appalling that, after having cheated on him and having had the flashback where she recalled how he treated her kindly when she was short and impatient with him, and nursed her back to health when healing from the heartbreak of her breakup with her lover, she would have the gall to gaslight him and question his care for her. She just had the flashback in the car!

Generally, I found her to be needy/clingy/controlling/possessive and insecure, needing constant emotional validation. She was that way also with her lover. He tried to compromise, despite what they both know she did to him, and she spurned his offer, which seems incredibly ungrateful. It seems unjust that he would have to beg for the chance to play sport and discharge some stress, when understandably he would like to be as far away from her as possible.

However, I can see how Yoon Hee feels, too. It’s hard to live with a guilty conscience, and the more she tries to carry on as usual, it seems that the harder her guilt bears down on her.

I really don’t know what to make of it, because we know that she was a habitual liar and serial cheater that betrayed him with his younger boss, his worst enemy, for years, and was ready to be by his side even when he was trying to get her husband fired, enlisting the help of an accused murderer. That was not a deal breaker for her, but him lying to her about camping was. If he had merely wanted to hurt her husband, she would have still been with him.

Furthermore, despite wanting to divorce him, after breaking up with her lover she does not come clean, but chooses to stay in the relationship (a fallback now that she does not have a lover outside?) and continue to deceive him.

In all these cases, she did not feel a shred of guilt until she learned that he knew, or better, until she confirmed this with her lover and flashbacked in the car. So, I am not sure what to make of her guilt… if her lover had merely wanted to hurt her husband, we wouldn’t be having any apology. If he had not discovered the truth, we wouldn’t be having any apology, and she would continue to deceive him and not give him the possibility to make an informed decision, despite the fact that she wanted to divorce him herself when she was still with her lover.

As we see Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee hash things out in flashback, I can’t help but sympathize with the grievances that Yoon Hee brings up. It can’t have been easy for her to deal with Dong Hoon’s enduring, constant connection with his friends and family, after their marriage, especially since she herself didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood.

In this respect, it does feel like Dong Hoon didn’t do enough to reach a workable compromise with Yoon Hee, that would allow him to stay connected with his friends and family, without alienating his wife.

All that said, I appreciate that even as Yoon Hee spills her tears and her guts about how she feels about all of these things, she doesn’t attempt to shirk her responsibility when it comes to the affair with Joon Young. She admits that she was in the wrong, and that nothing can change that. I do think that that counts for something.

I actually don’t sympathize with the grievances, despite sharing her perspective with regards to her preference for a nuclear family, because I understand that it’s a matter of opinion, not an objectively better way of life: I see that she suffers, but it seems clear to me that it is due to a difference in opinion/personality and that she really has no right to treat this as a personal slight.

She wants a nuclear family, he wants an extended family. But that’s not a new thing, he was close to his brothers since his twenties, and has known the others in the neighborhood his entire life. They are a core part of his life and personality (and that kindness is the reason she married him). His care for his family is the same as Ji An’s, and if a boy asked her to give up his grandma, let’s just say that it wouldn’t end well. She knew this when she married him.

For that matter, I wished he would have pushed back and asked her, since she used her son as a token, whether she really thought that he would have been better off *without* the deep connection he has to his extended family. I don’t think that would be the case , particularly when living alone overseas having a good support structure seems like would be very advantageous.

I feel that the issue is not her not fitting in, but her not *wanting* to fit in. She throws back in his face recriminations from ages ago, about monetary favors he did to his family. It all felt transactional, not at all the disinterested attitude of giving without expecting anything in return one would use towards their family. Compare this with her sister in law, that still visits her mother in law despite being separated: it’s clear that she feels like they are not just in-laws, but *family*. Basically, she just tried to “buy her way” into the circle while not really wanting to be in the circle (claims to hat them, probably an exaggeration), but rather her husband to distance himself from family and friends.

We see that it’s not her husband’s fault or his objective slight towards her, because we have the counterexample of Ji An (in addition to her sister in law already mentioned). Ji An shares the same attitude towards family (the parallel between his mother and her grandmother), and fits in with his friends like a fish in water, without the need for any monetary favor.

This was also your opinion in https://thefangirlverdict.com/2018/07/13/review-my-mister-my-ahjussi/, I wonder what changed to make you pass from this to the one in the final review.

One thing I didn’t like at all, despite wanting it discussed at some point, is that she started throwing around recriminations during her supposed apology, right after he had confessed to having been made to feel unworthy of any shred of respect by her actions. She attacked him with old recriminations without any care for his psychological safety, showing herself to be just as self absorbed as always, while the focus, being an apology, should have been on *him*, and not on *her*. Thankfully Ji An heard it and later “saved him” by telling him that he was a good person, worthy of being happy.

Some interesting questions went unanswered: why did she have an affair, and why with his worst enemy? Being unhappy is not a sufficient condition, he was unhappy as well and didn’t cheat, and as he explained here he was more than willing to grant her a divorce if he couldn’t make her happy. Cheating was a sign she didn’t have a shred of respect for him, which, I might say, is compatible with the way she is short and impatient with him, at least before discovering that he knew about her affair. For that matter, she was planning on divorcing him anyway when she was in the affair.

Now she is saying that she is waiting for him to divorce her (and that’s why she doesn’t tell him the truth about Ji An) when she realizes he doesn’t love her. This is the same accusation she continues to throw his way, apparently forgetting the flashback she had in the car: it’s impossible to understand how she could question the care of someone that treated her so kindly and cared for her while knowing she betrayed him with his worst enemy. Particularly while she herself was not only cheating with his worst enemy, but standing by his side as he was plotting to fire her husband with the help of an accused murderer, only leaving because he lied about camping.

Oh, and let’s not forget her attempt to play up his insecurities regarding working under someone younger to get him to mortage his house and quit his job, when he was the one maintaining the two brothers, and she didn’t expect his team members to follow him (shows how little she knows him). She would have divorced him to join his worst enemy, and he would have been left with his confidence in pieces and his emotional world wrecked (hanks to Ji An for healing him) right when he needed to focus on the critical time of the business. A disaster waiting to happen.

I appreciate that when Ji An contacts her, Yoon Hee does all she can, to get Joon Young to leave Dong Hoon alone. Despite all that’s happened, Yoon Hee does genuinely care about Dong Hoon, and doesn’t want him to be destroyed by Joon Young.

The problem I have with this statement (besides her cheating with his worst enemy for years), and that makes me uneasy about the situation, is the fact that she was willing to stand by her lover while he planned to fire him and sick an accused murderer after him. If he had just done that, and not lied to her about camping, she would still be with him.

After the breakup she didn’t come clean, despite having wanted to divorce him, and in her previous meeting with Ji An she was intended on letting things play out between her husband and former lover (not sure if I am missing some dynamic here).

Saddened, probably because it feels, more than ever, that she’s losing Dong Hoon. And relieved, I think, because she feels like someone else would give Dong Hoon the care, love and consideration that she’d failed to give him.

Again, the thing I find difficult to square here was the fact that she had a years long affair with his worst enemy, who wanted to fire him and sick an accused murder after him, and she didn’t consider that a deal breaker, instead breaking things off over him lying to her about camping. Despite wanting to divorce her husband, once she broke up with her lover she continue to stay in the marriage, deceiving him. In all of this she didn’t feel any guilt, it was only after she learned he knew that she started feeling guilty.

The most revealing point is

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

that during the affair when her lover was plotting to fire her husband she told him “I feel we are becoming the bad guys here”, implying that she didn’t think that him sleeping with his subordinate’s wife and her betraying her husband with his worst enemy and deceiving him for years were the cause of any guilt (for that matter, we see her calmly talk to him while dressing up or eating dinner at their lover’s place, without any apparent sign of remorse).

She actually seems to treat her feeling guilty *only* after she learned he knew of the affair as something “normal”, and I would have liked if when she told him she felt like dying when learning he knew he asked “What about in the years I didn’t know?”. This was not a one-night stand (for which presumably she should have felt guilty anyway), but a year long betrayal with his worst enemy. It was meticulously planned, with special phones, a dedicated apartment, lies about work (exploiting his unconditional trust, as he points out in this episode). She ghosted him to spend time with her lover and calmly talked to him when dressing up or eating dinner at their lover’s place, even texting him at his mother’s house, without any apparent guilt. For that matter, she was willing to stand by his side as he plotted her husband’s firing and enlisted the help of an accused murderer, only breaking things off over him lying about camping. And even afterwards, in her second meeting with Ji An, she expressed the view that she wanted to see the situation play out between her husband and lover, without any intention to interfere (despite Ji An telling her her husband knew about the affair). Note also that despite her wanting him to divorce her when he realizes he doesn’t love her, after the breakup with her lover, despite having wanted to divorce her husband before, she simply went back to him as if nothing had happened (safe fallback?) and would have deceived him indefinitely with no guilt (treating him shortly/impatiently to boot), had she not learned he knew of the affair.

When asked to continue pretending he doesn’t know, she asks her lover how he could expect her to be so shameless. Well, I would think it’s a very good assumption to make on his part, as she was willing to betray with his younger boss and worst enemy, and stand by him as we was planning to fire him and sick an accused murder after him. That didn’t cross the line, him lying to her about camping did. For that matter, despite wanting to divorce her husband before, when she breaks up with her lover she does not come clean and breaks things off, planning to stay with him now that she didn’t have someone else by the side and continue to deceive him, as she had already done for years during the affair. She only came clean when she learned he already knew.

What I am getting at is that she treats it as normal, even verbalizing it as if it was expected, that she only feels guilty now that he knows, and not before. This is not common… I had read an article some times ago where the writer described the split feelings of anticipation for the encounter when at home and crippling guilt after meeting her lover -her son asking why she forgot the football match like being hit by a train in the back, the need to shower before entering her marriage bed, the need to lie and sneak around-.

The main point, I feel, is that in the first episodes she calmly discusses her husband and clearly doesn’t hate him or thinks he deserves any of this: she clearly states that he was kind and reliable, if a bit lonesome, and most women would have been happy with him (acknowledging something she didn’t in her “apology”, namely, that this was about her personal preferences, not about an objective slight). It’s not as if she was convinced he deserved this and then an epiphany prompted her to realize that she was mistaken about him (the example that comes to mind is Backstreet Rookie, where she feels guilty anyway about her cheating kiss -during the event she asks herself why she is doing it, and the day afterwards when confronted by the female lead she feels guilty and wants to go apologize-, where she breaks up with him because she had a certain idea of him, but then she learns he had taken the fall for her and regrets leaving him: in this case, she thought she was in the right and then realized she was not, but My Mister’s cheating wife does not have a similar arc -she was not operating under the assumption that her husband deserved this-).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Add to that list him telling her that she smells like smoke and her telling him that she has eaten campfire cooked food. No regret. Again, she is doing this to someone she has known for years and the father of her child. I just don’t understand how she not only didn’t feel any guilt previous to learning he knew, but also seems to not second guess this, treating this as completely normal and expected (telling her husband that she felt like dying *when she learned he knew*, telling her lover that she is not shameless enough to lie to her husband when *he knows of the affair* -but was shameless enough to have the affair and even stand by her lover’s side as he was plotting to fire him, enlisting the help of an accused murderer? Only to break up with him over him lying about camping?-

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Actually, now that I think about it she was planning to divorce him, and at that point he would have learned that she had a relationship with his worst enemy. At the time, she was looking forward to it and didn’t really show any guilt at the idea of him knowing, so it’s not ever just a matter of him knowing or not, it simply boils down to her lover lying to her about camping. Had he been “only” the kind of person that would have hurt her husband, there wouldn’t have been any apology, and she would not have felt remorse at the idea of her relationship being revealed to him when she divorced him.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
8 months ago

Awesome scene between Gi Hoon and Yu Ra in Episode 12! I find it even more powerful the second time around.

actionscript
actionscript
8 months ago

Great insight from @BE when he mentioned in the previous thread that ep 9 seemed to signal the end of part I of the show. If part I is about JA’s journey of healing, part II for me seems to herald her journey to empowerment and independence, as the events in episodes 10, 11, and 12 seem to underscore. From ep 10, we see that grandma is now in the care facility, and JA’s debt has been fully paid off. That’s a lot of burden lifted, as she can now start focusing on herself. In ep 12 we see her social circle get expanded thru DH’s bar friends, and that short exchange with Kwang Il at her doorstep seems to indicate a goodbye conversation. Her staying for OT work earned her brownie points in the eyes of her teammates, and her very articulate yet sincere answers to the harsh questions of Dir Yoon in the panel interview drew admiration and respect as well from the rest of the directors, most especially from the Chairman himself who seemed to have been touched by her answers.

Her brilliance was in full show in how she protected DH from all the corporate shenanigans. There’s the way she put on an act for the photographer trailing DH and her, and then the way she answered Dir. Yoon’s attacks in the panel interview not only deflected any harm that Dir Yoon intended to inflict on the reputation of DH, but it instead drew admiration to the kind of manager DH was in the eyes of the other directors in the panel. But what took the cake for me was the genius of her reaching out to Yoon Hee to put an end to Joon Young’s plans, as Yoon Hee was indeed in the best position to stop Joon Young. And in the process, she washed her responsibility of having to return the advance 10M that Joon Young paid her despite not being able to deliver her end of the deal. Such shrewdness! Despite her lack of formal education, it seemed that she is the smartest character in the show.

Last edited 8 months ago by actionscript
eda harris
eda harris
8 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

yes, ja is truly the brilliant “composer and conductor” of this entire story-drama. how she completely conquered our hearts!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
8 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Very good point about how now that her loan and grandma are both settled, two huge secrets weighing her down are now lifted, and she can begin to be a social person. Previously sullen and anti-social but now with Dong Hoon’s help and example setting the way, she begins to see how she can fit in. With the team, with Dong Hoon’s friends. The interview with the MDs was unreal in how savvy she was. She has had such little experience in speaking to others, let alone in a big intimidating session like that. And yet she never faltered, fearing she might say the wrong thing, knew just the thing to say to manipulate those hearing. Yet with enough truth and sincerity too! Haha.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

She is so street-smart, AND good with words. That was such a great surprise, to see her turn a potentially vulnerable and mine-filled interview into something that reinforced Dong Hoon’s goodness, kindness, and worthiness of being a Managing Director.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Beautifully said! Her journey is achingly beautiful, to think of where she was at the start of the show and to see her now at the end of Ep 12 with a new lease on life (no debt), halmeoni taken good care of (more than they could have ever dreamed), and becoming part of the Hugye gang, even just for an initial walk.

Gloglo
Gloglo
8 months ago

Ep 11

Dong Hoon’s monk friend makes a very good point about Dong Hoon sacrificing himself for the happiness of others. It’s obvious that this man’s main issue is an almost complete lack of self care… True that he needs to become a bit selfish and brazen to enjoy life a little bit more.

The monk’s story with the bar lady is such a sad one too… I feel they both need to find peace and happiness in their lives. I now realise why she has that carefree “free spirited” vibe, which I previously found kind of annoying. I have still things to say about this story line though, but I’ll leave them for when more is revealed about it in later episodes … As it stands now, I feel that the bar lady is emotionally destroyed and desperately trying to put a brave face. The pathos of that scene in which she hits her face on the sink and drunkenly washes her underwear saying she’s doing “just fine” because she’s still functioning really got me… I really felt so very sorry for her.

Ep 12

       Glad that Dong Hoon is saying a few hard truths to his wife in this episode… This woman had to be told that, as a mother and a wife, having a secret affair was just too cowardly. I’m not saying that Dong Hoon was blameless in this marriage. He was indeed a poor inattentive husband who closed the door on his wife many times, but wouldn’t it have been classier and better of Yoon Hee to pack her bags and leave him instead of having an affair with Dong Hoon’s boss? Because I do understand her frustration and sympathise with her predicament… I really do, but her manner of dealing with the situation is just too foolish and makes her come across as nothing but insensitive and weak.

Stylistically, I loved the way this whole exchange between husband and wife was told with the back drop of Dong Hoon and his friends talking about cars and playing football. One realises how important male company is for Dong Hoon… Being a person who lives too much in his head, keeping these friends close probably helps him to stay grounded. One can see how Yoon Hee would have been frustrated with him spending so much time with this rowdy bunch instead of with her…

And Ji An saying 감사합니다 after she was walked home by the whole Bar gang… I shed a tear there, I must admit. Ji An is finding out what it is to have support and connection and appreciating it. She doesn’t have to be on her own anymore. The look on Dong Hoon’s face when she said thank you was priceless. How shocked he is to realise how she’s starting to be more engaged with her surroundings. Is he perhaps also feeling a bit sad at the realisation that she’s starting to come into her own and therefore she will move away from him and his influence? Who knows.

It is satisfying to see Yoon Hee trying hard to do the right thing. It’s sad but right for her to give up on Dong Hoon and make things right for him to attain the position he deserves.

Kwang Il… What an incredible blend of guilt, hatred and anger! And yet it is difficult to completely hate him, even though he has done terrible things… He’s both victim and inheritor of the sins of the father. Will he be able to move pass the horrible things he’s seen and done? Prison seems to be the inevitable end for him…

I just love the story line of the bad actress and Gi Hoon. He finally confessed that he bullied her and destroyed her confidence. I’ve seen men doing that to women IRL, although not many admit they ever did it. .. Well done Gi Hoon for giving this girl the lift she needs to go on! 

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

Beautifully said, all of this! I also love how they told the confrontation of Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon through flashbacks, while he’s trying to focus on soccer.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I would have preferred to see answers to some of the questions that weren’t shown in the flashbacks. For example, we know she was unhappy, but not why she chose to cheat], and with his worst enemy to boot.

The thing is, he was not inattentive at all, he was much more observant than her and a much better husband.

He would have never cheated on her. He was always doing housework before she came home and not turning on the TV so she could work on her job as a lawyer. He bought her anything she wished, always asked her whether she needed something.

His stance on family and friends is a matter of values and opinions, not a personal slight, and in the beginning she was able to acknowledge it (admitting that basically anyone else would have been happy with him as a husband). For that matter, he should have pushed back and asked her, when she used the kid as a token, if she really believed the child would have been better off without the connection to his extended family, particularly while living alone abroad.

On the other hand, she was not only abusing his unconditional trust, but also betraying him with his worst enemy, and staying by his side while he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. She broke things off because of him lying to her about camping, if he had not forced him to break things off and Ji An would have never told her the truth, she would have continued being with him, had he *just* wanted to hurt her husband.

I also didn’t like that she started this spiel and string of accusations, when the moment was supposed to be about him, not about her. He had just confessed to have been made to feel unworthy of respect. She is so self absorbed that she cannot even spare a though for his psychological safety. Thankfully Ji An had listened in and “saved” him by telling him he was a good person and deserved to be happy.

Then there the issue of guilt… dying after learning he knew? What about before? No guilt then? Actually, she would have been fine with him knowing, as long as her lover had just tried to hurt him and not lied about camping, because she would have divorced her husband to be with him.

I really disliked the possessive/controlling way she wanted him to give up something central to him, his family and friends, that are at the core of his personality and life, just because she felt insecure. This is similar to Crazy Rich Asian’s cheating husband feeling that nothing he did mattered, and not feeling accepted by the family. Astrid correctly told him that he was a coward that gave up on them and it was not her job to change herself in order to make him feel less insecure.

Again, his stance on the matter is not an objective slight. Ji An has the same opinion on family (imagine how controlling her boyfriend would seem if he tried to police who spent her time with because he felt jealous over her relationship with Dong Hoon or her grandmother), and she hit it off beautifully with his friends and brothers. His wife tried to buy her way into the circle, but the issue was she didn’t really want to be in the circle, to love his family and friends as he did, but wanted him to distance himself from them, to love them less.

He is correct in saying that loving his family and friends does not detract from his love of her. And he does love her. Does she have amnesia, and can’t remember the flashback she had some time ago about him caring for her and nursing her back to health after her breakup with her lover, all the while knowing the truth?

The guy even cared and thought about her when he should have hated and not cared about her at all, when confronting her lover: he accused him of never intending to marry her because she did not come from an important family.

I disliked her bringing up old trasnactional monetary favors… it was galling, no trace of the unconditional giving you show a true family member. This is not the case with her sister in law.

In terms of him tying to get her to fit in, he did try that (episode 7, he invited her to the family, and in what appeared to be a constant occurrence, she turned him down with an excuses, letting him look miserable and resigned… only to complain he spent time with them without her).

I find it absurd she would act insecure and jealous, and question his care for her, after she deceived him, betrayed him with his worst enemy, and stood by the latter’s side as he was planning to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. Not to mention ghosting him and spurning him to spend time with her lover (the day in the car after dinner at his mom’s house, etc.)

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I mean, she outright told him that she was nice to his brothers, etc. only because he wanted him to focus on her, not because she wanted them to be family to her.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I must say that I found surprising how the sister is so absent from their lives otherwise… DH’s wife doesn’t seem to have too close a contact with her, while DH is pretty close to his brothers. Maybe if they had a closer bonds she would be able to better understand her.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

If this was about how they grew distant from each other, with her working till late and him leaning on his friends because he didn’t want to come home to an empty house, and vice versa, I don’t see why only he is culpable. I wouldn’t even say they were equally inattentive, because in all this we continued to do the housework before she came home and didn’t even watch tv, so she wouldn’t have to worry about that, buy her anything she wanted, ask her whether she needed anything (even as they are estranged, he cared), etc. and never cheated on her (basically, the reverse of the standard plot, or double reverse: a house-husband with a full time job that does not cheat).

Actually, I would say much worse than “inattentive wife”… habitual liar, serial cheater, and not only that: she betrayed him with his worst enemy, someone she would be willing to stand by even as he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer.

Frankly, he needs contact with friends (and sport) as much as possible now, and they both know she betrayed him with his worst enemy. If she isn’t willing to grant him space now of all time, and after all she did still dares to gaslight him about him caring for her and her fears of abandonment, I don’t know what to say. Think of the debacle with the promotion: he wanted to keep it under wraps because he was worried, he told his brother because the latter felt guilty at asking him to stay in a miserable job in order to support them, then it spread by word of mouth and she complained to him… while they both knew the other candidate, who he was worried might do something crazy when cornered, was her lover! Not sure she has the right to cast any stones about him not telling things… and her lover was the other candidate, which considering the way she abused his unconditional trust shouldn’t logically make her assume he should trust her with that information.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

The thing is, he was not inattentive at all, he was much more observant than her and a much better husband.

He would have never cheated on her. He was always doing housework before she came home and not turning on the TV so she could work on her job as a lawyer. He bought her anything she wished, always asked her whether she needed something.

His stance on family and friends is a matter of values and opinions, not a personal slight, and in the beginning she was able to acknowledge it (admitting that basically anyone else would have been happy with him as a husband). For that matter, he should have pushed back and asked her, when she used the kid as a token, if she really believed the child would have been better off without the connection to his extended family, particularly while living alone abroad.

On the other hand, she was not only abusing his unconditional trust, but also betraying him with his worst enemy, and staying by his side while he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. She broke things off because of him lying to her about camping, if he had not forced him to break things off and Ji An would have never told her the truth, she would have continued being with him, had he *just* wanted to hurt her husband.

I also didn’t like that she started this spiel and string of accusations, when the moment was supposed to be about him, not about her. He had just confessed to have been made to feel unworthy of respect. She is so self absorbed that she cannot even spare a though for his psychological safety. Thankfully Ji An had listened in and “saved” him by telling him he was a good person and deserved to be happy.

Then there the issue of guilt… dying after learning he knew? What about before? No guilt then? Actually, she would have been fine with him knowing, as long as her lover had just tried to hurt him and not lied about camping, because she would have divorced her husband to be with him.

I really disliked the possessive/controlling way she wanted him to give up something central to him, his family and friends, that are at the core of his personality and life, just because she felt insecure. This is similar to Crazy Rich Asian’s cheating husband feeling that nothing he did mattered, and not feeling accepted by the family. Astrid correctly told him that he was a coward that gave up on them and it was not her job to change herself in order to make him feel less insecure.

Again, his stance on the matter is not an objective slight. Ji An has the same opinion on family (imagine how controlling her boyfriend would seem if he tried to police who spent her time with because he felt jealous over her relationship with Dong Hoon or her grandmother), and she hit it off beautifully with his friends and brothers. His wife tried to buy her way into the circle, but the issue was she didn’t really want to be in the circle, to love his family and friends as he did, but wanted him to distance himself from them, to love them less.

He is correct in saying that loving his family and friends does not detract from his love of her. And he does love her. Does she have amnesia, and can’t remember the flashback she had some time ago about him caring for her and nursing her back to health after her breakup with her lover, all the while knowing the truth?

The guy even cared and thought about her when he should have hated and not cared about her at all, when confronting her lover: he accused him of never intending to marry her because she did not come from an important family.

I disliked her bringing up old trasnactional monetary favors… it was galling, no trace of the unconditional giving you show a true family member. This is not the case with her sister in law.

In terms of him tying to get her to fit in, he did try that (episode 7, he invited her to the family, and in what appeared to be a constant occurrence, she turned him down with an excuses, letting him look miserable and resigned… only to complain he spent time with them without her).

I find it absurd she would act insecure and jealous, and question his care for her, after she deceived him, betrayed him with his worst enemy, and stood by the latter’s side as he was planning to fire him with the help of an accused murderer. Not to mention ghosting him and spurning him to spend time with her lover (the day in the car after dinner at his mom’s house, etc.)

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

She didn’t want to be nice to his brothers, etc., she basically tells him she only did it so that he would side with her and distance himself from them, or, in her words “be fully on her side” and focus only on her. She wanted to mold him into who she wanted him to be, rather than accepting him for who he was.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Basically, she didn’t care for them, and only spent time with them as long as she held out hope to change Dong Hond and make him distance himself from them. When that didn’t work she stopped, since she didn’t think of them or the rest of his family as her family, thus the episode 7 scene in which she ghosted them.

This is the reality, one would hope that this was not the case and she could see the beauty in his bond with his brothers and friends, and appreciate how precious and valuable it is, but she doesn’t care and does not see it (on the contrary, Ji An does and is therefore immediately integrated in the group). But if that was the case, they wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with. One would have hoped that through her kid she could have learned to appreciate his extended family, and acknowledged the fact that they brought value to her kid’s life. That’s why I would have liked Dong Hoon to push back on that point.

Last edited 5 months ago by matrice
matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

alone abroad

Basically, away from his parents and his family (with the exception of a “sister in law”), and benefiting from the fact that he has an extended family he can talk to.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

I had completely forgotten about the woman, to be honest.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

Wondering what other relatives does DH’s wife have.

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

I think that asking him to give up his relationship with his family and friends just because she felt insecure was appalling (she even brings the kid into it… does she really thing he would be better off without a close knit bond with his extended family, particularly when he is alone abroad?). If the roles were reversed and he tried to police who she should talk to it would be more than apparent. This would be like trying to make Ji An distance herself from her Grandma. It’s a core part of who he is.

Also, not a smart more to distance yourself from people that love and respect you, being there for you when you need them no question asked, for the sake of someone that would deceive you for years, betraying you with your worst enemy, staying with him while he was trying to fire you, and still gaslighting you with *her* insecurity and questioning of your care for her… when he was willing to be kind to her and nurse her back to health after she broke up with her lover, despite her betrayal, as she flashbacked some time ago in the car. She has given him a thousand times more motives to feel insecure and question her caring for him, or having any shred of respect for him, for that matter.

The issue with them becoming more and more detached from each other is on both of their shoulders. She spent time working, so he leaned more on his friends, and vice versa. A vicious cycle (not that she arrived at this equanimous “who knows whose fault it is” immediately, first step was to blame him).

Ji An clearly demonstrates that no help from him was needed to integrate into his social circle (she hits it off beautifully with his friends and brothers, and she was not from the neighborhood either). He gave her every opportunity, for example in episode 7, which she spurned at every turn, only to blame him for being there without her,as you wrote in your review (https://www.google.com/search?q=my+mister+fangirlverdict+review&oq=my+mister+fangirlverdict+review&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.5062j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8). No, the point here is that she did not *want* to love them as much as he did, she wanted him to love them less. And not only he couldn’t give him that, it was obscene of her to ask. She should have never married him, if she couldn’t accept a basic part of him. As Astrid told her cheating husband in Crazy Rich Asians, who was insecure and felt like nothing he did mattered, and was not accepted by her family, paraphrasing: “you are a coward that gave up on us. It’s not my job to change myself so that you don’t feel insecure”. Again, were the roles reversed, we could fully appreciate how needy/clingi/possessive/controlling she sounds

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

“Inattentive husband”… try inattentive wife. She believed her lover when he told her he would seek revenge (he didn’t, he just asked him to stay away from his wife and never tell her he knew, and that he couldn’t mistreat him without reason at work). She also thinks if he left the company nobody would follow him (won’t spoiler).

He was the one doing the housework at home before she came back, without even watching tv, to support her as she pursued her career. In the meantime, he was working a stressful job and exposed to prejudices (earning less than his wife, working under a junior, neither of which mattered to him, but something people talked about -and his wife tried to use to manipulate him-) and under bad bosses (evil boss that is sleeping with his wife and making life impossible at work), all the while having to sustain his family financially (his two brothers and mother depend on him).

Basically, he is the unappreciated cheating housewife in My Wife Is Having An Affair This Week, except he doesn’t cheat, the spouse taking him for granted does.

Pretty funny how people’s opinion gets swayed by superficial characteristics and their own biases, rather than going by the story. In that respect, he should be happy since his wife’s opinion on people does not seem to be too good (look at the man she chose as a lover, he was absolutely not in the wrong in calling her a fool).

matrice
matrice
5 months ago
Reply to  matrice

alone abroad

With sis in law (maybe, if I am not mistaken). Moot point, the fact is, he is living away from his parents, in another continent. I think the general picture is correct.

Pixaiated
Pixaiated
8 months ago

The confrontation between Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee was long overdue, and a really powerful moment. You can really feel both of their pain in that scene. There’s one line in particular that stands out for me, which is when Dong Hoon says that cheating on him is equivalent to telling him that he’s worthless and should just die.

This line adds some additional context into what must have been going through Dong Hoon’s mind in episode 5, where he didn’t get up after falling near the train tracks and episode 6, when he stands for a long time at the bridge. Both scenes already suggested that Dong Hoon was to some extent thinking about suicide, and I think that this line makes it this even clearer. It just highlights how deeply hurt and broken he was and makes this scene that much more heartbreaking.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

Yes, to hear him say now that the affair made him feel worthless makes us feel so broken for him as we look back to how he was in Ep 5 and 6 when he found out. It really was an enormous blow to him as a husband and as a man.

MC
MC
8 months ago

This show is just so.. consistently good even on multiple rewatches, and that’s very very high praise. I may know the highlights and most plot points but I still gasp and feel with our characters. Everyone is so beautifully portrayed, even our “baddies”. Although Do Joon Young is slimy you can still kind of understand him, just a little.

This time I watch more for our side characters – our neighbourhood drinking bros and morning soccer club, Yoon Hee (who I agree with Trent has done an amazing job of humanising a difficult to like character), Jung-hee and Gyeom Dum (so much between these two, the air is so charged with meaning and longing and hurt and they’re not even physically together). And I didn’t like Yoo Ra the first time I watched her, but this time I realise she’s a lot deeper and wiser and sadder and compelling in her own way.

There’s so much to unpack every episode I can’t possibly cover it all, but the scene where Dong Hoon is in the van, looking out after the door smashing incident, and the other vehicles move away and it’s just Ji an staring not just at him but into his soul – that was so moving and such a good use of a pause and a long charged moment. And the other one that stuck with me was how in just a few words – not more than a line, really, our resident loan shark Kwang-il becomes this layered complex man with love and hate and guilt and shame burning in him all the time.

What can I say? I can’t put into words how I feel about this show. This show is such a masterpiece.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  MC

Totally agree – it’s a masterpiece that never gets old no matter how much we watch it. And there are always new things to discover. These days, it’s the clues that are in Ep 10 and 12 regarding Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon’s marriage. I missed these the first time I watched the show, but now every time I watch it, these clues stand out. And I have to remember that PDnim puts things in for a reason.

There is a key moment on the rooftop in Ep 12 where we peek behind the curtain into Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon’s current state of marriage. Yoon Hee tells Do Joon Young, “You can’t imagine the hell we’re going through…I have to put up with Dong Hoon’s loathing…I’m going to wait until he doesn’t think that we’re getting a divorce because of you, but because of us.” (paraphrasing from memory 🙂 )

This echoes back to Do Joon Young’s comment to Young Hee when they meet at that cafeteria in Ep 10: “Sunbae knows that once you know that he knows about the affair, you won’t be able to live with him.” Once again Do Joon Young is so astute, knowing that Yoon Hee will not be able to live with DH once the affair is out in the open between DH and YH. He has known Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon for 20 years after all, and everything he says about them has been pretty accurate so far in the show.

And of course, this talk on the rooftop also calls back to Ep 10 when the bar owner says in a voiceover, “I hate my wife. I hate that she’s trying. Either I wait 3 years and divorce her, or 10 years and divorce her.” Yoon Hee tells Do Joon Young that Dong Hoon loathes her. It sounds like DH is having a similar experience to the bar owner of loathing a wife who cheated. (Probably because he, like the bar owner, also can’t stop thinking about his wife with the other man.)

Dong Hoon says something during the confrontation with Yoon Hee that’s pretty direct for him, too: “I have no intention of forcing you to live with me just to make my life easier while giving you a hard time. But after meeting you and living with you 20 years, how I have to end this, from what point do I have to turn this over…I just don’t know. I thought I could endure this if you didn’t know that I knew. But it’s become too difficult now. For you and for me, both.”

The weight of his broken marriage is heavy right now, and he’s already thinking about “how I have to end this” and “it’s become too difficult now.”

Also!! I had a revelation today!! Why did Yoon Hee stay in Hugye so long when she hated it? She passed the bar exam and had Ji Seok very close together. In her confrontation with Dong Hoon, she says, “After I passed the bar exam, I wanted to move out of this neighborhood.” There was a scene earlier in the show where omma is taking care of baby Ji Seok, and Dong Hoon tells omma thank you for taking care of the baby. Ki Hoon says he’s so impressed with Yoon Hee, that she had a baby and passed the bar exam, that she was an incredible woman.

Yoon Hee and Dong Hoon relied on omma to take care of Ji Seok while she was studying for the bar! If they had moved out of Hugye sooner, she wouldn’t have had omma’s help with a new baby while she was studying. So it was only after she had passed the bar (and after the baby had been taken care of for a while) that she started pushing Dong Hoon to leave the neighborhood.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

Just to clarify – I had my mom’s help with my kids so I know how valuable and precious that is. It just struck me today that Yoon Hee was not pushing Dong Hoon to leave Hugye pre-marriage or early marriage, just after the bar and the baby. (They likely didn’t go into their marriage knowing that YH hated Hugye; it happened over time.)

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  MC

MC, I just realized I hijacked your comment with my own thoughts, haha. Sorry about that! Yes, the way we grow to have sympathy for complex Kwang Il is so well done. I love how the show peels back layers from the characters. They start out in our minds as one way, and by 3/4 of the way through the show we’ve come to understand them as humans/ people with their own baggage and demons.

Like you, I love the scene where Ji An is looking at Dong Hoon from the sidewalk, into the van. In context, they haven’t talked at all since he demanded his slippers back – and they won’t talk again until she stays late to help out Team Three – but it seemed like so much connection was communicated through their look.

And Yu Ra is hilarious to me. I love how she’s put up as a parallel to Ji An (for example, when she says in Ep 8 at her audition: “I will love you from now on, Department Head. It is my eternal regret I was born so much later than you. I have a loan to repay.” And how much comfort SHE finds from the Hugye gang is heartwarming. I really disliked her at first…but again, her backstory is so sad, and it’s great to watch her development in the show.

eda harris
eda harris
8 months ago

at the start of episode 11, ja takes away the slippers she gifted to dh. is seems she’s upset that he did not use it, even probably in a way insulted. but why? what is really behind it? did she really fell for him, and that is why it is of such importance to her? what’s confusing to me is the meaning of “like” and “love” in korean and chinese. every language i speak does not have this confusing take on such emotion as love, and if definitely differentiates between liking and loving. these two concepts are not interchangeable. so when she says many times in this story that she “likes” him, i do not understand what exactly she means, as in korean it has multiple meanings.
this drama is simply life itself with simple characters, no heroes, no fiction, no fantasies… this kind of drama, to be so pure, plucked out of life is quite rare. it presents us with true life lessons and equally complicated questions.
the meeting of dh and his old friend the monk is full with such lessons and questions. one of the most important ones is the question presented to dh by the monk whether parents should sacrifice themselves for the sake of their kids. and second question that comes out of this one – will the kid appreciate the sacrifice or “make him swear and feel like shit” – in the words of the monk, “or is it an excuse people make to feel better about their shitty lives.” this is a double edged sword of a question and answer in our modern society. it seems like the monk’s understanding of it is that every person is first and foremost responsible for his OWN life and HAPPINESS – your life you should be responsible to live it good and feel happy. but…how does one define “happiness” – that is also a fundamental question throughout the human existence. for the monk it seems – be one with nature, be one with spiritual self. what is happiness for his best friend dh? obviously, self sacrifice is not the answer, and dh is forced to learn this hard lesson and is suddenly getting to understand it. and the drama shows us the other side of this “sword-question” – is the path the monk has chosen brought him “happiness” ??? we see the monk driving dh back to the bar, where all their childhood friends and the monk’s girl-friend of long time ago all gathered in this bar and waiting for dh. dh leaves, the monk does not drive away, he stays in the car, looking at the door of the bar, trying to catch a glimpse of the life he could have been part of but decided to give up. his eyes, his expression feels to me like full of longing, missing something that was lost for ever. is he happy with HIS choice? was it the RIGHT choice? i am not sure he has an answer to this, and so can we have an answer to this question? and what is the lesson the story is trying to present to us? may be it is this: fate presents only choices, we make the decision. humans have only one life, no multiple choices, no turning back and changing choices made (this is not “one day someday” – we do not go back and forth).
now i want to move to this question that we have discussed up and down – is dh planning and going to end up with ja in the future? in the scene where ja wants to end their relationship (for the sake of dh, but he does not understand it this way), he of course does not accept it, and one of the things he tells her is “if we run into each other decades later, i’m going to greet you, i ‘ll be glad to see you again”… from this i personally gather that he has no intentions to stay with her (even staying in touch is questionable), but will keep her in his heart as something special, a close friend who truly understood him and stood by him, but no future lover or wife.
episode 12 is the most heartbreaking of all, the bottom line of dh’s marriage, so painful to watch, crashing for her and for him. i still want to think about it, especially that i have been there, i mean divorce, but no betrayal of any kind. it has been years ago, but the pain is still there, from the failure and loosing the relationship (in my case he was truly my soul mate, and although i left him, there were always residues of that love left, till the last moment when he passed, and it is still there, even that he’s no longer on this earth, although i am happily married to another man for many years now). sorry for injecting my own personal baggage…
and last, what stayed with me is the end of episode 12, the “inquisition table” – ja’s big eyes like two of the grand bright moons (the moon that we saw before) on her pale, delicate face talking to her grandmother, on top of the city, lighting the path for a human being. that is how her eyes look to me.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
8 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Thank you for sharing, Eda. To share some of my personal baggage, some of that distance between YH and DH I can identify with, if I don’t take effort to stop what I’m doing and connect with my spouse. So My Mister is a cautionary tale for me. The confrontation in end episode 11/beginning episode 12 was long overdue, so painful, so real and raw. The writers and directors of this drama are really emotionally attuned and aware.

eda harris
eda harris
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

yes, each of us sees everything through the filter of our own life experiences, that is why we see things in different ways.

Pixaiated
Pixaiated
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

I really agree with the sentiment that My Mister, especially with relation to Dong Hoon’s arc, is a cautionary tale. This isn’t solely related to his marriage woes, but also extends to his general approach towards life.

The conversation with his monk friend summarizes it pretty well. Dong Hoon’s tendency to self-sacrifice for the sake of others at the expense of his own happiness. It’s ok – and I would argue extremely important – to think of yourself sometimes.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
8 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

In fact, Dong Hoon’s self-sacrificial tendencies and burying his head in the sand only avoided conflict, it didn’t make his wife, his mother or his brothers happier. His mother went to the temple to pray for him cos she was worried about him. His brothers were also edgy, wondering how to make him happy. His wife wasn’t happy. He thought he could bear it as long as others didn’t know what he was suffering. But it leaks out from him, everyone can tell he is unhappy and stuffing his emotions, but they can’t help him if he doesn’t say what is the problem.

So in fact, although the monk friend didn’t put it as such, seeking your own happiness may cause short term pain for your loved ones but in fact liberates and helps your loved ones be happy too. So it’s not necessarily selfish to do so.

But indeed I love how monk’s advice is not delivered as a clean and simple solution. That scene as he lingers outside the bar – weighing the cost to himself, his relationship with his buddies, his past relationship with Jeong Hui. Man… It can be argued that by pursuing this path, he is being true to himself and became a source of peace to others, including Mom who went to talk to him earlier in the series, and Dong Hoon. But at what cost indeed? Love that show is not straightforward in offering easy solutions.

MariaF
MariaF
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Dong Hoon’s self-sacrificial tendencies and burying his head in the sand only avoided conflict.
Yes, DH does prefer to avoid conflict at any cost. But what has he sacrificed?

DH’s wife wanted him to stop hanging out with his buddies and devote more time to her. She wanted them to move.
Did he do it? Nope. He actually doubled down on playing soccer and drinking.

She also wanted DH to overcome his passive nature and to advance his career, to meet new successful people. Did he do that? Again, nope. He stayed with the company, even when he was under the constant threat of being fired. He didn’t even try to find a better job.

His attitude towards life, not his sacrifices, is the main reason he is miserable.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Interesting, Maria, so you think he didn’t sacrifice? Now that makes me think! Hmmm….I wonder if he thought that staying in a job he hated (in order to keep supporting his omma and brothers) was a sacrifice.

But I’m going to think on this some more – you bring up an interesting question! @Pixaiated can you see this? What do you think are concrete examples of DH’s sacrifices (in his mind)?

MariaF
MariaF
8 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

Oh, sure. DH has made sacrifices. For example, as much as he hated confrontations, DH did go to confront that buildings’ owner for the sake of his family. Also, DH knew that his marriage is not working, but he was staying with his wife, supposedly for the sake of his mom, his brothers, his son, etc. His job made DH miserable, but quitting required courage and making choices, so he stayed. Again, supposedly, for the sake of his family. 
Leaving that neighborhood and advancing his career would have been really hard on him, so, instead of either confronting his wife or doing what she wants him to do, he chose a path of least resistance (which is his way of dealing with challenges) by hiding in that bar with his brothers and friends.
It’s like DH is stuck in a purgatory: not doing what would’ve made his wife and the rest of his family happy, but also not living his life the way he wants to live.

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Thanks for clarifying. I can see where you’re coming from. 👍

eda harris
eda harris
8 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria, this is a very comprehensive break down of the dh’s internal turmoil – depending on which side you are looking from, yes, he sacrifices but also stuck in the “least resistance” mode, because he prefers to keep his head in the sand when faced with challenges. i agree with your assessment.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
8 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

I can’t argue with the doubling down on his buddies and drinking. On that score, when Yoon Hui said she hated the neighbourhood and wanted to move, but he just went quiet, it seems like he found it so much of a threat to his sense of being and belonging to his family and buddies that he could not contemplate it. I think the lesson is that Yoon Hui rather than blaming the family and buddies should have expressed her own needs. What did she want out of Dong Hoon, did she want romantic dinners once in a while? Did she want him to be home and talk to her? Expressing her needs in the form of an act of service that he could help her with may have gotten better results rather than making it a choice between her or his extended family. 🙁

As for the career, I thought he was extremely responsible as Team 3’s manager. Yes they always were given the short end of the stick, and he missed Design. But I think given the example of his brother and other friends who left their safe jobs to start businesses and failed, there wasn’t much precedence for a successful exit. And he had to support not just himself, but also Omma (buying house for her), Sang Hoon and Ki Hoon, and also Ji-Seok’s studies. So there was no way he could have left his job, at least not until his brothers earned a decent living. In Confucian culture, the younger generation is supposed to support the elder generation. So state welfare policies are extremely pitiful. Either you save up for your own retirement or you depend on your kids to take care of you. Dong Hoon had to take care of not just his Omma but also his brothers, the louts.

MariaF
MariaF
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

What did she want out of Dong Hoon, did she want romantic dinners once in a while?

I don’t think having romantic dinners once in a while would’ve cut it.
She wanted a different lifestyle altogether.
A better place to live, better company to keep, and, most importantly, she wanted to be sure that she was the love of his life.
As far as his job goes, DH’s wife wasn’t the only one, who wanted him to become successful professionally. His mother wanted the same thing. 

given the example of his brother and other friends who left their safe jobs to start businesses and failed, there wasn’t much precedence for a successful exit.

I’m not sure they all left their jobs, so they could start new businesses. I thought they were pushed out because of their age, and then started their own businesses. Also, these businesses weren’t exactly failures, just not prestigious. All the more reason to do something, while DH is younger than them. But he didn’t even try to get a better job…

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

In fact, Dong Hoon’s self-sacrificial tendencies and burying his head in the sand only avoided conflict, it didn’t make his wife, his mother or his brothers happier. His mother went to the temple to pray for him cos she was worried about him. His brothers were also edgy, wondering how to make him happy. His wife wasn’t happy. He thought he could bear it as long as others didn’t know what he was suffering. But it leaks out from him, everyone can tell he is unhappy and stuffing his emotions, but they can’t help him if he doesn’t say what is the problem.

So in fact, although the monk friend didn’t put it as such, seeking your own happiness may cause short term pain for your loved ones but in fact liberates and helps your loved ones be happy too. So it’s not necessarily selfish to do so.

Such great points, Elaine. We must take care of ourselves as well as the people around us. Tamping down our own desires/ needs doesn’t do anyone any good, and just causes resentment.

It’s great that Monk gives Dong Hoon permission to be happy and think about himself. You wonder if Dong Hoon had ever thought about being happy previous to Ji An coming into his life and telling him he’s living a “life sentence of earnestness.”

the_sweetroad
8 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

Agreed. Which is why it’s so gratifying to see Dong Hoon confront Do Joon Young in the CEO’s office after having Monk tell him to think of himself sometimes. And later that same day, to see him run after Ji An and demand his slippers back. Speaking up for himself is coming more frequently to him now; he’s not going to let things slide.

Also, it’s such a contrast to see him going after Ji An to demand his slippers back, and to give such a beautiful speech to her….and then to go home to Yoon Hee and have such a silent, awkward dinner. He pours out his heart to Ji An and won’t let her out of his life. But dinner with his own wife is such a painful thing for them both. It’s really hard to watch.

Trent
8 months ago

I feel like every set of episodes I’m saying “these were a great couple of episodes!” But I keep saying it because it’s true! And so it is with these two episodes.

Lots of stuff to highlight here; for instance, I always find that moment when Yoon-hee just can’t bear it any more and silently kneels in apology–you notice that she doesn’t even explicitly say what she’s kneeling for, she doesn’t need to, they both know what’s going on–to be very expressive and powerful. I think that whole kneeling to show sincerity of apology is very much a characteristically (although certainly not exclusively) an East Asian thing to do.

And just a note…I really respect the job Lee Ji-ah has done in a potentially thankless role. I really feel like there’s been some real complexity that she’s brought to Yoon-hee, and my impression is that she’s not a bad person; she made a bad mistake, and she’s bitterly regretting it now, with reason, but I also feel like she really is articulating some pretty reasonable concerns and things that caused her to feel frozen out in her marriage. Maybe not justification for running into the arms of a slick creep like Joon-young, but some legitimate grievances. (If I ever do end up with an overwhelming urge to indulge some makjang and watch The Penthouse, it will no doubt be in no small part in order to see Lee Ji-ah again).

One of the moments that really stuck out for me in these episodes, though, was that bit where DH introduced JA to the crowd hanging around at Jung-hee’s. And what struck me was what a powerful thing it was (is) to have a network, a web of connections, like that. Even if it’s just semi on-the-skids drinking buddies, this is still a neighborhood crowd with deep roots and at bottom they’re pretty solid. And I think it means more than can really be articulated for JA to be drawn, even tentatively, into the edges of an established network like that. Her shy, almost impulsive “kamsahamnida” there at the end, after they’ve already turned to go, is such a happy-making little breath of fresh air. How often has she had cause to interact with that sort of established web of mutual support, and to feel that spontaneous gratitude for being included? It’s a lovely little moment.

uyen
uyen
8 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I haven’t been rewatching but have loved feeling all the feels again with these open thread recaps. This was also one of my favorite scenes, when Dong Hoon’s friends meet Ji An — they’re just so immediately warm and welcoming and it made me so emotional knowing that’s something Ji An crave but didn’t readily get. They are so quickly interested in her and protective. I loved when Ji An said something about how they must have their stuff together, and all of them are around her and just smile faintly/knowingly because they have their own things they’re dealing with and it doesn’t necessarily get easier or they don’t always get wiser!

PP
PP
8 months ago
Reply to  uyen

Yes omg, you’ve highlighted the particular scene in ep. 12 I wanted to write about.

For context, the neighbourhood friends were discussing how Dong Hoon and Jeong Hui once travelled together to look for her former BF now monk, but remarked how Dong Hoon never laid a hand on Jeong Hui while they were together, despite being in their 20s (I remembered this because it is yet another proof of Dong Hoon’s righteous and upright character, despite all the allegations targeted at him to uncover signs of the contrary, in particular the conference room interview at the end of ep. 12). Jeong Hui later told Ji An how awful it is to be old like them, to which Ji An blurted she wanted to grow older more quickly so that life can be easier (major oof moment for me, knowing what we know about the lives of Dong Hoon’s brothers and the rest). The reaction from the middle-aged group is just the perfect response, especially for Jeong Hui who after silently gazed at Ji An, locked her arms wordlessly around hers for the rest of the journey.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
8 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Agree witb you Trent, each pair of episodes gets more and more awesome!