Open Thread: My Mister Episodes 13 & 14

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Ji An’s headlining our post today, because her wistfulness, as she continues to listen in on Dong Hoon’s life, and as she contemplates cutting herself out of his life, is just so palpable. 💔

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 13

This episode, it feels like certain things are starting to unravel, and that’s pretty unsettling, because it makes me wonder what’s going to happen to the core things that are now starting to come together.

As Dong Hoon ponders how Ji An basically saves him from being maligned, with her testimony, it feels like he’s letting her in, to a new depth.

The fact that Dong Hoon walks slower, as he walks her home after their dinner together, is a pretty big deal, I feel. Typically, if you walk slower with someone, that’s when you actually perceive the person whom you’re with, in a personal capacity. If it’s all business, you’d tend to walk faster.

When Ji An asks Dong Hoon why he’s walking slower – a first for him, while taking her home – he answers, “It’s not cold out.” While it might sound like a vague weather-related excuse, to my ears, it feels like a symbolic truth. Dong Hoon feels warmth in his heart, from knowing that he has Ji An in his corner, with him.

That warmth, I think, mirrors the warmth that Ji An had talked about, in her testimony about Dong Hoon, and how he had made it such that it made her feel warm, just to look at Saman’s logo.

I really like this mirroring effect.

When Ji An asks to hug Dong Hoon to give him energy, and he declines, saying that he’s already energized, I do think that he’s trying to draw a platonic line between them. At the same time, I also don’t think he’s lying, when he says that he’s already energized. I do believe that the solidarity that he feels from Ji An, is enough to give him a boost of inner strength.

While this connection is strengthening, however, other things are threatening to unravel, and it is admittedly hard to watch, because it feels like contextually, a lot of things could happen to destroy this bond between Dong Hoon and Ji An, which feels like it’s just starting to take proper root.

Like the way Joon Young threatens to take Ji An down, for blackmailing him and taking his money. And the way ex-Director Park’s got that ex-detective on Ki Beom’s tail. And the way Yoon Hee’s infidelity is no longer a secret from Ki Hoon and Sang Hoon. ALL of that feels dangerous to the bond between Dong Hoon and Ji An, I feel like.

It’s smart and sharp of Ji An, to threaten Joon Young right back, with the recording that she has of him, instructing her to approach Dong Hoon, so that he can be framed for an improper relationship. However, this seems to only provide temporary relief for us, narratively speaking, because there’s so much else going on, at the same time.

One of the biggest things, is how Ki Hoon and Sang Hoon come to know of Yoon Hee’s infidelity.

I think it’s quite telling, that Yoon Hee feels unable to keep up the charade, when Ki Hoon’s questions, aimed at testing the waters, make her feel uncomfortable. She basically admits her guilt via her silence, and this tells me that Yoon Hee really is experiencing a crippling amount of guilt, for what she’s done. It doesn’t make what she did any more right, but it does make a difference, to my eyes, that her remorse is genuine.

The other thing that really strikes me about this situation, is how deeply and viscerally Ki Hoon and Sang Hoon feel Dong Hoon’s pain. They literally don’t know what to do with themselves, because their hearts hurts so much for their brother.

That scene, of all of Dong Hoon’s past words and actions, now with so much more added meaning to them, all flooding into Ki Hoon’s mind, and making him feel so anguished, is very powerful indeed. I find it so moving, really, that these two brothers feel Dong Hoon’s pain so acutely.

Of course, they each handle it very differently, because of their very different personalities, and that in itself is interesting to see. Ki Hoon becomes a roaring beast, wanting to beat up whomever’s hurt Dong Hoon, while Sang Hoon becomes a teary-eyed puddle, reproaching himself for not having done better, as the eldest brother, to make life easier and better for Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee.

Both Ki Hoon’s and Sang Hoon’s reactions don’t exactly help Dong Hoon, as we see from the scene of them sitting together in that eatery, and Ki Hoon literally yelling at Dong Hoon for not letting his tears out (although, I do think Ki Hoon has a point, about it being unhealthy for Dong Hoon to keep everything bottled up).

What Dong Hoon says in response to his brothers, is so painfully poignant, “Remember what Father always used to say? “It’s not a big deal.” “It’s not a big deal.” There isn’t anyone to say that to me. And that’s why I say to myself… “It’s not a big deal.” “It’s not a big deal.””

He must have felt the weight of the world on his shoulders, with no one to tell him that “It’s not a big deal,” or the more literal translation, “It’s nothing at all.”

So, how astute of Ji An, to send him that text, wishing him well for his directorship interview the next day, and add, “It’s nothing at all.” It’s literally what Dong Hoon needs to hear most, in this moment, and Ji An gives that to him.

Sure, Ji An only knows to send him that message, because she can literally hear his every word, but, invasion of privacy aside, she sincerely wants to help him feel better, and her words do reach Dong Hoon in a place where he needs it most.

And, it’s so poignant, that Dong Hoon can’t bring himself to text Ji An his thanks, because he doesn’t want to give her the wrong idea, but she hears him anyway, because she’s tuned in to the sounds of his world.

It’s so momentous, that Dong Hoon is able to articulate to Ki Hoon, that the mere fact that Ji An cheers him on as she does, helps him breathe. And it’s so momentous, too, that Ji An gets to hear this, even though Dong Hoon feels unable to communicate this to her, “Thanks… for being by my side.”

Given that Ji An has been portrayed as living an almost.. meaningless sort of existence, prior to meeting Dong Hoon, it feels like a Huge Deal, for Ji An to know that she has made such a deep impact on someone’s life.

The way Ji An weeps, at hearing this, is so affecting, particularly because she’s kept such a stoic, impassive sort of facade, for so long. This glimpse into just how deeply her connection with Dong Hoon has touched her life, is very moving indeed.

On a side note, I kind of do enjoy the dynamic of Ki Hoon giving Yoo Ra coaching on how to handle the PD of her drama, who’s tormenting her for much the same reasons that he himself had once tormented Yoo Ra.

Even though Yoo Ra’s not able to do the swearing bit at the PD, the part where she follows his advice to assure the PD is quite hilarious. It’s totally counter-intuitive to basically turn around and treat the person who’s yelling at you, like a frightened child who needs encouragement, but it seems to work, which I kinda love.

I mean, the PD does run off with a roar of frustration, but it gets him off Yoo Ra’s back, and I suspect that Ki Hoon really is right about where all the nitpicking is coming from, and I’m thinking that that’s why the PD’s so frustrated as well. He feels seen, now, and is humiliated by it.

Also, it’s rather amusing to me, that Yoo Ra successfully practices her swearing on Ki Hoon, for ignoring her calls all night, when all that coaching on the swearing, had come from Ki Hoon himself. Pfft. I don’t know why, exactly, but I’m finding these two much more amusing this watch, than on my first watch.

As for Jung Hee and her visit to the temple to see Gyeomduk.. I’m assuming that she knew in her head, that nothing she said would actually get Gyeomduk to turn around and abandon the monk life that he’s embraced for so long, but couldn’t stop herself anyway. I feel like she probably has to feel like she’s tried everything, in order to be able to move on – and confronting him, face to face, and calling him out for leaving her, and asking him to come back, is something that she hasn’t done.

I am guessing that now that she’s done this, she might finally be able to make peace with herself, that she’s done everything she could have done, and perhaps, this will be the thing that will allow her to finally put her relationship with Gyeomduk behind her.

As we close out our episode, I love the way Dong Hoon fields questions for his interview. The way he shows up as really competent, is really nice to see. I love how the tables are turned on Director Yoon, who’s trying to show that Dong Hoon’s incompetent – but ends up looking incompetent himself, next to Dong Hoon’s calm, thorough expertise. YESS.

More than that, it’s so stirring, to see the way Dong Hoon speaks up for Ji An, when her past is brought under scrutiny.

He doesn’t hesitate and he doesn’t hold back, and he doesn’t seem to care who he’s speaking to, and whether they have more authority than he does. He just tells it as it is, and it’s completely mesmerizing.

“If you were her, you would’ve done the same. And I would have, too. And that’s why she was judged to be not guilty, by the law. So, why… does Ms. Lee Ji An have to be judged again, here? I have no idea. The law was trying to protect her… by ensuring that her criminal history wouldn’t be exposed so she wouldn’t have to suffer through something like this.

So why did you have to go to such lengths to dig up someone’s painful past? Isn’t it only humane to try and let others forget their past… as much as we want to forget our own?” … “Do machines work at a company? No! Human beings work here!”

DANG. Give the man a standing ovation!! 🤩

At the same time, I can totally see why hearing this spiel would move Ji An to tears. This must be the first time she’s heard anyone speak up on her behalf, with such passion and conviction.

For someone who’s been so isolated for so long, it must feel like such precious, sweet relief, to have someone stand so vocally on her side.

And yet, it is hearing this, that seems to strengthen Ji An’s resolve to disappear. I feel like at this point, her disappearance is as much for her own safety, as it is for Dong Hoon’s.

But – look! – she’s left behind a pair of new slippers for Dong Hoon, just like he’d demanded, and – oof! – it’s such a hit to the gut, that this is turning out to be her farewell gift to him. 😭

Episode 14

This episode, it’s all about Dong Hoon and Ji An, for me.

I mean, yes, other stuff happens, like how Dong Hoon helps make some calls, because Gyeomduk reaches out to ask about Jung Hee, but through it all, Dong Hoon’s clearly distracted, because he’s worried about Ji An, and wonders about her whereabouts.

And, he does everything he can to find her, even calling the assisted living facility where Ji An’s grandmother is staying, and also, going to Ji An’s home, to see if she’s there. That tells me that this episode, it’s all about Ji An, for Dong Hoon too.

That said, I suppose it’s fitting for me to go on record to say that I think of the connection between Dong Hoon and Ji An as that of platonic soulmates. That is to say, I feel that what’s growing between them is a deep, almost spiritual sort of connection, and I find it utterly moving, but I don’t see it as a romantic attachment, even though Ji An does have romantic feelings for Dong Hoon.

I understand that some of you may have a different way of looking at it, and that’s ok. I just personally find the idea of platonic soulmates very moving, and because I have a platonic soulmate myself, I identify with this a great deal. No shade on anyone who chooses to see it differently. Just.. putting it out there.

The look on Dong Hoon’s face, when he realizes that Ji An’s quit the company and has moved away, seems to be filled with a sense of loss. I feel like, even when Ji An hadn’t shown up to work and he couldn’t find her, Dong Hoon wouldn’t entertain the thought that she might possibly have left the company without telling him.

This moment, when Jung Hee tells him about her encounter with Ji An in the morning, where she learns that Ji An’s quit her job and is moving away from the neighborhood, feels like a bit of a bombshell to Dong Hoon.

And Dong Hoon looks.. quietly sad, as he processes this new piece of information, and how his reality will shift because of it. Aw. Poor Dong Hoon. It really feels like his heart is being slowly ripped out, this episode.

It took me a long second to figure out why Ji An chooses to call Dong Hoon from a payphone instead of her mobile phone, and I realize belatedly, that she must have done that, in order that their conversation wouldn’t be recorded – and therefore wouldn’t be at risk of exposure, if and when the recordings are ever secured as evidence.

Dong Hoon: “I thought that you were a strong person. I thought that things like that wouldn’t affect you at all.”

Ji Ah: “I’m just so sick of… people who get a kick out of laughing at me.”

Dong Hoon: “I’m sorry.”

Ji An: “Why would you be sorry, Mister? You were the first one… who was nice to me more than four times. To someone like me. A person I liked. It… doesn’t matter to me anymore whether I am reborn or not. I’ll be able to be reborn again. It’s okay. If I run into you by chance… will we greet each other, and act like we’re happy to see one another?”

Dong Hoon: “Yeah. Call me if your grandmother passes away. Be sure to call me.”

What strikes me about this conversation, is how Dong Hoon doggedly guns for a long-term connection with Ji An. Even when he realizes that she doesn’t want to come back to the company because she doesn’t want people to talk about her, he insists that she call, if her grandmother passes away – so that he can be there; so that she won’t be alone.

Afterwards, she looks brokenhearted, and he looks rather bereft, as he continues on his way. It feels like a very big adjustment that they both need to make, and it definitely feels like neither of them is willing to make it, if at all possible. They are each still very important in the other’s eyes.

When Ji An goes to see Joon Young, it’s to negotiate leaving the affair out of it, if she’s ever caught – so that Dong Hoon wouldn’t be hurt by it.

And when everyone celebrates Dong Hoon’s promotion to Director (the way Mom is so happy  to hear the news, that she flail-whacks her other sons, is the most adorable thing), Dong Hoon smiles through it all, but later, quietly sends a message to Ji An that feels like it’s more important that all the other celebrations combined: “I became director. Thanks.”

And later, when Dong Hoon tries to call Ji An’s mobile and gets the recorded message that the number is no longer in service, man, the look that flashes across his face, is so gutting.

This is the moment that it’s first occurred to him that he might have lost his connection to Ji An, for good, and that glimmer of tears in his eyes is unmistakeable. Of course it must be an earth-tilting sort of thing for Dong Hoon, since, in his words, the knowledge that Ji An’s next to him, cheering him on, is the thing that makes him feel like he can breathe.

The final arc this episode, made me feel a sense of dread in my stomach, because everything’s basically coming together, so that Dong Hoon finds out that Ji An’s been wiretapping him all along. How cruel, for Dong Hoon to have to find out, that the person whom he’s been feeling so grateful to, has actually been eavesdropping on his life, all along? 😭

It’s just like Dong Hoon, to notice that when all the fragments of flashbacks come rushing back to him, indicating that Ji An had indeed been listening in on his life, her actions had only been to build him up, rather than to tear him down.

And it’s just like Dong Hoon, to confront Joon Young about it, and take him to task, for what he’s done to Ji An. Dong Hoon might be very much shaken, but it feels like through it all, his trust in Ji An remains fundamentally intact. Also, his confrontation with Joon Young only confirms his instinct, that Ji An had indeed been on his side all along.

I love-love-LOVE that final moment of the episode, where Dong Hoon picks up his phone and addresses Ji An directly. “Lee Ji An. Lee Ji An. Call me.”

Ji An looks flabbergasted – and this whole scene gives me chills. Because, I know that Dong Hoon’s reaching out in love, and not judgment, and that’s just beautiful. ❤️

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matrice
matrice
1 month ago

I hated the businessman brother telling him to stay with her if she apologized. He doesn’t know the full context, and so it’s not really appropriate for him to opine, but more than that, I cannot shake the feeling that he might like her for her help with the business, and this sounds too close to the situations where he told his brother to just suck it up if the job sucked, because their family depended on his income to survive.

I liked the film director brother’s stance that he divorces (should be a bit less violent, though, nobody coerced the wife, she did this of her own accord) her, because at least it communicates the idea that he knows that his brother would never cheat, and deserves better. I think he needs to think so himself now, if only for his self esteem, while I felt the businessman brother’s “take her back if she apologizes” was indicative of a perception of his brother’s low worth, as with the job: it’s as if he should keep the safe choice and not aspire to anything better, in order to avoid losing everything at all.

Factually speaking, his wife deceived him years, betraying him with his worst enemy, staying by the latter’s side even as he was thinking of ways to fire him, enlisting the help of an accused murder. That was not the deal breaker: him lying to her about camping was. And she only apologized because she started to feel guilty after knowing he knew. Not that she would have ever told him, otherwise, staying with him as if nothing happened (safe backup choice?) and depriving him of the ability to choose.

I have issues taking seriously her guilt, because she didn’t feel it for years as she was deceiving him (explicitly, during her affair she said to her lover they “were starting to look like the bad guys” when he was plotting to fire him, meaning that she thought the year long deception was ok). And if her lover had merely wanted to hurt her husband and not lied about camping, she would still by his side. And this guilt/apology wouldn’t have been made had he not discovered the affair by himself.

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.

j3ffc
j3ffc
3 months ago

I have just finished episode 16 and need to share that I am already misty with withdrawal from this show. 😢

MariaF
MariaF
3 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I think we all went through it. I sympathize.

actionscript
actionscript
3 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

*group hug*

the_sweetroad
3 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Awww. It’s so good, isn’t it? Ep 16 is powerful in a way you’d never expect. Come over to the Spoiler Thread and I’ll pass you some links so you can dive even deeper :).

the_sweetroad
3 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I posted on the spoiler thread but it may take a while to publish, since I included a couple of links. But hopefully you can see it soon. And yes, like actionscript said….a very big group hug 🙂

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago

This is from the KFG post:

It took me a long second to figure out why Ji An chooses to call Dong Hoon from a payphone instead of her mobile phone, and I realize belatedly, that she must have done that, in order that their conversation wouldn’t be recorded – and therefore wouldn’t be at risk of exposure, if and when the recordings are ever secured as evidence.

I’m not a recording software expert, but I don’t think this is correct.

My understanding is that any sound in close vicinity of DH’s phone will be recorded, including any phone call.

JA called from a pay phone, because she didn’t want her new phone number recorded and possibly traced.

Am I wrong?

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Good question/ mystery. At this point JA hasn’t met with Ki Bum yet (who is the one to tell her to get a new phone) so it can’t be because she doesn’t want her new number recorded and traced.

I think she calls DH from the payphone because she knows he’s been trying to reach her all day, and the reason “my cell phone is broken” is an easier way to avoid telling him why she’s been ignoring everyone’s calls. (She can’t tell him she’s on the run.)

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

Oh, right. She doesn’t have the new phone yet. Either way, she can’t use a cell phone, because she is on the run and doesn’t want to be traced. But all his conversations are being recorded, regardless of who or from where someone is calling.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago

And before I forget: a big thank you to the second+ watchers who have stuck by your hoobaes’ sides while watching the show for the first time. It was awesome that you chose to comment here and not exclusively in the spoiler section.

Like Dong-hoon’s, your kindness will not be forgotten.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I think we got the best of the both worlds.

We were able to freely discuss and to make references to events from the later episodes in the spoiler zone, when necessary, while benefiting from discussing the show with the first time watchers, who offered fresh viewpoints.

So, thank you!

I also would like to say thank you to KFG for providing such a welcoming environment.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Agreed! Great to hear folks who are watching it for the first time. It’s like reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings for the first time….you can’t ever go back and do it the “first time” again and you get jealous of those who get to have that new discovery :).

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago

One of the most touching realization for me in ep 13: When Ji an was meeting with her friend Ki Bum at Quiznos, Ki Bum already advised her that they should run away, as it’s just a matter of time before the police would catch them. Ji An bargained that she will run away after two days, then reduced it to one day. Then at the end of ep 13, we see the slippers back in Dong Hoon’s cabinet. It was not made explicit, and it was only after several re-watches that I was able to make the connection — that Ji An, now in danger, still made time to repurchase the slippers that Dong Hoon requested her to. 😭

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

I didn’t think of that. I understood that JA didn’t want to leave, that she wanted to spend at least one or two days near DH, but I didn’t make connection with the slippers. Great insight.

Gloglo
Gloglo
4 months ago

I loved these episodes. The drama is so well paced and engaging. i also view this relationship as platonic. There is a symbiotic link between both characters. They help each other to survive in such a harsh world. Quite beautiful.

My only comments are about a scene in episode 13: Dong Hoon’s interview. I personally think it was a bit too manic and made the whole scene so unrealistic that it almost took me out of the drama… It’s a misstep the show takes perhaps in an effort to make Dong Hoon righteous and heroic when there is really no need… If the aim of the scene was to have Dong Hoon defend Ji Ah in front of all the directors, it’d have been better not to use the interview for it, as the writing felt a little cheap and ridiculous in a scene that should have felt aggressive in a more measured and muted way. But I did like how Dong Hoon comes across as competent and with no time for fools. His likeable character on occasion make scenes much better than they really are, as it is the case here. 

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

I have a different interpretation of that interview segment. For me it’s not to make Dong Hoon appear righteous or heroic, but instead to show how the topic of Ji An can get him very emotional, something that even the harsh and nasty questions of Dir. Yoon on his past engineering decisions failed to do. Especially given the context that prior to the interview, arguably one of the most important in his professional career, all he could think about was how to contact Ji An, which was also the only thing on his mind right after the interview. 

Gloglo
Gloglo
4 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Fair point. I hadn’t thought about that and I see how the scene is effective in that way. However, I still think it’s a bit too OTT and out of kilter with most scenes in this drama, which, even when very emotive, are subtle. I understand that showing his feelings about Ji An to everyone in the scene was important, but I feel the interview should have been a bit subtler.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

Agree with @actionscript.

Also, before judging DH for being too emotional, you need to consider the further consequences of this reveal (as he immediately did): the cat is out of the bag. The info is not going to stay in the interview room. Now everyone will know that JA killed someone.

JA is already not the most popular girl in school, so to speak. So how do you think people are going to treat her after learning about her past? Will she be able to continue working there?

JA will have to go through emotional hell and, most likely, quit. That’s what went through DH’s mind when he lashed out at that sob.

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Oh yes You’re right!. At this point, Dong Hoon still didn’t know that Ji An had quit. So bringing her past record out in the open would have surely forced her to quit.

In my first watch, this last sequence of ep 13 was the turning point for me. I had also felt the ambiguity in Dong Hoon’s feelings for Ji An the past episodes, as Dong Hoon, true to his very stoic self, seldom expressed his emotions. But in that final sequence — the restlessness he was feeling before the interview in trying to locate Ji An, disregarding all the rumors about them and pretty much barking on everyone to contact Ji An, and then the outburst during the interview (exactly why they had to make it feel out of place), and finally – the panic after realizing Ji An might have quit and run away for good. That facial expression in the last 2 seconds of ep 13, that avid rush to look for Ji An, and played out to great cinematic effect through slow-mo.. ugh!! That’s it, all his suppressed feelings, finally coming to the fore.

That’s also the reason they had that as the final scene of that episode, which are purposely reserved for scenes that drive dramatic shifts in narrative, are highlights of the episode, and of course are edited as cliffhangers. 

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Right. At the time of the interview DH was just worried that something had happened to JA, because he expected her to be at work on such an important day for him. Only after the interview, when he saw the slippers, he realized that she had left. That she was saying farewell to him with her last “It’s nothing“ text message. And then the world stopped.

Gloglo
Gloglo
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

I’m simply saying the scene being contrived and somewhat ineffective. I think that indeed Dong Hoon should feel emotional and expressed it. I think they should have found a better way to deliver that emotional punch, that’s all.

Gloglo
Gloglo
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

And I will add, I think the one who was most OTT and completely unrealistic was the interviewing director, not Dong Hoon.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

I’m totally with you on this one. As a matter of fact, this actor is such an outlier in this show. I can understand that they tried to portray that character as an evil fool, but still. What a clown!

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

He’s definitely an OTT clown! I love, though, that he keeps showing up in some of Lee Sun-Kyun’s other projects: This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair (along with the actor who plays Je Cheol in MM), Diary of a Prosecutor, and LSK’s upcoming movie Kingmaker. They must enjoy working together.

MariaF
MariaF
3 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

Interesting. I didn’t know. They probably do. And this actor’s OTT acting style makes Lee Sun-Kyun’s talent shine even brighter, don’t you think?

the_sweetroad
3 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Absolutely. LSK is so gifted anyway :). This other actor, Jung Jae-Sung, is actually pretty funny and a good actor as well. It’s strange but also reassures me to know that PDnim probably got the exact performance out of him that PDnim wanted. Even if it was so OTT!

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

I hear you, and I agree!
Dir. Yoon for me serves another purpose, aside from serving as the occasional clown of the show. He obviously is the alter ego of the CEO Joon Young, and his daily mocking and bullying of Dong Hoon at the office is akin to, for all intent and purposes, Joon Young doing it to Dong Hoon. He is Joon Young’s attack dog and I’m sure what he’s doing to DH not only has Joon Young’s blessing, but I won’t be surprised if he was the one who ordered it. DH’s demotion from the Design team to the Inspection team obviously was. So imagine the scenario for Dong Hoon – there’s this CEO boss of yours who is your junior at university, mocking and bullying you every day at work, having his way with your wife every night, and having his way with you every day at work. And you have to bow down to him despite all these because he’s the boss! There is no exaggeration when DH said it all felt like Yoon Hee wanted him dead, and that’s not just because of her cheating, but aggravated by the hell he had to go through at work every day.

No way would such a marriage be salvageable. Some might still see it otherwise, but that’s because the direct mocking and bullying at the office is being done by the alter ego – Dir. Yoon. Imagine if it’s Joon Young himself, which technically is the case, doing it daily to Dong Hoon at the office. Divorce would have been a foregone conclusion much earlier in the show. (For me, it was a foregone conclusion in ep 7 when DH asked Joon young at the campsite if Yoon Hee knew about the bribe.) So adding a layer in Dir. Yoon somehow made the divorce issue hanging around a little longer. 

Gloglo
Gloglo
4 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

That’a a great analysis of the character. It is as if, for a while at least, the show wanted us to consider major twerp Joon Young much less harmless than he was… and that Dir. Yoon was his henchman and willing executioner. I just wonder, what sort of company could tolerate a character so overtly toxic and foolish for that long?

On a curiosity tangent here, but did you guys noticed the shocking lack of women directors in that company? I think the drama was purposely highlighting the monolithic male management… and how dysfunctional it was.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

I did notice lack of women directors. It was very strange, so I decided to look up the statistics in the United States. 

This is what I found:

• There are over 54,625 Civil/Structural Engineers currently employed in the United States.

• 13.8% of all Civil/Structural Engineers are women, while 79.8% are men.

• The average age of an employed Civil/Structural Engineer is 41 years old.

• The most common ethnicity of Civil/Structural Engineers is White (68.2%), followed by Asian (16.1%) and Hispanic or Latino (9.2%).

Apparently, structural engineering is not popular with women 🙁
But they definitely could’ve hired a woman as a head of a financial department…

On a personal note, I’d like to add that many years ago I had to study strength of materials (mechanics of materials) in college. It was a nightmare!

Pixaiated
Pixaiated
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

To add on, the statistics for women in leadership positions in Korea is far worse as compared to the US. It’s probably a fairly realistic depiction in terms of gender ratio, all factors considered.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

And this is a company which’s owner is one of the good guys.

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago
Reply to  Gloglo

There are two caricaturist characters in the show. Aside from Dir. Yoon, the other is Yu Ra. I’m sure everyone noticed the way her character was introduced was very absurd, saying “unreal” lines like “I’m happy because all of you are failures.” She’s also an alter ego — of Ji An. Her dialogues served as a mirroring/foreshadowing tool to the events in Ji An’s life. I’ll post the blog link that details that analysis next week. 

She was also auditioning for a movie character, and that movie character is a meta representation for Ji An as well. In ep 8, Yu Ra was just auditioning for that role and notice her audition lines:
“Why are the wankers older than me?
It’s a terrible pity than I am younger than you.
I want to bite off your arms and legs, curse at you, and quit
But I have a loan to pay off.
So I’m going to love you starting today.”

It has an uncanny similarity to Ji An’s situation. And it mirrored the time when Ji An started to warm up and fall in love with Dong Hoon.
Snippets of the actual  movie will be shown in ep 16, and Yu Ra’s character lines will again mirror Ji An and will be crucial in interpreting the show’s ending.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
4 months ago

Throwing this out there for discussion. Earlier in the show I thought Ji Am had an unfair advantage over Yoon Hui in that she was wiretapping Dong Hoon and got access to some of the awesome heroic things that he was doing but he never told anyone. Eg when he confronted the rude condo developer and used leverage to get him to apologise to Sang Hoon. Or when he went to bat with loan shark Kwang Il for Ji An. And even after getting beaten up he wa still giving up his seat on the subway to an old lady!

Yoon Hui also doesn’t have the front row seat to the crap DH takes at work, or how he is so great at his job and good to his subordinates too.

I guess I do kind of wonder whether YH lost sight of what made her fall in love with DH. Whether she didn’t treasures those qualities enough as they grew older. Or because he hid them from her so as not to trouble her. Probably both. I still remember the flashback to years ago where he assured her he’s fine, but at the time he was more smiley and expressive rather than so deadpan and tired. Years of each being disappointed in the other hardening into rock. I saw one blog post which pointed out all the times YH and DH opened the windows while talking to each other, as if they felt stuffy and lack of air in their marriage.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Good points, Elaine, and we do wonder where their marriage went wrong (though the show certainly shows us quite a few flashbacks). I think Yoon Hee really wanted DH to cherish her and put her first, and couldn’t see the ways Dong Hoon was serving her. We were talking about the Five Love Languages in one of the other threads, and I think that hits the nail in the head. I think she always felt like she competed with the rest of his family for his attention – they weren’t in this together after a while.

And you are absolutely right that Ji An gave herself access to Dong Hoon that only Yoon Hee should have had! What an invasion of privacy. Which makes me so appreciate that the show takes us “there”, exposing that deep crime of Ji An’s and revealing it to Dong Hoon at the end of Ep 14. He’s so shaken up by it, too.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Yoon Hui also doesn’t have the front row seat to the crap DH takes at work, or how he is so great at his job and good to his subordinates too.

I’m not sure that this is her problem. I think it’s actually the other way around.

The wife knows that DH is good at his job. She also has a pretty good idea about the crap he has to take. Her problem with him is his lack of ambition, self confidence and self respect. Why doesn’t he quit? He could get a better job or start his own company and eventually get the hell out of that crappy neighborhood.

By the way, DH’s colleagues wonder the same thing.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago

I myself am not a big fan of long comments, so I apologize for the length of my post, but I wanted to be thorough. Here is my response to BE re DH’s and JA’s relationship (finally). 

“I know a lot of people want Dong Hoon to have a romantic thing for Ji An…”

Firstly, I’d like to make it clear from the beginning, that I don’t necessarily “want” DH and JA to have a romantic relationship. I do want them to remain friends though, because they can make each other happy. 

I also admit that it’s reasonable to think that DH’s love for JA is not romantic in nature. However, I suspect that DH’s feelings are ambiguous. 

Firstly, call me a cynic, but I don’t believe that, as a man, DH doesn’t see JA as a woman. DH described her to the bartender as “pretty”, even when their colleagues didn’t see her that way. 

Yes, we know that DH is a man with a deep sense of boundary and loyalty. Behaving properly is very important to him. And he definitely can control the way he behaves: he’s been doing it pretty much his entire life. But, whether DH realizes it or not, even he can’t control how he feels.

Also, to me, the very fact that DH’s attitude towards JA can be interpreted differently serves as evidence that, in the end, there’s more to their relationship, than pure friendship. 

And, as I mentioned in my earlier comment, the show’s structure and interconnectedness makes me remember the Anton Chekhov’s rule: “If there is a loaded rifle in the first act of a play, it must go off in the last act”. And there are too many hints and coincidences for me to ignore.

“He almost fired her on the spot and told her if she did this again he would without question terminate her position. NOT ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR!”

True. But did DH keep his promise? No, he didn’t. He must have developed Stockholm syndrome, because, instead of firing JA, DH practically begged her not to quit.

“Secondly, he has committed to the candidacy at his workplace in which the single obstacle, something he has been warned of by the managers putting forth his nomination and his own staff, would be a sexual scandal with Ji An–for all the obvious reasons.”

Agree, a sexual scandal would be ruinous to DH. So, in light of that, let’s consider his behavior. 

Directors are waiting for him in the interview room, but DH is running late, because he is waiting for that nasty secretary to call JA, again and again. 

Also, in the beginning of the interview DH is very calm. He patiently answers all questions, even when that idiot director attacks his professional competence. But the minute he starts talking about JA’s past, DH’s tone changes. He defends JA with passion, even raises his voice. 

And after the interview, when that idiot director came out and yelled at JA, DH almost went to his office, most likely to kick that director’s a** (DH’s deputy stopped him). 

DH is not ignorant. He knows well enough, how his behavior looks to other people, and how it could affect his job prospects. But he doesn’t seem to care. JA’s reputation and their relationship are more important to DH’s than his career, his mother’s wishes (she has always wanted him to get an important job), or even his marriage. 

“This is repeated sexual abuse…
If one is not interested, how repulsive is that? Would you allow someone half your age from your workplace, where you are his or her supervisor to accost you sexually more than once? If your marriage was in trouble? If your job might be on the line?”

Of course not. I would’ve taken all possible measures to ensure that that person stayed away from me. But your question actually proves my point, because DH, on the other hand, does everything in his power to stop JA from leaving. 

Also, consider this: DH said that JA’s leaving on bad terms would make him feel uncomfortable. But he would be totally comfortable with working and having dinners with her, all while knowing that she is in love with him. This tells me that he doesn’t see JA as a sexual predator.

“whom he constantly treats as someone much, much younger.”

He did. In the beginning. Later-not so much. Even if DH doesn’t realize it, JA’s life story and her emotional maturity has made them pretty much equals. 

Actually, JA’s behavior and her understanding of certain situations are more mature than DH’s. DH is so stuck in his ‘proper behavior’ box, that he doesn’t accept realities. 

That old spiel about enduring this and enduring that is a good example. DH wants the CEO to quietly break up with his wife. So they can live happily ever after. Really?! As if there is a guarantee that, once the CEO dumps the wife, she will stop looking. Talk about being naive!

And I resent the notion that any hint at a possibility of a more advanced relationship immediately transforms JA into a naive, wide-eyed damsel in distress, and DH – into a dirty old man. Why is a miserable marriage acceptable (as long as people are married to their “proper match”), but a romantic relationship between people with a big age difference… Oh, the horror!

“When Ji An refers to him as ahjussi, he tells her he is her boss.”

DH does tell JA to call him that. But does he behave like one?

Let’s face it: it’s not appropriate for the head of the department to have one on one dinners with a female temp worker. DH said it himself in the beginning of the show, and he was right. It’s also not appropriate for the head of the department to go fight with the subordinate’s loan shark, or to carry her grandmother on his back, or to go with her to a nursing home. But DH does all of these things.

Yes, when JA bought DH the slippers for the first time, he put them away (“it’s inappropriate“). However, he demanded that she bought him slippers again, after she threw them away. Why should she buy him slippers? Because he is her boss?

The show is called “My ahjussi ”, and not “My boss”, for a reason.

Their relationship is not one of a boss and an underling. And other people see it. JA’s grandmother sees it. DH’s wife sees it. The CEO sees it. 

“stunned by what he perceives as a complete betrayal of not only him but the relationship between them.”

If DH was indeed stunned, I believe he was stunned by the strength of his own reaction to JA’s confession. I think he couldn’t ever imagine himself hitting a woman. Not in a million years. 

“romantic thing …for me that is a complete and utter mis-take of everything I know about his character”

That’s the thing: when it comes to JA, DH often acts out of character. 

He fights with the loan shark (even his younger brother asked him why he’d fought with someone, if he usually doesn’t get involved); he talks about his feelings (and I don’t mean romantic feelings); and he doesn’t allow JA to quit. Given his usual passive response to challenges (“keep quiet and endure”), it says a lot.

Also, there are so many subtle hints. DH looks for JA, when she is supposed to be on her way home. He wants to know what JA’s grandmother said about him, and he looks disappointed, when JA answers that the grandmother was just grateful (as if he expected more). DH always grabs his phone, when JA is calling. There are other situations that we can’t discuss yet, because they happen in later episodes. 

Lastly, I can accept the possibility that, even if DH does have some kind of romantic feelings towards JA, he will never act on them. But I believe those feelings are there.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Well, I can see how responding to BE may require a long post.😉 But you shouldn’t apologize.

I see I’ve missed a bit of an, ahem, discussion (one that was foretold by KFG). I’ll go back and look it over, but for the moment I’ll say that you, MariaF, have nicely described my impression of this relationship. Not only do I not want DH to have romantic feelings forward JA, I’d prefer that he not. But, everything that I’ve seen corresponds with your view that, while I do not think he would ever act upon them fully, his behavior does suggest that they are there.

MC
MC
4 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Same here, j3ffc, the current ambiguity works for me but I must say Maria you’ve put up a very compelling argument that he indeed has feelings for her. I think they both do – a mix of gratitude, kinship, deep understanding, protectiveness over one another, avenging one another. Is that romantic love? I tend to agree with KFG that it’s a soulmate sort of pure love. But you can’t deny the tension and the strength of feeling they have for each other.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Well, I can see how responding to BE may require a long post.😉 
LOL.

Not only do I not want DH to have romantic feelings forward JA, I’d prefer that he not. 

Would you mind explaining why not?

For me personally, either outcome would work, especially if DH/JA’s relationship happens after the show ends. 

But I definitely don’t want DH to base his decision about JA on some misguided sense of duty and societal expectations, that hang over his head like a sword of Damocles.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Re DH vis a vis JA, it’s because (1) it’s been an inappropriate relationship between a boss and an underling and (2) DH is still married. Not so much the age difference, although I do understand that that may bother some (and be an even bigger problem in some cultures). So, if JA quit (which she has) and if DH gets divorced (which he hasn’t, but I dunno, maybe he should), my personal view would change and my concerns would evaporate.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Thank you for responding. 

The fact that DH and JA work together doesn’t bother me. My understanding is that the main reasons for concern about such relationships are either a possibility of a boss forcing an underling into a relationship, or one of them can retaliate against the other after their breakup. I just don’t see either happening between DH and JA.

DH being married is another matter. That’s why I said I’d prefer the relationship to happen after the show ends. DH needs to get a divorce, for the his own sake and for the sake of his wife.

As far as age difference goes, I used to think that it matters, as it should. After watching “Secret love affair” and “My mister”, my opinion has changed. Well, I still believe that age difference does matter in real life. But now I think that it probably should not.

actionscript
actionscript
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Great points, MariaF! To add some of my thoughts:
First, I’d like to differentiate that romantic and platonic feelings are states of the heart, versus being in a relationship with someone, which is an action. A person can have romantic feelings, but due to circumstances, not act on those feelings. That doesn’t make it platonic.

Dong Hoon at this stage is obviously keeping his distance and setting up the boundaries with Ji An. (Refusing the hug, telling Ji an not to call him ahjussi, refusing to text back, etc.) That for me proves his romantic feelings. Otherwise, there would be no distance to keep, no boundaries to erect, if everything in him is platonic.  But he is definitely doing the right thing. He is married, and Ji An is his subordinate in Saman. So anything romantic between them is definitely inappropriate. That doesn’t mean he is not harboring romantic feelings, he is just rightfully repressing them. But many of his actions (and reactions) belie the boundaries he has built.

During karaoke in Jung Hee’s bar, he was singing a song about missing someone. Throughout his singing, the show has kept on showing Ji an to us. If that is not enough hints the show is throwing at us, I don’t know what is.

We are all familiar with Ji An’s story arc, her journey to healing and empowerment through the episodes, but let’s not forget Dong Hoon has his own character journey to traverse. He is not a constant — not his thoughts, not his feelings, not his circumstances — as many seem to discount him to be. DH’s predicament was articulated by various characters: Ji An telling him he is “struggling through his life sentence of earnestness.” Ki Hoon saying between righteousness and desire, DH will always choose righteousness,” and that worried Ki Hoon. The monk has the most telling prognosis: “You should make yourself happy first. And stop thinking you should sacrifice yourself.” “Just be brazen and think about yourself. You’re allowed to do that.”

Dong Hoon was suicidal in the first part of the show, as he has many things to improve on, many circumstances to change. We are actually seeing the changes slowly, with the spark being provided by Ji An, some of which were covered by MariaF above. I can’t expound further for now, but a lot more changes we will see in Dong Hoon’s character arc all the way to the end of the show. Again, Dong Hoon is not a constant. Otherwise, who wants to see one of our main leads to remain suicidal all his life?

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Beautifully said.

Pixaiated
Pixaiated
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

A lot of Dong Hoon’s arc is him learning to grow out of the ‘proper behavior’ box and prioritize himself. I prefer to think of it as an ‘expectations of society’ box though. Will elaborate more next week after we see the ending.

To add on to your points regarding subtle hints, I think that there’s a scene at the start of episode 9 that stands out to me. It’s when Ji An misses her stop. Watch Dong Hoon’s reaction. He stops outside the station, looks back, then pulls out his phone, stares at it for a moment, and finally keeps it without doing anything.

It’s a bunch of small details, but they show his thoughts without needing to verbalize them. He wants to walk home with her, but is unable to bring himself to call or text her to arrange something. It reflects the tension between his desire to spend time / walk home with her and his need to stay within his proper behavior box.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

Love that moment in Ep 9!

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I think we could’ve used this episode in our earlier discussion to determine whether DH’s makes as many sacrifices as we think he does.

Yes, DH doesn’t allow himself to call JA, because he thinks he should stay within his proper behavior box.

But does he say “Oh, well. Another time” and leave?
No.

JA’s behavior is obvious: she runs, etc. DH’s reaction is more subtle. However, at the end of the day, he makes sure that they go home together.

Come to think of it, JA didn’t even have to run: DH would’ve waited for her anyway.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Good point, MariaF – DH was waiting for her, going to buy unnecessary groceries and making phone calls to see if anyone else wanted anything. It always makes me laugh when he brings the fruit to Jung Hee and she says, “I thought I had pineapple and melon already.” Haha.

DH’s restraint/ constraint in these later episodes is starting to become more obvious. We see in Eps 13 and 14 that his mind is consistently turned toward Ji An (she seems to be on his thoughts quite a bit – probably because she helps him breathe) but as he says, “How can I say this to her? I know how it would sound.” Knowing that she likes/ loves him, his behavior is more ambiguous than it should be. Being a married man, he “should” run hard from her. Yet he needs her to breathe….and we see evidence of his restraint/ constraint through Eps 13 and 14 (and earlier, like this scene in Ep 9).

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I don’t know if people have followed along with Man v Drama‘s recaps of My Mister on Youtube. But referring to this payphone farewell scene, he says, “This is not how work colleagues say goodbye.” So true, and it so captures the sadness both DH and JA have as they say farewell.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

Desire to spend time/ walk home with her won.

Pixaiated
Pixaiated
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Yup. Though he did at least find a way to make it appear as if the desire to behave properly won.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

Ha! Good way to put it.

MariaF
MariaF
3 months ago
Reply to  Pixaiated

He is very creative that way.

Nati S
Nati S
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

“Actually, JA’s behavior and her understanding of certain situations are more mature than DH’s. DH is so stuck in his ‘proper behavior’ box, that he doesn’t accept realities. “

Agreed!!!

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Wonderful elaboration of Dong Hoon’s character here, MariaF!

That’s the thing: when it comes to JA, DH often acts out of character.

Totally agree. He has a sense of integrity and rightness, but to him it’s “right” to beat up Kwang Il and defends JA in front of the directors, observers be darned. He follows his own moral compass, and good thing his moral compass is strong and full of principle and integrity.

Their relationship is not one of a boss and an underling. And other people see it. JA’s grandmother sees it. DH’s wife sees it. The CEO sees it.

Great insight. The more I watch the show, the more attuned I am to what others observe and are saying about their relationship. Adding to your list, I would put Kwang Il, Ki Hoon, and Sang Hoon on it. Even Jung Hee in Ep 14 is telling Dong Hoon that it sounded like Ji An liked him. And Do Joon Young, of course, is the one that comments on their relationship the most.

And, as I mentioned in my earlier comment, the show’s structure and interconnectedness makes me remember the Anton Chekhov’s rule: “If there is a loaded rifle in the first act of a play, it must go off in the last act”. And there are too many hints and coincidences for me to ignore.

Yes! My first watch, I didn’t see anything romantic at all in Dong Hoon’s feelings toward Ji An. Now, though, I see way too many “clues and breadcrumbs” as I keep mentioning :). They are there. Sometimes I wish there weren’t, as my life would be a lot simpler then….but when you mentioned Chekhov’s principle previously, it brought it home for me. PDnim put all these things in for a reason.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 months ago

Life intercedes sometimes, and the last two weeks allowed no time for television watching at all, but finally it has been nice to keep the drama on the screen where it belongs.

It was indeed a pleasure to hear Ji-an’s footsteps in the snow –  I love that little detail in the opening sequence; maybe it reflects the down-to-earth reality of this drama world. Although most of the run has felt organic and heartfelt, during these last two episodes, it’s almost as though one can feel the gears coming together as the writer sets up the denouement of her story. If the episodes to come are as good as people’s love of this drama suggest they are, then it will of course all be worth it.

Among all of the various threads, there are two that stood out in this episode. One is strictly plot-driven: what are Ki-yang’s and Young-seok’s motivations in absconding with Seung-gyun’s gear? It might all be for gain though yet another scam, but something about Ki-yang’s expression while listening through all of those conversations suggests something more complex. As much as we are driven to speculate about Ji-an and Dong-hoon’s relationship, Ki-yang presents one extremely dysfunctional side to a central triangle of our story (the other being DH, Ji-ah, and Joon-young).

The second issue is existential: whither Dong-hoon? For me the central question is does he love Ji-ah? What future does he want for his extended family? Will he permit himself to fully participate in a loving relationship moving forward? (In the early going, I actually saw him getting a divorce and then pairing with Jung-hee; now, not so much.)

I will spend the next week in that awkward place that great dramas put us: the futile cycle of can’t wait/don’t end/can’t wait/don’t end/can’t wait….

Trent
4 months ago

I agree with you, for what it’s worth. I don’t want to discount or make light of Ji-an’s feelings; I think she genuinely probably does feel stirrings of romantic liking for Dong-hoon, but I also think she’s young and doesn’t have much if any experience understanding or managing those sorts of stirrings. Again, not to discount it or to look down on what she may be feeling.

But I don’t think Dong-hoon is romantically entangled, and more importantly, I think the real connection that they share is independent of romance. Not to say that romantic partners don’t share that level of connection; they should (although they don’t, always), but the mutual support and friendship and yes, love, that JA and DH have is not essentially romantic in nature. That’s my take on their relationship. So yeah, I agree with you.

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

But I don’t think Dong-hoon is romantically entangled. 

You could be right, and I might be wrong. 

But consider the scene, when DH was standing outside the bar and waiting/looking forJA to come home from her second job. 

They work together, meaning they had already spent hours in the same office, and yet he was looking for her, again.
Also, his friends/ neighbors were nearby, so he couldn’t expect to have a conversation with her. It seems that DH was hoping to do was to watch JA passing by and, maybe, saying “Hello”. 

As I said, I might be wrong, but I just don’t see this kind of behavior as behavior of a boss, a fatherly figure, or even of a friend. Nope. 

And, as far as I’m concerned, JA is understanding/ managing her stirrings just fine. It’s DH who doesn’t know how to handle / can’t accept his growing feelings.

“and more importantly, I think the real connection that they share is independent of romance.

Yes, I agree with your statement here. But it doesn’t mean, that DH and JA don’t also share some romantic feelings.

Trent
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

And likewise, I’m not unshakably committed to the notion that I’m right here; I may not be.

I’ll just say that I appreciate the (necessarily circumstantial) evidence that you adduce for DH harboring romantic leanings, but still think that all the things you cite are also consistent with a deeply caring but non-romantic regard for JA. But in the end, who knows?

To further blow y’all’s minds, I will just say that I also (from what I can tell) am swimming against the tide of prevailing opinion hereabouts in believing that it’s possible that DH and his wife may truly reconcile and rebuild a healthy marital relationship in the future. But I’ll save that particular dust-up for the final episodes’ post…

MariaF
MariaF
4 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Yes. Let’s leave the final battle of the minds for the last episodes’ discussion. 

However, for the purpose of full disclosure, I have to admit that it’s not just the particular events in the show, but also my innate cynicism that lead me to believe that, no matter how decent or whatever a man is, he will most likely fall for a young, beautiful woman, with whom he has a deep emotional connection, who understands him and believes in him like nobody else, and who is in love with him. Add to this his wife’s betrayal and his general mess of a marriage, and voilà! Whether his feelings end up being fleeting or long lasting, and whether he will act on them, is a topic of a different conversation.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Yes. And as you said earlier on this thread, Dong Hoon has already called Ji An “pretty” as early as Ep 7. Back then, he didn’t feel he was in any “danger” from her, and he just stated it as matter-of-fact. But PDnim included that scene, so we know he already sees her as pretty. Add to that the fact that by Eps 13 and 14 she helps him breathe and that he’s thankful she’s by his side (all Dong Hoon’s own words…surprisingly, really)…..and that seems like a recipe for romantic love. In the real world, at least.

the_sweetroad
4 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I should clarify…IF Dong Hoon indeed is attracted to Ji An, I don’t think it would be appropriate at all for him to pursue her now. I’m glad the show doesn’t show us an affair between the two up to this point. He’s married and, while Ji An is debt-free now, she’s still not in a stable position. Plus she has the small matters of being on the run and being exposed for wiretapping.

However, as their story unfolds, if there is evidence:
a) that Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee get a divorce later
b) that Dong Hoon harbors not only “agape” and familial love towards Ji An but also attraction
c) that Ji An’s feelings for him are mature and long-lasting
d) and that they’re both doing better in life, and she’s independent and stable

…then in my mind, all bets are off. They can do whatever they want, because he would be a free man and they are two consenting adults. They’ve already shown us they love each other deeply and are willing to sacrifice and fight for the other. Throw in actual attraction from Dong Hoon, and I don’t see why they couldn’t end up together and be very happy.

MariaF
MariaF
3 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I totally agree with you that they shouldn’t have an affair now.

I’m glad that they haven’t so far, and that DH’s feelings are ambiguous: wondering ‘do they/don’t they’ added an unexpected element of suspense /tension to the show.

Also, both of them are too vulnerable right now to start something new. Their wounds are too fresh.

I also agree that, if your conditions are met, all bets should be off. So, let’s see what happens next.

However, based on what I’ve seen or heard so far, I think I’ve already got my answers to your questions.

the_sweetroad
3 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

wondering ‘do they/don’t they’ added an unexpected element of suspense /tension to the show.

Agreed – I hadn’t seen that coming at all, and breezed through my first watch not thinking anything of Dong Hoon’s longing looks or possible feelings. Upon 2nd and subsequent watches, now it drives me crazy that the show wasn’t more explicit! Dong Hoon is truly the wild card here, as someone else has put it. But the subtlety and nuance – and the looking deeper at what’s left unsaid – are one of the beauties of this show.

actionscript
actionscript
3 months ago
Reply to  the_sweetroad

I won’t say do they/don’t they added an unexpected element of suspense/tension to the show. For me, the unresolved relationship between DH and JA is the core plot point of the show. I found myself glued to the show not because of the office shenanigans, definitely not by DH and YH’s marriage issues, nor what will happen to Kwang Il. I got hooked because of the growing bond, however unlikely, between DH and JA. During my first watch, going into the final 2 episodes, the only thing I’m really interested to find out is how DH and JA’s relationship will progress and will be resolved by the show. And that’s punctuated with the wiretapping issue finally being tackled by the tail end of ep 14.

the_sweetroad
3 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Good point, and I agree, everything revolves around them. These two and their story – and their story together – drive the entire story.

MariaF
MariaF
3 months ago
Reply to  actionscript

Can’t say the same about myself. 
I watched the show, because I was interested in watching a process of an individual personal growth /transformation of the main characters.
How they went from being repressed, uninspired, burdened with life and unhappy (DH) or mostly uncaring, self hating, cynical, burdened with life and unhappy (JA) to becoming *** (to early to discuss).
Their presence in each others lives inspired/ facilitated these changes.
And it was truly fascinating for me to watch how these two characters went from being indifferent/ antagonistic to developing such a strong unbreakable emotional bond that it wasn’t damaged even by revelations about JA’s stealing vouchers, installing listening software, etc.
A bond that, like Trent said, was independent of romance.
And then, somewhere in the middle of the show, I was like ”Wait a minute…”.
So there was that an unexpected twist, that definitely enhanced my viewing experience.

actionscript
actionscript
3 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

Ohh you’re right! This is more a character drama after all than a plot-centric one. But yeah, in my experience, by the end of ep 14, with DH’s promotion in the bag, I was really most interested in what will become of them, and that curiosity surfaced also only by the end of ep 13, when I believed DH’s suppressed feelings had come to the fore. And I’m with you in finding truly fascinating both the transformation of JA and also the evolution of their relationship from indifference to as you said, a strong unbreakable emotional bond.