Open Thread: Heard It Through The Grapevine Episodes 29 & 30 [Final]

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! It’s surreal to think that we’re really at the end of this journey. Thanks for joining me on this watch, you guys.

This shot of In Sang and Bom headlines this final post, because this feels like the perfect summation of where we arrive, at the end of our story. 🥰

SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:

1. There will be no spoiler zone this week, since these are the final episodes.

2. Instead, I will be putting up a post where we can discuss what you guys would like to do next, with this group watch slot. You can visit that post here!

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

My thoughts

Episode 29

It feels like a battle of wills this episode, with everyone choosing the path they want to take, and it looks like many of those paths are taking our characters away from the Han household.

In fact, it feels like more and more of our “non-elite” characters are coming together and putting their heads and hands together, to accomplish what they believe in, never mind what Jung Ho or Yeon Hee say.

I don’t think Yeon Hee is at all cognizant of the fact that Yi Ji, Secretary Lee and Housekeeper Jung are actually working together to secretly pack In Sang’s stuff and get everything to him, when she orders them to get rid of all his things.

If she’d known, then this would be her cooperating with them without letting on that she’s cooperating with them.

The sense I get, though, is that she doesn’t actually realize that her order happens to align perfectly with their plan to get In Sang’s things out of the house.

I do feel a little sorry for Yeon Hee, because she looks distinctly lonely, and I mostly have seen her more as a victim of her limited mindset and the social structure she’s been brought up to ascribe to, rather than as someone who’s overtly malicious.

Meaning, sure, she can be petty, and she does put way too much emphasis on social standing and appearances, but I don’t see her as particularly evil.

Also, I’m thinking that perhaps her general sense of unhappiness is making me feel sorry for her as well. I feel like she wants to be happy, but is trapped by her own limiting beliefs.

That said, I do feel a stab of satisfaction, at seeing everyone come together to help In Sang get his things; even Hyun Soo and Min Jae are roped into the mission, which is pretty cool.

The way everyone sneaks a visit to Jin Young’s daycare center, in hopes of getting to see Jin Young, is kind of silly and hilarious, which is exactly the kind of stuff that I like to see, from this show.

It’s great that Yi Ji gets lots of nice pictures of Jin Young to show the staff at home, and it’s somehow quite funny, that both Yeon Hee and Jung Ho attempt sneak visits, but are totally found out.

I guess they’re both not very good at being discreet or spy-like? 😁

I’d imagined that perhaps one or both of them might change their tune, spurred by their both missing Jin Young as much as they do, but.. that’s not how it shakes out.

I’m somewhat disappointed, but not actually surprised; after all, it’s all a matter of what they value more.

And, even though it’s true that they both miss their grandson and wish to see him, they still value their pride and their chosen stance more, and therefore won’t back down.

It’s all a matter of priorities, in the end, and it’s sad but true, that they value their pride more than they value their grandson.

In fact, both Jung Ho and Yeon Hee express, in their own ways, that they’re shocked and disappointed that Bom isn’t showing any repentance, even when she meets Jung Ho at the daycare center.

That says a great deal, doesn’t it? That after all this, they both still feel they’re in the right, and that it’s Bom who should be groveling for forgiveness.

Ooh, I love the little detail that we get, that Teacher Park and Secretary Lee are planning to get married. Aw, YAY. I’m really happy for them. 🥰

I’m curious about what they mean though, in asking Bom and In Sang about their plans for their studies.

Since they’re both talking about quitting their jobs, could they be thinking of starting some new venture together, and thinking of getting Bom and In Sang to join them, maybe..?

It’s a tough question for In Sang and Bom to work through, because there are so many practical considerations. Like, what about money? And what about Jin Young?

I do appreciate that In Sang’s instinct is that if only one of them should study, then it ought to be Bom because she’s always done better on the mock tests.

This feels very teamwork-y to me, like he’s really thinking of who the stronger player is, between them, rather than thinking of himself and what he’d like to do.

I have to admit that I’m not hugely interested in Jung Ho’s plan to put a shady Prime Minister in place for his own shady reasons, but I get the idea that more of our characters are against him, rather than for him, compared to when we started our story.

Even Secretary Kim, who’s usually so scared of spy-type work, leaks information to Secretary Min, in an effort to help her.

Also, that’s an interesting detail, that Jae Won basically buys Jung Ho over, with an introduction to his hair transplant doctor. Say, what?!?

So, because of Jung Ho’s love for his hair, he’s going to let Jae Won off, who had been the planned scapegoat. This means that they need a new scapegoat, right?

Suddenly, I think Secretary Min’s remark about Secretary Yang’s brother becoming the scapegoat, might actually come true.

I do rather love the idea of Teacher Park joining Attorney Yoo and Je Hoon in their non-profit venture, though that does seem to mean that my earlier thought of him starting his own business and getting In Sang and Bom involved, is off the mark. Hmmm.

As we close out the episode, it looks like everyone in the Han household is looking to leave – except for Jung Ho and Yeon Hee, that is.

Not only does Teacher Park leave, we see Secretary Lee hand in her resignation, AND we see Yi Ji telling Butler Park and Housekeeper Jung, that they can’t leave until she’s left.

ANDDD. Housekeeper Jung even tells Secretary Yang – politely and pleasantly of course – to not try to lord it over the staff, and to come and talk to them on their level.

Oohhh. It sure looks like we’re on the cusp of a big exodus, aren’t we..?

If that’s the case (and it sure looks like that’s the case), then what will Jung Ho and Yeon Hee do?

Episode 30

All in all, I think that Show manages to arrive at an ending that feels like a good balance between believable and satisfying.

I find it believable in that not everyone has a change of heart, and some of our key characters choose to stick with their beliefs, even if the social and emotional cost is high.

I also find it believable, that the question that Teacher Park poses to In Sang and Bom, actually leads to some tension between the two.

What Bom says to Yi Ji over the phone has such a ring of truth and pathos to it, “I guess fights do happen even when we both feel sorry for each other.”

I’m so glad that this works out in the end, when it turns out that Teacher Park would like to offer personal scholarships to the both of them.

This might not be suuper realistic, because, how often does someone like Teacher Park come along in the real world?

I mean, he’s ready to leave his old high-salaried life behind, and embrace a new life, where he’s not only sponsoring a pair of teen parents to the bar exam, but also, earning minimum wage at his new job, because he feels that he’s earned enough from his old job?

That’s pretty dang special and incredible.

But this feel-good, sunshiny part of the finale, though requiring some suspension of disbelief, is really the stuff that makes my heart sing.

Sure, I have no idea how Teacher Park is finding the time to personally tutor In Sang and Bom, when he’s now got a new job with Je Hoon’s non-profit firm, but the idea is so warm and cozy that I roll with it anyway.

And, I honestly just love the idea that the household staff all leave, but choose to stick together, to make a new future together.

I LOVE the idea that the apartment that Teacher Park and Secretary Lee get, is just upstairs of the apartment that Butler Park and Housekeeper Jung get, and that they basically weave their lives together, and share food, and spend time together on a regular basis.

I also love that these two apartments are just a few minutes away from Bom’s parents’ house, so that all of them can easily move between these three locations.

The various scenes that we get, of folks hanging out at Bom’s parents’ house, eating together, and chatting, is just wonderfully heartwarming, and the noisy chatter seems charming and welcoming, so much so that I’d like to join in too, if I could, heh.

At the same time, I find it believable, that Jung Ho and Yeon Hee don’t budge, even at the prospect of In Sang and Bom taking up Teacher Park’s offer, and therefore agreeing to carve a path for themselves that will have nothing to do with the likes of Hansong.

Effectively, it feels like Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are cutting ties with In Sang and Bom, even though there’s nothing in Teacher Park’s conditions that stipulates that.

It’s just that Jung Ho and Yeon Hee are so set in their ways, that they won’t consider compromising with In Sang and Bom, in order to have more of a relationship.

When In Sang gives Yeon Hee that hug, telling her that she can come and visit them anytime, it feels so.. final, really, because Yeon Hee declines right away, and says that it won’t happen.

I’m still glad that Bom gives Yeon Hee room to change her mind, so for Yeon Hee’s sake, I hope she does.

It feels a little extreme that Secretary Kim also resigns and ends up joining Je Hoon’s non-profit firm, but y’know, by this point, I’m just rolling with the inclusive, feel-good vibes that Show’s serving up.

Even Min Jae ends up doing an internship there, ha.

It’s time that these characters leave that toxic Hansong environment behind and get a chance to start afresh in a new place that’s more life-giving.

With her brother in trouble just like Secretary Min had predicted, Secretary Yang is offered the chance too, but declines, saying that she’ll deal with it on her own.

Again, I see this is as one of Show’s more realistic touches, in this finale. Not everyone chooses to start over, in the end.

And it makes sense that Secretary Yang chooses not to, because she’s basically spent her entire life in Hansong, and probably is too entrenched to see herself leaving.

Speaking of leaving, I thought it was a rather nice touch, for Hyun Soo to leave with Yi Ji, so that they have each other for company, as they study abroad. This feels like a good move for both of them, since they both need to get away from suffocating, toxic parents.

I’m also glad that Hyun Soo and Bom get to have that awkward but rather positive goodbye, where they even share a quick hug, and Hyun Soo blurts out that cute-awkward, “Thanks, a little bit.”

I wasn’t quite prepared though, for Yeon Hee’s departure, where she just packs her bags and informs Jung Ho that she plans to travel for a bit.

This feels quite final as well, because Jung Ho’s first response is, “Are you coming back?” and Yeon Hee’s response is a very non-committal, “Maybe.”

I feel like there’s a good chance Yeon Hee won’t come back, since she’s not particularly fond of Jung Ho, and he’s now the only person left in the house.

But, perhaps with some time and thought, Yeon Hee might just find it in herself to compromise and visit In Sang like he’s invited her to.

I honestly don’t feel all that sorry for Jung Ho, as he becomes the only person left in that big ol’ house, because this is what he’s chosen for himself.

In choosing to stick to his way of doing things, and in choosing ambition over relationships, he’s lost everyone; that was a conscious decision that he made. And because that was a conscious decision on his part, I’ll just shrug with maybe the tiniest bit of passing sympathy.

He’ll live the life that he chose, and he’ll enjoy the success and power that he chose. There will always be people who will be willing to play by his rules and bow those deep bows as he comes home.

But, I’m glad for all the folks in our story who made the choice to walk their own paths and do things their own way, because they honestly look so very happy and content, where they’re at.

You’ve chosen well, friends, and I’m rooting for all of ya. 🥰

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A touch meandering, but quirky, different and engaging enough, to feel refreshing.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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Leslie
Leslie
1 month ago

I agree that this was a satisfying – if sometimes fantastical – ending to the long story of Han and Seo. I’m ok with the fantasy bits, though, because the show has been more allegorical than documentary all along.

The fact that most of our characters choose to live lives more in line with their values puts stars in my eyes. I couldn’t be happier for Bom and In Sang. What a lot of growing and testing they’ve been through. I love the commune-like living arrangement they’re invited to join. I’m going to believe they also get their study abroad dream, with Jin Young in tow and the wide world to explore. 😍

I admit I shed a tear for Jung Ho, all alone in his mansion in the last scene. Without a doubt, he is 100% responsible for this. He, too, has elected to live a life in line with his values. But he’s pathetic, really, and I believe his life will feel pretty hollow from here on out.

I like that our near and dear characters have broken free of the corruption of Hansong and oppression of the Han household, and created change in their lives. It’s far less clear that anything in law and government and social structure has fundamentally changed. And life goes on.

I really liked this show. It was interesting and fresh and unexpected. It was populated by complex characters and raised thorny questions. Though there wasn’t as much commenting on these threads as some previous group watches, conversations still reflected different perspectives on those questions. Though it didn’t have as much of an emotional punch as some of my other favorite group watches (My Mister, Secret Love Affair, and others), I think it was meant to be more intellectually, than emotionally, engaging, and it did that very well. The soundtrack was wonderful. The acting was uniformly superb, with a special shout out to Yu Jun Sang.

All in all, my rating would be higher than KFG’s – an A. I’m sorry for Show to end. Thanks for another excellent watch KFG, and fellow-watchers!

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Leslie

leslie,
 It’s far less clear that anything in law and government and social structure has fundamentally changed.
i can tell you, not much has changed, and in a way got even more sophisticated, more difficult to detect and even punish. and it is in every country, it is everywhere where there are people and governments (regardless of what kind of governing a country has). seems like wherever there are people, there would be greed, corruption and all kind of other monkey business. i was quite interested, amused and at the same time disgusted to watch the “political sausage” being made – it was soooooooo real. and scary, and sad. all at the same time. and although it was not the main theme of the drama, i felt it was very potent, exposing and open festering wound in human existence.

yeah, this was quite a heady drama, although probably not for every taste. the attention to every detail in order to create this complete picture was nothing less than amazing – from the “kings’ castle” to bom’s parent’s house, to the outfits the ladies were wearing including the office and the help, the music (one of the best in dramas and being an integral part of the story, like a flash light in the dark, leading us into every event; accentuating every character move or flaw), even the hairstyles… nothing was left out. when i first saw this drama, it struck me how different it was from any other productions i have seen, and how the funny and the sad were mashed together making it superbly interesting and engaging.
and of course, the acting. rarely do you see such perfection, and i wanted to mention secretary yang, (kil hae heon) whose acting i find so delightfully versatile, as i have seen her now in quite a few dramas.

and no, i did not share any tears over jung ho. actually i even wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more misery for him, especially for example that he gets to loose most of his stolen money, or he is disbarred.

the ending. it was a bit too UNrealistic. and the turn around was unexpectedly immediate, a complete 180 degrees, that i was like: “wait wait, what is going on here?” anyway, as they say, all is well that ends well. so i guess i’ll have to go with this, although it almost left me with an “intellectual concussion”.

and a few words about bom, unlike others i was quite disappointed in her. before teacher park resolved the issues for them, she appeared stiff, rigid, inflexible. in sang was evaluating their best chances given the situation they were in, looking to resolve things. instead of thinking WITH him, she just gave him snappy nasty answers: in sang: “are you telling me to go back?” bom: “you should know the answer better than i do”. sounds like she’s testing him, teasing me and in general does not care if he stays or goes. that behavior i really disliked. she’s not a team player. lucky, teacher park saved the day.
in general, my rating would also be higher than KFG’s – an A.

Leslie
Leslie
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

Thanks for your insights, @eda. As much as I liked the drama, I can see it might not be to everyone’s taste. Especially if you’re looking for something very emotionally compelling, which is one of the things kdrama does so well. On another day, though, the same person might appreciate it very well for all of its smart, funny, incisive, heady and well-acted attributes. Glad there’s so much variety out there.

I think we’ll need to agree to disagree about Bom. 😆 She is the heroine of the show for me.

I appreciated how Bom knows what’s most important to her (living her values, even when it’s hard), and the courage she showed to stay the course. She may have been able to give Jin Young more economic and social advantages if she’d played the game the Han way, but she believed a) those advantages are not (exclusively) what would make a happy, healthy, well-lived life for her son, b) she, In Sang, and her family could provide Jin Young what he needed, even if it meant hardship for them, at least in the short-term and c) that some compromises are soul-crushing.

From my own perspective, based on the whole storyline of incentives and deceit, I think it would have been nearly impossible for Bom and In Sang to extricate themselves for the Han web, if they’d played along for another year. Of course, we’ll never know because that’s not the way Show rolled! But it’s one of the things I enjoyed about it. All the tantalizing alternative paths that could have been taken by (any) of our characters.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Leslie

i hear you, leslie, and i am most probably in the minority. but it’s not exactly her choices that annoyed me, it’s more her behavior towards the man she supposedly loves(at times rude, but somewhat aggressive, attacking him verbally) when difficulties arise, instead of thinking and working together. they were a team throughout the whole drama, and then she abounded the team. that bothered me, one does not treat a person they love like this.

All the tantalizing alternative paths that could have been taken by (any) of our characters. – i also enjoyed it very much.

one more thing that kind of disappointed me at the end, is that the drama did not finish the arc of bom’s sister with her boyfriend laywer, and how did their fight against jung ho ended, and what was the outcome for bom’s uncle.

Trent
1 month ago

Yay! I think show managed to come through in the end and wind it all up in a satisfying fashion. There was a very definite contrast there at the end between Jung-ho, all alone in his hollow, echoing mansion, and (almost) everyone else, surrounded by life and family and friends. It may not have been a particularly subtle contrast, but it was definitely feel-good.

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from this show, but I definitely ended up appreciating it and am glad that it got pushed onto the roster to watch. It is off the beaten path of what I have heretofore encountered or come to expect from the usual kdrama offering, but definitely in a good way. A lot of times “quirky” or “off-beat” just falls flat or doesn’t quite succeed, but this somehow found its groove and did its own thing with no little amount of skill. So, yay!