Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thanks for joining in on this group watch of this very special show! ❤️
ZERO SPOILER POLICY
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.
This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.
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.
We need to protect the innocent! 😉
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
E7. Oh. My. Word. What a gutting episode this turned out to be. My heart literally needed several minutes to recover, after I finished watching the episode, before I felt able to put down any thoughts.
It is utterly heartwrenching to finally come to understand the backstory behind Sang Gu’s relationship with Su Cheol.
I feel it’s extra painful to see the flashbacks, spliced in between the painful events in the present, where Su Cheol’s quickly deteriorating, and Sang Gu’s desperately trying to get the money for surgery, in hopes of saving Su Cheol. Ack.
What a way for them to have met, that Sang Gu had saved Su Cheol from bullies who had literally driven him to the brink of death. It’s chilling to think that if Sang Gu hadn’t stepped in just then, that Su Cheol would quite likely have jumped to his death, right there and then.
It really is like watching a baby duckling glom onto the first person he sees; the way Su Cheol gloms onto Sang Gu, even though Sang Gu keeps telling him to go away, is really so wide-eyed innocent and endearing.
And the way Sang Gu eventually gives in, is so wholesome as well. From being a reluctant thing, where Sang Gu just put up with Su Cheol, it’s so heartwarming to see Sang Gu actually become sincerely invested in Su Cheol’s progress and future.
I loved that scene where Sang Gu watches Su Cheol’s match on TV, and cheers him on, and calls Su Cheol his kid, and gets all proud and puffed up like a mother hen, when Su Cheol wins.
It’s wonderful, honestly, to see Sang Gu feel so proud of Su Cheol, and understand that Sang Gu sincerely wants bigger and better things for Su Cheol, than he ever had himself.
That voiceover, where we hear Sang Gu tell Su Cheol to aim for a place in a sports university and a spot in the national championships, says everything.
It’s such a pure thing, for Sang Gu to want bigger and better things for Su Cheol, and so it’s doubly horrifying, to see what eventually happened.
It’s awful for Sang Gu to realize it in the present, that Su Cheol had actually been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – brain cell damage from repeated blows – before that fateful match.
This must have been why Su Cheol had opted to quit such a promising boxing career, to open a store with his father.
And this must have been why Su Cheol had had such a serious brain injury, from that match. He’d already been in a compromised state when he’d agreed to the match.
That’s a terrible realization for Sang Gu to have in the present, because even though it does absolve him somewhat, of having been too rough on Su Cheol, it can’t make him feel any better, to have known that he’d dealt a crippling blow to a dear friend, who’d already been in a weakened condition.
On that note, I officially actively dislike Madam Jung, more than ever before. She had clearly set it up such that Sang Gu would end up fighting Su Cheol, and she’d done that knowing what Su Cheol meant to Sang Gu.
And, from the way Su Cheol fought so hard to keep getting back up in Round 7, despite being beaten down so much, I deduce that she’d told Su Cheol that Round 8 was critical, while telling Sang Gu to wrap things up in Round 7.
UGH. It’s awful enough on its own, but the laidback pleasure Madam Jung takes in the set-up, and then in the proceedings as they unfold before her, is just sickening.
Her amusement and delight in someone’s life being destroyed before her eyes, is just mind-boggling to me.
I hate that in the present, Sang Gu still turns to her for help, because he feels like he has no one else to turn to.
And I have such a deep sense of foreboding, that Sang Gu’s signed that agreement for one more big fight, in order to get that money for Su Cheol. Nothing good can come out of that fight, right? 😬
On that note, I just wanted to say that before I understood Sang Gu’s backstory with Su Cheol, I was quick to judge the way he took the house deed out of Jeong U’s drawer, because in my mind, that house is not his to do anything with.
However, once I understood what Su Cheol meant to Sang Gu, I could understand why Sang Gu would be so desperate, and why he would do anything – even if it was wrong – if it meant that he had a chance to save Su Cheol.
It’s sad that Su Cheol died, and it’s hard to see Sang Gu look so grief-stricken, and.. broken, crying over Su Cheol’s body.
However, it does feel like the more merciful outcome, given how much Su Cheol’s sister was suffering, and given that Su Cheol had been kept alive, but had had no quality of life whatsoever.
It’s really poignant to see Sang Gu ask permission from Su Cheol’s sister, to gather Su Cheol’s things, and to then see him carefully going through Su Cheol’s things and gathering the important mementoes into a box, in a way that is very similar to what Geu Ru’s been doing for Move To Heaven’s clients.
And how affecting, for Sang Gu to realize that Su Cheol had actually found Jeong U, and had planned to help the brothers reunite.
Guh. This accidental friendship, which had turned into an enduring brotherhood, is so deeply meaningful.
It’s so tragic, how that all ended in such a heartbreaking manner. I really hope that Sang Gu won’t be too hard on himself, for what had happened. I’m sure that Su Cheol would feel the same. 😭
E8. Augh. What an emotional, bittersweet, heartfelt episode this was. My heart aches, but it aches so good.
On one level, we get to see how Sang Gu’s relationship with Geu Ru is evolving, and then later in the episode, we get to explore Sang Gu’s relationship with his brother Jeong U. It’s all so poignant; I love it.
I hadn’t expected Sang Gu to want to cut ties with Geu Ru, after Su Cheol’s death, actually.
I’d found this surprising, because, as we’ve seen in the beginning, him being Geu Ru’s guardian does give him financial stability and other benefits.
And, Sang Gu honestly doesn’t have anything else, other than this guardianship that his brother has requested of him, in his will.
The fact that Sang Gu’s first action, after Su Cheol’s death, is to leave the house and text Geu Ru to say that he’s not coming back, tells me that Sang Gu had only ever accepted the guardianship, because he’d felt that he would need the money in order to take care of Su Cheol.
He’d never been greedy for the house or other benefits for himself; the moment Su Cheol’s medical bills were no longer an issue, he didn’t hesitate to leave.
But that’s not because he doesn’t care about Geu Ru. The moment he realizes that Madam Jung’s got Geu Ru, he doesn’t hesitate to go get Geu Ru. He may not want to admit it, but Geu Ru has become important to him.
I felt bad for poor Geu Ru, who went through the shock of losing Sang Gu, and then getting kidnapped for ransom, pretty much.
I was very touched, though, that Geu Ru didn’t hesitate for a moment, in deciding that he needed to find Sang Gu. I mean, it’s not like Sang Gu’s been super nice to him; in fact, Sang Gu’s been mostly rough and noncommittal.
I love that Geu Ru sees him as family anyway, in such a firm and irrevocable sense of the word. And, of course, we also know, from earlier, that Geu Ru does see Sang Gu as a good person, even though he’s rough and unpleasant sometimes.
Madam Jung is so manipulative, using Geu Ru to force Sang Gu to agree to another fight, when all he wants to do is stop fighting. She’s an unabashed user.
She doesn’t care about Sang Gu one bit; she only seems to see him as a tool that she can use to get what she wants. She is right about one thing, though; Geu Ru really is Sang Gu’s new Achilles’ heel, after Su Cheol.
Even though Sang Gu tells Geu Ru that he will never come get him again, if something like this were to happen in the future, but I don’t believe him for a second.
I believe that if he knew Geu Ru were in trouble, he would step up to save Geu Ru, in spite of his own reservations. It’s because he does care, deep down.
And that’s why Sang Gu trails Geu Ru the next day, even though he’s very reluctant to do so.
He knows that even though Geu Ru’s perfectly capable of taking the bus, and other basic things, Geu Ru’s not well-equipped to handle strangers or other unexpected situations.
That’s why Sang Gu follows him; so that he can protect or save Geu Ru as necessary. That’s really quite caring, yes?
I love the way he steps in to save Geu Ru from those school bullies, without even showing his face. How clever of him, to play the sound of police sirens outside the restroom, so that the bullies would run away.
And how heartwarming is it, to hear Sang Gu tell the bullies that Geu Ru is a genius that they ought to listen to. Aw! I loved that.
Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect, when Sang Gu made his presence known to Geu Ru, and started dragging him to take rides instead of just looking at them, I ended up loving it.
What a huge step forward, for Geu Ru to start to enjoy the rides, instead of being afraid of them. I do love the little detail, that from seeing them on rides together, we also see them on rides separately.
This means that Geu Ru is brave enough to go on his own now, without Sang Gu, and it also means that Sang Gu’s genuinely having fun, and not just going on the rides for Geu Ru’s sake.
What a poignant reveal, though, that this whole picnic tradition that Geu Ru had had with Dad, had all been in Sang Gu’s honor. Augh. The realization really hit me right in the heart.
To think that Dad – well, Hyung, in this case – had gone to that department store, only because Sang Gu had requested real Nike sneakers for his birthday, and it was that very visit to the department store, which had then prevented Hyung from keeping his appointment with Sang Gu.
What a world-tilting realization for Sang Gu, to finally understand that he’d been mistakenly resenting Hyung all these years, when Hyung had actually gotten seriously injured because of trying to keep his promise to Sang Gu.
That tradition that Hyung had made with Geu Ru, where each year, they’d do all the things for Sang Gu on his birthday, that he’d wished for, and that cupboard, full of things that Hyung had prepared for Sang Gu, including Nike sneakers for each of his birthdays since that fateful day, speak volumes about how much Hyung has loved Sang Gu, all these years.
I can only imagine the discombobulating mix of emotions that Sang Gu feels, as he breaks down in tortured sobs.
On the one hand, there must be such a sense of release, to realize that Hyung had never abandoned him, after all, and had continued to love him and care for him, in the ways that were available to him, for so many years.
On the other hand, there must also be such a sense of guilt, for having nursed such hate and anger in his heart towards Hyung all this time. Guh. My heart goes out to Sang Gu, in this moment.
I am so glad, though, that he’s come to know how loved he’s been, all this time.
Also, what a surprising reveal at the end of the episode, that Geu Ru is adopted.
I hadn’t seen that coming, because Dad had doted on Geu Ru so tenderly; I’d never imagined that Geu Ru might not be his blood.
However, I am also not surprised that Dad would adopt a child and love him so unconditionally. Dad’s shown himself to be such a kind and loving person; I’d totally believe that he would love Geu Ru as his own.
I do wonder, though, what effect this new knowledge will have on Sang Gu.
Will he see Geu Ru as less related to him, because he’s adopted? Or will he feel a sense of solidarity with Geu Ru, since he, too, had lived in an orphanage at one point in his life?