When I watched one of my first melodramas “Beyond the Clouds” I was constantly shouting at the screen, “Se Ro, just tell Young Won the truth…she can handle it. Just tell her the truth!” I uttered those words so many times, my sons had to remind me that the characters couldn’t hear me because Korea was too far away, and there was that pesky language barrier to boot! Honestly, I was worn out by the end of the drama from the needless withholding of the facts–even though I still liked that show. I am thrilled that MLED does not go down this road. We have a cast of characters that ask tough questions, and either get answers or dig around for answers if they don’t get a response.
This level of honesty goes between simply breathtaking and “good thing I’m sitting down to watch this show so I don’t fall over”. One thing I mentioned in my recaps of HITTG was the adage “A good lawyer never asks a witness a question if he doesn’t already know the answer”. The MLED corollary is “Never ask a question if you’re not ready to hear the truthful answer”.
HS/EH is one bold guy. He barely has a filter between his brain and mouth, and it’s even flimsier when it comes to ED. As the drama progresses, it seems he takes that filter off more and more often, throwing it into the wind. He says what he means, and means what he says. How unique is this for a K-drama? It makes the drama flow quickly, as we move from one conflict to the next, without dwelling on just one aspect.
At the very beginning of Episode 7, writer-nim does something I love–namely, take a worn-out trope like a kabe-don scene in the elevator, and twist it into something fresh, as HS/EH hides himself and ED from a highly interested gaggle of fangirls. A win-win situation! Great way to get close to your girl, hide from the fangirls, and cause our hearts to beat faster.
*All screencaps from Tiveee.com
HS/EH has the patience of a teenage boy, that’s for sure. Obviously frustrated with his manager DG over the slow pace of the negotiation to buy the clothes store where ED works (anything over 5 seconds is too long for him) he barges in with his designer sunglasses on, then whips them off and gets right down to brass tacks:
The store owner is agape as HS/EH blurts out the flimsiest reason ever for buying a clothes store: “planning for retirement” and HS/EH just signs the contract with a smile. When it comes to doing something for ED, he makes up his mind–and moves forward. No horsing around, no debate. Nike should use HS/EH as their spokesman: “Just do it!” How I love scenes where the male lead takes the bold initiative to care for his woman–in HITTG, it was when IS grabbed SB, marched right past his Evil Parents, and took her to the courthouse in her winter coat, boots and nightgown to get married. In SLA, it was when SJ knew his lovely teacher HW was exhausted and injured from the Mah-jong tile throwing tantrum by YW. He was ready to empty his meager bank account to find a simple and clean place for her to sleep for a few hours–as long as it was not a creepy ‘love motel’! The hopeless romantic in me wishes that RL dudes acted like this, but I think it’s only in drama-land that we see confident and assured men taking care of their ladies, and putting them first.
HS/EH also reverts back into teenage boy mode as he proposes a 70000 won/$65.00 USD part time per hour wage instead of the 7000 won/$6.50 USD wage part time workers at the store currently receive. I like that kind of logic–prepare for retirement by making your future wife rich with your own money, and let her take care of you for a change! Wonderful comic relief from the male lead, and JJM seems to be as comfortable with the humor as much as the serious parts.
Another thing I like about this drama is the character of Jae Ho. I love complicated baddies…one dimensional ones like Se Ryeong are boring cardboard cutouts hardly worth a yawn. JH is another matter. I think he loved and still loves ED even though she probably only liked him as a friend before she lost her memory. I can guess there might have been some parental pressure to date this dude, and for good reason. If he was being scouted to pitch by the LA Dodgers or any other MLB team, he had to be seriously good–minimum standard is to throw over 90 mph, and especially if he was a lefty–they are prized in MLB. (Full disclosure: I have several friends whose kids have been in the MLB minor league system and/or played Division 1 college baseball–the largest universities in the US) If this was RL, JH would have garnered a pretty darn good initial contract, with a signing bonus possibly in the multiple $100’s of thousands USD range–or even higher. If ED was his wife, her adoptive parents would know she was financially set, probably for life. I understand (but do not necessarily agree with) why they pushed this relationship over HS/EH with his then-struggling acting career. I’m sure back in the day HS/EH looked like a penniless bum to them. Even ED said she would have to financially support HS/EH, which probably sent her adoptive parents into a rage-fit when comparing the two guys in a superficial manner–and not knowing or caring about the strong bond of love between ED and HS/EH.
But for now, JH has chosen to go along with the lie…and it’s a case of “sow to the wind, and reap the whirlwind”. He probably felt pressure too–he’s paralyzed and needs someone to take care of him both physically and financially. He knows ED doesn’t really love him, but they are supposedly married, and that’s not a bond easily broken–if the marriage is legit, which I doubt more and more. Honestly, I’d love to see some hard evidence like a marriage license or pics, because I think this is a huge issue that JH and ED’s adoptive parents are fudging on. JH is going to play that “We are a family” card whenever he can. JH has the added mental torture of knowing the real father of Ra Il–and it’s not him. Nevertheless, I think he genuinely loves RI, which is important, and he seems to be an attentive and caring father. I don’t feel like he is manipulating RI in any way. For his part, RI idolizes his dad–calling him “Superman”.
When the you-know-what finally hits the fan, RI is going to have a very difficult time sorting it all out, JH will acutely feel a loss because he loves that little boy, and HS/EH is going to have a meltdown that he missed the first 10 years of his son’s life because of a bunch of a-holes lying to ED and himself. Parentage issues in dramas (and in RL) always have a way of bubbling to the surface, no matter how thoroughly someone attempts to bury them—although this show has shown the most complete cover-up I can imagine on nearly every front. I’m pretty sure ED told JH good-bye before the accident–and that HS was her man….she may have even told him they went away together, although I doubt ED knew she was pregnant. It remains to be seen who was at fault in the accident that paralyzed him and made ED lose her memory. So far, I do not like the fact that JH withholds the truth–that alone makes him a unsympathetic character. Could this turn around somehow? Will HS/EH’s sister have a part in this? That lingering hand-hold between doctor and patient gives me pause:
I have to believe that shot is in this show for a reason. I am interested to see if JH gets some level of redemption at the end of the show, besides being able to walk soon–which I think is a given right now. Will he be the bigger man, and tell ED the truth or will he languish in self pity as he plays the victim? JH dug his own hole–now can he dig himself back out?
Writer-nim is certainly not afraid of any our characters having some frank and honest conversations with each other. Another reason why I have this blog–I’d never touch this next convo on the Soompi boards with a 10 foot pole! But I trust that all 3 of my readers are mature enough to handle it or click away to something else if they can’t.
Here’s an interesting exchange between HA the doctor and JH–He asks:
Now there’s a seriously loaded question. To me, this implies that he is not able to be sexually active in the traditional sense with his wife. Obviously, he’s unhappy about this, but…ummm…..he’s just now addressing this issue after 10 years? Did he not want to know the answer to this question about 9 years and 11 months ago? Is it because he’s improving lately with his physiotherapy, and getting closer to walking again? Is it because he thinks that if he can function sexually, that will keep ED by his side? Is he just asking to be curious; and that if he walks again, then he can have sex too? He is so pathetically insecure…if he wasn’t such a lying liar to ED, I would almost feel sorry for him. The subbers mess with my head with this line:
*headdesk* Is he asking what I think he’s asking, or is it the translation? Holy Guacamole…how do I interpret this? With my sons, using the word “hard” when you really mean “difficult” can potentially be a big mistake in word usage. It has the possibility to generate multiple double-entendre jokes or “That’s what she said..” humor! I’ve had to learn “the hard way” to be careful! (pun intended) Unfortunately, either way you interpret that line–he doesn’t get the answer he wants, but he does get the truth. And that counts for something:
have been recovering a lot lately–
Oh good gracious….the word “qualify”! After HITTG, that word makes me cringe. HA tells him he’s “cool”, and:
and that real love establishes that first. For his part, JH doesn’t look like he is fully buying it, but he doesn’t want to hurt his pretty doctor’s feelings, so he tells her she should have been a therapist (psychologist). I nearly faint at the “G-spot” line. Did she just say that…in a K-drama? Omo.
What an unusually open and honest conversation for a K-drama. I was pretty shocked (in a good way) when I saw this. One of my closest friends is long-term dating a guy who is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down in an accident from many years ago. Even though my friend and I are close, I am way too shy to ask her for particulars, and even if I knew, I wouldn’t violate her privacy here. She has let me know subtly that they do have a sex life, and although it’s different than if he wasn’t paralyzed, it satisfies them both. They’ve been together–although not living together–and happy for several years now. That’s why I was a little surprised that JH and ED’s marriage was portrayed as completely chaste. I don’t necessarily buy that, but for the sake of the drama, I’ll go along. (His hands seem to work just fine TYVM and HA even said he could operate a manual wheelchair too. If he can do that, then it’s not a wild assumption that other things could happen as well.) It would no doubt freak HS/EH out completely if some other dude touched his ED in any sort of sexual way. I think this is why the writer has chosen to make the marriage between them stay unconsummated in any form–so that the physical union between our OTP remains pure. Additionally, JH is right about one thing–if he can walk again, the chances that he can have sex in a conventional way too again is pretty high, if what I’ve been reading lately is any indication. Still, the fact that this subject is brought up in a K-drama in any kind of meaningful way is a big, big departure from the norm, and I have to hand it to the writer for tackling this issue. I respect dramas a lot more when difficult subjects are dealt with. That’s what TV and movies are for–art forms that make us question the norm or think about something in a new way. Mindless fluff is okay in small doses, but I prefer to engage my brain whenever possible.
ED is also a questioning sort of person. As her memories start to return, she relentlessly pursues them, even though she fears there’s a storm at the center of it all.
I’ll start here–does ED not know she was adopted? Did that memory fade away or perhaps it was reworked by her adoptive parents after the accident too? I really don’t like these psychological games; honestly, after HITTG, I’m just totally over all the gas-lighting, fact twisting, brainwashing crap. I need a break.
ED begs her mother to tell her the truth:
But mom refuses–
Cliched cop-out or realistic fear of the temper of husband/adopted father of ED? That’s what I wanna know. ED says she’s already hurt:
So ED knows something is up, her family is hiding things from her. The memories are starting to come back bit by bit as she sees pieces of her past life as ED–volunteer teacher, university student….and lover of another man:
Mom strenuously denies it, but ED is not done with the excavation process yet. Now she wants to know if her mom is:
Mom can’t take it anymore, and says that they “did wrong” to ED–but it was all for her own good! ED is so patient with her mom, never losing patience, just asking and re-phrasing the questions until the sort-of answer rises to the surface. ED finally gets down to the big question:
No screaming from either one of the ladies here, no hysteria…calm, composed, and even though the Mom is crying, it’s not overdone, but feels so real and normal. Mom denies that ED knew HS/EH, but by now, we–along with ED–can figure out that ED’s adoptive mom is possibly the worst liar ever in a K-drama. I like how ED is not angry or throwing things, but actually seems forgiving and understanding toward her adoptive mom. Wow. ED is a saint. I can’t imagine how large a heart you would have to have to act like she does here.
This next scene where HA and her parents reconcile after years apart, and her parents get to meet their granddaughter for the first time–at age 7 (?) really gets to me. My kids own grandparents on their father’s side haven’t seen their grandchildren since 2001; I guess they decided when my divorce from their son was final, the divorce of their grandchildren was final too. I can’t begin to get into the issues I have with them over this, let alone my oldest daughter’s profound sadness at the break in the relationship. I thought she especially had a close connection with her grandmother. I tried in vain to keep in touch with them, writing letters and sending pictures of the kids until the packets were returned by the post office. They don’t live on the other side of the planet either–only about a 4 hour drive away. So this scene was very emotional for me personally—and again, it was handled without anger, screaming or threats. HA’s father is especially poignant, as he recalls drinking alone each year on HA’s birthday, and he cries unabashedly as he hugs his daughter. They eat together without fighting, accusations or dredging up the painful past. I like that the show has HS/EH’s family of origin in a good place before the upcoming storm of finding out about ED–and that they have a 10 year old grandson as well.