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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Boys Before Flowers: Episode 17

Original by http://www.dramabeans.com/ [Recap]
this is repost entri by this blog..
Fullcredit to http://www.dramabeans.com/

I don’t know if this was by design or by chance (because of the broadcast delay), but this episode had some quieter moments, which have been a rare thing in this series — it’s usually so jam-packed with The Drama. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though, because for once we had a little breathing room in some scenes, and it was a refreshing change.
Now if we didn’t also have a few mind-bogglingly embarrassing scenes mixed in among those nicely spaced-out ones…
The Name – “처음 사랑했을 때처럼” (Like when we were first in love) [ Download ]


Revisiting happier times, Ji-hoo watches home videos showing him at age five, playing around with his then-doting grandfather. Ex-President Yoon similarly loses himself in memories of the day Ji-hoo’s parents died.
(Just kiss and make up, you two!)

Jun-pyo faces off with his mother, who wants him to officially accept his engagement with Jae-kyung. She tells him that Shinhwa’s deal with JK Group is a huge deal — is he so thoughtless that he could give up everything his father and grandfather worked so hard for, over a silly thing like love?
Jun-hee storms in and instructs Jun-pyo to leave. Steely, she asks her mother, “Wasn’t it enough to do it to me? You need a hotel, so you sell your daughter. You need investments, and sell your son. What are you going to do if you need something else? You have no children left.”
Madam Kang insists it’s all for her children’s sake, at which Jun-hee scoffs. She’s never felt that anything her mother did was for their benefit. Mom asks her where her current happiness comes from if not her, and Jun-hee laughs bitterly: “Happiness? Do you know what happiness is?”
Jun-hee warns Mom to leave Jun-pyo alone — she won’t sit back this time.

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Jan-di is busy at work, filling in for her parents on the janitorial night shift, when Ji-hoo steps into the lobby and sees her. After a moment, Ji-hoo pushes up his sleeves and grabs some supplies to join in. Jan-di is a little abashed but grateful for the help, and together, they clean the windows and the floors.
Afterward, Ji-hoo waits for Jan-di outside the restrooms, but grows concerned when she doesn’t emerge. He tries calling, but though he can hear the ringtone sounding, nobody picks up. Cautiously, he looks inside, and finds Jan-di collapsed on the ground.

Ji-hoo rushes Jan-di home and calls a doctor, who says Jan-di will be fine with some rest; she’s just overworked.
Seeing some blood on Jan-di’s finger, Ji-hoo is reminded of the time Jan-di had wrapped his bleeding finger for him. Ji-hoo takes her hand and presses a kiss to it…
…at just the moment that Jun-pyo drops by. Jun-pyo watches for a moment, then turns and silently leaves. In his car, her thinks back to the confrontation at the Macau airport, when Ji-hoo declared that he won’t step aside this time. There’s an interesting moment, I think, when he laughs and cries at the same time, then erupts into frustration.

Thus when they cross paths at school, he ignores her. (She’s nursing a bloody nose, indicative of overworking — although who else immediately thought of That Other Drama Cliché, the cancer storyline? I doubt that’s the intent, but still, there was a little too much emphasis on Jan-di’s blood to escape that thought.) Jun-pyo walks right by her, and Jan-di, feeling hurt, doesn’t see him turn back to watch her. He kicks the wall in anger.
It must be this frustration, coupled with his mother’s constant browbeating, that forces him into his next decision, which we hear from Jae-kyung that night.

Jae-kyung calls Jan-di out and meets her at the playground, grabbing Jan-di in a hug and fighting tears as she starts to speak. At first, Jan-di worries that something has happened to Jun-pyo, but it turns out that Jae-kyung’s tears are of happiness — Jun-pyo finally came around and suggested they start dating officially.
Jae-kyung was so thrilled she just had to share, and gushes, “Isn’t it so romantic to fall in love with your fiancée?” (I think that’s a little backward, but we get the point.) She also thanks Jan-di: “I’m so happy I have a friend to tell.” Jan-di looks like she would dearly love to not be that friend, but musters up a weak “Congratulations.”

The new couple makes their first official appearance at some kind of Shinhwa event (a cell phone launch party?). F4 is subdued around Jae-kyung, and Jun-pyo himself isn’t too enthusiastic to be here with her; he’s mostly quiet as his friends halfheartedly greet Jae-kyung and trade looks.
Jun-pyo and Jae-kyung greet the proud parents, and Madam Kang expresses her approval of Jae-kyung. Even when her parents suggest that she calm down and act befitting her position, Madam Kang encourages her to continue being her bright, lively self — I’m guessing that she really doesn’t care about the girl’s personality given her lofty connections.

Jun-pyo and Jae-kyung leave the party early to go on their first official date, during which Jun-pyo looks mostly unhappy and disconnected while Jae-kyung tries to engage his attention. I think on some level, Jae-kyung must be aware of Jun-pyo’s feelings, because she’s not completely dumb — she does notice his distraction when they’re at the movies (they’re watching Speed Scandal, by the way).
But she ignores this and keeps the date moving along, whether it’s by shoving popcorn into Jun-pyo’s mouth, dragging him around a teddy bear museum, or goading him into riding the cable car with her. (When he tells her to go alone, she teases him about being afraid of heights, prompting him to come along out of annoyance.)

In the cable car, Jun-pyo spies the message he’d scrawled on the wall the night he got stuck there with Jan-di, and I’m exceedingly disappointed that it wasn’t Jae-kyung who saw the message rather than him. Instead, Jae-kyung enjoys a moment of closeness when the cable car jerks — she misreads the way he automatically puts his arm around her to steady her as a sign of affection.
(At least, I think she’s misreading it, because I don’t think Jun-pyo is actually interested in her. It’s not that he couldn’t be attracted to her — maybe he would have been, if not for Jan-di — but that his feelings for Jan-di tend to be so overwhelming that I just don’t think he’s got room to think about anyone else.)

Ji-hoo comes upon Jan-di studying in their stairwell, and she jokes that at this rate, it would be a miracle for her to make it to medical school. But, she reasons, even if she doesn’t, she could always continue helping out at his grandfather’s clinic.
Belatedly remembering that the estranged grandfather is a touchy subject, Jan-di cuts herself off, then suggests that Ji-hoo make up with him. Ji-hoo answers curtly that they’d never fought — he was abandoned. Jan-di hesitantly mentions that his grandfather feels awful and misses him, but that just elicits a scornful laugh.

Their attention is diverted by two people walking down the hallway just inside — it’s Jae-kyung, nagging and hanging on to Jun-pyo’s arm. Jun-pyo’s growing increasingly irritated at Jae-kyng’s constant clinging, which she defends by saying is because she feels uncertain about their relationship. However, she offers to stop tagging along all the time if he’ll make her feel more secure — then she’ll stay put and wait for him patiently.
Jun-pyo asks what it’ll take for her to do that, and she answers, “Give me a kiss.” Her request makes Jun-pyo think back to all the (romantic, sweet) kisses he’d shared with Jan-di… and then he makes up his mind. He grabs Jae-kyung quickly and kisses her — but in contrast to his kisses with Jan-di, his eyes remain open, cold, unfeeling.

Ji-hoo grabs Jan-di to keep her from seeing (it’s a thoughtful, but mostly useless, gesture) and holds her against him until Jun-pyo breaks the kiss.
It has meant nothing to Jun-pyo and he walks off, thinking he’s earned his freedom. But Jae-kyung, happy now, persists in following him, causing him to grumble, “What now?”
Jae-kyung has a list of things she’s always wanted to do with a boyfriend (99 things, in fact) and suggests they tackle one thing per day. By the time they reach their 100-day mark, they’ll be done with her list and be a “real couple” by then. (Jun-pyo, meanwhile, is exasperated at the prospect of still being with her in 100 days.)

I almost put this screencap up top, because it’s my favorite shot from today, and I think it demonstrates the feel of this episode well — quiet, with space to breathe.
Ji-hoo can see how hurt Jan-di is by the kiss, and continues to follow her as she walks around in a daze (even running into a glass door). As with the mop scene before, Ji-hoo gives Jan-di her space and doesn’t push, but stays in the background until she’s ready to talk. When she finally does, she asks him to take her somewhere.

This ends up being the river.
As they look over the water, Ji-hoo says that Jan-di must have been an otter in a past life — she’s hard-working, cute, and needs water to survive. Jan-di thinks that as long as they’re inventing stories, she could be the Little Mermaid instead, but Ji-hoo vetoes this: It’s too sad to think of her as someone who suffers because of failed love.

Mustering some cheer, Jan-di offers to buy Ji-hoo dinner, so they leave the river and head to a restaurant…
… where they run into Jun-pyo and Jae-kyung. I suppose this run-in makes sense, since this is the restaurant the girls had taken Jae-kyung on their day out.

Oblivious to the tension (whether feigned or real is up for debate), Jae-kyung is happy to see Jan-di and greets them excitedly.

Meanwhile, Ga-eul attends her first day in pottery class, which is taught by a woman named Eun-jae.
I take back what I said about Ga-eul being smart. I’m not saying she’s dumb for taking up pottery because of Yi-jung, and I can understand her actions, but I’m disappointed nonetheless. It’s one thing to harbor a crush for someone you know isn’t good for you (you can’t help your feelings, right?), but another thing to actively cultivate that interest. This is a drama so we know Yi-jung is a decent guy and probably the Perfect Soulmate for Ga-eul… but she doesn’t know that. He hasn’t proven himself to be a good match, and in the absence of that kind of conviction, I’d thought she’d be smarter. Oh well. She’s young and he’s hot.

After class, Eun-jae asks about Ga-eul’s interest in pottery; she answers that someone she knows is a potter. Wanting to share an interest with a friend is a sentiment Eun-jae understands; she explains that that’s how she started, back when she was a child.
Ga-eul asks if Eun-jae’s boyfriend is a potter, and gets the reply that the person in question is a potter, but not her boyfriend. I’m sure we’ve all guessed this much, but Ga-eul starts to get an inkling that Eun-jae refers to Yi-jung when Eun-jae indicates a ceramic mug — she repeats Yi-jung’s words from an earlier episode about how these clay creations are stronger than they appear.

Yi-jung catches his father making out with a younger woman at his studio, and faces him in disgust. Yi-jung asks why his father lives like this, and gets back the response that life is boring. Yi-jung snipes, “Have you ever lived properly even for a moment?”
Dad replies, “There was only one woman who made me want to live right. If you let that woman go, they’re all the same. They’re all just meaningless repetitions.” (Way to be romantic and misogynistic at the same time, dude.)
Yi-jung feels that that’s unfair to his mother, but his father sighs, “That’s why I wish this life would pass quickly. But things don’t work out that way.”

We can see how having a father like this has shaped Yi-jung’s playboy tendencies, but Yi-jung resents hearing that he resembles his father. His father knows Yi-jung hates it (he smiles, “Isn’t that cruel?”), but it’s true.
He leaves him with these pearls of wisdom: “The real thing comes once. That’s another cruel truth.”

Awkward silence prevails at dinner. Jae-kyung notices Jan-di eyeing a notice on the wall, and it piques her interest — it’s a ladies’ challenge. Anyone who finishes a “jumbo ramen” within 20 minutes wins 50 coupons for free ramen. Jae-kyung can tell that Jan-di wants those coupons, so she offers to win them for her. In exchange, she wants a wish from each of them if she succeeds.
Ji-hoo is first to agree, and Jae-kyung dives in.

Everyone watches in a mix of disgust and amazement as Jae-kyung eats, and eats, and eats… and polishes off the gigantic bowl. (More than the stomach space, I fear for her cholesterol and sodium levels.)
She wins the coupons, hands them over to Jan-di as a gift, and claims her wishes: She wants the four of them to go on a trip together. They can stay at one of her family’s resorts. Jun-pyo resists (”I hate double dates”), but Jae-kyung points out that he’d already promised.

After his disturbing confrontation with his father, Yi-jung drowns his sorrows in some hard liquor and loses himself in a childhood memory, when he’d been crying under the table and fearing for his mother’s life. (I’m not sure if she was ill, or perhaps, in keeping with the theme, she had attempted suicide as a result of his father’s infidelity.)
A girl joins Yi-jung under the table — Eun-jae — and comforts him, saying she always knows where to find him. He puts his head in her lap and makes her promise not to leave until he falls asleep.

Feeling lost and alone, Yi-jung now looks at the empty space next to him and imagines that Eun-jae is there, asking brokenly, “Eun-jae, won’t you find me again?”
Still pretending she’s here, Yi-jung lays down as though to put his head in her lap, but in reality just lying down on the empty bench.

Jae-kyung gets her wishes, because the foursome check into her family hotel (I’m so confused — it’s unclear where this is, exactly). Up in their suite, Jae-kyung shows Jan-di a new purchase, thrilling at the couple rings she’s bought for herself and Jun-pyo.
Jan-di is taken aback to see that the rings have been engraved with a “J ♥ J” before realizing it stands for Jae-kyung and Jun-pyo.

Her reaction to the J/J engraving is explained later as she sits by the pool looking at her star-moon necklace, turning it over to reveal the same inscription. But she loses her grasp and drops the necklace into the water. Dismayed, Jan-di decides to retrieve it, and searches until she finds the necklace sitting on the bottom of the pool.
As she swims toward the end of the pool, her faulty shoulder, which has been bothering her all episode, flares up. In pain, she flails around wildly, unable to stay afloat. (AGAIN? I don’t know why a bum shoulder means she can’t use her legs to STAND UP. Excuse me while I pause to go laugh my head off.)
No, really, it’s horrible. I tried really hard to tell myself that the pool was deep, but it was still a hard scene to buy.

And then, things get even cheesier when out of nowhere, Jun-pyo comes swimming out to save Jan-di, pulling her to safety.
Worriedly, he calls out to her and jostles her awake. Jan-di’s first reaction is puzzlement, because Jun-pyo can’t swim. He answers that he learned how, since “I figured I’d rather drown than watch some other guy save you.” Because, as we know, it’s too much to hope for that she ever moves beyond the need for rescue.

Jun-pyo takes Jan-di in his arms and starts to carry her away, which is when the other two come running. Ji-hoo steps in to say he’ll take over from here and help Jan-di back to her room. Reluctantly, Jun-pyo puts Jan-di down and relinquishes her to Ji-hoo’s care, staring intently after her as she walks away. Even Jae-kyung can’t escape noticing his reaction this time. After everyone leaves, she finds Jan-di’s dropped necklace on the ground and reads the inscription curiously.

Yi-jung loiters outside a café and glares through the window at one of the baristas inside. His rage is explained by a flashback, which tells us that this is Yi-jung’s older brother.
The two had had a falling out the day his brother gave up pottery and left home. Apparently they had both studied under their father’s tutelage, but Yi-jung had always been the one with the natural talent, and he’s the one who will take over the family legacy.
Yi-jung had felt betrayed at his brother’s abandonment — he’d escaped but left Yi-jung to shoulder the burden alone. (Yi-jung had never asked to study pottery, although his father had pointed out that he hadn’t protested, either.)
(Oy, the shoutiness and the eye-bugging! Kim Bum, I love you, but you are not in East of Eden anymore.)

Meanwhile, at the undisclosed resort location, Jun-pyo broods alone in the pool, thinking of how he’d had to step back and let Ji-hoo take care of Jan-di. Jae-kyung arrives wearing an uncharacteristically serious and solemn expression, silently removes her robe to reveal a bikini underneath, and joins him in the pool. When he asks what she’s doing, she grabs Jun-pyo suddenly in a back-hug.
At the same time, Jan-di has gotten some medical attention (she’s fine, she just forgot that she shouldn’t swim anymore) and assures Ji-hoo she’s okay. She excuses herself to retrieve something she’d lost, and heads back to find the necklace.

And this is how she comes to see the other couple, embracing in the pool.

(Did they get a new music director? The Second Moon guy, perhaps?)
Is anyone else feeling tired out by the drama? I don’t mean tired OF the drama, but tired out BY it. I dunno, for mindless entertainment, sometimes it really makes you work at following along.
I didn’t mind the pacing issues (much) because I knew production had to work around Gu Hye-sun’s accident and filming delays. That meant I was generally okay with the episode, except for a few of those truly odd parts that couldn’t be overlooked.
Jae-kyung. I think I have a handle on her character, but as I mentioned, it’s not clear just how much she guesses about Jan-di and Jun-pyo, and how much she’s genuinely ignorant about. I guess it’s up to us to decide for ourselves how manipulative she’s being, but that covers a pretty wide range and I’d rather know for sure if she’s being oblivious, completely manipulative, or halfway in between (I suspect the latter).
Also, what was the point of the ramen scene? I was puzzled as to why Jan-di was so freakin’ passive in this scene — she’s just going to let someone engage in an eating challenge to hand over an awesome prize? When Jae-kyung said she could tell Jan-di wanted those coupons, I wondered, then why doesn’t Jan-di actually WIN them herself? I thought perhaps she’d join the challenge, or maybe they’d both do it, but instead, she just sat back and said nothing, then accepted the prize.
Interestingly, Yi-jung’s father’s view on love is in line with Ga-eul’s philosophy on soulmates, which suggests that Ga-eul is the match for Yi-jung. On the other hand, if Yi-jung has already had a love and lost her, does that mean he’s used up his quota for this lifetime?

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