by: Raine with comments by recapping partner MadDino and guest commenter, JoAnne
This recap begins a collaboration between MadDino/Deeno and I. We will be trading off episodes and this one’s mine to recap!
Talk about intense. Phew. *wipes brow* This episode was so jam backed full of every kind of awesomeness: revelations, camera work, superb acting, romance, plot development.
It had so much to say, that I thought it would be a good idea to bring in a guest commenter to join us, JoAnne, who hails from the Dramabeans Open Thread. She always has insight or two into character motivations and plot motivators, so stay tuned for her commentary at the end of the recap!!!
“???” – ??? (from the Padam Padam OST)
There are no additional tracks. *sob* I’ll stick it in when more of the OST comes out! But seriously, the show is on it’s last week and no OST?????????
episode 7 recap
Raine: As if the cliffhanger from episode six wasn’t enough, the first twenty minutes of this episode are intense, action packed and thick with plot development forwards and backwards along Kang-chil’s timeline.
We were left with a violent image of a truck completely decimating the phone booth that Kang-chil is in. He flies out of the phone both in slow motion and hits water. Unable to move his body, he glances around, wondering what in the world is going on. It feels like the time he tried to suicide by jumping into the water after his brother, Kang-woo, died in a car crash.
Raine: He sees a pink shoe floating in the water.
Deeno: It’s not that he literally falls into water but as if he falls through the sidewalk like the sidewalk was just a reflection on the surface. Like an secret level in a video game. You have to hit the right spot to be able to walk through the wall and enter a fantasy realm. A realm of mystical pink shoes.
Raine: Gook-soo’s voice instructs him to remember that three miracles will happen and to remember their lessons.
Raine: Suddenly, his accident reverses and he is left in the phone booth, bloody. He goes through his actions again: calling Gook-soo, seeing Ji-na. In a panic, he quickly explains everything to Gook-soo who is a bit incredulous. But Kang-chil is bloody terrified.
Then, the truck takes him out again. Gook-soo’s voice advises him to remember that his will saved him the first time.
The accident reverses again and everything repeats – but this time the blood disappears. He runs across the street to a different phone booth, but in the blink of an eye, he is back where he began.
Deeno: Why is he running to another phone booth? The truck could hit any phone booth. I guess he doesn’t know that someone is attempting to murder him.
Raine: Gook-soo is confused again by Kang-chil’s frenzied explanation. Why can’t he leave? Why is he seeing strange things? What does he do?
Gook-soo tries to leave the market where he was asking for directions. But the power goes out and the automated doors won’t open.
Deeno: The clerk disappears too and it seems as if Gook-soo is the only person who can join Kang Chil in this dark world.
Raine: Gook-soo panics because Kang-chil’s will isn’t working and he can’t get to him. Kang-chil tells him to calm down or he won’t be able to himself. “You’re an angel. THINK!”
Raine: Finally, he calms down and tells Kang-chil that everything happens for a reason – that’s what his mother taught him. Remember the strange thing and focus on that.
The truck comes again and takes out poor, terrified Kang-chil.
“Look at it as hard as you can,” Gook-soo’s voice soothes. Kang-chil stares at the pink shoe.
Deeno: Pink shoes are very strange. They deserve to be stared at.
Raine: Cue flashback. Just for reference: color denotes the past. Black and white denotes the Kang-chil of the present as he witnesses the past.
We see a young in color Kang-chil getting beaten up by Ji-na’s father and begging for mercy. Then, a black and white adult Kang-chil is in young Kang-chil’s place, remembering the pain and utter helplessness that he felt.
Raine: He watches a pair of pink shoes approach and sees a young Ji-na staring in horror. Yoon Mi-hye, her mother, comforts her.
Raine: The scene flashes between both Kang-chils. Each time we see a black and white adult Kang-chil he is remembering what the color young Kang-chil felt. He also sees how the murder ripped apart Detective Jung’s heart and Jung’s violence frightened Mi-hye and and Ji-na.
Raine: Then, it jumps to Mi-hye promising a teary-eyed Kang-chil that she will get him out. Kang-chil remembers that Ji-na mentioned her mother died in a car accident.
He sees her death – she answers the phone, panting for breath, and, under the duress of her husband’s yelling, panics and is unable to get to her inhaler in time.
Deeno: He’s so absorbed he can’t tell something is wrong. Completely wrapped up in himself.
Raine: Jump again and black and white Kang-chil is sobbing in a phone booth. A colored scene unfolds before him. His mother is being harassed by her drunk husband who demands to know where Kang-chil is. Young Kang-chil is in a phone booth, holding his bleeding stab wounds, waiting for his mother to answer. But she hangs up the phone instead, to young Kang-chil’s horror and older Kang-chil’s heart-breaking revelation.
She hung up to protect him from his violent father. And she took a terrible beating for it.
Deeno: These fathers really need to grow up. How did our OTPs both end up with horrible parents?
Raine: Black and white Kang-chil, slumped on the floor of the phone booth sees his talisman glow and picks it up. Color returns to his body and we are in the present as glowing wings spread from the booth.
Another miracle has happened.
Raine: The power at the market goes on and Gook-soo runs to Kang-chil. Ji-na watches in horror as a truck barrels towards the phone booth. But now Kang-chil can dodge it and the truck barely misses him. Gook-soo appears moments later and helps him away from the scene.
D.A. Park Chan-gul’s lackey calls Chan-gul from the offending truck to report his failure and Chan-gul says they scared him and that is enough for now. Asshole.
Deeno: Getting out my gloves. Must not leave fingerprints.
Raine: Mi-ja waits anxiously for Jung to come home and mistakes another schoolboy for her grandson. This woman had no family for sixteen years and now she finally has three boys to care for. She’s not about to lose one.
Raine: In Kang-chil’s blue truck, he sobs in Gook-soo’s arms for a good long while. Talk about real brotherhood -that’s it right there.
Gook-soo mulls over what they know. The first miracle taught him the power of will. This one taught him everyone’s truth. Kang-chil doesn’t care. It’s all a dream – he’s in information and emotion overload right now and can barely function.
“We have a reason to live,” Gook-soo says. Stop being a moron. Heh.
Raine: At Ji-na’s, Young-cheol patches up a sleeping Detective Jung and Ji-na is looking at photos of her mother. Young-cheol asks after her ankle but she begs her leave. On a swing, she remembers all the powerful moments she had with Kang-chil.
Girl, that ain’t just sympathy you’re feeling. I’m just saying’.
Deeno: Sympathy is feeling bad for your hot dog before you eat it. Not remembering all the good times you had adding all the toppings.
Raine: Ji-na and her father are at a coffee shop. He’s angry that he got stuck behind a desk when he doesn’t understand computers and has been in the field for thirty years. She returns that she and her mother did not respect him – they feared him. Why did he have to beat up that kid?
Detective Jung says it’s because he grew up without parents and family is everything to him.
Say wha? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?
Deeno: Well, if I had to say, the price is probably a dollar or so. Detective Jung treats others like they are worth less than a dollar. If you are in China then you are worth less than a cup of tea, according to the detective.
Raine: Then, the detective agrees to transfer and leaves a teary-eyed Ji-na to think while Young-cheol watches her.
Raine: Jung is looking at pictures of the other man who could possibly be his father. His mother had told his aunt that his father was in America, not prison. Then Yu-jin, the bully, sends him a text promising that he’ll kill him when he finds him.
Deeno: At first I thought it was possible that the Ji Na’s man friend was Jung’s father. I need to get my vision checked.
Raine: We begin the search for the truant Jung. Gook-soo is in a panic and heads to Hyo-sook’s restaurant. She tells him not to worry because kids disappear all the time – she did and look how she turned out. He freaks – hyung dies if Jung disappears because he’s the third miracle.
Raine: A moody Kang-chil hauls his mother’s cart to the pier as she shrieks after him. She wants him to find Jung, not to help her. Fish ahjumma puts in her two cents but Mi-ja yells at her and Fish actually saunters away. HA!
Deeno: Why don’t you saunter into a vat of molten lava?
Raine: Kang-chil will go after he helps her – her back has been hurting her. If he cared, why did he abandon her while he was in prison?
Ouch mommy. Ouch.
He didn’t want to go. She told him not to hang with those kids and now he’s not even being a father to a good kid. He better not come home without Jung.
Deeno: I want to mock what she says and defend Kang Chil. But if you hang out with people who carry around knives, you will end up getting stabbed. Don’t hang out with me.
Raine: Good thing you live across the country…
Deeno: Good thing you are thinking about moving to my half…
Raine: Gook-soo finds Kang-chil and they go looking for Jung who is busy searching for the identity of the man in the photo. He locates him through the university insignia on the sign behind him in the photo – his name is Lee Seok. Before he can search further, Kang-chil finds him.
Outside, Jung informs Kang-chil that he’s going back to Seoul – Kang-chil’s not his real father. Kang-chil tells Jung that his grandmother would be heartbroken. “It’s none of my business,” the confused teenager replies.
Raine: Completely overwhelmed, Kang-chil throws money at him and tells Jung that he needs to remember that this time, he’s abandoning his father. And his grandmother. Again, Jung snaps that it’s none of his business. Kang-chil spits and walks away.
Raine: Angel boy appears and stop Jung. “Do you know why Kang-chil brought you?” He drops the cancer bomb. Kang-chil wants to spent the time he has left with his family. (Okay…that’s a partial truth you lying angel. Isn’t that an oxymoron?) Then he drags both of them to the hospital where Kang-chil gets another MRI.
But it’s a miracle! The tumor has greatly diminished and just needs some treatment, not a transplant.
Deeno: O.O How does this work? I’m thinking that there may be some bending of the time space continuum. It awesome, but is it sucking away from his pile of miracles. He only has one left.
Raine: Jung walks out alone in a daze. Behind him, Kang-chil tells Gook-soo that they can send the kid back to Seoul, but Gook-soo refuses. They need him for the third miracle. Kang-chil wonders what kind of angel he is, wanting to use a kid to harvest organs.
“I’m your guardian angel. Not one that’s good to everyone.” And this is why I love this show. Take a fantasy genre trope and turn is upside down.
Deeno: I really shouldn’t start talking about harvesting organs. I’m a fine line between being free and being committed. Mr. Dino threatened to commit me to a fuzzy asylum today. It didn’t sound that bad. Fuzzy straight jackets and a computer for my dramas.
Raine: Gook-soo is going to become a complete angel AND save Kang-chil – so Jung stays.
Raine: We get a nice awkward meeting as Ji-na limps up, leaning on Young-cheol.
Both parties glance at each other curiously – except for Kang-chil who purposefully looks anywhere but at Ji-na. Young-cheol notices and snaps that they need to have the work on the animal hospital done by Monday. As Kang-chil looks longingly after her, Gook-soo wonders why he didn’t go after her? Is it because of Yoon Mi-hye?
Deeno: Let the girl know you’re not dying anymore! Not that you know that she knows that you’re dying. I’m sure she’d kiss you if she didn’t think you were going to die this year.
Raine: Inside the hospital, Ji-na asks Young-cheol about Young-suk, his brother, who is a doctor. Why does she want to know? Hrm…
Raine: Ji-na accidentally stumbles in on Kang-chil carving and leaves without a word. He notices, but stoically continues to carve – a life-size Tenggie! I think this counts as a pooch of destiny appearance, don’t you?
Deeno: Tenggie, the great romance dog and Gook Soo the pretty boy life savior.
Raine: Anywho, Ji-na makes a phone call to Young-suk and asks him to find out about a man, Kang-chil, through Young-suk’s doctor connections. (Oh you. You do care don’t you!) Then she pets the little carving of the pooch of destiny with a smile. Pooch, you da dawg!
Raine: A large parcel arrives for Ji-na who refuses to let Kang-chil carry it back for her even though it’s heavy and she’s hurt her ankle. (Then WHY is she wearing heels. This happened last time, too. I don’t get it.) But he can’t stand to see her struggle and swoops in – with lots of awkward, adorable, inadvertent hand touching. He tells her to stop being stubborn and brings it into the house.
Raine: While he’s there, he sees the picture of Ji-na and her mother. She asks why he came to Sang Chun – where the second miracle took place. He wanted to apologize for liking her. Because she treated him well and spent time with him, it confused him. He only knows how to like or dislike so he thought she liked him.
What she said to Young-cheol was for his ears, right? Kang-chil had never received sympathy before so he didn’t know it was different to liking someone. He bows and leaves – she is ready to cry.
Raine: Kang-chil packs up his tools and tries to pour some water, but the carafe is empty. He leaves just before Ji-na brings him a full one. Then she sees the life-size pooch of destiny carving!!! Then real pooch comes up. DOUBLE POOCH!
Raine: The next morning Young-cheol is in a foul mood and yells at Gook-soo. How are they going to finish before tomorrow? Just after he asks where Kang-chil is, he appears, making Ji-na decidedly uncomfortable.
Deeno: What is with him? Did he find out that Ji Na asked about Kang Chil? Does he want to become like Ji Na’s father. He has all the signs of becoming a violent control freak.
Raine: Hyo-sook, all aegyo smiles and rainbows, bounces in, wraps her arm around oppaAAaaAAaa’s arm and begs him to go to a sauna with the family. Gook-soo declares that he is in and runs out. Young-cheol is against it but she argues that they won’t be out all day. She lays a kiss on Kang-chil’s cheek – both he and Ji-na are shocked and he pushes Hyo-sook away. Ji-na says they can go and Hyo-sook drags Kang-chil out, asking him to marry her.
Ji-na is obviously jealous and the pooch comes in as Young-cheol storms out.
Raine: At the sauna, Kang-chil is with his mother, son, Gook-soo and Hyo-sook and…they’re all smiling! After some teasing, Jung gets up to rap and sing (so cute!) and Kang-chil enjoys watching his mom smile. He asks her if she believes in miracles but she hears the word “diapers”, which is very similar to the word “miracles” in Korean.
He takes her hand and gives her a fantastic palm-reading and she smacks him and tells him not to use that cheesy pick-up line on her. Then he says,
“Don’t get scared and live. Don’t be scared of father coming back alive. I’m here for you.”
He feels awkward afterwards and drags her up to sing a trot song. While he’s dancing and singing like a goof, everyone gets up to join. CUTE!
Deeno: Utterly adorable.
Raine: All the men folks strip. (I bow and utter a hearty KAMSAHAMNIDA!) Jung notices Kang-chil’s tattoo and stab wounds and they go to the baths where…Kang-chil scrubs Jung’s back. HOORAY!!! (A bonding activity in Korea.)
Deeno: It’s fun watching Kang Chil learn how to be a good father. After all the examples of horrible fathers in this drama. And I’ll grumble about the half-nudity to myself. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.
Raine: What did Kang-chil like about his mother? Her dimples, like all the boys in the neighborhood. Jung wonders if Kang-chil is in pain and why he won’t get treated. The world has nothing to lose according to Kang-chil, which pisses off Jung.
He is not thinking of grandma or that “he even has a child”. He talks like a man, but gives up like a coward. Kang-chil snaps back but then freezes.
Kang-chil: “You even have a child? Did you finally admit that you’re my son?”
Jung: “What else can I do? I was born that way.”
Kang-chil’s smile is radiant and he starts a water fight and the boys happily wrestle. *le sigh* Oh boys.
Deeno: I sure hope he listens to Jung and actually starts caring whether he lives or dies.
Raine: While talking with Gook-soo, Kang-chil decides to reveal the truth to Ji-na. It will be for her mother, Mi-hye, who died for him. After watching his mother and Jung sing, he realizes, “If I give up, it will be hard for these people.” As bad as he feels for Ji-na, he will passionately love her.
Gook-soo is STOKED that he conformed a man who wanted to die. Kang-chil ruffles his hair affectionately and tells him to have his contact find Yong-hak. “Go hit bases with Ji-na. AJA!” Gook-soo cries and bounds away. Cuuute Bummmie!
Raine: Ji-na is getting the hospital ready for opening the next morning when Tenggie comes. (POOOOOOOCH! Your rocking your destiny powers this episode!) Ji-na sadly asks Tenggie, “Kang-chil must be having lots of fun, right? He’s not coming.”
Raine: They begin to work and the atmosphere is all kinds of awkward. After some awkward shuffling, Ji-na asks awkwardly if he’s eaten. He tries not to smile. Does he want to eat dinner outside? Let’s have kimbap.
He knows a lake nearby. When she doesn’t answer right away, he mutters his usual, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” But she cuts him off. “I will get ready then.”
Raine: At a flipping’ gorgeous lake, they eat kimbap as they sit on a dock, bashfully smiling and looking at each other.
Raine: She is pleased he remembered that they spoke about doing this before. He wants to know what she was going to tell him before. “I was going to say that I was flustered by your kiss.” Her behavior wasn’t all sympathy. They go back to being all smiley.
Ji-na: “The yooboochobap is really good.”
Kang-chil: “It’s kimbap.”
She looks really flustered and then they both laugh.
Raine: Kang-chil is testing the water ’cause the moonlight is too beautiful. She tells him he might get a cold, but he’d rather have a cold than lose the chance to swim on a night that may not ever see again. She doesn’t want to swim and he asks if she’s afraid of everything and needs to think about everything. Does she get to have fun? Does she love like that?
Raine: She denies it, but he points out that she won’t even swim in such magnificent moonlight.
Ji-na: “I hate people talking about me as if they know me when they don’t know me at all.”
She takes her shoes off and inches closer to the water. Kang-chil makes noises of surprise and encouragement at each step and then with a childlike grin she jumps in. (See that, peeps? Kang-chil has made her open up. w00t!)
Deeno: Now if only those shoes were mystical pink shoes…
Raine: He leaps in after her and they swim underwater, watching the fish go by and enjoying a little skinship. When he catches her eye, he makes a decision and grabs her waist. They surface and he lifts her above him.
They stare at each other in the moonlight and the chemistry is hot! Hot! HOT!
Kang-chil: “You know…I tried really hard not to like you. But, it’s really hard. Can’t we… go out?”
Deeno: I’d like this scene a lot more if there was some making out. Just saying. Maybe in the next episode.
Raine: If Kang-chil gets his way there’ll be a lot more than that…
Deeno: I’m just glad that they didn’t start losing clothes. When this scene started, I thought Kang Chil would be losing his shirt at least.
Raine: Darn…at least we had the bath scene.
Deeno: If by “Darn”, you mean Yay! Perverted Unni! Mwhehehehe!
Raine: Heh. Heh.
Raine: Oh. My. God. Is that last scene not the most gorgeous, romantic thing you’ve ever seen. *drool* I have to clear my head before writing my comments…so lemme look at the picture of the shards of glass. That should do the trick.
Cinematography: I have to point this out. The first twenty minutes of the episode when Kang-chil was going through his trying miracle was magnificently shot. The black and white pitted against color. The blurry camera work during scenes in the past. The immaculate slow motion work. The incredibly detailed close-up work. *le sigh*
It’s not only in the beginning of this episode, but all throughout the series. The production value is high, high, high.
The supernatural: It’s such a big deal but they incorporate it so naturally into the story. It’s not all glitter and sparklers – it a gritty reality for Kang-chil and Gook-soo. That is refreshing and especially intriguing. Miracles and angels defy common conceptions and I LOVE it. With hugs. And Kisses.
Kang-chil was really inundated with information. The motivations of other people that were so unclear to him before were revealed. Because he is a live-in-the-moment kind of guy, it really threw him. His mother’s actions that night were made clear. He learned that Ji-na is the daughter of his first love and his torturer. Even Detective Jung’s beating made sense (guh). It showed Kang-chil what he missed and those revelations are really a turning point for him.
The day he got out of jail, he said that life was not worth living. Now, as Gook-soo pointed out, he has something to live for and it’s beautiful to see. The future that he always avoided just became something he will look forward to.
Ji-na made a huge step by asking if him if wanted to eat dinner together. He was so forthright with everything he felt that she finally cracked and decided to the same. We see it in how she finally smiles and jokes around with him. It’s so good to see, as much for the romance as it is for her.
It took her seven episodes to really open up to him and we could see how she shook off her last vestiges of fear by the end. Her avoidance of him after the kiss was fear. Her anger was fueled by fear. He attribution of her behaviors to sympathy was caused by fear.
He helps her to throw that away and open up. She helps to ground him.
Family: The scenes at the sauna really hit home for me. It’s the ol’ “spending quality time together” thing that our parents always talk about. Funny thing, it really works. I love that this show isn’t all about the romance or the mystery or the fantastical. It’s grounded in what’s real.
Here’s what I learned from this:
It’s weird to go back and watch one particular episode, start to finish, when you’ve seen half a dozen since. It’s difficult to watch what’s happening and not interpret it through the lens of what’s been learned about the story in the time that’s passed. It’s unnatural. I know more now, so I see “then” differently. But having watched “then” again, I see “now” a little differently, too.
The second miracle is to learn the truth; Kang Chil sees the past and learns who Ji Na really is and what his connection to her family has cost her over the years. He’s been feeling bitter and angry about her rejection, but now his compassion for her difficulties will allow him to respond to her with more understanding, and since Ji Na has spent the whole episode contemplating her navel and mooning over his funny ways and sweet carvings, this new understanding he displays will help her realize, “Oops, he’s not just a thug” and she actually DID have feelings for him right from the start. Win/win for everyone, although we still have a few servings of Ji Na waffles to get through.
Kang Chil also learns that his mom wasn’t REALLY rejecting him all those years ago – she was trying to protect him from his drunken lout of a father. He starts to get a glimmer of understanding that she yells because she worries, not because she dislikes, and so he’s able to treat her outbursts with a bit of humor because he knows that she might as well be screeching endearments as insults. I think his understanding of his mother helps him to understand angry son Jung, as well.
Kang Chil’s a simple guy. When he’s angry, he acts that way. When he’s sad or scared or confused, he acts sad or scared or confused. Now he knows that OTHER PEOPLE might act angry, but they’re really sad or scared or confused – and since he gets that, he can modify his own responses appropriately. It’s gonna pay off huge for the big lug, because tender suitor Kang Chil gets lots of Ji Na notice, and worried dad Kang Chil gets grudging affection from Jung, and affectionate son Kang Chil gets – well, he still gets fish-wife screeching and slaps from Mom, but even we can tell they’re half-hearted at best. This is really where the truth sets you free: if you know what’s going on in someone’s heart or mind, you can ignore whatever show they’re putting on for you and respond to the truth of their feelings.
Gook Soo figures that knowing the truth means they have even more reason to prove Kang Chil’s innocence – now they have to honor the memory of those who died for them. As far as I know, only Ji Na’s mother died FOR anyone, and that was really just happenstance. It’s not like she stepped in front of a bus to protest a dirty criminal prosecutor. It’s more like she died WHILE someone, if you can follow that. But maybe Gook Soo is including the original dead boy in this. Or maybe it was just a poor translation. In any event, I thought he had plenty of motivation all along. I don’t really recall him having a death wish, although he was a bit fatalistic about the cancer. But in this episode, the cancer’s apparently disappearing…so is it really an issue, in his mind?