Friday, January 14, 2011

he's beautiful(last episode)

Mi-nyeo stops to look at some stars on display in a storefront, and turns just as Tae-kyung spots her through the crowd. The music stops and the world goes silent as the two stare at each other… until Mi-nyeo breaks the moment by bowing in greeting.
Tae-kyung tries to find his way out of the crowd, but when he looks over at Mi-nyeo, she’s gone. The background song (“Without Words”) echoes his sentiments as he asks, “She went without a word? She just bows in greeting and leaves?”
He returns to the agency, feeling dissatisfied. When he encounters Sung-chan with the stylist, he asks to see Mi-nam, who is supposedly out with Hoon-yi.
He’s not actually with Hoon-yi, however, as the latter runs into Mi-nyeo in the street and the two stop to chat. Mi-nyeo hears that her brother is currently making an appearance in Jinju, and asks if it would be possible to meet him before she leaves. She’s headed to Africa to join a nun acquaintance in charity work. It turns out she’s leaving on the day of Mi-nam’s first concert.
Tentatively, Hoon-yi asks if she’s going to leave without seeing the others. Mi-nyeo answers that she’s always watching them from afar, and has been keeping up with all their news. Hoon-yi asks if something happened between her and Tae-kyung, because Tae-kyung never asks about her, nor does he talk to Mi-nam.
Prompted by Tae-kyung’s questioning, Sung-chan wonders where Mi-nam is; he was supposed to have returned from an event with Tae-kyung. Nervously, the stylist calls Hoon-yi to tip him off, and warns that Sung-chan can’t find out that Hoon-yi sent him to Jinju without his knowledge.
A colleague mentions seeing Mi-nam in Jinju, so Sung-chan looks at the stylist suspiciously. They’re not doing stuff behind his back, are they? He wants to see Mi-nam in 30 minutes.
In a panic, Hoon-yi wonders how to handle this, then looks to Mi-nyeo with pleading eyes. In a familiar gesture, he gets on his knees to beg her (as he did in Episode 1) to become Mi-nam for one last time. Just for a short while, to prove to Sung-chan that he’s still in Seoul.
Mi-nyeo vehemently says no — she’ll be discovered right away. In desperation, Hoon-yi reveals the reason he needed to send Mi-nam to Jinju in the first place. He’s about to become a father, and Mi-nam is helping him save up extra cash by doing side gigs in order to prepare the baby’s essentials. The mother… is stylist Wang! Things happened on the trip to Japan, and now she’s pregnant…
HAHAHA. Mi-nyeo is no match for such a pathetic story, so she reluctantly agrees.
Still mulling over their encounter in the street, Tae-kyung tries to understand why Mi-nyeo disappeared:
Tae-kyung: “She may have not seen me. No, she bowed in greeting, so there’s no way she didn’t see me. She saw me and just ignored me. Pig-Rabbit, why on earth did you do that?”
This segues into another fantasy sequence. In the first scenario, Mi-nyeo is dressed in her habit and decides to become a nun. So did she disappear because she has decided to take her vows? But no, she definitely gave that up, and it’s not a path someone could return to easily.
Then, did she decide to become a pharmacist’s wife? No, he recalls that Dong-joon is still in the army and was going to seek her out after he had been discharged.
Then did she decided to join the fan ranks instead, content to be a spectator cheering him on and writing him fan letters? But no, he mutters, “If she’s a fan, she should have at least come to me to ask for my autograph. Is she no longer a fan at all? Have I been dumped entirely?”
Mi-nyeo uncomfortably dons Mi-nam’s clothes to be presented to Sung-chan. This allays Sung-chan’s suspicions, and he apologizes for doubting Hoon-yi.
Hilariously, when the stylist starts to energetically hit Hoon-yi for the close call, Mi-nyeo cautions her to be careful for the baby’s sake. The stylist wonders, “Huh?” Hoon-yi hurriedly brushes this aside, tipping us off that he invented the story to appeal to Mi-nyeo’s sympathies.
An angry voice calls out Mi-nam’s name: Jeremy comes storming down the hall, demanding that Mi-nam confess where Mi-nyeo is. Hoon-yi intercepts him to avoid subjecting Mi-nyeo to a face-to-face confrontation.
(I only include this screencap at above left because it’s hilarious to see Hoon-yi dragging away a persistent Jeremy by the feet. Oh, Lee Hong-ki, you’re adorable.)
Shin-woo arrives from the other direction and confronts Mi-nyeo, about to say something. The stylist ushers her away quickly and detains Shin-woo. Mi-nyeo turns back with sad eyes to say, “Shin-woo hyung, I’m sorry.”
After thinking it over, Tae-kyung comes to a conclusion:
Tae-kyung: “I don’t want to admit it, but I’ve been dumped. Believing that she would come back when she was feeling better was my delusion. Pig-Rabbit looked totally fine. I was the only one hanging on. Before things get any worse, I’d better reply that I’m okay.”
Mi-nyeo trudges down the agency hall, stopping a few feet away when she spots Tae-kyung. She thinks, “Mother Superior, I have to leave my star far away, but why is it twinkling brightly before my eyes again?”
As she turns to go, Tae-kyung calls out to her, thinking it’s Mi-nam. His tone is cool and sarcastic:
Tae-kyung: “Tell your sister that I saw her message that she was okay. If I’d seen her in person, I would have felt bad, but now that things have ended cleanly, tell her thanks. I saw her briefly earlier, but because of the fans, we couldn’t meet properly. Make sure to tell her I’m fine and doing really well.”
His sardonic manner is a front to cover his true feelings, but the words hurt Mi-nyeo. She thinks sadly, “It’s a relief to hear that you’re doing fine. From now on, I will be fine too.” So when Hoon-yi asks if she’s sure she doesn’t want to see Tae-kyung, she answers that Tae-kyung is fine without seeing her. It’ll be better for both of them not to meet.
Her exit is thwarted by an oblivious Sung-chan. He has prepared a meeting that Mi-nam had requested of him, and is enthusiastic to be of service. He drags her off for the meeting, and Hoon-yi furtively makes baby sounds to remind her of his sob story.
When she arrives at the restaurant, she’s shocked to realize that the person Mi-nam has been begging to meet is Heyi. Apparently, he’d been very good to her in the aftermath of her breakup with Tae-kyung, and now wants to take things another step forward. As Sung-chan greets Heyi, Hoon-yi hurriedly advises Mi-nyeo to not engage with her. It’s too bad for the real Mi-nam, but she’d better ignore her as much as possible.
Mi-nyeo keeps her head down and her answers brief, while Heyi adopts an air of annoyance. Her words express displeasure that he’s been following her around, and she has told him that she’s not interested, but her attitude indicates that she’s actually enjoying playing this part. She calls his plan to reveal his feelings for her at the upcoming concert “immature,” and tells him not to do it.
She adds, “Does Hwang Tae-kyung know you like me and keep following me around? Doesn’t that bother him at all? Anyway, you haven’t told Tae-kyung about your sister, right? If she meets him again, I won’t see you anymore.”
Back at the studio, Tae-kyung broods about the message he had given for Mi-nyeo: “Will he have told her what I said? When she hears it, she’ll think I’m over her, and won’t want to see me again. What do I do?” He makes a decision and calls Hoon-yi, asking where Mi-nam is.
At the restaurant, Sung-chan doesn’t take Hoon-yi’s hints to leave and is determined to stick around for moral support. In fact, he also called Jeremy and Shin-woo.
Dreading the impending scene, Hoon-yi fortifies Mi-nyeo with soju. She says she won’t be sober if she drinks it, but that’s exactly the point — if she is herself, she’ll be recognized right away. If she drinks the soju and collapses, Hoon-yi will usher her out and handle everything. He overrides her last protests by reminding her that Sung-chan will suggest going to the sauna together afterward. Mi-nyeo is horrified at that thought and chugs.
By the time the others arrive, Mi-nyeo is passed out. Tae-kyung grumbles, “What’s with him?” Happy to have avoided potential trouble, Hoon-yi announces proudly, “He’s drunk!” Heyi fawns over Mi-nam to make Tae-kyung jealous, while Sung-chan invites everyone to sit for a drink. It’s been a while since they were all together.
A little while later, Mi-nyeo stirs in her sleep and ends up slumping over, onto Tae-kyung’s lap. At first he’s irritated and starts to move her — but he notices something odd. Touching her hand, he remembers how it felt to hold it and recognizes that this is Mi-nyeo. He keeps his surprise well under control, but Shin-woo notices his reaction and catches on.
Tae-kyng offers to take Mi-nam home, and when Hoon-yi returns to the table, they’re gone. Shin-woo tells him quietly, referring to Tae-kyung, “I think he knows who it is. The president hasn’t caught on yet, so it’ll be okay.”
Tae-kyung remains parked in the driveway for a while, until Mi-nyeo wakes up. She mumbles for Hoon-yi, but is shocked to find Tae-kyung beside her instead. Quickly, she tries to think how to act in this unexpected situation. She fumbles for the door, forgetting that she still has her seat belt on. He unbuckles her, and as she stumbles out of the car (still a little drunk), Tae-kyung says to himself, “I’ve caught a Go-Mi-nam-impersonating Pig-Rabbit.”
Mi-nyeo thinks she’ll have to confess her identity rather than trying to keep the lie going, but tummy troubles force her to make a quick decision: it’s too embarrassing to reveal her identity and then go to the bathroom, so she’ll have to go to the bathroom first. With that decision made, she hurries inside to use the facilities, rushing by Tae-kyung without saying anything.
When she comes out of the bathroom, she starts to tell Tae-kyung who she is… but is hit with thirst. Deciding to get a drink first, she ignores him and rummages in the refrigerator, trying to decide how to act.
From Tae-kyung’s point of view, this looks like she’s being rude, and he waits to see how she’ll act. Seeing her clumsiness, he tells her she’ll have to sober up first, and makes her some honey tea. He hands her the cup and holds up a hand, asking what it is. (This calls back an earlier moment, when she’d answered, “A palm.” He’d corrected her then, saying that the answer is five, as in fingers.) This time she answers, “Five,” and he replies that the correct answer is a palm.
At this, Mi-nyeo guesses that he knows the truth. He tells her, “Your hand has no scar, and your shoe size is a lot smaller than your brother’s. I know a lot more about you than that — did you think I wouldn’t recognize you?”
Curious to know if she got his message, he asks how long she’s been Mi-nam today — was she at the agency earlier? Mi-nyeo understands that he’s really asking whether she heard his message. She confirms that she did. Tae-kyung is uncomfortable and starts to explain, but she says, “I’m glad you are doing well.”
Having taken his statement at face value, she feels sorry that she messed things up — she had sung his mother’s song to make him feel better, because she was worried he’d still be feeling bad. If she’d known he was already over everything and feeling fine, she should have left things alone, but meeting again must be an inconvenience to him.
He asks if she’d intended to turn away earlier without seeing him. Tears start to fall as Mi-nyeo answers, a little drunk and sad:
Mi-nyeo: “I told myself I couldn’t see you, but you’re someone who draws the eye. But if I see you, it hurts and makes things tough for me. After only living at the convent, I came to live in this land of stars and was hit by electricity, and lost my senses. I flew up right into the heavens, and then crashed down to the ground. Fireworks exploded in my head, and in one moment a thundering rainstorm crashed down on me. Since I’ve left this star-land, I saw the path I am to live. I would have to leave the star-land and just watch it from afar. If I see the brightest-shining star close up, it’s so blinding to the eyes that it hurts. That is why I am going to go far away.”
After saying her piece, she falls asleep with tears on her face. Now he understands that she was only saying she was okay to make him feel better, not because it was true. He asks the sleeping Mi-nyeo, “Are you actually in pain, instead of being okay?” He wipes the tears from her face.
Tae-kyung: “Then I can’t hold on to you. I wanted to be able to see you well when you came back, so I was trying to see even in the dark. Every day, I even ate the carrots and spinach I hate, because I worried that I might lose you in the dark. Because I didn’t want to lose you. But I can’t even hold on to you when I can see you well.”
After this reminder that he’s still causing her pain, Tae-kyung tells Hoon-yi to take Mi-nyeo away. Hoon-yi says that if he lets her go now, it might be goodbye forever, since she’s going to Africa. But Tae-kyung is resolute.
In the car ride back, Hoon-yi gives Mi-nyeo a ticket to the concert. She’s not sure if she can make it because of her flight, but she’ll try.
Tae-kyung decides he can’t keep the Pig-Rabbit doll (now wearing the star necklace) in his room anymore. He thinks back to the times he had seen Mi-nyeo making the pig-nose, such as the time he had serenaded her. He retires Pig-Rabbit to the storeroom from whence it came, saying, “The Pig-Rabbit that only appeared in front of me is now extinct.”
Mi-nyeo has been living at the convent all this while, teaching at the orphanage. One of the girls gives her a book containing pictures of stars, because it’s one of Mi-nyeo’s daily habits to seek them out.
The little girl points up at the sun and says, “There’s a star in the sky in the daytime, too.” Mi-nyeo sees where she’s pointing, and corrects her: “That’s not a star, that’s the moon. The moon isn’t a star.” The girl wonders, “There’s no star in the daytime?” Mi-nyeo answers, “There is a bright, blinding star in the daytime. The bright sun is always in the sky.”
She continues to make her preparations to leave, meeting her aunt to say goodbye. Aunt Mi-ja says with dismay that the other boys will be disappointed if she doesn’t see them before going, because they’re always asking about her. And then she adds hesitantly: “There’s another person who wants to meet you, but I’m not sure whether you should. Mo Hwa-ran wants to meet you.”
It’s not an easy decision, but Mi-nyeo contacts Hwa-ran, who is grateful for the meeting. Hwa-ran gives her a CD containing songs that had been sung by her mother, Lee Su-jin. Hwa-ran had used her connections to ask around and collect them, explaining, “I felt I had to do this before I could say I’m sorry to you. When your father was with your mother, he never once came to me. As you said, he said my love wasn’t really love and didn’t accept it. Your mother would have known that the person he loved wasn’t me but herself.”
Because she hadn’t thought Mi-nyeo would want to see her, Hwa-ran says that it means a lot that Mi-nyeo called her. Mi-nyeo responds that this means a lot to her, too, because “You told me what I wanted to confirm. I’m glad to hear this before I left.”
Hwa-ran: “Are you really going far away? If you leave like this, Tae-kyung won’t forgive me. He won’t see me. This is the first time he’s been like this. Couldn’t you go and tell him you’ve forgiven me?”
Mi-nyeo: “Why don’t you go to him directly and ask forgiveness? The person you need to seek forgiveness from the most is Hwang Tae-kyung. Please ask his forgiveness, so you do not pain him any more. He has always yearned for his mother.”
Hwa-ran: “Why do you say this when he’s in your heart? If I’m with him, don’t you know that it will be more difficult for you to be with him?”
Mi-nyeo: “Because causing a precious person to leave you isn’t love.”
Concert day. Jeremy frets over whether Mi-nyeo will come and asks to borrow the Pig-Rabbit for luck, but Tae-kyung tells him that he got rid of it. Jeremy wonders, “Weren’t you waiting for her?”
Tae-kyung: “Why should I wait for someone who won’t come? It’s over.”
Jeremy: “Did you even say you waited?”
Tae-kyung: “Why would I say that?”
Jeremy: “Not saying that you waited is the same thing as not waiting, you arrogant butthole!”
Next, Tae-kyung runs into Heyi in the hallway, who rubs it in his face that she’s here for Mi-nam, not him. She wonders if it’s really true that he got over Mi-nyeo as he insists, and guesses, “You’re faking that you’re over her, right?” Then she tosses his words back at him: “You aren’t embarrassed about being caught faking, but it’s embarrassing being caught for real, isn’t it?”
In the dressing room, Shin-woo also asks whether Mi-nyeo is coming; he can’t believe Tae-kyung just let her go the other night. Tae-kyung answers, “She said it hurt to be close by, so I let her go.”
Shin-woo: “I bet you didn’t let her go, you shoved her away. Letting go is only something you can say when you’ve held on till the end. Have you held on to her? What you saw in Japan was me holding on to her till the very end. It must have looked pathetic and laughable to you, but because I took it all the way, I could let her go. You didn’t do that, did you? You just stood there in your place, and didn’t think of following her when she said it was hard, didn’t you? Fine, keep preserving your pride and stand there until she runs far away, mighty Hwang Tae-kyung.”
Hwa-ran shows up at the concert, spurred by Mi-nyeo’s words. Even though he might not listen to her apology, she has to say it anyway, and for once her words sound sincere, not bitter:
Hwa-ran: “I’m sorry, Tae-kyung. I left you alone because I thought you were someone who would never abandon me. I only felt the pain of being abandoned myself, and hurt you. It’s natural that you wouldn’t call me mother.”
Tae-kyung: “Why are you saying this all of a sudden?”
Hwa-ran: “I’ve become scared. You’ve decided to really abandon me now. I’m trying to hold on to my son.”
Tae-kyung: “How surprising. I thought you were someone who’d never beg.”
Hwa-ran: “That girl told me to come to you directly and beg for forgiveness.”
He’s surprised to hear that his mother met with Mi-nyeo.
Hwa-ran: “I thought if I apologized to her, you might meet with me. She’s going to go far away, do you know that? I have no right to say this to you, but I hope you don’t lose someone precious to you and regret it, like I did.”
Tae-kyung: “Why are you telling me this?”
Hwa-ran: “She said that making someone precious leave you is not love. Telling you this is the love I can show you as a mother.”
Tae-kyung starts to walk away, but pauses. Without turning back to face her, he says, “I can’t tell you now that I forgive you. I’ll hear out today’s apology someday later. Goodbye… Mother.”
After all this tough love from his friends, Tae-kyung is jolted out of his stubborn pride. He finds out Mi-nyeo’s location from Hoon-yi and speeds to the orphanage, where he asks a kid where her teacher went. Hearing that she has already left, he wonders where to go next. Then he spies the photos the girl is holding — they’re all pictures of stars. He looks around the room, which is plastered in similar pictures, remembering Mi-nyeo’s promise to think of him every time she sees stars — this is proof that she’s always thinking of him, and that she still loves him. The little girl notices him looking, and adds that there’s another “most handsome star,” which her teacher is going to see today.
She means, of course, the concert. Tae-kyung understands the implication and speeds back to the arena, where Mi-nyeo is one of a multitude of fans waiting for the concert to begin. She eyes her watch worriedly, sad that she may not able to see much — or anything at all — before she has to leave.
I love this shot, because we know that this comes from the filming event that opened its shoot to fans, and we know that the fan excitement in this scene is real, not just enacted for the sake of cameras.
When Tae-kyung comes back, he tells the others that Mi-nyeo is here, in the stands. But when he goes onstage, he can’t spot her among such a huge crowd. Trying to think of a solution, he changes their concert plan and decides to start things off with a solo.
Tae-kyung takes the stage, squinting at the fans to try to pick out Mi-nyeo as he sings “What Do I Do”:
As I let you walk another step away, it brings tears to my eyes
As you walk another step away, it brings tears to my eyes
I reach out my hand, but you go where I can’t approach
I can’t hold onto you, I can only cry
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving me and going away
I love you, I love you
I call out to you but you can’t hear me,
because I’m only crying out with my heart
All day, I try to erase you but I keep thinking of you
All day, I say goodbye but I think of you again
I reach out my hand, but you go where I can’t go
I can’t find you, I can only cry
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving me and going away
I love you, I love you
I call out to you but you can’t hear me,
because I’m only crying out with my heart
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re still the one for me
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving me
What should I do? What should I do?
You’re leaving me and going away
I love you, I love you
I call out to you but you can’t hear me
because I’m only crying out with my heart.
As Tae-kyung wraps up the song, Mi-nyeo starts to leave, working her way toward the back of the audience. Tae-kyung finishes his song and says into the microphone, urgently:
Tae-kyung: “You’re listening now, aren’t you? It’s so bright here, and your side is so dark that I can’t see you. Please, don’t be where I can’t see you! Come to where I can see you. Give permission to let me see you.”
The crowd goes wild! Moved to tears, Mi-nyeo turns back around and slowly starts to make her way toward the front again. But Tae-kyung still can’t see her, shrouded in the dark as she is, so Shin-woo tells the producer to cut the stage lights and turn on the audience lights.
When the stage lights flick off, Tae-kyung, now standing on the dim stage, scans the audience intently. It’s nice imagery, as Mi-nyeo emerges from the dark into the light. Tae-kyung spots her.
Keeping his eyes fixed on her, Tae-kyung makes his way to the edge of the stage, and steps among the fans as they scream excitedly. The crowd parts ways to let him pass, until he comes to her.

He grabs her to him in a hug, and says:
Tae-kyung: “I’m going to keep telling you, so listen good every day. I love you.”

Now for our epilogue: A short while later, Mi-nyeo and Tae-kyung look up at the night sky, enjoying a relaxed mood. She’s still going to Africa (which he doesn’t love), but she’ll return soon enough and tells him to wait for her. Responding to her lighthearted tone, he says, “You’ve gotten arrogant. Aren’t you even sad to leave the brightest, most handsome star in the sky?” She reasons, “Still, I can’t take you with me.”
Tae-kyung makes a sudden plucking gesture in the air, and tells her, “You pick [the star] out like this.” He opens his fist to show her the star necklace, and tells her to wear it.
She accepts it happily, then comments on the romantic gesture by telling him he’s changed. “Do you like me that much, to pluck me a star from the sky?”
Tae-kyung: “You keep getting more arrogant. If you’re going to do that, give it back!”
Mi-nyeo: “No, you cannot! This is mine!”
Tae-kyung: “They have lots of diamonds in Africa. Give that back.”
Mi-nyeo: “I cannot make that! I have no skill.”
Tae-kyung: “So treat me nicely while I’m here.”
The playful bickering settles down as Tae-kyung pulls her toward him and puts an arm around her. They look up at the sky as a shooting star falls:
Mi-nyeo: “I will never, ever let go of the star I have finally grabbed!”
Tae-kyung: “Yeah, don’t ever let go. I’ll only shine in front of you.”


Jang Geun-seok – “말도 없이” (Without Words) [ Download ]

Phew! It’s finally over, and I still have so much to say! (Big surprise.)
As for this episode in particular…
I really liked the ending. I have some quibbles, which I’ll get into in a moment, but for the most part I was satisfied with the way the big separation was reconciled and how the conflicts were resolved.
Some people are disappointed that we didn’t see more Mi-nam, but I for one like it this way. We all know that it’s Park Shin-hye acting the part, and they’ve made sure to keep the glimpses of Mi-nam brief and mysterious. If we were to get entire scenes featuring him, we’d just get more reason to nitpick at the boyish image, and I’d rather be left wanting a little more than feeling dissatisfied for little things that would likely stand out — the voice, the girlish face, etc.
What I particularly appreciate is that we get our big dramatic moment, but we also get a lighter, cuter moment to go out on. The concert scene was done well, I thought, and also satisfies our desire for a grand climax. For instance, the song: I freaking love this bit, and not just because it’s a big romantic gesture and Jang Geun-seok is singing, ooh wow swoon, etc. In addition to all that, it’s just so appropriate on multiple thematic levels.
He chooses this song because it’s a message to Mi-nyeo, so even if the words meant something else entirely, it would still work to the same effect. But it carries a double meaning now, because the lyrics that her father used to beg her mother to return are also applicable to Tae-kyung as well.
Furthermore, when Mi-nyeo asked Tae-kyung in Episode 15 not to let his mother redo the song, he didn’t answer, “Yes, I’ll stop her” — the words he used were that he would “return” the song to Mi-nyeo (and her mother). He’s not only returning it symbolically by making sure his mother doesn’t claim the song again, he’s quite literally returning it with this performance.
And then, after they affirm their feelings for each other, I think we need a little bit of a denouement to give us time to come down from that high, which has the added benefit of showing us Tae-kyung and Mi-nyeo in a more “normal,” everyday interaction. Their dynamic isn’t as extreme as the fantasy wedding sequence from Episode 15, but it’s still amusingly offbeat. I don’t see why Mi-nyeo has to go to Africa because that’s just a throwaway line and they could have easily left that out, but I’m not going to nitpick that (much).
As I mentioned previously, I liked the separation in this drama, if only because it could have been a lot more drawn out and contrived than it was. I thought it made a lot of sense, because the obstacle wasn’t necessarily insurmountable, but it wasn’t something Tae-kyung (or Mi-nyeo) could fix merely by pushing for it. He needed to let her grieve for her mother and learn to accept him again without pain, and while their love is strong enough to overcome this, it’s not ready yet. The solution here is time, and he gave that to her.
But of course, the introduction of time into the relationship also opens up the chance for further miscommunications, as we saw here. The culprit wasn’t just mistiming or mixed message; it was Tae-kyung’s pride, like his friends pointed out. Like Heyi, throwing away one’s pride over something fake isn’t hard at all. But it’s much more difficult when you have to throw it away for something real, which would hurt more. For Hwa-ran, that is the difference between her manipulative love for Go Jae-hyun — which she went out of her way to claim — and her feelings for her son, whom she was afraid to approach.
On the other hand, both Jeremy and Shin-woo expressed themselves fully, so they are frustrated with Tae-kyung for stopping short of that. It’s also why they’re able to be happy for Mi-nyeo even after they’ve lost her, because they could give her up cleanly. Tae-kyung’s need to keep his pride is understandable, and I don’t blame him for it — with his upbringing and lack of maternal affection, all he had to cling to was his pride, since he sure as hell didn’t have love. He just needed a big push in the arse to realize that there things worth giving up that pride for, and now that he DOES have love, it’s worth the risk. Thankfully his friends are there to give him that push.

A few criticisms:
The plot of a drama often drags about two-thirds of the way through. It’s inevitable, and is partly due to writing fatigue, and partly viewer fatigue. The Hong Sisters are better than most at avoiding this problem, and although they aren’t immune to it, at least the episodes with some drag still have a lot of funny moments to balance it out. In You’re Beautiful, those slower moments tended to be about the Hwa-ran storyline, because for the longest time she was out there on her own, drinking and moping and not really connecting to the main story. In the end, it came together nicely and I appreciated how this resolved with our main characters, as I mentioned in the previous recap. But for a long while, she was off on her own tangent, and whenever the story cut to her, I felt the energy drop. She was a fascinating character, to be sure, but only slightly connected to the main plot.
The song remake plotline was rather overwrought, and Hwa-ran’s manipulations in relation to that. In resolving the big mystery of the parents’ generation, we got an answer that works for the story and for our protagonists, but on the downside, it reduces the wrongdoing to one single person. I don’t love that.
The Hong Sisters are great with twisting funny beats out of dramatic and/or emotional moments, and they have a great sense for plot pacing. I think they’re so good at keeping our interest high with their fun-filled, energetic developments that they don’t NEED to rely on makjang elements like birth secrets, evil mothers, and other overly melodramatic devices. So when they do use those elements, I think it’s a waste to highlight moments that aren’t as fluid with the rest of their material. They don’t need those plots, because I think some of my favorite episodes were the ones that didn’t focus on them. And even in episodes where the melodrama came to the fore, my favorite moments were the funny scenes tucked in around them.
Furthermore, I think that they have done a great job creating new situations to keep audiences laughing, but sometimes their dramatic beats feel recycled from prior dramas. When a scene is tweaked and reused, the second time may lose a lot of its punch, because it no longer feels organic to this particular story — it feels like it was tweaked and reused to fit a square peg into a round hole. It fits very WELL, of course, but one can’t help notice that it wasn’t something that arose naturally from these circumstances.
(Mi-nyeo’s hairclip is one such device, as is the Hong Sisters’ tendency to drum in Significant Metaphors a bit too long. The stars, light, darkness, and seeing motifs are all excellent analogies that correspond to the emotional developments, but would pack as much — or more — punch if they were more judiciously applied. They don’t need to be in every scene for us to Get The Idea.)
But those are essentially quibbles in what has been an overwhelmingly enjoyable drama-watching experience.
Of course the Hong Sisters have flaws. Perhaps more than some less-famous writers of more well-regarded dramas. They don’t write the most polished or intellectual scripts around. They are sometimes clumsy and/or heavy-handed. Occasionally they take their humor too far; sometimes a gag is too obvious to be witty or sharp.
But they don’t condescend to their audience, either, and their dramas aren’t pretentious. I loved their comment in the interview post where they say that they each have IQs of 100, which makes their writing team a collective 200. While their dramas aren’t intellectual, that doesn’t mean they’re dumb — their brand of comedy can often be quite smart, actually. (And sometimes it’s silly, jokey, laugh-out-loud funny. That’s cool too.)
They approach writing with energy and joy. Their skill isn’t in creating perfect dramas, but in establishing heartfelt characters and situations that tug at the heart. They manage to tap into that source of giddy, youthful wonder that we may have thought faded well into our adulthoods, and for that I am not only pleased, but grateful.

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