Thursday, July 19, 2012

K-Drama Review: Big, Episodes 13-14

Read Episode reviews for:

Big--Episodes 1-2
Big--Episodes 3-4
Big--Episodes 5-6
Big--Episodes 7-8
Big--Episodes 9-10
Big--Episodes 11-12
Big--Episodes 13-14
Big--Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 13-14

Big is coming along nicely. Where were we?

Kissing, That's Where! Yaaaaaaay.

Da-Ran has finally hinted to Kyungjoon that her heart belongs to him, regardless of the fact that he's been soul-swapped into someone else's body. She briefly tries to talk herself out of falling for him, but Kyungjoon just looks at her lovingly and promises to make her fall for him even more in the future.

At the hospital, Mari's sees Yoonjae's Dad, finally confronts him, and realizes he's also Kyungjoon's dad.

Mari's Not a Bad Sleuth, All Things Considered.

Mari acts like a boss and asks Dad why he's trying to hide the fact that he's Kyungjoon's father--does he care more about his older son Yoonjae, is that it? She says, "Ahjusshi nappayo!" which means "You're a bad person, mister!" And she's not wrong. He abandoned his youngest boy and has done nothing for him during the kid's whole life. At this point, I love Mari for loving Kyungjoon. Besides KJ himself, she's one of the few people who could feel this abandonment so deeply.

Da-Ran takes Kyungjoon out for a middle-class birthday dinner at a place that amounts to a Korean Shoney's, since the staff all sing Happy Birthday to you. Kyungjoon promises to take Da-Ran on a round-trip voyage to the moon in 20 years. Aww, he's already planning wild and wacky things for their distant future. He's in this for the long haul.

Just Give In Already, Da-Ran. It's Inevitable.

Da-Ran gives Kyungjoon his birthday present, a watch personalized with his initials, and he asks her to put it on for him. he says that since she gave him the watch at 10:10, every single day when the clock hits 10:10, he will think of her and she must think of him. I don't know if that is childish or romantic--maybe some of both--but it's altogether a Kyungjoon sort of thing to say.

The next morning, despite dreaming of visiting the moon with Kyungjoon as a pair of happy astronauts, Da-Ran insists that she's going to pursue a future by herself and take a far-off teaching job. Well, I guess our awesome couple still needs some tension. But does it have to come from Da-Ran still not admitting they're a couple?

At the hospital, Kyungjoon has a moment of self-disgust as he can't get over his phobia of blood for long enough to hold the hand of a sick child. He seems to be asking himself what Yoonjae would do in his position--Yoonjae would help the little girl, of course.

And Kyungjoon Does, Too.

I love how Kyungjoon overcomes his own trauma in order to help someone who needs him. I also like this drama's focus on connected hands, like DR and KJ's hands connecting under the umbrella, or Yoonjae's and Kyungjoon's hands when big brother rescues little brother from drowning.

Da-Ran resolves that if she thinks of Kyungjoon at 10:10 like he promised she would, that means she's truly caught. But instead of thinking about him at precisely 10:10, she thinks about him every other minute of the day! It's pretty funny to watch Da-Ran get continual flashbacks to memories of Kyungjoon when she looks at things like vitamin water, tennis shoes, cars, and even when a breeze blows. And she sees clocks everywhere!

Hallucinations Are a Symptom Of Love! Or Acid Usage.

Da-Ran still wants to find her lost engagement ring so she can return it and apologize to Yoonjae someday, for dumping him. Kyungjoon is just as perplexed over this as I am, and they argue about the ring. But to onlookers, it seems like Yoonjae and Da-Ran are having marital problems, and of course lil' bro Choongshik overhears Da-Ran talking about "cheating"...

Stricken With Shock and Grief. Love This Kid.

Then there's this nonsensical scene where Da-Ran and Kyungjoon go to jail because Da-Ran's Dad is upset with them over a misunderstanding, and they are let go the next morning, but none of it is a joke or a dream. Huh? But it's soon over, and Da-Ran is promising to stay by Kyungjoon's side and to hold his hand when he switches back to his original body. And there is smiling and hugging, and the viewers rejoice! But Mari watches the whole lovey exchange and cries her heart out.

미안해, Kiddo.

Off in the Darker Plot, darker things are happening. Like they do. Yoonjae's parents had some tests run and they find that Yoonjae's old disease is back and he needs blood from the comatose Kyungjoon in order to live. But Kyungjoon is soulswapped in Yoonjae's body right now and is just finding out about the health condition. Kyungjoon overhears Awful Mom talking to Seyoung about taking blood from his unconscious body without his permission.

Mom's a Stone Cold Jerk.

Then the truth all comes out in a horrible tumble. Mom tells Kyungjoon (thinking he's Yoonjae) all about making Kyungjoon twenty years ago and having him carried by a surrogate, just so he could heal his big brother. This absolutely demolishes Kyungjoon's worldview--he always thought he was the treasured child of a single mom who had a brief fling. That, he could live with. But this? Being a test tube baby created to donate blood to another kid? It hurts.

Kyungjoon decides he won't give the transfusion to "Yoonjae". He'll just move forward with Da-Ran and forget about his sordid family. At this point, Mari shows her first real hint of villainy and lies to Kyungjoon, saying that Da-Ran knew about everything and she was only staying with him so she could use him to help Yoonjae. Kyungjoon's in just the right disturbed frame of mind to believe her, since everyone who should love him is putting Yoonjae first.

Mari finds Da-Ran and tries to get her to realize that she's only causing Kyungjoon pain by staying with him. Huh? Mari gives Da-Ran a fake engagement ring and begs Da-Ran to tell Kyungjoon lies so he'll leave her. Da-Ran complies, putting on the ring and telling Kyungjoon to save Yoonjae because he's the one she's waiting for. With tears in his eyes, Kyungjoon says he'll do that if it's what she wants.

The look on his face makes me want to punch someone.

The next episode begins with Da-Ran having nightmares about Kyungjoon and Yoonjae--they keep switching identities, and saying that she has forgotten one of them. The one she forgets will be lost forever. She wakes up to find Kyungjoon still awake and physically hurting from the unnamed illness Yoonjae has. Kyungjoon tells her to leave him alone and forget about taking him to the hospital.

I Honestly Don't Know Whether to Blame Her for This Predicament.

Kyungjoon has a talk with Mari where he continually compares Da-Ran's abandonment of him to the way his birth parents abandoned him. It's a fatal one-two punch of heartache.

Da-Ran is incensed after a talk with Awful Mom, who tells her that Yoonjae must always come first, even if Kyungjoon wakes up. Da-Ran says oh, HECK NO. Kyungjoon has to come first this time. Da-Ran extracts a promise that Awful Mom will be grateful to Kyungjoon and will treat him right when he wakes up. Way to go to bat for your boy, Da-Ran, even if you're currently lying to his face in order to save him.

Da-Ran and Kyungjoon go and have an awkward dinner with his parents, where he's just barely holding back his contempt for the way Mom fawns over Yoonjae, not knowing it's really the unwanted son she's speaking to.

And holy cow, the revelations keep coming! Awful Mom couldn't have kids naturally, so she conceived Yoonjae through in-vitro and kept Kyungjoon's...zygote I guess, stored away safely for later. Kyungjoon and Yoonjae were born twelve years apart, but Dad says the two of them were made from the same batch of person-fluid, so they're more like fraternal twins. (Is your head spinning? Mine is.)

THAT'S NOT ALL! Kyungjoon has a full-on crying breakdown when he finds out that his Dad asked his birth mom to carry him because they loved each other. Now Kyungjoon feels like the person who raised him, Birth Mom, only carried him because she was emotionally manipulated by her love for Dad, who explained that it was the only way to save his older son. The situation's wild, but the emotions are totally real from everyone. Well done.

Kyungjoon heads to a bar and begins quietly drinking himself into oblivion. Da-Ran finds him, but now that she's convinced him she doesn't love him, her pleading words to get him to leave don't have as much effect. He says if she's sincere, her true sincerity will move him, but nothing else. She tries various appeals, most of them the tough-love variety, while he drinks what looks to be a row of Scotch on the rocks, one after the other. She finally gets him to stop.

Next day, Kyungjoon agrees to the treatments, but says he'll go with Dad to Germany for them. Kyungjoon tells Da-Ran to wait behind and stay with his body because she promised she would be by his side when he woke up, and they figure that karma will make him wake up when the life-saving surgery is over. (They switched souls when Yoonjae saved Kyungjoon's life, ergo they'll switch again when KJ saves YJ.) But Da-Ran's family only knows that her husband is going to Germany without her.

The Gil's Default State Is Affectionate Confusion.

Da-Ran comes up with the idea that maybe the miracle of the bodyswap happened because Kyungjoon had to live as an adult for a while in order to have an adult's heart, so he could understand all that was being asked of him. Kyungjoon says no, his heart still hasn't grown enough to feel sympathy for these people.

Kyungjoon has a selfish streak left in him because he tells Mari he's not going to Germany for treatments--he's just going to disappear in Yoonjae's body and let everyone at home stew with worry. Da-Ran races to stop him at the airport, saying, "Save Yoonjae and in exchange I'll live the rest of my life alone and unhappy. I probably be unhappy anyway because...I love you." They're both in tears at this point.

I still don't understand why everybody's gotta be unhappy.

Ohhh, and a new twist. (Could there be any more twists?) Kyungjoon deduces from a few different clues that when he returns to his own body, he'll wake up without any of his current memories. He won't even remember the bodyswap. He looks around his house, which is full to the brim of Da-Ran memories, and wonders what it will be like to lose her. *sniffle*

Now they have dinner together and realize it might be their very last. Now he asks her to change her old promise--don't be by Kyungjoon's side when they switch places, but be with Yoonjae instead. Is this his way of fixing her up with his brother? Again? But instead of telling her he's going to lose his memories, Kyungjoon tells her he's going to pretend to forget her after the switch, so she should do the same. Arrrgh!

Just Be Honest, Like You Used to Be!

The necessary blood is taken from Kyungjoon's body, and Yoonjae's body faints. When he wakes up, Da-Ran asks, "You're still Kyungjoon, right?" But we don't know.

End of episode.

Things I Loved:

1. The Birthday Watch. Kyungjoon asking Da-Ran to put his birthday watch on for him because it's the first present she's ever gotten him. The watch keeps gaining significance over time (get it? over time?).

Killing Me With The Cuteness.

2. Everything I've Loved in Past Eps. The Lovey-dovey-ness, the wit, the real emotions, crazy Mari and dim Choongshik, and the list goes on.


1. Da-Ran's Waffling. I can understand her struggling with accepting Kyungjoon up through episode 12, but by episode 13 I'm ready for their obstacles to be external, not internal.

2. Jail Scene. Kinda ridiculous, which is saying a lot for a scene in a soul-swapping plot.


3. Da-Ran Lying to Kyungjoon. It's just miserable all around for everyone when Da-Ran starts to lie, and it's not clear to me why Da-Ran had to lie to Kyungjoon at all!

Episode Evaluations: These episodes broke my heart in about fifteen different ways. I tip my hat to the writers for making the story so emotionally accessible, even while utilizing many gnarly plot devices that could have gotten in the way.

And yet! I had better get a happy ending out of this. The ending will decide whether this is one of my most favorite shows ever or just one long exercise in sadness. I'm holding out for a strong finale. Only next week will tell!


  1. This is driving me crazy!!! lol

    Please of please tell me the ending as soon as you know!!!

    1. I will! The final episodes will be subtitled on Tuesday & Wednesday, so I'll have a review up by next Thursday, barring personal illness or internet failure! :-)