Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Hello! I'm not likely to post for several months, if ever again, just because I'm busy with studies and preparing for travel and a new job.

Thanks so much for reading!


Monday, November 19, 2012

K-Drama Review: Nice Guy, Episodes 19-20


Read episode reviews for:

Nice Guy--Episodes 1-2
Nice Guy--Episodes 3-4
Nice Guy--Episodes 5-6
Nice Guy--Episodes 7-8
Nice Guy--Episodes 9-10
Nice Guy--Episodes 11-12
Nice Guy--Episodes 13-14
Nice Guy--Episodes 15-16
Nice Guy--Episodes 17-18

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 19-20

Click "play" below to listen to me read the review! :-)

It's the final eps. I'm not ready for this. The last time I so anticipated a finale, Big happened to me (it was awfullll).

Let's outline what I want to happen in these episodes ahead of time, just so I can look back and compare afterward.

1. Maru/Eunki. Both alive, both with memories intact. I want love and 2-car garage and a white picket fence for them.
2. Jaehee Forgiven. Honestly, she's such a miserable creature, I don't want anyone to get revenge on her. What's the point in destroying something so weak?
3. Something decent done with that company. We've kicked up such a fuss over the Taesan Corporation, I hope it's left in good hands.

Can You Manage All That, Nice Guy?

The show opens with shots of Eunki walking down a sidewalk, then shots of Maru walking down a sidewalk. She seems to be following him. In voiceover, Eunki says that she knows she and Maru can't be together and that everyone in the world will try to pull them apart, but this final time--once and for all--she will tell him her feelings and see if they can make a go of things. Good girl. Go for it.

Just Don't Keep Watching Him From That Park Bench. Borderline Creepy.

As Eunki watches, Maru clutches his head, his cerebral hematoma flaring up, or whatever it is cerebral hematomas do to cause pain.

Don't You DARE Die, Maru.

As he stands up, Eunki continues to follow him and wonder if she did the right thing in separating from him.

A flashback shows Attorney Park playing a recording for Maru of the day Eunki's father died--he had a heart attack, and the recording shows that Attorney Ahn talked Jaehee into just letting him die and not calling for help. Attorney Park says he didn't reveal their plot to Eunki sooner because he was afraid she'd take revenge on Attorney Ahn and Jaehee, and he knows that revenge poisons a person and everyone around them. Essentially, he loved Eunki too much to let her become a bitter rage monster.

Heroic, If Slightly Misguided.

Attorney Park goes to Attorney Ahn and says he's ready to reveal everything, including how his own father caused Eunki's Mom's fatal car accident. Attorney Park says that loving someone doesn't mean that you own them, and he had been acting like Eunki was his rightful property when he chose to continually hide that truth from her to keep her next to him. But now he says to Attorney Ahn, "Sending Eunki away and giving her up is also an act of love. Kang Maru taught me that." Ohh, where are my Kleenex?

Maru sits alone and stares at the recording device, listening to Jaehee crying over another dead man as he has a long flashback to episode one, where he took the blame for an accidental murder she committed.

And With That, We Have Come Around Full Circle.

 At Taesan, Jaehee's assistant reads her a report that says, due to their bad publicity, the company wants Jaehee and Maru to step down. Maru asks Jaehee out on what he terms a "date" and that night she meets him in the park, the scene we saw at the end of last week's episode. Maru takes Jaehee's hand. Urk. I think I know what he's doing, being nice to her before delivering info that will make her sob, but I feel uneasy when he does this.

Jaehee Knows Something Sad is Coming.

Maru begins to cry real, heartbroken tears. He says,"I had this thought. When you killed that man, if I had made you turn yourself in...if I had made you pay for your crime, what would have happened?" I see where he's going, now, and I like it.

"I would never have left you," Maru says. "I would have waited for you to get out of prison, however long, and I would have asked you to marry me. Would you have been happy? I'd probably have been busy, but we would still have traveled abroad with Choco and Jaegil once a year. I might even withdraw money from my savings someday to buy you a designer bag you liked." Slowly, slowly, Maru paints a picture of the simple yet beautiful life they could have had. It's not to make her guilty, or himself guilty, just to see how far they've fallen from what might have been.


"I ask myself, would you have been happy, then? Would you at least be happier than you are now?" Maru is finally seeing that he hurt Jaehee by protecting her from the consequences of her actions. By taking the fall, he steered her toward further selfishness. "Since I did that for you, you lost the ability to tell right from wrong, to decide what you should not and must not do." They are both weeping buckets at this moment.

"I'm the one who made you this way. I thought it was love, then, but it was ignorance. And arrogance. I made you turn into this monster. I was wrong, Han Jaehee. I did this."


Jaehee collapses at that. Maru says, "I can come back to you. I can't promise to love you, but I can promise to stay with you forever." Dear me. He's now offering her a future because he feels that he ruined her past? "As long as you're not asking for my love, it will be okay.Will you come to me?" Jaehee is a mess of tears, crying too hard to answer. Maru hugs her.

And Eunki is watching, because she's been following Maru most of the day. Girl, if you had something to say to him, you should have said it.

Also, for the record, I'm proud of Maru for seeing his mistake, but I still think he's taking too much responsibility for Jaehee. No one person can destroy another person's ability to make moral judgements. You can skew their perspective perhaps, but each person's soul is her own.

At Maru's home, Jaeshik tells Maru that he's been hired to assassinate him. Maru says, "Hyeong, (형/ big brother) if you're going to stab me, do it without talking."

Yeah, He Knows You Aren't Going To Do It.
Jaeshik walks out of the room and then Jaegil, gawky scaredy-cat Jaegil, drags him outside and punches him. Jaegil is about to cry as he tells Jaeshik that he won't have to kill Maru because Maru is likely to die, anyway.

Maru, Eunki, and Jaehee all get calls saying that Attorney Park has been in a wreck and is now in a coma. No dice, show. You can't have two characters fall into comas and still make me care. I have a one-coma limit of caring.

Yet I Still Love You, Attorney Park, Coma and All.

No wait, Eunki just had amnesia, not a coma. But they're both highly improbable, wildly dramatic and plot-convenient medical conditions, so same difference.

In the hospital, Eunki cries and yells at Attorney Park's lifeless body to wake up. Maru arrives to drag her out of the room. Eunki says she knows who might have done this to him, and Maru tries to calm her down, saying that if someone hurt Attorney Park like that, they might target Eunki next. Eunki says Jaehee and Attorney Ahn murdered her father, and everything will come to light when Attorney Park wakes up. Erm. Shouldn't you be a little more worried about coma-man's life than about what he can do for your murder investigation if he wakes up?

Now's Not The Time To Be Heartless.

She says, "Go your own way, Maru. Protect Jaehee, who you can't get over. Because I'm going to bring her down." Ice cold.

Later at the hospital, Eunki protects Attorney Park, throwing Attorney Ahn out of the room and grilling Jaehee when she walks in, asking Jaehee if there are any weapons in her purse or coat, in case she might finish off Attorney Park. Maru arrives to put an end to the madness.

Voice of Reason?

Maru gets Eunki alone and tells her it's not always a good idea just to attack and stir up added trouble simply because she can--there are people who likely want to kill her. Maru takes her arm and says she's his hostage and has to go everywhere with him.

At the office, Attorney Ahn tells Jaehee that he will take the blame for all her actions, but Jaehee is fed up with playing the poor, pitiful victim and always having strong, conniving men cover for her own misdeeds.

Maru follows Eunki all around the hospital and watches as she attends to Attorney Park. When she falls asleep, he puts his coat over her.

So Innocent While She Sleeps.

The next day, Jaehee gives Maru a big folder full of evidence of Eunki's Dad's misdeeds in the past, some of which amount to stealing money from his company to set it aside for Eunki. Jaehee adds that she'll never turn herself in to the police but that if Maru wants her to do so, he has to promise to love her with all his heart. A curious thing to bargain for.

Maru returns to the hospital and kindly says to Eunki, "Run away with me. Anywhere you want, we'll go there. Let's run away, Seo Eunki."

I'm Not Sure That Running Away Is The Answer.

That was an okay episode, I suppose. Not much happened, except Jaehee and Maru finally wising up a bit about their own choices.

Episode 20 begins with Eunki pulling her hand away from Maru and saying no, she doesn't want to go with him. She says that right now her corporation, her friend Attorney Park, and solving the mystery of her father's death are much more important to her than he is. I'm actually glad to hear her say it. I want them to end up together, but at the moment she does have more important things to deal with.

Before she can run away, Maru wraps her in a hug and says, "Okay. Go ahead."

Why Did That Sound So Final?

Eunki goes to confront a corporate minion for his role in Attorney Park's car accident. When the slithery minion denies any role in the accident, Eunki invites him to sit down, then kicks his chair away, causing him to land flat on the floor where she grabs his shirt and demands, "Why would such an insignificant creature as you try to kill Attorney Park?"

In. Your. Face.

When minion refuses to speak, Eunki says, "Fine. Keep denying it, and I resort to inhumane methods." I would kind of like to see her inhumane methods, but the scene changes.

Maru sits with Jaehee and tells her that he mailed the incriminating audio files to the police station, so she has no way of escaping her role in Eunki's Dad's death. Jaehee says that in return, she'll reveal all the shady company secrets of Eunki's Dad, meaning that Eunki will be impoverished. Maru tells Jaehee that to save Eunki from the fallout, he asked her to run away with him, but she refused.

Maru says he was relieved that Eunki turned him down because it shows her strength, and that she doesn't need him anymore. He tells Jaehee to go ahead and expose all the secrets because Eunki will be able to deal with it just fine.

All Secrets Are On The Table, So To Speak.

Once again, Maru encourages Jaehee to turn herself in, but she says she never will. Jaehee asks if she and Maru should just kill themselves but Maru says, "If you're going to die, do it alone. As for me, I'm going to live." Yay, our boy has again mustered the will to live, with or without Eunki! Just then, his headaches start again, and he leaves.

At the hospital, Attorney Park stirs.

At Maru's house, Jaegil finds Maru collapsed on the floor and takes him to the hospital. I would be more broken-hearted if Maru hadn't brought this on himself by shunning medical treatment. Choco and Jaegil cry their eyes out at the hospital. Inside, the doctor tells Maru that his chances of surviving tomorrow's brain surgery are 50%, and he asks if there is anyone Maru wants to see before he dies.

네. 서은기.

Jaeshik goes to Jaehee to tell her that he was going to kill Maru against her wishes because Attorney Ahn promised him money. But while at Maru's house, Choco kept making home-cooked meals for Jaeshilk. He yells at Jaehee that since she never treated him like a proper brother, he was so moved by Choco's tender care that he couldn't go through with it. Jaeshik also tells Jaehee that Maru is dying, anyway.

Jaehee shares the news with Eunki, who goes to Maru's hospital. Jaegil told Eunki that it was her head-on collision with Maru that gave him the hematoma. Yes, angry girl, you scrambled your loved one's brain as well as your own when you revenge-crashed. Now maybe you, too, can stop feeling like a victim.

It's a Tough Job, But You've Got To Do It.

She also knows that Maru delayed his life-saving surgery because he was trying to help her regain her position in the corporation. The guilt. It burns. Eunki can't bring herself to turn Maru's hospital room door. She walks home, remembering each ugly thing she said to him when her memories returned. Eunki cries on the street, and Jaehee cries at home, both of them sick with worry over the man whose heart they've each broken at different times.

Attorney Ahn calls Jaehee to tell her that he's going to tell the judge that everything is his fault, not Jaehee's. He's clearly gone over some psychological ledge because he says he wants to kill Eunki to get her out of the way. Why is he confessing all of this openly to Jaehee, who could stop him?

She Has Just Enough Heart Left To Save a Life.

Maru is worried when Jaegil tells him that Eunki was going to visit him. Since Eunki didn't come inside, Maru thinks something could have happened to her. He leaves his hospital room and goes running down the street, looking for her. He beams a smile when he spots her, about to cross the street to come back and see him.

They walk slowly toward each other, then just as they're about to embrace, Maru sees Attorney Ahn behind Eunki's shoulder. Maru grabs Eunki and steps between her and Attorney Ahn as the villain rushes forward and...  the scene is ambiguous, but it's implied that Attorney Ahn stabs Maru, then walks away, leaving our main couple frozen in the middle of the intersection as Eunki cries.

Jaehee calls the police to turn herself in.

Maru and Eunki sit on a nearby bench as Maru says he is tired and should be heading back to the hospital. Wait. Doesn't he have a stab wound in his side? Maru says in a labored voice, "If you have anything to tell me, will you wait until tomorrow? I also have a lot to tell you. We'll say it all tomorrow." If you don't die before then, you dummy.

Eunki is getting into a cab (it's clear by now that she just thought Maru hugged her, not that he saved her from a stabbing), and she asks Maru, "In the tunnel, why didn't you move away from my car before we crashed?" He replies, "Why didn't I move away? I don't remember." Maru is still clutching his side, hiding his wound, as he encourages Eunki to get in the taxi. Eunki swoops in for one last kiss, still oblivious to his injury.

At the police station, Jaehee confesses to a list of crimes that would make a sailor blush, then adds: "There is one more thing I need to confess--it happened seven years ago." I never expected her to finally confess to the murder she let Maru take the rap for! Good job, Jaehee. You've grown a spine and you're accepting the consequences like a grown woman should.

The detective looks uncomfortable and asks if she really wants to continue confessing without her lawyer present. Ha! One of her lawyers just woke up from a coma, while the other recently knifed his way to an almost-homicide. Jaehee says no, just keep writing it all down.

And elsewhere, Eunki and Maru are still making out, because he still hasn't told her about the knife! But the look on his face says that if kissing her is the last thing he does before he expires horribly, he'll die happy. As she leaves, for real this time, Eunki says, "I'm grateful to Jaehee for one thing--it's because of her that I got to meet you."


As she drives away, Maru staggers into the street and snow begins to fall.  He pulls his hand away from his side and it looks like THIS:

"But Hidden In His Coat Is a Red Right Hand."

Maru keeps trying to walk and the camera zooms in on his shaking steps as he thinks, "Eunki asked me why I didn't avoid her car in the tunnel. I told her I didn't remember, but I remember exactly why I did that."

"At that time, I was very tired of myself and the world around me."

He falls to the ground and struggles, but fails, to right himself. "I thought my present life was not very good, but that in my next life I would surely meet Eunki again, and we would be like normal people. We would date and be in love the way we should have been. I prayed to God for that outcome."

Tears fill his eyes and the lights go down on his motionless form laying on the street.

When the show comes back, we're watching a little girl on what is apparently an audition video. Her name is Park Seulgi, and she says her father's name is Park Jaegil. Whoa! So we're, like, six years in the future now and Jaegil has a little girl? The screen tells us it's seven years later as the child continues, "My mother's name is Kang Choco." Then we zoom out to see that Choco, who always wanted to be in show business, is coaching her little daughter's audition tape.

Soooooo Cute.

Choco goes to wake Jaegil up for work, and he gestures that he won't get up until he gets his good-morning kiss. Ahhh! So sweet. They are living in the house Maru bought in episode 11, the place where everyone started over in a fresh life. Then to show us what everybody else is up to, Jaegil goes to a chicken restaurant to buy chicken from...Jaeshik! Who is now gainfully employed! Who'd have thought?

And to extend the reunion, Secretary Hyun walks in to return a love letter Jaeshik gave her. Heh. Jaeshik argues that he wasn't thinking clearly when he sent it. But it looks like Secretary Hyun liked the confession--she just objects to the fact that he misspelled so many words in the letter. :-)

Cut to Jaehee, sitting in a car outside of a prison, when out emerges....Attorney Ahn?

I Hope You Served Your Time Miserably.

He sees Jaehee, but her eyes are closed and he walks in the other direction. When Jaehee wakes up, she sees Attorney Ahn walking away and begins to go after him when Attorney Park appears and tells her to let him go. Park says that Ahn has made a conscious decision to let Jaehee go. Jaehee says she's been out of prison for a few months herself, but that she still hasn't gone to see her son, Eunsuk.

Attorney Park reveals that Eunsuk has a close relationship with Eunki, which Jaehee is happy about. Apparently, Eunsuk has a crush on a girl and Eunki is offering him advice about that. Jaehee tells Attorney Park to thank Eunki for that.

Finally, we see Eunki herself. She's carrying a little girl on her back and is rushing with the child through Maru's old neighborhood. Eunki runs into a little medical clinic and tells the nurse that the girl has a bellyache. The nurse says the doctor is out, and Eunki leaves to run to the corner store for medicine.

She walks back into the doctor's office, smiling slightly as a familiar voice diagnoses the child with pancreatitis. The little girl tells Maru (!yes it's Maru!) that she heard he studied medicine in America. Maru replies that yes, he studied medicine in America after he had a major surgery. Maru went to America to finish med school? That's cool.

The little girl asks why he's working in such a backwater place, and Maru replies that he likes the neighborhood; plus, there are a lot of pretty girls around here. It sounds like he's talking about Eunki, but when Maru turns around and sees Eunki in the room, he looks---what? Mildly confused? Disturbed? Certainly not the look of a man seeing his girlfriend or wife walk in the door, so they can't be together.

The little girl goes on to say that she heard that when he had his surgery, he lost all his memories, and he says yes, that is true.



No, show, you cannot give Maru amnesia, too!!!

But I guess you can and you did, so let's move on.

The little girl begins to talk about Eunki and hilariously says that Eunki's sandwich shop sells horrible food--her cookies and sandwiches are so bad, nobody knows how she stays in business. Little girl says, "But you eat every meal at her store, doctor! It is because you think the food is good?"

Dawww. Even with no memories, Maru finds himself seeking out Eunki, finding excuses to be around her.

We cut to Maru drinking coffee and reading a newspaper outside of Eunki's shop. Eunki is secretly taking pictures of him.

Girl, You So Creepy, But I Still Love You.

Maru sees her doing this and waves her outside to talk with him. He takes her camera and scrolls through the photos--they're all of him. When Eunki can't meet his eyes, Maru asks, "Are you interested in me?" Eunki says yes, and he replies, "Since when have you been interested in me?" -"It's been awhile." -"How long exactly?" Eunki won't say.

Maru walks away and we hear his voiceover from earlier, where he said that if he and Eunki met in another life, he'd want them to date like normal couples do. The stream of thought continues, "I would ask other people about her, I would hang out around her place. I'd want to impress her family." And despite seeming like he was freaked out by Eunki's photos, Maru goes to her shop and is almost panicked when there's a note on the door saying she's out. He sits on a bench, waiting for her as she rolls in on her bicycle. "I would memorize all her favorite songs. I'd sit in her favorite spot and wait for her all day."

Eunki stops and turns to look at Maru, then comes to sit on the bench with him. "I wanted to do all of that with Eunki," the inner monologue continues.

Maru hesitantly slides a small red box toward Eunki, who picks it up. Inside are couple rings! Eee! Maru's mental monologue concludes, "I prayed to God for all of that, long ago. And I'm praying again now."

Whoa, Wait, Wait. His Memories Are Back???!!?

He mentally says, "Thank you. I am happy now," presumably to God. He smiles and the camera pans out, showing Maru, Eunki, the sunset, the neighborhood they love, and the ring box. Everything's over and everything's just beginning. Our boy and our girl are going to be happy, and all shall be well.

What a nice way for Nice Guy to end. :-)

Watch Nice Guy on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations:

We're done. This lovely show is over, so let's examine how it decided to close itself.

My, my, my, I never thought I'd see this level of personal acceptance of guilt from Maru. Sure, he's always been a martyr for those he loves, but he never acknowledged until now that he was Jaehee's enabler. He helped her become the callous yet seductive brute she was. But still, Jaehee is ultimately her own person and Maru's part in her moral downfall is really minor, after all's said and done. So Jaehee had to grow.

Speaking of Jaehee, props to this story for a very real and very human anti-villain who had a great final episode. Jaehee finally grows up and realizes that her own lousy choices are in fact her OWN lousy choices, not the product of the big, bad world conspiring to keep her down. I started to respect her at the very end there, and I wanted to slow clap when she talked about missing her son after serving her time in prison.

These episodes were not about Eunki, but I was glad to see her stop waffling and choose Maru for certain, as well as owning up to the fact that most of her problems are self-generated, not coming from Jaehee or Maru. Everybody was getting the personal revelations in these eps.

Having Maru get amnesia too was so ridiculous, but story-wise it worked. It's more like a plot movement from legend or folktales where the princess forgets the prince, then the prince forgets the princess and the roles are neatly reversed and balanced.

I'm not ready for this show to go, but at least it had a lovely, restrained ending after all that sadness. Thanks, Nice Guy, for the great plotting and near-perfect timing. This is Tiger Holland, signing out and looking for another show with acting and writing as good as this one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

K-Drama Review: I Miss You, Episodes 1-2

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 1-2

Click "play" below to hear me read the review.

Well, I had to check out this show because I heard it contains Park Yoochun, who I loved in Rooftop Prince, Yoon Eun-Hye, who I loved in Princess Hours, and Yoo Seung-ho, who was the only good thing about Operation Proposal. Watching this show was a forgone conclusion--but what about actually liking it? What does I Miss You have to offer?

This recap will be rather long, since I'm still figuring out this new show's characters and plotlines.

The show starts in the past, with young teen versions of the protagonists.

Teen Versions of the Protagonists, With Low Self-Esteem.

This is our heroine, Sooyeon. She comes home from school, calls for her mom, then gets grabbed by an ahjusshi with a scar on his face.

I Did Not See This Coming.
The man throws her to the floor and threatens to beat her up if she doesn't tell him where her mother is. He wraps Sooyeon in a blanket then proceeds to stomp on her. This is a well-shot scene, because you don't see the little girl getting hurt--it's only a lump of blanket getting kicked--and yet, you feel the full mental horror of a big, strong man attacking a defenseless child.

Outside in the alleyway, Sooyeon's Mom listens to her daughter getting beaten, and she does not rush in. What. No matter how hurt I was, if my child was being attacked, the interloper would be DEALT WITH by any means available to me. But Mom's trembling and the man's words make me wonder if this dude is actually Dad? Maybe Mom has been a battered woman for years, and is too weak to fight back?

Instead of Acting, Mom Just Sneaks Away.

Some time later, Dad sits, apparently exhausted from kicking Sooyeon for too long. Then a plainclothes policeman (Detective Kim) walks in and beats Dad in a fight, then handcuffs him and says he's under arrest for murder. Detective Kim uncovers Sooyeon, still wrapped in the blanket and barely conscious.

Mom comes back and glares at Detective Kim for drawing a crowd as he arrested Dad. "How am I supposed to live here, now?" she says. Detective Kim is carrying a wounded Sooyeon on his back, but when he says, "Ma'am, your daughter is hurt," Mom replies, "That much won't kill her."

So...That Was The Clear Go-Ahead For Us to Hate Sooyeon's Mom.
Words flash on the screen, telling us that all this is happening in the summer of 1997. After a sadly cheesy sequence of opening credits (melodramas should take notes from Nice Guy and not overdo the emotion in their intros), the scene switches to America in the fall of 1998.

A boy, Jungwoo, is at football practice when he hears that his father has arrived from Korea, whereupon he runs to go get cleaned up.

Totally Jazzed to See Dad.

Jungwoo's ear-to-ear grin falls as he realizes Dad is not here--it's just an assitant of some sort, here to tell Jungwoo that Dad is too busy to come. Jungwoo hops a flight to Korea, just to see Dad, much to his stepmother's dismay. While driving by with Stepmom, Jungwoo sees Sooyeon with her head down, looking victimized. Coincidental sighting number 1.

Stepmom's car pulls up in front of a prison and as Jungwoo waits, he gets another look at the sad, pretty girl just standing on the sidewalk.

Poor Baby.

Sooyeon's own mother emerges from the prison, saying, "It's over" as a body is carted out in an ambulance. Dad was executed in prison, it appears.

Jungwoo's father is wheeled out of the prison, and is upset that Jungwoo is here, instead of in America tending to his studies. Stepmom tries to cover for Jungwoo and says that he should be informed of everything that's going on at home. I'm quite curious, now. Why was Jungwoo's Dad in prison?

Oy. Now here's some drama with even more characters that are tangentially related to Jungwoo (his step-grandmother?), and I'm not even going into it. Let's just say Jungwoo's Dad is not a nice man, and there are money and power struggles in the family, and potential murderous plottings.

Back to Sooyeon...

Sooyeon's Mom dumps her husband's ashes in the river and screams that she's too scared to meet him in the afterlife, so she's going to stay on earth as long as she can. Mom takes Sooyeon out for soju, but the people in the restaurant point and stare, whispering about seeing the child of the famous murderer. Mom gets sloppy drunk and yells at the people as Sooyeon quietly cries. Even this awful man's death hasn't brought her peace.

That night, Jungwoo can't sleep, so he goes for a walk and sees the girl he noticed before, Sooyeon, sitting alone on a park swing set at night. He joins her and tries to convince her he's not dangerous.

Talking At A Playground--How's That For a Meet-Cute?

It starts to rain and Jungwoo seeks shelter under a park slide, while Sooyeon runs home and chirps happily to her sleepy mom about the cool new weird kid who is talking to her and who doesn't know her life story.

Yay! She's got a slight crush already, which works out nicely because he does, too. Sooyeon brings Jungwoo a yellow umbrella to walk home with, not caring that she herself is already soaked.

Doesn't Know If She's Tenderhearted or Crazy.

Jungwoo does accept her umbrella though, and promises to meet her the next day to return it.

The next day, Sooyeon is decidedly unlike herself as she skips off to meet her new "friend" (Mom is suspicious and tells Sooyeon she doesn't have any friends). A window breaks as Sooyeon walks past a house, and she peers inside to see a boy, slightly younger than herself, peering out with a frightened face. Sooyeon doesn't know how to help him, and she walks on.

After having to attend a family member's funeral, Jungwoo belatedly finds the yellow umbrella, loaned from Sooyeon, then we cut to Sooyeon walking home alone and dejected at night.

Did She Wait For Him All Day?

Sooyeon passes the broken window again on her way home and tries to talk to the boy, Hyungjoon, who is laying down inside, feverish and in obvious pain. His Caretaker shoos Sooyeon away from the window.

When Jungwoo arrives at his new school, he looks for Sooyeon, to return her umbrella, but finds her being mocked and belittled by the other kids. They won't even call her by name; they refer to as "number 27" or "the murderer's daughter". Jungwoo's expression is dead-on with how I feel about her treatment.

And then he does the nearly unforgivable--he backs away from her as if in fear. But after a PE game of basketball, when Jungwoo is getting beaten up by a gang of boys who disliked his rough playing style, Sooyeon shows up to defend him. Her quiet scariness almost frightens the boys off when Jungwoo rushes after them and again gets beaten down.

As Jungwoo is about to leave school, he flinches away from Sooyeon when she tries to talk to him again. She simply says, "It's not me who is a murderer. I don't want to hurt anyone." He pulls a coward's move and backs away again, telling her to leave him alone. She leaves, and our boy stands in the rain, reliving everything she said to him.

And Finally Feeling Appropriately Guilty.

After sitting in the rain, then swinging for awhile at their playground, Jungwoo marches off to see Sooyeon at her house. But what he arrives to find is an ahjumma fight where the woman whose son was murdered is fighting Sooyeon's mom, who declares that the wronged mother should go away and leave her in peace, since the killer has now been executed.

But the scene doesn't stop there. Sooyeon's Mom shoves her daughter down and says, "Go ahead and kill her, if that's what it takes to make you feel better!" Sooyeon is screaming and crying and a crowd of 10 women try to talk sense into Mom. Mom shakes Sooyeon and says they should both just die, and at that moment of Sooyeon's most extreme shame, she looks up from the pavement where she's crawling away and sees the boy she likes, Jungwoo, who has viewed the whole thing.

She Runs Away.

Jungwoo runs after her and finds her hiding under the slide at their playground. He calls her by every nickname he called her before, and even the ugly term the kids said: "Killer's Daughter, Yi Sooyeon. Let's be friends." He is effectively saying, "I have seen you at your lowest, and you've seen me at my worst. Let's move on from here."

A beautiful way to end an episode.

The next ep starts with Jungwoo's offer of friendship still hanging in the air.

Sooyeon's Not Sure What to Make of It.

Sooyeon stands up like she's about to answer him, and Jungwoo dashes to a clothesline to retrieve...a clothespin? He uses it as a hairclip and pulls Sooyeon's hair away from her face. He tells her to wear her hair back from now on and to stop hiding behind it, and that he'll never ignore her again. He also apologizes for his earlier behavior.

Oh my. So sweet. This sunshiny boy finally gets Sooyeon to crack a smile. He tells her he doesn't need other friends at school--just one good friend to loan him an umbrella when he needs one. I think Jungwoo is all the better of a young hero because we've seen him be decidedly unheroic. We know he's capable of being callous and cowardly, so it's all the more meaningful when we see him being kind and loving.

Next day, Jungwoo gets into another fight with some classmates who are putting paint and glue on Sooyeon's desk. Sooyeon steps forward to stop one bully so Jungwoo won't get in trouble.

She Does This By Hugging The Bully.

Which, even though she's not trying to be mean, is still the best revenge ever because the mean kids are terrified of contact with Sooyeon's supposed murder-cooties, and hugging them is the scariest thing she could do. Class starts and Sooyeon just puts newspaper over the paint and glue and goes right along.

After class, Jungwoo upsetedly asks Sooyeon why she isn't talking to him today. Didn't they decide to be friends? She tells him they should be secret friends and he should still ignore her at school, because things could go badly for him. Sooyeon says she must protect him because he's the first person who's ever offered to be her friend and this might not ever happen for her again.

My Heart, I Think It's Bleeding Again.

But when some kids start throwing trash at Sooyeon in class (where are the teachers? if my students were being this abusive to other children, I'd call the principal, the guidance counselor, their parents, and maybe the cops), Jungwoo openly calls out to her and asks her to step out with him to buy a snack. Kids throw trash on them from the windows, but Jungwoo remains peppy and unbothered.

As they walk home rather happily, they see a room on fire, and it's the kid Hyungjoon's room, except he's locked inside. Jungwoo breaks the lock on the door with a brick, and as soon as the door opens, Hyungjoon falls out and runs away, limping on a bleeding bandaged leg. Sooyeon catches him and they take him to get medical treatment, but the kid's leg is torn up so bad that the local clinic can hardly deal with it. Jungwoo has to beg his Dad to send help.


When the boy wakes up, Sooyeon tries to comfort him and attempts to introduce herself saying, "You don't know unnie's name yet, do you?" Meaning herself, but she's referring to herself with the term for a female's older sister! It's a natural assumption to think he's female, since Hyungjoon has long hair and a high child's voice. He grunts out, "I'm not a girl." Before any more can be said, Hyungjoon's Caretaker arrives and kidnaps him, which she thinks is in his best interest since some people want to kill the kid. Well, he's going to die anyway if Caretaker doesn't get him to a doctor.

Next, we get a weird episode where Sooyeon's Mom decides to move to Detective Kim's house, so Sooyeon will have a home. Detective Kim feels guilty because he helped convict Sooyeon's Dad of a murder he didn't commit, and the man was executed for it. Detective Kim also has a teen daughter, Eunjoo, who doesn't like the new living arrangement.

Now We're One Big, Unhappy Family.

Jungwoo is shocked to go to Sooyeon's house and find it cleared out, but Sooyeon is still waiting for him at their playground, so he hasn't lost her. She's wearing the little orange clothespin hairclip he gave her, and she mentions that it's the first present she has ever received. Yeesh. Sooyeon walks him over to see her new house, and Jungwoo jokes that she might not want to be his friend anymore now that she's got a girl her own age in the house.

Nah. She Knows A Keeper When She Sees One.

Sooyeon's "stepsister" Eunjoo comes home and starts insulting Sooyeon, but stops when she sees Jungwoo, who she has a huge crush on. I think this plot point will crop back up.

Off in Hyungjoon's plot, it turns out that his Caretaker is not out for his best interests after all and is instead plotting to use him. For monies? Or for power?

Jungwoo and Sooyeon ride the bus home together and as Sooyeon sleeps, Jungwoo leans in front of her face to ask her a question. The bus hits a bump, and Sooyeon falls forward into a sort of high-impact kiss.

He Broke Her Fall With His Face.

After that highly improbable first-kiss scenario, Jungwoo is astonished and freaked out that Sooyeon will be upset at him, but she slept through the whole thing and doesn't remember. As they get off the bus and walk home, Jungwoo looks miserable, and Sooyeon tries to make him feel better, thinking he is carsick. But in reality, Jungwoo is suddenly noticing how enchanting Sooyeon is, how pretty and sweet and special. When he reaches up to fix a wonky lightbulb in a streetlamp, he and Sooyeon are thrown into close proximity again.

Dawww. So Awkward/Cute.
Right away, Detective Kim rushes up like a protective papa and drags Jungwoo by the ear, lambasting him for getting near Sooyeon. I love that Detective Kim is trying to take care of her like he would his own daughter. Detective Kim brings Jungwoo home for dinner, where Sooyeon's Mom is seriously impressed with him, and Detective Kim's daughter Eunjoo is still smitten with him and not even trying to hide it.

After dinner, Detective Kim takes Jungwoo outside to teach him how to fight, which is painfully adorable. He gives him tips like "90% of fighting is intimidation!" As the girls watch this fighting practice, Eunjoo actually starts being nice to Sooyeon, and Sooyeon's Mom sits down with her and tells her she looks pretty.

Who Would Have Thought They'd Ever Bond?

Then we skip to a strange moment where Sooyeon writes "보고싶다" (bogoshipda, "I Miss You," the show's title) in chalk on a wall and grown-up Jungwoo (played by Park Yoochun) watches.


So we've skipped on into the future versions of our leads, and grown up Jungwoo is thinking of childhood Sooyeon, it seems.

Episode end.

Things I Loved:

1. Sunshine Boy/Raincloud Girl. How wonderful is it when Jungwoo enlivens Sooyeon's ugly world?

Quite Wonderful.


1. Confusing Editing. Sometimes the show is cut strangely, so you don't know where a scene is located, or how much time has passed since the last scene.

Watch I Miss You on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations:

This is a tear-jerker and no lie. I didn't really want to start on another dark-dark serious meoldrama while I'm still finishing up "Nice Guy," but I was tempted by the promise of three actors I really like.

As it turns out, I think I'll be watching it partly because of the horribleness of the circumstances. I have always lived in a very peaceful, loving world, and I think sometimes I need to be reminded that there are many people in the world who live with hurt and brokenness every day. Goodness knows there's no entertainment value in watching such things, but sometimes I think shows can help us by depicting the kind of world we don't want, which better enables us to understand and strive for the opposite.

This show is not my usual fare, but I see something here that I want to understand and recognize, so I'll stick with it, at least for a while. And hey, we do have a little sweetness to lighten the heartbreak, too! I just hope the adult actors are as compelling in these roles as the teen actors have been.