Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Boys Before Flowers EPISODE 22

Jun-pyo pleads for Jan-di to tell him not to get married. She doesn’t respond and is called away by an usher saying Jae-kyung is asking for Jan-di, so she leaves without a word. However, from her expression — upset, frustrated — we can see she’s not going to beg Jun-pyo to call the wedding off. He registers this too, to his disappointment.

Jan-di’s (non)response here confuses me a little. I understand her conflict and why she feels she can’t ask him to give up everything for her — but what I don’t get is why she looks pissed, as though she’s mad that he asked. (In my mind, she should have played this scene as being torn and anguished, and instead it comes off vaguely bitchy.)

F3 share Jun-pyo’s letdown — from their chagrin here and the way they were willing to let him break his own arm, it’s obvious they hoped Jan-di could put a stop to this. Meanwhile, the guests wait outside, growing fidgety the longer they are kept waiting, while Jae-kyung sits in her bridal chamber nervously.

Jan-di is led away by the attendant to meet Jae-kyung, but finds herself kidnapped instead — she’s grabbed by one guy and shoved into an elevator with several more. Mama Kang then sends Jun-pyo — still wrestling with his dilemma in the waiting room — a text message with a simple warning: a photo of Jan-di being restrained is accompanied by the words, “The groom is taking too long.” Her implication is clear: If Jun-pyo doesn’t go through with the wedding, Jan-di will come to some kind of harm.

Therefore, she smiles smugly when the groomsmen enter the chapel, followed by (a very tense) Jun-pyo. Next comes the bride, who takes her place by Jun-pyo at the altar.

The minister begins the ceremony, breezing through the opening. When he gets to the part where he asks for any objectors to speak now or forever hold their peace, he isn’t expecting a response and is therefore startled when Jae-kyung raises a hand to get his attention.

The parents are stunned; her father tries to hiss out a warning to her, but Jae-kyung says that she has an objection. She looks around and guesses that there must be others who also have objections, at which point Ji-hoo stands up, followed immediately by Yi-jung, Woo-bin, and Ga-eul.

Jae-kyung: “I cannot marry Gu Jun-pyo. No matter how I look at it, I don’t think I’m suited for marriage right now. I’m sorry to cause so much trouble with my fickleness. Dad, everything is my fault, so please carry on your business with Shinhwa Group. President Kang and Gu Jun-pyo, I’m truly sorry. Please forgive me.”

Tamping down her anger, Madam Kang walks out, followed by the rest of the guests. Confused, Jun-pyo asks Jae-kyung what she’s doing, which she answers with a simple explanation: “I’ve always been a pretty cool person.” Jae-kyung calls her bodyguard Chen to check in on Jan-di, who has been liberated from her kidnappers and is taken to a yacht.

Freed from his obligation, Jun-pyo dashes out of the chapel to the yacht, where he finds a surprised Jan-di waiting alone.

He grabs her in a relieved hug, and I can’t help thinking she doesn’t deserve this, seeing as how she put up no fight and hasn’t really earned his devotion. Still, the key to enjoying what follows is to accept their happy reunion, so I’m doing my best to let this point go.

The yacht sets sail, and from a distance (her hotel room, perhaps), Jun-hee watches, pleased at this turnout.

Yi-jung drives Ga-eul out to the shoreline, amused at her uncontrollable sobbing — Ga-eul has been overwhelmed with emotion at Jae-kyung’s lovely gesture.

After she stops crying, Yi-jung broaches the topic she’d brought up the day before, about how he’d failed to meet Eun-jae three years ago. He tells her, by way of explanation, “I don’t believe in happy endings.”

This spins us into a flashback: Three years ago, he had walked into his studio, flirting with a couple girls, and found Eun-jae waiting. Much like Ga-eul had reacted in a similar scenario (and the similarity must be intentional), Eun-jae had been flustered, accidentally breaking a pot and cutting her finger in her haste to leave.

Yi-jung had chased her outside and asked what she had to say. She’d said, “I have a favor to ask” — but we don’t get to see the rest of this scene so we’ll have to wait to find out.

Meanwhile, more continuity fail (or extravagant waste of resources win?) as Ji-hoo takes out his white horse for a ride — did he ship Rui over to Jeju along with the cars? Ji-hoo thinks back to punching Jun-pyo the night before, and we now see the tail end of that conversation, after Jun-pyo admitted that he couldn’t let Jan-di go:

Jun-pyo: “I’d thought that it might be better to send her to you rather than stay with her when I make things so difficult for her. I didn’t even want to imagine it, but if I had to, I thought the other person must be you, that you were the only one it could be. But still, I can’t do it.”

He returns from his ride to see Jae-kyung waiting to talk to him. Asked whether she regrets letting Jun-pyo go, Jae-kyung answers with her usual cheerfulness, “The moment I let him go, I’ve been regretting it to death.”

Ruefully, she tells him, “I was rooting for you, but I’d hate to have given up for nothing, so I can’t do that anymore.” She mentions how she’d asked Jun-pyo whether he would choose friendship or love, and he had answered that he wouldn’t give up either. Ji-hoo smiles a bit at that, because it’s a reminder that Jun-pyo is still committed to being his friend.

Jae-kyung says philosophically that there’s a saying that people generally get as much as they strive for. She and Ji-hoo didn’t get their way because they weren’t ambitious enough — they didn’t exert their wills and backed off. (By the way, it’s not a negative or positive thing to be ambitious in this sense — it just means that Jan-di and Jun-pyo’s True Wuv trumped the other factors.)

Jae-kyung is leaving for New York tomorrow, so she asks him to deliver something to Jan-di — the star-moon necklace. Jae-kyung muses, “You don’t know how much I’d hoped that the JJ stood for Ji-hoo and Jan-di.”

She wishes him luck, and leaves.

Jan-di and Jun-pyo arrive at a villa, which has been lavishly decked out in a romantic display — candles, fancy food, rose petals arranged in a heart configuration. (I believe Jae-kyung has handled the arrangements.) Their initial reaction is to sneak looks at each other uncomfortably, as though embarrassed with the overt romanticism.

But never fear, they get over that soon enough. They sit down to eat, flashing happy smiles at each other every other moment. It’s adorable. Jun-pyo rises to pull Jan-di to her feet for a dance, and Jan-di asks the question I’ve been wondering:

Jan-di: “I’ve been wanting to ask you something… Why me? I’m not pretty, and I don’t have money, a distinguished name, or anything. Why did you like me?”
Jun-pyo: “Because I have all that.”
Jan-di: “What?”
Jun-pyo: “Money, name, looks — I have all that. I don’t need that from you. All you have to be is Geum Jan-di.”

As Jan-di looks through a telescope at the stars, Jun-pyo points out Sirius, known as Orion’s dog (part of the Canis Major constellation) and the brightest star in the night sky. He jokes that it’s like him in that respect, so Jan-di laughs and claims a star for her own. Jun-pyo identifies it as Procyon, the brightest star in Canis Minor.

Jan-di asks how he came to like astronomy, at which he suddenly grows quieter. When he had been younger, his father had sent him a telescope with a card telling him to study the stars, so that they could watch them together later.

Jan-di guesses that his interest stemmed from father-son star-watching dates, but he says no — they never went. Believing that promise, Young Jun-pyo had studied his hardest.

Jun-pyo: “But do you know what I got for Christmas a few years later? A telescope. That’s when I realized that he didn’t send his gifts and cards, but that his secretary did.”

Jan-di senses his hurt, her smile fading in sympathy. But when he asks, “Do you know what my dream is?” she manages to answer lightly: “Going to watch the stars with your son.”

Jun-pyo laughs, “You’re so simple-minded,” before he says solemnly, “To not make promises I won’t keep. Jan-di. I’m sorry for hurting you.” And then, “I love you.”

You know, all the lovey-doveyness is pretty much expected stuff, but the whole thing really brings a smile to my face. I’m just so glad to see everyone looking happy for once (even if the actors, poor things, look visibly exhausted).

This giddy vibe continues the next day, when our happy couple relaxes together. They’re visited by their friends, who are likewise relieved to see that all is well in the land of Jun-di love.

Ji-hoo is glad that Jan-di is once again able to laugh, and tells her so. He also hands over her the lost star-moon necklace, and although it’s crossed his mind that it’s suspicious that Jae-kyung had it all this time, that’s all moot now.

Instead, Jan-di is alarmed that Jae-kyung is about to depart any minute now and rushes off for the airport. Although Jae-kyung more or less steamrollered Jan-di into their friendship, Jan-di has developed an affection for her, and a part of her feels guilty for taking away the man Jae-kyung loved.

They make it just in time to catch Jae-kyung before she boards — who, by the way, is looking around with a heavy heart, as though half-hoping that they would come to see her off even though she purposely didn’t tell them she was leaving.

Jan-di scolds her for trying to go without saying goodbye, and Jae-kyung admits that she doesn’t handle them very well. With some affection, Jun-pyo tells Jae-kyung to take care, and thanks her.

Jae-kyung:”If you two break up, I’m going to feel so wronged I’ll die. So if you want to split up, you have to report to me and get my approval.”

The two ladies hug, Jan-di openly crying and Jae-kyung holding her tears back. She rushes off before she succumbs to tears, and boards the plane.

Once seated, Jae-kyung takes out the shoes she’d found in the Macau airport, which remind her (flashback montage!) of her first encounter with Jun-pyo. She thinks wistfully, “I know this was originally Jan-di’s. But let me have just this one thing. I should have a memory to cherish for myself, shouldn’t I?”

And then, everyone’s back home.

As punishment for the broken engagement, Madam Kang has ordered her men to keep Jun-pyo confined to his room, where he sees the news reports speculating on the uncertain future of Shinhwa’s merger with JK Group.

As for Jan-di, she’s once again homeless, knowing that she’d better get out of Gu Manor ASAP, before Madam Kang acts. Once again, Witch Mom beats Jan-di to the punch, arriving at the restaurant to deliver Jan-di’s luggage.

She is in a high temper, and accuses Jan-di of being even more sneaky than she’d given her credit for, acting innocent and then pulling off a sly move behind everyone’s back. Even for Madam Kang, the accusations are pretty strong, but we see why: she shows Jan-di a newspaper announcing that the merger, like the engagement, is off.

Mama Kang’s voice drips vitriol as she tells Jan-di that she doesn’t realize just how much damage she’s done, or on what scale. She threatens, “It’s best you not expect me to let this go easily. I will make you realize exactly who you messed with, and make sure you regret it to its fullest.”

This scene is interrupted by Grandpa Yoon, who rebukes Madam Kang for going too far. Although I doubt she feels sorry for her actions, Dr. Yoon’s presence has a chastening effect, and Mama Kang bows her head out of respect for him.

And then, her temper is mollified entirely when Dr. Yoon announces that Jan-di’s business is his business because “she’s my grandson’s wife-to-be.” This is news to everyone, including Jan-di, but most of all Madam Kang. Ever the shrewd woman, she contains her surprise, quickly guessing that she need not interfere if Dr. Yoon’s words are true. Perhaps this is one battle she can win without even trying.

Grandpa Yoon brings Jan-di home with him, turning the tables this time by pressuring her into staying. She and Ji-hoo both feel the awkwardness of the setup, but are overridden by Grandpa’s insistence that Jan-di remain with them.

However! I do like this next turn, because Grandpa Yoon sits down with Ji-hoo to explain that Jan-di has nowhere to turn, and he wants to help her. Ji-hoo is about to explain that Jan-di might be uncomfortable here, but Grandpa pre-empts his argument. He says that Jan-di’s presence doesn’t have to mean anything. In fact, he’s opposed to Jan-di and Ji-hoo being together (I don’t think it’s a classist statement, but more that he thinks they’re not suitable together).

Ji-hoo is startled, but smiles to himself — well, that potential problem worked itself out nicely.

Now we see the rest of Yi-jung’s flashback explanation of why he never met up with Eun-jae. She’d handed him a letter and asked him to meet her the next morning, leaving with a hopeful smile.

Yi-jung had walked back inside and put the letter on the counter to read later, but a phone call from his distraught mother had distracted him. He’d grown annoyed at her familiar histrionics and urged her to give up on his father, and when he ended the call and turned to serving his guests tea, his irritation caused him to spill tea on the counter. He’d tossed the papers that had gotten soaked, accidentally including Eun-jae’s unopened letter with the pile.

Mr. Jung approaches Jan-di with a puzzling request, which Jan-di accepts sympathetically, happy to oblige. This is a favor he asks of her personally, which has nothing to do with Madam Kang or Jun-pyo — he’d like her to act as companion for a man in a coma. He’ll pay her for her sitting with the man and talking to him occasionally, as a part-time job.

The man is described merely as someone “like family” to him. Jan-di is unsure why he’d ask this of her, but Mr. Jung explains that what the man needs is a warm spirit, and she’s the warmest person he knows.

Jun-pyo hears from Mr. Jung that Jan-di’s staying with Ji-hoo, and while that’s not an ideal resolution, he understands that it’s the safest place for her at the moment. He texts Ji-hoo (on Mr. Jung’s phone, since his has been confiscated): “I’m relieved that she’s staying at your house.”

Ji-hoo, however, can’t shake an ominous feeling. After reading the message, Ji-hoo wonders aloud in his empty house, “Jun-pyo, then why am I feeling so uneasy? I feel afraid.”

As Jun-pyo is currently under house arrest, he’s cut off from the outside world, and namely Jan-di. Woo-bin runs into her at school, and sighs over the rough patch they’re all going through right now — Yi-jung is still unable to use his right arm, and Jun-pyo’s locked up. Perhaps he’s even referencing the actors’ real-life haggard expressions, because he points to himself and says his face is suffering from all the worry.

Still, Woo-bin assures Jan-di not to worry too much about Jun-pyo. He tells her to hang in there, and also thanks her for helping Ji-hoo: “I’ve never seen him looking as relaxed as he has these days. Thanks to you, he found his grandfather.”

Jan-di approaches her new companion position with enthusiasm, caring for the unconscious man and reading aloud to him. One particular passage strikes a chord in her:

Jan-di: “The most unfortunate encounters are like those with fish bones. The longer the encounter, the more the fishy smell sticks with you. The encounters to be most careful with are with an open bloom, because while it’s open it brings cheers of joy, but as it wilts, it gets thrown away. The most beautiful encounters are like those with handkerchiefs. They wipe away your sweat when you are tired, and your tears when you are sad.”

That last example makes her think of Ji-hoo (flashback montage!), who’d always been there for her in her times of need, whether to lend her support or wipe away her tears. Jan-di smiles at her patient, saying she hopes to be a handkerchief type of person for him, too — and Mr. Jung watches from the doorway, pleased.

This scene is a bit random, but at this point I’m just rollin’ with it. Jan-di struggles to cut her bangs satisfactorily, which is when Ji-hoo walks by and offers his assistance. Naturally he is a master of this skill — ain’t nothing he can’t do, is there? — and he finishes the job successfully.

Jan-di returns the favor by volunteering to help wash his car (which, of course, eventually degenerates into a water fight).

Afterwards, they sit outside and relax, while Ji-hoo reads from a book of poetry. One poem catches his attention, and he starts to read aloud: “I wanted to tell you…”

He pauses there, hesitating for a long moment, trying to decide whether to continue. Finally he decides to go for it, and keeps reading: “…that I love you. I wanted to shout it aloud. That’s all.”

But when he looks over to see Jan-di’s reaction, he sighs because she’s fallen asleep and therefore hasn’t registered his indirect confession.

Meanwhile, Ga-eul is busy with a new project, spurred by her last encounter with Yi-jung. It looks like his cast is off, but for whatever reason, he hasn’t regained the use of his arm. (I’m guessing that it’s a case of paralysis stemming from a psychological block, rather than a medical reason.)

He’s packing away his pottery items; she thinks it’s cowardly of him to quit so easily. He says in a dull monotone, “It doesn’t matter anymore.” She fires back, “It matters to me!” Ga-eul recites his own words back to him, harking back to his analogy likening a person’s heart to the clay-firing process. The clay, like people’s life experiences, is supposed to be strengthened by the fire.

He dismisses it, saying, “I must’ve been talking crap.” Ga-eul isn’t willing to give up on him, though, and announces her intention to return to him the use of his paralyzed hand. In pursuit of that goal — like I said, it must have a psychological basis — over the next several nights, Ga-eul spends all her time going from building (apartment?) to building, working to the point of exhaustion.

Woo-bin and Jun-pyo put their heads (and fists) together to devise a plan to slip away from his bodyguards. Jun-pyo heads out, feigning a careless attitude when he tells the bodyguards he doesn’t care if they follow him — he’s just going to be hanging out with Woo-bin.

Of course they follow, trailing Woo-bin’s car on the road. They don’t count on Woo-bin’s mafia underlings cutting in out of nowhere, however, and find it impossible to continue their pursuit.

And so, Jun-pyo earns an afternoon of freedom, and calls Jan-di out for a date. Unfortunately, she’s just assured a mother at the clinic that she’ll watch her young boy for the afternoon, and finds herself in a bind.

Her compromise: she brings the boy along on the date. Jun-pyo is surprised (”What is that thing?”) and disgruntled that their precious time together is going to be usurped by this kid, and it’s adorable to see him try to deal with being left out. He pushes the boy aside a few times, wriggling his way between Jan-di and the kid to claim her attention (which is all done in fun).

Eventually, he warms up to the boy as they spend the afternoon at the zoo.

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