Arggggggggghhhhh… He was going to propose! Why? Shin-Lee Why? Leaving Jeong-won (and us) high and dry in that sort of cliffhanger. Nasty. After all that cute, they stab us with in the heart with that move. Sad puppy Jeong-won certainly did his magic. The wedding suit was yummylicious and Yoo Yeong-seok cleans up good. No doubt the recent turn in events was entirely calculated to keep us all on tenterhooks for subsequent episodes all the way to season’s end. There’s a Romeo and Juliet quote that comes to mind. More on this later.
If there was any kind of doubt that the show is developing the Seok-hyeong and Min-ah loveline further, this episode practically confirms that it is going ahead. And here’s me doing a little salsa move to celebrate. It’s not only because Seok-hyeong’s attitude towards her is gradually changing but Min-ah has an encounter with his mother that has her saying a series of famous last words. “He can date anyone but her” feels like something that’s destined to come back bite her in the rear end. It’s almost devilish in its cunning and I appreciate the full force of the irony. Of course those two will now have to end up together if for no other reason then to teach Mummy Dearest — Yeong-hye — an important life lesson about her incessant meddling in her only child’s life. Also of note in that regard is how Seok-hyeong goes for a second lunch after meeting his students. The old Seok-hyeong would have said he’d already have lunch or found another excuse to worm his way out of spending time with his subordinates. He’s come a really long way in terms of social interaction. It could be the chat with Song-hwa he had recently. It could be that he’s actually warming up to Min-ah. It could be both. The “I saw kimchi fried rice and dumplings in my dream” line was adorable by way of his infant attempts at desultory chatter.
Along those lines, it’s the husband’s contention that we’re in for a big group wedding. 8 people, he thinks, will be walking down the aisle by the end of the season. We’re not betting people so we won’t be selling tickets but it will be hilarious if it does happen and it is arguably in keeping with the spirit of the show.
There was a noticeable thread featuring mothers in this episode. Song-hwa and Ik-jun sitting by the campfire expressing frustration about their mothers’ quirks when dealing with health issues. Then there’s Rosa who looks like she might be suffering early onset dementia. Or maybe not that early. Then of course there’s also Seok-hyeong’s mother with her confected outrage against Min-ah in the cafe. My favourite moment among them has got to be young Han-ju’s mother. I don’t mean she’s my favourite of the mothers but I particularly liked the set-up and how it was resolved ever-so-tactfully by Jeong-won. A mother who doesn’t know her son as well as she thinks and is loathe for him to grow up lest she feels that her purpose in his life is diminished. Sounds familiar yah? Han-ju it turns out is very articulate and speak intelligently to his own issues. Without being unduly harsh on Han-ju’s mother it is only right to say most of us are prone to forgetting what parenting is really about. I once heard a wise man say that parenting is primarily in the business of raising adults. To bring them up in such a way that they can stand on their own two feet and be responsible citizens who can make good choices. Helicopter parenting is often about the parents not about what the child needs. Obviously Seok-hyeong’s mother is an extreme example of this kind of disposition and while one can understand how (and why) this started it’s inexcusable that she’s still mothering him like he’s in his teens. Their co-dependency relationship certainly played a part in the failure of his short-lived marriage. Whatever name we give it, we intuitively know that there’s something not right about a mother who has so much sway in her adult children’s lives. It’s unnatural.
That said, as someone who lost their mother over a decade ago to cancer, I often wish I had a mother to complain about. Clearly we have to enact strong boundaries where parents are concerned and parents have to undergo the process of negotiating certain fault lines with their adult children. I still miss mine but thankfully my kids are the reason why I was able to grieve for a time and move on.
I suppose the hysterical mother in the emergency ward is meant to show that while a woman can have professional credentials and experiences but when it comes to her own children, she’s a mother through and through. Moreover it seems that her knowledge can work against her during such times.
Something is definitely afoot with Gyeo-ul’s mother. Many of us have speculated domestic abuse and that could be the case again here. It would make sense and explain Gyeo-ul’s incessant need for secrecy about family affairs even with the man she loves. Despite my complaint about the proposal-that-wasn’t, I do think a bit of downtime is needed here. Of course this is the realist in me talking now. While I would have loved for the proposal to have gone ahead and happily accepted, I strongly believe that Gyeo-ul keeping such important matters from Jeong-won doesn’t lay the foundation for a healthy life together. It is quite symbolic I think that on the day he plans to propose that dreaded phone call comes and everything goes topsy turvy. I don’t like seeing Jeong-won disappointed either but in the long run, this will be for the best. It breaks my heart to have to say this because I love Gyeo-ul to death, but I don’t think she’s right about this. In front of Jeong-won she wants everything to be perfect and smooth-sailing but that’s just her fantasizing in the short-term about her happily-ever-after when the cloud of her parents’ relationship looms nearby. She may think that she is cushioning Jeong-won from her dysfunctional background — a blot in her history but this cannot go on indefinitely if marriage is on the cards. Yes, Jeong-won is a different beast and he’s just about perfect but he’s a big boy doesn’t need protection from the unpleasant realities of life. They have to clear the air first and I hope she will spill the beans as promised. Because she has to have a darn good reason for standing up to him and not giving any justification for it on the spot. They’ve already been dating for a year and he still doesn’t know the context behind her family life is a cause for concern. It seems to be increasingly the case that there are similar motivations behind Gyeo-ul’s reticence and Ik-sun’s breakup tactic.
The other thing that stood out to me about this episode was watching Ik-jun do his rounds with Song-hwa in tow. By that I don’t mean visiting his patients but saying hello to the ancillary service providers that occupy the larger hospital space. It’s lovely that a doctor comes down from his pedestal and mixes with the men and women who aren’t a part of the medical grind but play a role in making the hospital the well-oiled machinery that it is. It was also fun watching Song-hwa entertaining herself while seeing Ik-jun off in another direction gabbing with the hairdresser, the optician, the cleaner, the gardener and the helicopter pilot. It never occurred to me that the hospital would have an inhouse helicopter pilot but it makes sense especially with all the transplant work that’s done at Yulje and not just by Ik-jun.
I am wondering if Ik-jun deliberately took the call from U-ju in the car while Jun-wan was listening in. He gave no warning and I seem to remember a sidelong glance. The husband thought he was being a bit careless but I’m not so sure. What if he was doing his bit to make things happen and shake things up? I have to consider that possibility. Especially because Jun-wan has been walking around looking morose and pathetic. A man can’t live on Oreos alone or at all. It’s a recipe for disaster. Whatever it was that was or wasn’t meant to happen in that car, it has the paved the way for something to happen. If Jun-wan so chooses the path of reconciliation.
It’s not just the adults having women problems but poor U-ju has had his first taste of a lover’s spat. It’s sad seeing the little guy brooding away in the background immobile in his first camping trip with dad but maybe it gives Ik-Song some time to catch up over a campfire. Whatever bug Jun-wan’s caught it seems to be infectious. Maybe it’s the water that they’re all drinking.
The lecture of the day seems to be that life is unpredictable. You can never be too sure what’s waiting round the corner. Anyway I’m sure everybody has heard the old saying about mice, men and plans not going according to plan.