Boys Before Flowers, episode 8

I gotta say, I think I’m starting to feel “Boys Over Flowers” fatigue. We’re only a third of the way in, but between doing these recaps (which really do suck the joy out of merely watching episodes if you have to watch and re-watch in order to transcribe accurately) and writing some piece of “Boys Over Flowers”-related news every other day over at Seoulbeats, I’m feeling a teensy bit stretched out.

It doesn’t really help that episode 8 was a bit uneventful. It wasn’t bad, per se, but because they needed to close up this particular part of the story arch, there wasn’t much suspense and the episode kind of limped along — which was why I found the lack of a preview for episodes 9 and 10 to be appropriate because . . . well, what a mundane way to finish a mundane episode.

Recap of episode 8

We start the episode off with the conversation where we last left off. Jun Pyo tells Jandi that all she has to do is say one thing — that she likes him. But Jandi doesn’t do it and pushes Jun Pyo away. Jun Pyo tells her that um, he’s freaking begging, but Jandi doesn’t give in. She apologizes twice and tells him that she has no choice (…to do what?…). Jun Pyo lets out a small laugh in resignation and rhetorically asks why it had to be Jandi that he likes. He goes into a tirade about how this was Jandi’s last chance and that he would not protect her anymore after that. Jandi kind of sighs out a laugh and says that she wouldn’t dream of it, to which Jun Pyo replies that this is more like her — the stubborn Geum Jandi who doesn’t ask for help. He takes his leave and after he goes, Jandi sinks with defeat and tells herself repeatedly that she won’t regret this — this being not taking his heed to tell him that she likes her. Dun dun.

The next day: final competition. Shinhwa’s students are cheering on at the sidelines and the competitors take the stage. I laugh hideously at this scene because of the fake intensity of the games, the shitty portion of the soundtrack being utilized, and the fact that the extras playing the students are acting out a better game mood than the actual actors who are the actual competitors. Oy.

Anyway. Woobin up against Ji Hoo — close tie at first, but then Ji Hoo edges Woobin and gives Jandi a lead in the next leg of the race. Jandi versus Yi Jung — Jandi leads at first, but then Yi Jung closes in and right before they touch base, the lights go out. Everybody’s confused as to what happens, who the winner is, etcetera etcetera. Jun Hee looks around to see what might have caused the blackout and notices Jun Pyo walking off in the distance and out of the swimming pool area. She smiles to herself.

After the match, Jun Hee congratulates Jandi for a job well done, and also thanks her for making her brother a better person. After she leaves, Yi Jung also congratulates her for a job well done. Annnnnd then he punches Ji Hoo in the gut and they call it even. Oh, boys. (Hyunjoong’s hair is ridiculously distracting.)

Ji Hoo and Jandi take on the Shinhwa school campus and do the whole say-the-same-thing-at-the-same-time thing because they are just so full of gratitude for each other. Then Ji Hoo asks the big question — does Jandi want to go on a date?

Cut to Jun Pyo playing with a robot. Yi Jung and Woobin wonder what’s up with him, and Jun Pyo asks if they remember the robot that of Ji Hoo’s that he broke when they were kids. Flashback time: Ji Hoo is playing with a wooden robot and Jun Pyo wants Ji Hoo to give it to him because Jun Pyo is entitled to everything. Ji Hoo refuses, but Jun Pyo grabs it from him anyway, and they chase each other around when Jun Pyo falls, drops the robot, and a car runs over it. Assistant Kim then tells Jun Pyo that that robot was the last thing Ji Hoo’s father gave him before he passed away.

So since then, Jun Pyo has felt like he’s owed Ji Hoo something and in this hugeass symbolism-I-have-it scene, Jun Pyo “gives up” Jandi for the sake of being a good friend to Ji Hoo.

The next morning, Jandi wakes up and has a “CRAP, I have a date today!” moment. She gets ready and tries to sneak out without her family knowing, but because this is a drama, of course they find out. Her brother teases her skirt for not being short enough, her dad says that she must wet her lips with her saliva because they seem too dry, and her mother says she must have a special scent and spray her with perfume. And off she goes.

Simultaneously, over at Jun Pyo’s place, Woobin and Yi Jung try to get him out of bed to do something on this lovely, lovely day — but he refuses to budge. Then they talk about Jandi going on a date with Ji Hoo and what they could possibly do. Jun Pyo, of course, can’t help himself but eavesdrop.

Ji Hoo and Jandi’s date. They do the date stuff, and we see that Jun Pyo’s trailing them along the way, which is hilarious. When Ji Hoo and Jandi go to Namsan Tower, this is where Jandi starts reminiscing. She sees the spot where Jun Pyo waited for hours; the two go into the tower and pass by a coffee machine — Ji Hoo asks Jandi if she wants a cup, but she seems to feel guilty about it upon remembering that she offered it to Jun Pyo during their first “date.” Outside, we see Jun Pyo rolling down his window as his driver hands him a cup of coffee from the machine. This is unintentionally HILARIOUS because dude, just drink your coffee, stop looking like Jandi’s dying from cancer and is going on her last date with your best bud/worst enemy instead of you. I mean, if this were another Kdrama, maybe that would be the storyline, but lighten up, Mr. Permy.

Jandi and Ji Hoo go up to take the cable cars and Jandi looks like she feels out of place. Ji Hoo asks her what’s wrong, and Jandi insists it’s nothing, but then she spots the bench where she and Jun Pyo spent the night and in it is Jun Pyo’s chicken scratch that says, “Gu Jun Pyo ♥ Geum Jandi. Our first night!” D’aw.

After the Namsan Tower biz, Ji Hoo brings Jandi to his house, which is, apparently, a huge deal because it’s not like Jandi’s ever been to a F4 member’s house before. Jandi goes into Ji Hoo’s huge home and sees a lot of bits and pieces in the house that have Min Seo Hyun’s presence in them: pictures, violin cases, etc.

When the two finally sit down for a conversation, it seems like the first time that Jandi is uncomfortable being around Ji Hoo by herself. Ji Hoo tells her that he finally understands why Jun Pyo likes her and leans in for a kiss when BAMMMMM Jandi rejects him like a fat kid rejects broccoli. She fakes surprise at seeing Seo Hyun in a picture with Ji Hoo and Ji Hoo gets the message. Meanwhile, Jun Pyo is outside, literally hopping mad at the fact that the both of them are alone in the house.

Ji Hoo tells Jandi that maybe it’s finally time to let Seo Hyun go. He thanks Jandi for being the person to help him let Seo Hyun go, his first love. Jandi says that if two people are meant to share a fate, they will meet again, no matter the circumstances. And then Ji Hoo . . . falls asleep on her shoulder. It is then that Jandi firmly voices that it’s because of Seo Hyun that she can finally learn to let go of her first love. Oh snap. (Also, one of the few times that the soundtrack is used appropriately.)

Outside, Jun Pyo is finally tired of waiting. He assumes that Jandi’s not going to leave any time soon and he gets in his car to go. Of course, in regular Kdrama fashion, Jandi comes out of Ji Hoo’s house. She turns back to take one last look at the house and says, “Good bye, Ji Hoo sunbae.”

Back at F4’s lounge, Jun Pyo angrily throws darts and Yi Jung and Woobin lazily speculate about Jun Pyo throwing darts. Then, the three of them simultaneously get a text from Ji Hoo suggesting that they all play a game of ice hockey.

At the hockey rink, Jun Pyo can barely keep the edge out of his voice when he asks why they’re all there — shouldn’t Ji Hoo have a date right now? Ji Hoo replies testily, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But it’s a bit boring. That’s why I came out. I don’t like easy girls. Once she followed me home, she never even expressed wanting to leave.” Basically, Ji Hoo talks crudely about how Jandi was too eager, implying certain “unvirtuous” things about our female protag, and Jun Pyo gets maaaaad.

And then in another horribly inappropriate use of soundtrack, “Paradise” is played while Jun Pyo chases Ji Hoo around the rink like a mad man, falling, tripping, occasionally letting out anger noises. Finally, Jun Pyo knocks Ji Hoo down and proceeds to beat the crap out of him. Ji Hoo insists that this really isn’t Jun Pyo’s business anymore, but Jun Pyo replies that whether or not it is, this still matters. If he ever hurts Jandi, Jun Pyo will kill him.

Then Ji Hoo says, “Why didn’t you say so earlier? See? You didn’t really give up Geum Jandi. If you’d been honest earlier, there would’ve been no need to go through all this.” Jun Pyo can’t believe Ji Hoo just pulled a fast one on him and leaves in anger. Woobin and Yi Jung go tend to a beat up Ji Hoo, can’t believe he used a method like that, but are both glad that he’s not the asshole they presumed of him. Ji Hoo reveals that Jun Pyo owed him one; he broke his damn robot all those years ago, for god’s sake.

Back at home, Jandi replays all those Jun Pyo/Jandi moments — him giving her the anklet, him pulling her into a hug telling her to tell him that she likes him, “Our first night!” on the bench — when she gets a call from Gu Jun Pyo. Only, it’s really Yi Jung and she gets some bad news.

Jandi rushes to the hospital, goes straight to a room marked with a certain patient’s name, Gu Jun Pyo’s. She goes in and braces herself for the worst. Yi Jung and Ji Hoo are standing around, and Woobin is tearfully shouting stuff, “Jun Pyo, you rascal, get up! Jandi’s here.”

Jandi can’t believe what she sees, and she finds out from Woobin that Jun Pyo was on his way to apologize to her, when this happened. She goes to Jun Pyo’s side and tells him to get up, that she still has stuff to say to him, things to bicker about, stuff to teach. It’s her that has to apologize to him, not the other way around, she’s the one in the wrong.

She puts her head down to sob heartily when DOIG!, Jun Pyo’s eyes pop open. Tis was allllll a fake. Jandi is in shock that her sunbaes would something like this to her and they all proceed to make fun of her for being so emotional and truly invested into the scene, lol. Jun Pyo teases, “That thing you wanted to say before, say it quickly. The thing I wanted to hear, didn’t you say you could say it now?” A big fat LOL all around.

The next day, Jun Pyo kidnaps Jandi for a date. He teaches her how to play golf, they have some ridiculously out-of-this-world sashimi, and they settle the day with a movie at Jun Pyo’s drive-in theater (duh). They’re both watching a movie where the two leads kiss each other and both Jandi and Jun Pyo are uncomfortable as haaale. They think to each other about how awkward the situation is. Jun Pyo keeps prep-talking himself to get ready for the kiss and Jandi keeps trying to mentally fend Jun Pyo off. It’s cute and hilarious at the same time. When their hands touch as they’re both going in for some popcorn, both realize it’s inevitable. Jun Pyo gets ready and leans in for the kiss, Jandi closes her eyes and gets ready to accept when RRRRRRRRRRINNNNNG, somebody’s obnoxious “Pick up your cellphone!” ringtone plays repeatedly and kills the moment. It’s Jandi’s. Her fam’s calling.

When Jandi gets home from her date, she finds her family eating heartily the same food that she had on her date with Jun Pyo. When she retreats into her room, she gets a text from Jun Pyo saying that he’s just telling her so she doesn’t get mad, but the food isn’t for her. She gets another text saying that she better not have any of it! Jandi smiles at how well Jun Pyo’s starting to know her.

The next day, things are awkward when the first kiss attempt is still fresh in Jandi’s mind. When Jun Pyo calls, she fakes being busy and hangs up on him. She goes to school for a swim when Ji Hoo comes along. The two share coffee before Jun Pyo comes, and Jandi once again dodges him.

Back at home, things are going their normal way until all of a sudden, Jun Pyo shows up. What the hell does he want? The Geums (minus Jandi) are all overly gracious at their young master guest and when he asks if he could stay with them for the night, they all agree like there’s no tomorrow. Jandi can’t believe the audacity of the bastard, but Jun Pyo just smiles.

The five end up sharing a room together. Jun Pyo makes it a point to say that the room is smaller than a bathroom in his house. Jandi can’t believe that he’s actually doing this, staying in her house, but Jun Pyo says that he didn’t think much about this beforehand, but this is way fun. When Jandi refuses to further engage in conversation with him in the dark, Jun Pyo says, “Ya, dry cleaner. You really asleep? You’re really going to sleep first? Ya, dry cleaner!”

At the word “dry cleaner,” Jandi’s father leaps up and sings the Jandi dry-cleaning song and slobbers all over Jun Pyo while Jandi’s brother dreams about food and clings on to Jun Pyo like he’s food. Jun Pyo looks velly comfortable. LOL.

Annnnd scene.

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(OH MY GOD this recap took forever. Sorry, no need to get personal, but this recap was just way too hard. I’m thinking that future Tuesday episodes are going to inevitably be like this because of my personal schedules, so bear with me.)

Ya know, I think the people working on this show are way too obsessed with the idea of the chaebol. But we’ve already been beaten over the head with it, so what the show needs now is some subtlety, or more of it. The scenes where Jun Pyo takes Jandi out on a date do not dazzle me like I’m sure they’re supposed to — it’s the little stuff that really means the most. The best moments in the episode are not Jun Pyo’s outwards display of wealth, but stuff like Jun Pyo’s two texts to Jandi regarding the food he sent to her house, or the few lines that Jun Pyo exchanges with Jandi before they go to sleep, or Jandi’s dad and brother climbing all over Jun Pyo in their sleep.

Likewise, in a previous Jandi/Jun Pyo scene at the bar after Seo Hyun’s farewell party, it’s not really that Jun Pyo declares Jandi to be a winner over Seo Hyun; it’s the stuff that Jandi said to him when she was wasted. And to me, the most important thing Jun Pyo ever says to Jandi is a line about something “not suiting her,” or that she should go back to being regular ol’ her.

I mean, we know what “rich” looks like at this point in the drama — it’s all we ever look at. The point is not that Jandi ever fell for any of these rich people’s wealth, it’s the “something else,” so I’d really liked to have witnessed some bumbling, awkward conversation that the two shared over sashimi instead of watching Jandi have a near seizure over the sashimi.