Boys Before Flowers, episode 23

Episode 23, AKA the episode where there was a lump in my throat half the time.

The Jandi I adored from arc one is back! I’m not some sort of feminist nazi who expects all girls to end up alone, happy by themselves, independent of all companionship, self-sacrificing all the time all the time ALLTHETIME, but it’s so nice to see the Jandi who once again sticks up for herself and doesn’t take insult after insult.

The writing for the crucial dialogues were handled with finesse (or more finesse than usual, lol). But I think the directing for those scenes could have been better. We get what purpose the lines serve, but I wish the actors were told to soften their performances in those (or maybe just Gu Hye Sun). But even then, I feel the convos between the ships really hit the spot.

All in all, this is my fave episode since the second arc started. Whoopee!

Recap of episode 23

At the zoo, Jun Pyo asks Jandi if she’s doing okay. Jandi answers yes, but that doesn’t convince Jun Pyo. He goes on to tell her to give him a bit more time, because even if he has to leave his family, he’ll protect her no matter what. He realizes that his mom’s not going to let him go this easily, so he’s going to be prepared. But Jandi protests this, saying that she doesn’t like to be protected. Jun Pyo busts out the “Why not? You’re my girl so of course I should protect you” line of thinking (!!!!!! aggravation, here my roar) but Jandi tells him that F4 and Jae Kyung have helped her enough as it is. She wants her and Jun Pyo to be equals, and to go through all of her obstacles by herself. Jun Pyo remarks that there is just nothing cutesy about this damn girl. Before long, the little boy that Jandi brought along yanks at Jun Pyo and presumably, needs to go pee pee.

After the day at the zoo, Jun Pyo walks side by side with Jandi, clutching the boy in his arms. He’s smiley and happy and comments that it’s weird, because he once looked like this — in a dream. Before long, he gets a phone call from Secretary Jung, telling him that he should probably get home before his mother asks for his whereabouts.

Yi Jung emo’s again. He fingers the puzzle pieces he’s always looked at, and thinks back to the birthday when Eun Jae gave them to him. The pieces say “一期一会,” which means that there’s only one chance of meeting in a designated period of time. When Yi Jung asked Eun Jae what it meant, she replied that there’s only one kind of destiny in the world.

Back to the present, Ga-eul stumbles into Yi Jung’s place, interrupting his thoughts. She announces that she’s found it. She finally found it.

She takes him to a rooftop and just as the sun’s about to rise, she closes her hands over his eyes. Then, she removes them. What Yi Jung sees shocks him. At that precise moment when the sun rises (which, apparently, only takes 0.005 seconds), two message boards are illuminated by the sun’s back light. One billboard is an advertisement for water, with a message bearing “I love you,” and the other message board is for a pain reliever called “Ma Yi Jung.” So, um, very cleverly, if you piece it together, it reads “I love you, Yi Jung.” Ding ding ding!!

But the catch is that the message is only illuminated for a few seconds, at exactly 7 in the morning. As Ga-eul explains, Yi Jung grieves. He says, “Idiot. She knows I’m an idiot. The person who knows this best about it, how could she have given me such a hard question to answer?” He wishes over and over again that they could redo this moment.

In her room, Madam Kang is reading the newspaper when she spots something on the TV. The news was broadcasting about how the weather is starting to get nicer and how tourists are spotted all around and focuses in on Jandi and Jun Pyo on their date at the zoo.

WHAT. ARE. THE. CHANCES.

Naturally, Madam Kang stares at the TV in disbelief.

Jandi, Ji Hoo and his grandfather are by the river. Jandi cooks while the two men reflect. Grandpa thinks back to when he was by Ji Hoo’s parent’s graves. His right-hand man asks if this was really the only way to do it, if faking mental illness was something he had to do. They were never going to come back to life, and grandpa wasn’t going to let Ji Hoo believe that his parents’ lives were dispensable in the politics arena. (In other words, grandpa couldn’t let Ji Hoo know that his parents were taken away from him because of political reasons. Thus, the accident wasn’t really just a traffic accident, politics were at play.) Grandpa also announces to Ji Hoo that he intends to leave the art center and clinic to Ji Hoo when he passes away. They’re interrupted when Jandi announces that the fish soup is done. When both of them taste it, grandpa remarks that it tastes just like the way Ji Hoo’s mom used to make it.

Ga-eul drops by Yi Jung’s place, only to find him stamping on clay with his feet. Yi Jung has news — one good, one bad. He guess that Ga-eul will want to hear the bad news first: he won’t be like he was before. “These hands, I wonder if they’ll still be chosen by god.” To this bit of emo-ing, Ga-eul tells him not to think like that, before asking him what the good news was. Good news: Yi Jung is going to keep going at it, he’s not going to run away. Somebody taught him how much he’ll regret it if he does. Then Yi Jung extends an invitation for Ga-eul to try the feet molding thing.

Ga-eul asks Yi Jung how he knew she was going to ask about the bad news first, and Yi Jung wisely says that good girls like her want happy endings. Just then, Ga-eul slips and falls back, but not before Yi Jung catches her in white knight fashion. They look at each other for a few seconds before Yi Jung swoops in for the kill. Just before his lips touch hers, Ga-eul’s cellphone rings. (Why you gotta play like that, PD?) Ga-eul gets a phone call from her mother and something has happened at home, even if we’re not told what.

Ji Hoo, grandpa, and Jandi take a visit to the art center. They take a spin around the hugeass place. Before long, grandpa gets a call. Something has happened and grandpa starts to panic. He shouts into the phone that the company must be protected at all costs, and before long, his chest pains are back. Jandi scrambles to get his medicine out but Ji Hoo is just frozen in place, unable to do anything.

After Jandi comes out of the hospital room, she reassures Ji Hoo that grandpa’s condition is not that serious. As long as he gets his rest, things will be okay. Then she suggests that they pack some things for him to bring to the hospital.

In her office, Mama Kang is looking at photos of Ji Hoo, grandpa and Jandi by the river. She asks Secretary Jung if everything is ready. Secretary Jung pleads with Kang, asking if she can reconsider the acquisition of Ji Hoo’s company. Madam Kang admits that she doesn’t really have anything in plan for the company; it’s more like an acquisition to teach a lesson. (She uses a four character saying here to indicate that her plan is more to ‘eliminate the cause of something by removing its root,’ or more literally, ‘cut the grass, remove its roots.’ And the word for grass is, incidentally, “jandi.” Dun dun dun.)

Mama Kang sips on her red wine when Jun Pyo comes in.

Jun Pyo: I have a suggestion.
M Kang: Suggestion?
Jun Pyo: I will apologize for the wedding cancellation, but the merger with JK Group isn’t completely a dead end. I’ll try everything I can to see if I can work it out. Trust me on this.
M Kang: And so?
Jun Pyo: Whether you want me followed, prevent me from going out, I’ll accept all conditions. But–
M Kang: But?
Jun Pyo: Jandi, please let her go.
M Kang: All I have to do is let Jandi go?
Jun Pyo: Yes.
M Kang: I promise you. I won’t touch a finger of hers. But, you can’t forget anything you just said.
Jun Pyo: Don’t worry.

Jun Pyo is suspicious that things seemed so easy, but doesn’t question it. He leaves.

He goes back to Jandi’s room in his house and looks at the uniform she wore as a maid. Granny maid steps in at this moment.

Now isn’t the time to feel dejected. Could it be that you still don’t know your mother? You can’t pretend like nothing has happened. If you can’t even protect your woman now, how will you grow to be the leader of Shinhwa Group? I didn’t raise the young master to be a heartless man. Just because you were born male doesn’t mean you’re going to be a man. You’re incompetent if you lose. Cowardly if you want to avoid being seen. A disgrace if you run away. Those who overcome weakness are the ones who become men. Do you understand?

Jun Pyo takes granny’s words to heart and thanks her.

Jandi packs stuff for grandpa when she comes across a box. She takes the box and shows it to Ji Hoo, who opens it to find the contents to be his own stuff from when he was a kid. There’s a book bag in there with his name tag on it. A pair of shoes and other odds and ends. In an envelope, there’s a sketch of him and his parents when he was young, a sketch of him and his parents when he graduated, a sketch of Ji Hoo in present day with his parents had they been still alive.

Jandi finds out that Ga-eul’s father has retired, with honors. Ga-eul is upset, understandably, and Jandi doesn’t really make things better when she asks how he could suddenly retire after having worked there for 20 years.

Jandi goes to the F4 rec lounge, but just before she steps in, she overhears Woobin and Yi Jung’s conversation.

Woobin: Really? Shinhwa Group forced Ga-eul’s father to retire.
Yi Jung: It looks like it.
Woobin: Haven’t even gotten a few good night’s sleep after the wedding…Things aren’t going so great for Ji Hoo either, yeah?
Yi Jung: What happened?
Woobin: Madam Kang has acquired Ji Hoo’s family company.
Yi Jung: What??
Woobin: The opening of the art center at Song Island has already been delayed.
Yi Jung: Then…this is all..
Woobin: All created to oppose Jandi.

Jandi can’t believe what she hears and leaves.

Jandi hangs out with Ji Hoo at the hospital before they take a walk. Ji Hoo talks, but Jandi doesn’t really pay attention. She’s thinking to herself,

It’s a blessing sunbae has his grandpa by his side, even if he might not realize. He’s been like the sunlight to me. Goodbye, honorary protector of Geum Jandi.

:(

Jandi continues to read to the unconscious man, but after she’s done, she tells him with regret that she can’t come visit anymore. She tells him, “I can stand hunger. I can stand living in the cold. But, there is one thing I can’t stand — and that’s letting people I love suffer for me.” Jandi tells him that she’s not running away, and that he must get well in her absence. After she bids him farewell, the man’s hand twitches.

Madam Kang is in her office when Jandi pays her a visit.

Next scene — Jandi goes to the Gu household. The maids all greet her and cheer her on. When Jandi greets granny maid, granny maid welcomes her as a guest to the house, no longer a worker.

Jandi shouts all through the house, “Gu Jun Pyo! Come out and play!” Jun Pyo, in his room, thinks that he’s hearing things at first, but then panics at the realization that she’s really here. He’s under the impression that she’s going crrazy his mother’s up to something, etc etc, but Jandi just tells him they should go on a trip.

And thus their date begins. Both are ecstatic. They ride bikes, have a picnic, and walk down by the beach. Jun Pyo wonders what kind of amazing birthday-like experience he was having, to go on a date with her all day and not have a single argument. Then he gets serious,

Jun Pyo: Just one more thing. Can I ask for a favor?
Jandi: What is it?
Jun Pyo: Why haven’t you ever told me you like me? I’ve said it. Multiple times.
Jandi: Do I really have to say something like that?
Jun Pyo: I want to hear. In your own words, what kind of person I am.
Jandi: I like you. I like you so much that I spend all my energy trying not to like you. I want to try my best to forget you, so much so that I get angry when I can’t.

When Jun Pyo drives back with Jandi that evening, he is all smiles and hum-y.

But as she looks out the window in sadness, Jandi thinks to the conversation she had with Madam Kang. She confronts M Kang about Ga-eul and Ji Hoo, telling her to stop what she was doing. It’s not a perfect world, so M Kang asks for one condition. Jandi tells her she’ll leave. She’ll leave Jun Pyo, Shinhwa and move away, to a place where he can’t find her.

She reiterates her point that she isn’t running away. Oh and one more thing, “You are the most despicable person I’ve ever known.” M Kang is surprised, but come on, really now? Jandi goes on,

I’m leaving because I don’t want the people I love to be further entangled with you. I feel regret because within your trap, the only thing I can’t do is save the people whom I love most.

When Jandi snaps out of it, she tells him to stop the car. She grabs her stuff. Jun Pyo jokingly asks her what other surprise she has in store for him.

Jandi: Gu Jun Pyo, I can’t see you anymore.
Jun Pyo: What?
Jandi: Today is the last day for you and I.
Jun Pyo: Ya Geum Jandi, is this because you feel that it’s a pity we haven’t had an argument all day? You shouldn’t make a joke as big as that.
Jandi: It’s not a joke.
Jun Pyo: What’s the reason? Did the witch put you up to this?
Jandi: I made the decision myself, to remove you from my life.
Jun Pyo: Geum Jandi.
Jandi: Thank you for all this time. Take care of yourself.
Jun Pyo: What are you doing? Didn’t you say you like me? You told me so honestly just now. So why…it’s because of the witch, isn’t it?
Jandi: No. It’s because of me. This time, I’ve come to realize the truth. You and I are from different worlds. Even though our chance meeting was like a dream, we have to go back to our respective worlds now.
Jun Pyo: Lies. You’re lying right now. Tell me. I’ll take care of it. I’ll protect you.
Jandi walks towards the bus.
Jun Pyo: Don’t go! Didn’t you say you liked me? Is this how you treat the people you love? You tell them you like them and then you end it just like that?
Jandi: Maybe I’m just like that. It doesn’t matter how much I like you, maybe this is all I can take. This is all I can stand.
Jun Pyo: So tell me. Aside from Shinhwa Group and being an heir, have you ever seen me as a man?
Jandi: No. It doesn’t matter how much you struggle — you’ll always be the Gu Jun Pyo of Shinhwa Group. I haven’t forgotten that for a second.

As Jun Pyo stares at her with tears in his eyes, she gets on the bus. After a second, Jun Pyo snaps out of his torpor and runs after her. On the bus, Jandi thinks to herself, “Ever since liking you, I’ve hoped that you were nothing more than a common man, having nothing to do with Shinhwa Group or being an heir.” Finally, Jun Pyo can run no more.

Ji Hoo brings his grandfather back home and both are expecting Jandi to be there. When there’s no response, Ji Hoo notices a note on the table.

I’m sorry for leaving like this. I’ve bothered you guys with my stay. I won’t forget your kindness. I wish good health for the both of you.

Ji Hoo rushes out after he reads the note.

Down by the fishing village, Jandi’s mother is getting flak from her neighboring vendors who don’t believe that her daughter dated the heir-to-be of Shinhwa Group, because otherwise, she wouldn’t be here, selling fishies. Jandi’s mother insists that her daughter went to Shinhwa High and that she’s prepared a meal for young master as well. Before long, a shady man visits Jandi’s mom’s fish stand and buys from her. Jandi’s mom learns that this man used to be in the business industry, working for some company before it went bankrupt. Now he’s full of debts as well.

Jandi comes wandering down and before long, Jandi’s mother spots her. The mother/daughter reunite and the first thing Jandi’s mother does is pull out Jandi’s Shinhwa uniform to show off to her friends. Priorities in order? Check. After the two disentangle themselves from the other ahjumma’s, they go by the dock. Jandi’s mother tells her that her dad went off to the sea to get more work because they could barely feed the family as is.

Jun Pyo, on the other hand, is taking this break up baaaad. He goes to bars, drinks a ton, and has 8 girls hanging around him all at once. Later, when he looks out his car, he spots an arcade machine. It’s one of the same ones he played with when he went on the double date with Jandi and Ga-eul and her boyfriend. He gets out and plays it in his drunken state, but only to find his efforts in vein before he starts venting his anger on the machine.

Which leads to his arrest.

As he sits in the playpen pen, he thinks back to Jandi’s confession on the beach. Before long, Jun Hee comes, along with Secretary Jung.

Annnnnd scene.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Were those conversations Jandi had with Jun Pyo (and Ji Hoo to a lesser extent) depressing or what?

Jandi’s admission of feelings to Jun Pyo was beauuuutiful. I feel like the only real milestones in the two’s relationship is when Jandi admits something about their coupling. The first time she referred to Jun Pyo as her boyfriend, and now this. Sure that might be far and few in between, but those two moments are the only times when I feel like they have some sort of monumental impact. Because it’s just soooo hard for the writers to write a consistent character for Jandi, it’s nice to see when is forward-thinking and forward-acting. And it’s exactly because she talks the “talk” so little with Jun Pyo that it actually means something when she does it.

Regarding the scene before the departure: I really loved the ambiance of it but I really wished Gu Hye Sun didn’t deliver so many of those lines void of emotion. I get that she’s trying to put on a strong front to prevent Jun Pyo from detecting his mother’s involvement, but I don’t really think it’s necessary at this point to be so emotionless and absolutely harsh about it. It seems like a complete reversal of the previous scene, but by now, I know the writing/directing well enough to know that this show sucks at continuity.

Overall, I thought this episode was the strongest one we’ve gotten since the second arc started, which is sad because we’re two episodes away from completion, but hey it’s better than nothing.

  • Mary

    Love your blog Amy! It’s nice to read your recaps along with Dramabean’s and get another perspective. I agree with you on Gu Hyesun’s acting for the farewell scene. I definitely don’t think she matched Lee Minho in terms of emotion. Compared to Shancai and Makino, there just wasn’t enough from her.

    I really like the look of your blog too! I have been wanting to change my blog theme, but can’t seem to get it to work. Maybe it’s because I use blogger…

    Looking forward to your last two recaps! Can’t believe it’s almost over. I have to say, I’m gonna miss Lee Minho.

  • MatchaLatte

    Thanks for the recap. I enjoy reading your take on the series since I agree with you on almost everything. Also, I like your style of writing and the sense of humor you bring to each piece. Take care!