Definitely a MUCH better outing this episode, both for its characters’ and my own sanity. Can we please stick to the cuuute shtuff and say bye bye bye (*cue ‘N Sync) to the meanies? Pretty please?
We open with the last scene from Episode 1, as Jung-woo asks Soo-yeon to be his friend. She stares at him in surprise, asking why he would be her friend. “Why, you don’t want to?” he asks. She quickly scrambles up, saying “No, no, that’s not it,” but tapers off and bows her head again, drawing his eyes to her scarred foot. He suddenly races off, and she chases after him, only to see him filch a large plastic clothespin from someone’s backyard. He gently clips her hair back with the impromptu clip and teases, “Ah, so this is what you look like.” Gah, why so adorable?! He tells her to do her hair like this from now on, then straightens and sincerely tells her, “I’ll never again pretend not to know you. I’m sorry.”
Soo-yeon’s eyes fill up at the kind gesture and sincere sentiment, and Jung-woo puts out his arms to shelter her from the wind. “Don’t cry. It’s because the wind is blowing, right? Because your eyes are irritated.” It’s been all of three minutes and I’m dying. Soo-yeon tentatively follows behind Jung-woo, unfamiliar with the concept of having a friend to walk with, but unwilling to let him go. So. Cute.
Mama Lee (Soo-yeon’s mom) is still crying after the victim’s posse left her house in shambles, and she wails to Detective Kim that they were the ones who started the fight, not her. The upright, kind-hearted man awkwardly stands in the doorway, listening to her cry, and finally says, “I’m sorry. We caught the true culprit.” He gets on his knees and repeats, with tears streaming down his face, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Hyung-joon stands at the barred window again, waiting with bowl in hand, when Soo-yeon comes by. He reaches up, but this time she just passes without a glance, eager to show Jung-woo her home. Awww. She awkwardly notes that her home is pretty small, and he agrees wholeheartedly – her house is really small, and his house is really big. Smile faltering, she turns away to bid him goodbye, but Jung-woo continues, “It’s so big that the cold wind whips through my house. That’s why I cry.” His eyes fill with tears, and he explains, “It’s not because I’m sad. It’s because my eyes are irritated.” Gah. Hyung-joon watches the scene through the bars of his window, glaring at Jung-woo. Omo, is the rivalry starting already?!
Nurse Jung sneaks into Hyung-joon’s room at the late President’s estate and takes out a huge duffel bag hidden in a piano. As Mama Kang (Hyung-joon’s mom) had told her, it’s filled with cash – enough for them to survive on until they leave the country – and a family photo of Jung-woo’s family. Oh noes. She recalls Mama Kang telling her to catch Han Tae-joon’s son – so they can use him as a bargaining chip to safely leave the country. Their ultimate goal is to get the millions stored away in a Swiss bank. Nurse Jung returns to her own apartment, duffel bag in tow, but Tae-joon is already waiting there for her. She manages to fib her way through the encounter, promising to look for Hyung-joon, but Tae-joon ain’t no dummy. He tells his men to keep close watch over Nurse Jung – if she’s harboring the kid, she’ll make a move soon.
Mama Lee is inconsolable with grief – not just that her husband was wrongly sentenced to death, but that she and her daughter have to suffer the repercussions – and Soo-yeon tries to soothe her (though she doesn’t know about the wrongful conviction). Jung-woo, on the other hand, is happy just thinking of Soo-yeon, and even clips a clothespin in his own hair. Haahahaa. The next day, he races to school, only to come upon the three stooges from yesterday’s brawl painting all over “Number 27’s” desk. Jung-woo kicks over the desk and chair, which sends a couple fists flying, but Soo-yeon takes matters into her own hands: she hugs the leader of the bunch, rooting him to the spot. Hahahaa. Jung-woo is shocked, and he and Soo-yeon play peekabo with each other throughout class. Frustrated with her obvious efforts not to meet his gaze, Jung-woo grabs Soo-yeon during break and asks if she already forgot they agreed to be friends. She quickly shakes her head and begs him, “Pretend not to know me just at school. Secret friends. Just at school.” He flat out refuses and grabs her by the wrist to go back inside and show everyone they’re friends. And pinkblossom swoons. You’re all of fifteen and wrist-grabbing already?! And the scorn on your face for being secret friends? Gah, you’re an upgraded version of Landon Carter (A Walk to Remember – swoon swoon). Swoon.
Soo-yeon, though, apparently doesn’t appreciate Jung-woo quite as much as I do, and she begs him to let her do the fighting. He’s the first friend she’s ever had, and he may be her last. Aww. During lunch time, she adorably shows him – and the class – that she can stand up for herself, but Jung-woo still refuses to ignore her, leaving no one in doubt that they are now besties. He tells her to keep her chin up, and she tilts her head all the way back, enjoying the popsicle he bought her. Awwww.
They walk home together after school, and she adorably scolds him like they’re an old married couple. Please let it happen. Pleeeeaase. Suddenly, a windowpane shatters as fire and smoke billow out of Hyung-joon’s makeshift home, and Jung-woo and Soo-yeon barely manage to get the boy out of the burning house. Hyung-joon, though, is determined to run away, and Jung-woo tries to stop him, accidentally ripping off his pendant necklace and breaking it open. Oy. Hyung-joon can’t get far on his wounded leg, though, and Jung-woo scoops him up in his arms, taking him to the hospital.
Nurse Jung gets the call from the owner of the burning home (oh, so she was just renting it), and she freaks out at the news that the kid was taken to the hospital. Jung-woo calls Stepmother Han, asking her to come immediately, but she sees no need to when some stranger is the one needing surgery. Daddy Han (Tae-joon) walks into the house just then and Jung-woo asks him to come help the boy. Ack please don’t let the little one fall into his clutches! Nurse Jung manages to sneak out of the house and race to the hospital, where she sees Jung-woo standing outside – and recognizes him from the picture. Oh noes!! Double aaack meeting! Jung-woo hands Soo-yeon the necklace he picked up, which has Mama Kang’s image on the front and an engraving on the back: “To my Joonie, whom I love most in the world. From Mom.” What was hidden inside the hollow pendant, though, was the key to the Swiss account, and Nurse Jung catches sight of it, dangling from the pendant cord.
Soo-yeon returns the necklace to Hyung-joon, asking if he knows “Unni’s” name, and the boy mumbles that she’s a stupid head – he’s not a girl. Hehehee. She cracks a smile, and they’re just getting friendly when Nurse Jung unceremoniously takes the boy with her, sneaking past Jung-woo. Soo-yeon races after the pair, alerting Jung-woo, and they chase after the taxi, but to no avail. Nurse Jung angrily tells Hyung-joon that he’s caused a mess – the boy he was with is none other than Han Tae-joon’s son, the one who made his leg like this. Gah, don’t do that, lady! Hyung-joon looks back at the pair, anger whitening his lips.
Jung-woo comes home to a chilly Stepmother Han – she just got a lecture from Daddy Han telling her to stop trying to be the mistress of the home and instead do what she came to do: raise Jung-woo. Jung-woo asks her if they can’t both make an effort to get along better, but she tells him he’s too greedy – his dad already said he would give everything to his son. How dare he ask for her affections, too? Geez, lady.
Soo-yeon comes home and her mom tells her to pack her bags – they’re going to live with Detective Kim. What what? Seems like that’s the consensus among everyone – Soo-yeon, Detective Kim, and his young daughter, who are all taken aback by Mama Lee’s sudden decision. Hahahaa. The soft-hearted Detective Kim (who’s a widower) just gets bowled over by Mama Lee, but his daughter, Kim Eun-joo (later played by Jang-mi In-ae) is a spunky one and not afraid to voice her displeasure. Mama Lee asks Detective Kim to keep secret the wrongful conviction, and he reluctantly agrees. Hmmm, I wonder if this will make a difference later.
Mama Lee tells Soo-yeon that everything has been settled, and she can go to her new school beginning tomorrow. Soo-yeon, though, immediately chirps up that she wants to stay at her old school – she now has a friend who calls her by her name. Awww. Jung-woo goes to Soo-yeon’s old home and is surprised to learn that his new bestie has moved away and the landlady doesn’t know where to. He races off to their playground (yes, it is now theirs in my book), and sure enough, Soo-yeon is there sitting on a swing, softly singing “The Magic Castle”. I for seriously love this song. (The original singers were the duo The Classic, but it’s been covered by maaany artists. Some of you may remember Jang Nara sang it in Baby-faced Beauty.) She suddenly does what is apparently her trademark “He loves me, he loves me not.” But in her case: He’s coming, he’s not coming. Where’s the daisy? I guess we can pass on it this time.
As if on cue, Jung-woo walks up to her and belligerently asks, “What are you doing here? I heard you moved.” She doesn’t pick up on the mood and brightly says, “He came!” He sits next to her on the swing set and nonchalantly asks if she’s going to transfer schools. She jokingly asks whether she should transfer, and he bites back that she can do whatever she wants. Hahahahaa awwww, you’re so cute. She cajoles him not to be angry and promises to give him a present since he gave her one – the clothespin hairclip. He wants to take back the clip and give her a proper gift, but she says she likes this one because she’s probably the only one who got a present like this. Aww. She promises to give him his gift when it rains, and he adorably keeps asking her when it’ll rain. Why so cute?!
He walks(?) her to her new home and she reassures him that her new family is nice to her. There’s a girl that’s the same age as her, she says, to which Jung-woo expresses mock disapproval: she’s gonna stop playing with him now that she has a new friend. Hahaha. He sees that she’s not wearing socks and puts his hand around her foot, saying that she must be cold. She quickly sits next to him and covers her feet, saying that she’s most ashamed of her feet. Aww. He replies that if that’s the case, then he must be ashamed of his entire body – he has scars all over from various incidents over the years.
Soo-yeon explains how she got the scar: She was running away from her dad and stepped on a glass shared, which she didn’t see in the snow. Yikes. Perhaps because it was cold, she didn’t even feel the pain. But nowadays it hurts whenever she looks at it, even though the wound is all healed. Sad panda. Jung-woo covers her foot with his hand and asks, “It doesn’t hurt, now, right? Because you can’t see it.” He waves his hand in front of her face and continues, “They have been erased: the bad memories. Now you can make them again: good memories.” Gaaaah. They adorably smile at each other, which is the scene Eun-joo comes upon.
Jung-woo introduces himself, and Eun-joo starts freaking out that the good-looking boy even has a voice to die for. Hahahaa. “Please, don’t smile!” she begs internally. But of course he smiles to smooth over the awkward moment, and she tells herself, “It’s just like what I saw in the comic books. If I stay any longer, I’m gonna pass out,” and runs off. Hahahahaa. But I gots to agree – any more of that smile and pinkblossom will swoon. For the hundredth time. (Side note: the comic books Eun-joo is talking about aren’t like Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes. She’s talking about the pretty boys you would see in Asian comics, e.g., manga. A better Western equivalent would be a Prince Charming or the heroes of fairy tales.)
Jung-woo and Soo-yeon stare at each other, confused in the wake of Eun-joo’s awkward turtle exit, when a bird kindly poops on Soo-yeon’s hair. That sends Jung-woo into gales of laughter, and Soo-yeon chases after him, ready to share the bird’s love.
Daddy Han visits the now-smoke-blackened room that Hyung-joon and Nurse Jung evacuated. Director Nam (Daddy Han’s PA) tells him that Jung-woo was the one who took Hyung-joon to the hospital, which is unwelcome news to Daddy Han. He tells Director Nam to keep Jung-woo in the dark about his nefarious life and to find Hyung-joon immediately. Director Nam visits Mama Kang and tells her that they know Nurse Jung has Hyung-joon, and it’s only a matter of time before they’re caught. She’s unwilling to budge, but he warns her that Hyung-joon’s leg is in dire straits and he may die if she doesn’t give up.
Nurse Jung puts a briefcase inside a public locker and returns to an abandoned office where Hyung-joon is in obvious pain but refusing to take medicine. She darkly warns him not to run away again. “Your life, your mom’s life, are no longer in Han Tae-joon’s hands. They’re in mine.” Whoa, are you planning what I think you are? Hyung-joon just glares at her and closes his hand tightly around the pendant and key. Back at the locker, an unidentified man opens the locker and retrieves the super secret briefcase.
Jung-woo tells Soo-yeon to study up so she never has to transfer schools, and he adorably teases her as they walk out the school gates. Uuunfortunately, Mr. Creeper – whom I’m assuming is the one in cahoots with Nurse Jung – is watching them, Jung-woo’s family picture in hand. Why do we have to do this, writer? Pleeeaaase. Jung-woo and Soo-yeon ride the bus (to her) home together, and he asks her to give him his present now, ’cause who knows when it’ll rain again? She has fallen asleep though, and he adorably pesters her with the question, turning to face her. The bus lurches and she falls forward… and their lips meet. Eeee!!
Soo-yeon wakes up and her eyes go wide, and Jung-woo frantically starts denying that he did anything. “This is the stop. Get off,” she says, and scrambles off the bus. Hahahhaa. Jung-woo is still in a daze after getting off the bus, and Soo-yeon wonders why in the world he’s acting so strangely. Understanding finally dawns and she races in front of him to put her arms out wide and shield him from the wind. “It’s okay, now, right? You cry when the wind blows because your eyes get irritated,” Soo-yeon says. Hahahaha and awwww, you’re so cute. The wind softly blows, rippling through her long hair, and Jung-woo gapes at her, seeing his bestie in a new light. He roughly turns her around and marches her forward, telling her that she’ll trip and that he can’t see, but Soo-yeon keeps turning around, oblivious to all the confusion and bewilderment going through his head. So. Cute.
Just as they pass a streetlight gone out, it flickers back to life, stopping the two of them in their tracks. Soo-yeon counts down from five, and right on cue at “zero,” the light goes out again. It continues to flicker and Soo-yeon says she’s too short to reach the bulb, so Jung-woo gives it a try. He reaches up, holding onto Soo-yeon’s shoulder for balance, and she suddenly becomes aware of how closely they’re standing together. Jung-woo screws the bulb in tightly and laughs down at Soo-yeon in excitement… and sees her staring up at him. A tense moment passes between them… Omo omo, you little kiddies!
Detective Kim sees the two of them standing there, motionless, and when the light flickers off again, he races over to drag Jung-woo off by the ear. Hahahaa. Uuunfortunately, Mr. Creeps is watching the whole thing. Sigh.
Thankfully Mr. Creeps ain’t the focus for now, as Jung-woo is invited to Soo-yeon’s home for dinner. Eun-joo and Soo-yeon both come out of the bedroom wearing identical sweaters, and Mama Lee heaps praises on how great the sweater looks on Eun-joo. Jung-woo, though, only has eyes for Soo-yeon, and Eun-joo’s face crumples in annoyance. She stalks over to the dinner table and sits next to him, but he can’t take his eyes off Soo-yeon. Gaaah, why are you two so ADORABLE?! Stop sending each other those secretive smiles back and forth across the dinner table! I won’t tolerate such behavior!
Detective Kim mock-scolds him, saying that he never even looked a girl in the eyes before he was twenty, but Eun-joo quickly shoots that one down by reminding him he kissed her mom the first day they met each other – in junior high. Haahahahaa. The “kiss” word, though, sets off a coughing fit for Jung-woo, and Eun-joo fawns all over him, holding his hand and asking if she can help. Detective Kim asks her to at least keep face. LOLOL. I wub Detective Kim. And Eun-joo is so funny – I really hope you stay this cute and don’t turn into a classic second lead.
Soo-yeon is unsettled by Eun-joo’s overtures, but she and Jung-woo quickly return to making googly eyes at each other, prompting Detective Kim to lead him out by the ear again. Hahaha. They take it outside… and don’t brawl like bros. Opportunity wasted. Detective Kim coaches Jung-woo on how to fight and look tough, but he’s hilariously horribly inept. Soo-yeon watches, cringing most of the time, and Eun-joo comes out to join her, dangling the yellow “famous umbrella” in her hand. Soo-yeon quickly snatches the umbrella saying she can’t give this, so Eun-joo asks if she can then have Jung-woo. What?! Soo-yeon just gets quiet and bows her head, and Eun-joo gives up, not understanding why cuties like Jung-woo always go for girls like Soo-yeon. “You hit on him, didn’t you?” Eun-joo asks. “I knew it. Why would someone like him like you?” But she quickly backtracks when she sees Soo-yeon was actually hurt by the words she carelessly tossed out. “No, you’re right,” Soo-yeon responds. “I like him. Jung-woo just pities me.” That’s not true! Eun-joo tells Soo-yeon she isn’t pitiable at all and to have more confidence in herself. “We’re a detective’s daughters!” Awwww, my heart breaks.
And so does Mama Lee’s, when she comes upon the two girls so vastly different from one another. She sends Eun-joo off to deliver drinks to Detective Kim and Jung-woo and crouches down next to Soo-yeon. Mama Lee nonchalantly tells Soo-yeon that the sweater looks better on her than Eun-joo, and that she’s a pretty girl. Awww. She urges Soo-yeon to join in the fun with Detective Kim, and they all enjoy a small moment of warmth and joy and love. Gah, why am I crying?!
Soo-yeon quietly sits on the steps and writes on the wall, “I miss you.” And the suddenly out of nowhere Yooooochuuun’s voice!!! Okay, fine, the grown-up Jung-woo’s. But aaack what in the world?! He calls out, “Soo-yeon-ah.” The young Soo-yeon turns around at the beckon and breaks into a smile. And there they are, the adult Jung-woo and young Soo-yeon, sitting on the steps.
He asks, “You’re smiling? I’m so angry it kills me. I’m so angry it’s driving me crazy.” She smiles innocently back at him, and he continues, “I’m waiting just for today. Only today. Only today.” And then his vision of Soo-yeon disappears and he’s all alone, still waiting for his first love.
A lone tear trickles down and he mutters, “I really might go crazy like this.”
Talk about cuteness overload to the max. Are they determined to make me keel over before the adult cast even makes its appearance?! Correction: before the rest of the adult cast makes its appearance. What a pleasant, pleasant surprise having the adult Jung-woo – okay, I admit, Yoochun – drop in for a visit. That ever so short scene left a pretty darned deep impression.
I knew going in that there would be loads of crying and makjang in this “traditional” melodrama, but the first episode was a lot more makjang than I had anticipated, and it was a lot darker both in tone and literal color. Just look at the official posters and wallpapers. Someone needs a flashlight if they’re gonna wade out of all that darkness. Thankfully, Episode 2 gave me just enough to keep me on this train. There were still issues, especially with the makjang adult world. Mr. Creeps and Nurse Jung for seriously?! Why can’t we just stick to all the adorable stuff the cuties are churning out? But despite the issues, I was baited and hooked by the ultimate three-pronged attack: adorable cuties, family, and just a teeny tiny tease of Yoochun. Gah.
I’ll start at the end today. The little scene with the adult Jung-woo and young Soo-yeon was pretty darned good and much appreciated. We had just seen Jung-woo and Soo-yeon start to fall in love with one another, and that warm, fuzzy feeling carried over into this scene where it was transformed into angst and longing. I appreciated the parallel between this “You’re smiling?” and the one young Jung-woo said to Soo-yeon at the swings after he just found out she had moved. He’s all upset and filled with righteous indignation, but Soo-yeon just smiles so brightly. It’s a gruff demand, an angry question filled with affection. How could you be happy when I’m so scared to lose you? It reveals so much about the depth of his feelings and I am gobblin’ it all up.
The family time our characters shared together was so heartbreaking in the best way possible. Soo-yeon has never had an affectionate father figure in her life, and Jung-woo hasn’t had a warm, loving family either. Part of the heart-hurtin’ I was doin’ was due to the knowledge that all of this happiness is gonna be ripped away. But another was that this joy and happiness is derived from something so simple, so inexpensive, so easy to obtain yet oftentimes not. I just ain’t got the words to describe what I’m feelin’. Just know that it’s good. The sweet moment between Soo-yeon and her mom was really touching as well, but the little scene before that really caught my eye. Eun-joo is not by nature a mean-spirited girl, and it really showed when she quickly tried to cheer up Soo-yeon and remind her that they have a cool dad. First of all, how sweet is it that she fully accepts that they’re sisters now? But what really got to me was the look that passed over Mama Lee’s face. Soo-yeon’s first response in any situation is to apologize, to bow her head and hide her face with her long hair, to assume that people pity or hate her. Eun-joo, on the other hand, is bright and bubbling with a self-assurance that can only stem from the knowledge that she is dearly loved. That stark difference, dichotomized so boldly, really broke my heart.
And last, but not least. The playground scene this episode had quite a bit of awesome lines and amazing performances, and the “He’s coming, he’s not,” part was pretty cleverly done. In the first episode, Soo-yeon quietly repeated those lines to herself at the riverside when they were spreading her dad’s ashes. It was pretty heartbreaking, because it so clearly demonstrated how much she feared her father’s arrival. She was never sure whether her dad would come home that day, bringing with him drunken violence. Now what was once borne of fear has become a ritual filled with anticipation, with eagerness and excitement. She’s eagerly waiting for Jung-woo, and such a simple thing shows just how much Soo-yeon’s life has changed since meeting him.
What did you all think of the first week of I Miss You? Please share your thoughts with us!