I wanted to cry several times during episode 22. Not because of Junpyo, although he and Ji-Hoo have it arguably equally bad, but because Ji-Hoo, unlike Junpyo, doesn’t DESERVE this.
This episode was both brilliantly and frustratingly self-aware. First off, the exchange between Jaekyung and Ji-Hoo was AMAZING, definitely one of the things the kdrama has thrown in that’s a great improvement off jdrama and twdrama, and it did, in a sort of shutting-the-barn-door-after-the-horse-has-gone way address the problem it has set up of how well the Ji-Hoo/Jandi pairing has been covered. As Jaekyung says to Ji-Hoo, in one of the few bits of absolutely brilliant(within context) dialogue I’ve heard this series, “They say people get what they’re greedy for…neither you nor I have enough greed.” This is a very good way of explaining/justifying why Ji-Hoo, after all the scenes between he and Jandi and all the focus on how amazing he is, doesn’t get the girl – he’s too good, too noble in a way, he didn’t ask from Jandi more than she could give and so he didn’t get it. It still feels like a cop-out, however – if this explanation had come, say, 4 or 5 episodes earlier and all Ji-Hoo/Jandi interactions, particularly OTP-type reactions, had stopped immediately, this would have made perfect sense. As it is, it feels a bit like a sop thrown to us to justify the irrational Ji-Hoo/Jandi focus over the past 6 episodes or so, and does anyone else think this perfectly rational conclusion was a tad undermined by the incredibly warm and OTP-like interactions which follow between Ji-hoo and Jandi IN THE SAME EPISODE?? No? Maybe that was just me.
Secondly, Junpyo himself highlighted a problem of this drama(for me anyway) when there was the flashback to her asking, “Why me?” and him replying, “I have everything…I don’t need anything…Geum Jandi, all you need to be is Geum Jandi”. He’s right on that count, or at least he should be – by nature of his background, Junpyo has never been very self-sufficient. That’s the difference between he and Jandi, or at least what should be the difference – what draws him to her initially is how very self-sufficient, self-aware, self-confident she is – how very much she doesn’t need him and, unlike the other girls, doesn’t get anything from him, from a self-esteem bar to a life interest. She just lives her life, and lives it as well as she can, supporting both herself and often her family without any help from anyone, and able to bounce back from both physical and emotional misfortune with incredible courage and resilience. That’s the Jandi Junpyo falls in love with, the Jandi of the first part of the series, and Jandi as she’s meant to be from the manga – the Makino who, while still human, doens’t let anything get her down for long. BUT. The Jandi in the second part of the series is not this person, which I hate on three levels, one that she’s not nearly as likable/admirable – she tends to go much more for the damsel-in-distress routine than the plucky-girl-saving-herself routine, two, she’s not nearly as close to the manga character, and three, it’s not good character continuity – I refuse to believe that the Jandi from the first part of the series, who could decimate her friend’s cheating boyfriend with one blow, who has no patience whatsoever for men who treat women badly, who takes all the evil pranks her classmates and Junpyo throw at her, would immetiately fall into a never-ending emo, longing mess as soon as her boyfriend of a few days/weeks dumps her in a humiliating fasion. The Jandi I’d like to see would get furious at him, tell him off, then throw herself into working and by a mixture of rage and hard work woudl make herself get over him, or at least do her darndest to. This Jandi, however, cries at least once an episode and usually more, and in spite of the fact that as far as she knows/knew Junpyo wasn’t the person she thought he was(he left for a year, flirted with other women, broke up with her in the most callous way possible, and soon after got engaged and – she thought – slept with his fiance), she still hangs around longing after him until he eventually turns around and takes her back. The Makino I know and like from the other adaptations never needed a man – even after she fell in love with Domyouji, I always believed she could live well without him, I think the story made that clear – she might not be happy/as happy, but she’s be perfectly physically and emotionally functional. This Jandi didn’t need a man before she met Junpyo, but after she did, well, apparently she can never be herself/get her life together again until she has one again. She’s an emotional mess from beginning to end after they break up, even after she’s had every reason in the world to cut emotioanl ties, she still doesn’t let go/move on. I’d even be fine with it if she kept loving in her heart but still lived a funcitonal life. But she didn’t. And that’s what frustrates me like mad. This is no self-sufficient Jandi; Junpyo has it all wrong when he says all she needs is herself. She doesn’t. She doesn’t actually have that quality at all.
Anyhoot – pics and a few more comments-
Prince Song is cute in this episode, and says some interesting things(what is wrong with this drama! why is this secondary pairing still so much a part of even the dialogue three episodes before the finale!! it’s so weird! not that I’m necessarily complaining, it’s just so irrational)
Squee!! I must admit I don’t find Prince Song nearly as compelling/good-looking as many other fangirls do, but he has his moments. I love this line.
Best boyfriend material since Prince Charming, someone said.
He cuts her hair.
I die a million fangirlish deaths.
She looks at him like this – but oh no, no feelings beyond sisterly friendship.
He on his part channels Warm Tenderness-
This is what really started killing me though – the deep mischieviousness with which she looks at him.
You know, in HYD, Makino told Rui that she felt more herself with Domyouji, that with him(Rui) she always felt reserved. That isn’t true in this drama at all, in fact even before I switched over to the Ji-Hoo/Jandi pairing, after Junpyo got beat up for her sake and they were supposed to be together, even then I was discontent with their relationship, because I never got the sparks of joy/delighted sparring that I got in both HYD and Meteor Garden. The couple fights almost equally in all the adaptations – it’s Makino/Domyouji’s way of communicating – but in the Taiwanese and Japanese dramas I was always really convinced that they actually greatly enjoyed their sparring, that it was their way of flirting. Whereas in this one, when they fought, even after they were together, I had more of an impression of Jandi being actually unhappy – I couldn’t detect that deep satisfaction underneath that she was with Junpyo, it more seemed like she took that for granted and actually did get annoyed with him(I’m remembering in particular when she turned down their date with no signs of regret at all because she had to work). In the times she’s with Junpyo now, yes, she does convincingly light up, but contrary me realized that I was now missing the delightful sparring the two had had in the other adaptations – all that witty, delightfully cute banter(remember how Makino coaxed Domyouji – or was it the other way around – into buying those roadside cakes or whatever they were and he put up a huge fight and then ended up liking them and they grinned at each other? I MISS that). Anyway, my point is, in this adaptation Jandi all too clearly does feel herself with Ji-Hoo – I mean, she’s done practically every girlfriend-y thing possible with him except dance, from travel with him, live with him, wash cars with him, kiss him, nurse him – and scratch that she HAS danced with him, at that party near the beginning of the series. She manages to fit him easily into her life and he integrates easily, from helping her clean the concert hall to decorating her apartment for her, and vice versa as she pushes him together with his grandfather, nurses him when he’s sick, and feels comfortable moving in with him. She laughs with him, she teases him, she confides in him. No, there’s clearly no case here of not feelign comfortable/like yourself around him.
I find this highly symbolic-
He’s been alone, doing things himself, all his life, until Jandi came along, and even now, with her in love with someone, he’s drawing back, willing to have it keep on being that way. But Jandi keeps coming along and thrusting herself into his life as if she’s got a right to be there until he can’t help but let her in(</a>dangermousie</span> ‘s right when she says Jandi’s too dim to walk around unattended since she apparently still doesn’t realize Ji-Hoo is in love with her. If I were Jandi’s best friend, I would have screamed at her so much over the course of this drama, first of all for not even trying to get over someone who behaved like such a prince of jerks when breaking up with her, and second of all for, no just not loving, but also consistently using and toying with the emotions of this other great guy who is obviously in love with her. sigh).
One of my favorite pics of Goo Hye Sun EVER – I really do love this actress. I love/hate/kinda despise her character, but I think she did a magnificent acting job it’s not her fault she has to be exhaustingly mopey for 7 episodes straight This looks kills me though, because there’s no way you look like that at someone you’re not at least attracted to. It’s all there – the teasing flirtation, the warmth, the laughter – it just makes no sense that Jandi supposedly still sees him as only a friend, especially given that she was in love with him once before!
I don’t even know what to say about what follows except that I was MAD SQUEE and HEARTBREAK the whole time and that the writer must be MAD.
or madly in love with Kim Hyun Joong, as people keep conjecturing.
In what way is this not a flirtation/flirtatious teasing???
Finally, the confession…but she’s alseep. This is such a kdrama OTP convention! Missed timing/wrong timing/something simple goes wrong so the two overshoot each other. God of wonders!
Not to totally ignore Junpyo/Jandi oh wait too late.
I forgot to mention, in all my fangirly joy and frustration over the Joondi pairing, that when Jundi does have a scene together – and I say WHEn, which everyone knows is quite a rare event, heaven forbid they should, you know, actually be the central romance – it’s exquisitely done. The writ’er’s got her flair and style for their romance all figured out, that dance scene in particular was heartbreakingly beautiful, and even I, a cynical Junpyo/Jandi viewer unable to forget their deep dysfunction in the past, enjoy their scenes, because LMH and GHS have intense chemistry and look GORGEOUS together. The telescope scene I thought was somewhat lacking – after all he’s done all he says is “I’m sorry for hurting you?” One line?? really? But ah well, I guess I couldn’t expect anything more. And I admit the scene with the kid annoyed me – I know everyone else found it super cute, and he DID start being nice to the kid at the end, but I thought it highlighted some of his worst qualities, his selfishness and immaturity that he’s unable to gracefully accept/handle a kid being there – and I admit I did mentally compare that to Ji-Hoo’s probable reaciton and conclude that Ji-Hoo would probably have taken one look at the kid, been a total gentleman, and bonded iwth him as much as Jandi from the get-go. But anyway. Junpyo and Jandi are great together overall, which makes me even sadder that I can no longer whole-heartedly root for them.
These two will just have their own separate little fairy tale in my head.
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