Warning: I’ve been nursing a crazy headache for over a day, and it has possibly coloured my reaction to this episode (also why this post is so late). Grain of salt and all that.
The pace of this episode was a problem for me. If the dialogue was crackling, if I was laughing my butt off, if the show captured a mood and an essence, if there was anything interesting happening at all, I wouldn’t complain.
However, I really think it’s a concern when you’ve set up a plot with as many possibilities as Big, and it feels like the show keeps repeating the same scenes and themes several times over. When you have a finite number of episodes to tell your story and you waste significant amounts of time on story-lines that go nowhere, or re-tread a point you’ve already illustrated without adding anything further, it really seems like a rudderless ship: directionless, drifting, spinning in circles.
I’m not asking for ridiculous plot shenanigans, but I do expect solid growth and movement from the characters. Kyung Joon, Mari and Choong Shik have all to varying degrees actually shown this, however with Da Ran, I’m led to believe she has grown, but then we see her stuck in this place where she seemingly can’t make decisions for herself, stand up to anyone properly, or respond in a way I can identify as being mature. She’s so… wishy washy sometimes. Even when she’s supposed to have conviction, there’s a lack of it; it’s like she’s play acting at being a grown up. Her interactions with Kyung Joon as a result can feel like a replay of the same dynamic over and over again. I admit the cliffhanger was a really good one, but I can’t love a show on cliffhangers alone.
I hope I’m just grumpy and other people enjoyed this episode, because for me, it was a struggle to get through without constantly sighing and staring at my watch. I hope for all my grumbling, the episodes from here on out wow me and make me eat all my words, because I want to keep watching Big.
Mari hears from Choong Shik that his father demanded Da Ran and Kyung Joon get married, or break up. Mari, alarmed, runs out of the restaurant to find Kyung Joon and stop the craziness. She does a lot of running off in the middle of conversations this girl.
Kyung Joon implores Da Ran to think about their marriage simply: they’re just returning to the way things were pre-accident. Da Ran seems almost not to be listening, she’s still staring at the ring: “I thought it was over for Yoon Jae-ssi, so I gave up, but this (the ring) is mine?” KJ: “If you want to find out what Yoon Jae was thinking, just get married.” Uh, I feel like I’m missing out on some essential bit of logic here, how will that work again?
Mari runs into Kyung Joon’s home, and threatens to spill the beans about Kyung Joon’s body swap to Da Ran’s parents if he goes through with it. Without giving Kyung Joon any time however, she immediately starts to run to the dumpling restaurant, with Kyung Joon and Da Ran close behind. All three run past a confused Choong Shik who has just arrived at the front gate.
Mari arrives at the dumpling restaurant first, however as she didn’t have much of a lead she doesn’t get very far with her story. Da Ran is still wearing the ring, which everyone sees when she grabs Mari’s arm, trying to get her to be quiet. Kyung Joon explains he has proposed again, but Da Ran has yet to make a decision. Kyung Joon takes the interfering Mari away, apologising.
DR’s father wonders if Da Ran really likes YJ, but DR’s mother answers for her: if she’s been seeing Yoon Jae behind their backs, she must like him. She informs the just arrived Choong Shik that Da Ran is maybe to be married, she even got a ring! So Da Ran still hasn’t made a decision, but it seems like everyone’s assumptions are going to make it for her.
Mari & Kyung Joon are back at the house. Mari brings up she stopped the union between her father and his mother, and she’ll stop this one too. Clearly it’s not a good example, because Kyung Joon uses it against her: “and what happened to my mother?” He threatens if she interferes he’ll never speak to her again.
DR’s parents are preparing for bed, and DR’s mother comments that since a house is already ready (and still filled with furniture), and they’ve already done the wedding shoot, this time it could be easy to pull off. DR’s father gripes, this time they won’t tell anyone about the wedding.
Da Ran sits alone in the kitchen drinking a beer and staring at her ring, wondering aloud if Yoon Jae really intended to marry her.
She daydreams Yoon Jae telling her she did the right thing (marrying him), presenting her with a bunch of red roses on bended knee as confetti falls and her family claps. If your family appears in your daydreams with your dream man, you’re doing it wrong.
Then she imagines the opposite, if Yoon Jae never intended to marry her: A stern looking Yoon Jae taunts her for being unperceptive, and produces divorce papers with a smug Se Young beside him. I feel bad for her that this is the more grounded of her fantasies.
DR’s mother enters, aware Da Ran isn’t sleeping because she can’t decide what to do. Da Ran admits she doesn’t know how Yoon Jae feels, but DR’s mother asserts it’s her heart that’s important, what does she feel? Doesn’t she still love Seo-suh-bang? She advises to simply follow her own heart this time, and not to waste time second guessing Yoon Jae’s feelings.
Mari asks Choong Shik how much his sister likes Yoon Jae. Mari is vaguely reassured that she doesn’t have to worry about Da Ran falling for Kyung Joon. Choong Shik works up the courage to ask how much Mari likes him. He knows she likes Kyung Joon, but if Kyung Joon is 100 pans (pizzas), then how many is he? Is he at least 30? He’s even happy with 20, no even 10 is okay. Mari: “You’re… bbang (bread)”. She repeats “bbang” three more times, each time with a different inflection, eventually pulling out a finger gun, aiming it straight for the heart. [In this instance not only is he the inferior bread, but bbang is also a way of saying ‘zero’, and the sound of a gunshot.]
The heartbreak leads Choong Shik to later snap at his mother, while he lays on the couch devastated and clutching his heart.
Kyung Joon is at the hospital cafeteria with two other doctors picking forlornly at his food, the other doctors sense his mood and make excuses to leave. He sees some teenage boys messing around at another table, and looks even more forlorn.
Kyung Joon moves onto the children’s ward, staring out the window, when the two kids from last episode (‘rabbit’ the little girl with the rabbit socks, and ‘gomdori’ = ‘bear boy’ the boy with the bear t-shirt) appear, asking why he’s back. Does Kyung Joon ever actually do any work, and if not, does everyone else think he does?
He takes a bite of Rabbit’s chocolate bar, and the boy asks why an adult is taking food from kids. KJ: “It’s okay, I’m not an adult.” Ah, see, now I know he’s really a grown up. Only grown ups don’t want to be adults. Rabbit snarks at Gomdori (because it sounds cuter than bear boy) “will you go pee?” (like, go away?), Kyung Joon high fives the little girl “Rabbit! Good job!” Gomdori asks, isn’t that something only adults say?, and Kyung Joon hands him a soft toy: “anyone who holds this doll has to be quiet.” Gomdori shuts up and Kyung Joon returns to staring out the window.
Da Ran is interrogating Se Young at a cafe, wanting to know how far Yoon Jae and Se Young went, how deep was their relationship? Se Young says she and Yoon Jae were lovers, but Da Ran immediately shoots that down as lies. Da Ran asks for the truth, but Se Young refuses to give it. Se Young will do nothing to help Da Ran feel confident in her relationship with Yoon Jae, she’ll never tell. Is it just me, or is Se Young ridiculously skinny? In any case, I’m with the bitch doctor here- Se Young isn’t Da Ran’s friend, what is it Da Ran is expecting from her? Furthermore, when Se Young suggested Yoon Jae did cheat on Da Ran, DR refused to believe her. So essentially this meeting was only about getting the answers Da Ran wanted? It’s times like these that Da Ran really annoys me. God, the Hong sisters’ characterisation of their heroines sometimes drive me absolutely freaking crazy.
Kyung Joon is hosing the garden when Da Ran appears, and she finds herself holding a hand over her heart as she watches him. The two end up playing with the hose, spraying each other and being cute, but somehow I’m still bored.
Kyung Joon and Da Ran are ironing and hair drying the contents of her handbag, which got drenched in the hose-play. Da Ran notices her ring is missing. They go out to the garden to look for it, but Da Ran gives up before she really even tries. She shrugs and goes back inside, the ring has only caused trouble since it appeared, she’s going to let it go (and let the ring decide for her, why am I not surprised).
KJ: “How can you give up so quickly?” Kyung Joon calls Da Ran on her reluctance to get married- she’s just afraid to wait and find out the truth about Yoon Jae, afraid her hopes will be crushed. Da Ran rightly argues she can’t just marry a man not knowing how he feels about her, but Kyung Joon counters she should be an adult, and at least stick around to find out if she’s actually been rejected. To try, before she gives up, like he did with her. Da Ran storms out mad, and Kyung Joon threatens to marry the first woman YJ’s mother suggests, thereby leaving no opportunity for Da Ran in the future.
Mari finds out from Choong Shik that Da Ran has yet to make a decision about marrying Kyung Joon. She immediately gets up to make amends with Kyung Joon, but Choong Shik chooses that moment to make his play with Mari. Unfortunately however, his mother comes out carrying a box of full of porn and dirty mags from under his bed, instructing him to throw it out. Mari stalks off, leaving Choong Shik to yell “I hate you mum!” and run off on his bewildered mother (she seems to think the contents of the box are not a big deal), who somewhat cutely yells back without much ire, “Yeah? I hate you too!”
Later that night, we witness Choong Shik sneaking around in the dark, stealing a piggy bank?
We discover Choong Shik has run away from home. DR’s parents parents enlist the help of Na Teacher to find Choong Shik- he literally comes running. Kyung Joon happens at that time to be outside the dumpling restaurant to return an important document to Da Ran (aww), watching all the shenanigans, when DR’s mother discovers him, mistakenly believing he’s also come to help with the search.
Na Teacher (aka Choi Woo) and Kyung Joon have a man off, both boasting they’ll be the one to find Choong Shik. As they go to search, Da Ran sidles up to Kyung Joon to see if he has contacted Mari, but Kyung Joon sulkily tells her they’re not even on the same team, why would he tell her? Gratifyingly, Da Ran informs Na Teacher she’ll look for Choong Shik with Kyung Joon. Awww.
We get a long sequence with Na Teacher going alternately Mission Impossible and C.S.I (according to the music) in a children’s playground. Eventually he also gets the idea to call Choong Shik’s friends, but they don’t answer as Kyung Joon instructed.
Meanwhile, Kyung Joon and Da Ran wait for Mari and her minions (Choong Shik’s friends) to do their thing, and Mari discovers Choong Shik is likely to be at a Jjim Jjil Bung (basically a sauna/bath/health club thingy, you can easily and comfortably spend a night in one).
Da Ran is getting annoyed at all the inaction, accusing Kyung Joon of being unsympathetic because he’s never rebelled. When Kyung Joon cutely says he has, Da Ran sarcastically: “What, you said you’d go to Harvard instead of Seoul University?” Heh, see I thought Kyung Joon had a rebellious, mouthy streak from the beginning, so I’m amused Da Ran sees him as such an upright kid. Kyung Joon ignores her and goes to buy a drink, leaving Da Ran to answer Mari’s call.
Mari, annoyed Da Ran is with Kyung Joon, splits them up, instructing Da Ran to go to a train station and Kyung Joon to go to the jjim jjil bung. Kyung Joon is concerned about being split up, but Da Ran goes before he can stop her.
Kyung Joon finds Choong Shik as expected at the jjim jjil bang. Choong Shik defiantly says he’s never going to see his mother again (Kid, really? Just because your mother embarrassed you one time?), and Kyung Joon tells the story of Kang Kyung Joon: he once threatened his mother that he never wanted to see her again, and it came true, she died and he really never saw her again. Choong Shik is chastened, leaving him open to listening to Kyung Joon’s advice: if he feels the need to rebel, he should do it often, in small doses, not in some huge irrevocable way like this. Kyung Joon says he’ll try to help smooth things with the parents, and Choong Shik tries to get Kyung Joon to help his ‘studying in America’ cause.
Mari also enters the jjim jjil bung, excited they’re all going to spend the night there. Choong Shik is happy to see Mari was also looking for him (ah, all is right with the world again). Kyung Joon asks after Da Ran, believing she has gone to another jjim jjil bung- when Mari informs him, no, she sent her to a train station. Both Choong Shik and Kyung Joon are shocked.
Cut to Da Ran lookly for Choong Shik at the station, filled with a lot of homeless men, some of whom start to approach her. Frightened, she starts to back away, but she bumps into someone causing her to scream. It’s Kyung Joon, being a white knight. He yells at her for coming to a place like this alone, but he leaves her when Choong Shik also arrives on the scene. We see Mari has also come, looking contrite, but Kyung Joon refuses to look or speak to her, walking past without acknowledging her presence.
Choong Shik returns home, respectfully asking for forgiveness. His mother is just happy to have him back, but his father maintains a sterner face. Regardless, they’re both relieved he’s back.
Da Ran finds Mari crying alone. She discovers Mari believes Kyung Joon blames her for his mother’s death, like Mari lied tonight to Da Ran, she lied the night KJ’s mother died night too.
*Flashback* Mari and Kyung Joon are at his mother’s restaurant, and she spills she knows her father is going to propose to his mother tonight, which neither of them want. She’s going to lie she’s ill to prevent it, and she instructs him to do his part by not letting his mother come over.
Mari reveals his mother was shot that night. If only she had come over, it would never have happened, so it’s all her fault. Aw, sweetheart that is some burden to carry.
Da Ran goes to find Kyung Joon who is thinking alone in his front yard, also remembering that night.
*Flashback* Kyung Joon demands his mother not to go to Mari’s- he threatens, “If you go, I’ll never see you again.” His mother instantly acquiesces, saying she’ll stay with her son. Later, as they’re on their way home, a couple of men call out “Hey you” and shoot his mother from behind.
Ok, can we talk about this? So clearly Kyung Joon really blames himself, not Mari. That’s sad. The rest of that scene though? What the hell? Kyung Joon sulks and threatens and his mother just gives in? Was he the most spoilt kid on the planet? Are we just supposed attribute it to an idealised memory? Also Muggers, what is your deal? I hope you have a back story, because do you just randomly go around shooting people without a reason? You didn’t even try to off the witness, Kyung Joon? I’m too confused to be sad.
Alright, back to the present: Kyung Joon admits he didn’t want his mother to be with someone else (and take the attention away from him), and now he can never see her again. Da Ran hugs him from behind, comforting him as the music swells: “It wasn’t your fault. You were just being like Choong Shik, it wasn’t because of you.”
Next day- Na Teacher, Aekyung and the Principal are all at the dumpling restaurant. It turns out the Principal was a hoobae (junior) of DR’s father when he was a teacher, so she was also once DR’s mother’s teacher. The Principal bitches that she didn’t recognise DR’s mother, as she’s aged so much. Kyung Joon’s uncle is also there at another table, wondering why DR’s mother doesn’t recognise him, is it because of the moustache? The Principal and KJ’s uncle recognise each other as well. *Flashback* DR’s dad is basically seducing the DR’s mother, who is still a student, while KJ’s uncle and the Principal watch from the side-lines. In the present, KJ’s uncle and the Principal have a telepathic conversation apparently.
Choong Shik brags to his friends, because Mari was searching so hard, and came for him personally, he decided to return home. His speech is interrupted however, when he can’t sit down because his butt hurts. I guess his mother pulled out the mop. Choong Shik hilariously tries to maintain his suave demeanour: “I didn’t get beaten, I allowed my mother to beat me to make her feel better.” Then, sternly: “Treat your mothers well!” Why are all the kids so awesome in this drama? Choong Shik is still holding onto his dream of following Mari to America, but he also acknowledges Mari will probably want to be with Kyung Joon…
Mari waits for Kyung Joon outside his home, trying to make amends with his favourite icy pole. When Kyung Joon comes and notices her, she laments that it’s all melted: “It’s all my fault, I messed everything up.” Aw kid. She’s just like a kid here, wanting to ask for forgiveness, but also not knowing how to approach it directly.
Kyung Joon kindly let’s her off the hook: “It’s not your fault. It’s a hot day.” Then he tells her what she really wants to hear, “My mother wasn’t your fault either.” Mari promises not to be too pushy and get her own way from now on, making Kyung Joon smile and tap the top of her head with his fingers. Mari finally smiles too. Jeez, I don’t feel like being so mean about this episode anymore. These kids guys, are making me all teary.
Da Ran is at the hospital watching over coma-Kyung Joon’s body and she remembers Kyung Joon’s line at the top of the episode: that marrying him is simply putting things back the way they were.
Cut to Da Ran confronting Se Young again. Jeez, seriously? Why, Da Ran-ah, why? Basically Da Ran is all, I don’t care about your past with Yoon Jae, I’m going to be confident and live well and blah blah blah. I seriously don’t care, because WHAT THE HELL? I know this scene is supposed to be fist-pumpy, but it’s not, it’s LAME. Why can’t Da Ran live by that adage, that living well is the best revenge, instead of pulling Se Young out to witness how much stronger she is now? Argh! I’m almost Team Se Young in this scene. Anyway, Se Young says she’s going to keep bothering Da Ran by being wind, and Da Ran is all, ‘I’m a tree!’. Whatever, moving on.
Da Ran goes to look for her ring, resolved to punch Se Young in the nuts or something, but thankfully Kyung Joon appears, he already found the ring.
Da Ran admits her feelings for Yoon Jae haven’t died, which Kyung Joon acknowledges he knows. He promises he won’t do anything to try and stop those feelings, but in turn Da Ran makes her own promise as she takes the ring from his hand: “I’m going to stay by your side so you can grow up properly. Kang Kyung Joon, marry me. I’ll raise you well.” Da Ran ruffles his head. I like that this mini ceremony is a promise to look after and protect each other, without any romantic undertones. It was sweet.
Da Ran is now in the living room, but still staring at the ring, while Kyung Joon goes over details of their marriage: if he’s still in YJ’s body by the time he’s 20, they’ll separate. Da Ran works herself up to the put in the ring on, but Kyung Joon stops her to do it himself. Then he ruins the mood by reinstating the ‘dog manner’ rule- can’t have her forgetting herself and accosting his body. Da Ran grudgingly agrees, she’s the adult so she’ll accept/endure it.
Mari and Choong Shik are back visiting the Shaman with the unsuccessful talisman- the Shaman acts offended, but really just haggles over pricing. Mari wants a new talisman, one that will ensure Da Ran and Kyung Joon will never like each other. When Choong Shik gets up to do his thing (I don’t understand what), Mari hilariously says he’s not allowed, he’s not “pure” (because of the porn stash). Choong Shik lies the porn (he can’t even say the word out loud) was his father’s, he himself is pure! The Shaman slaps the table, yes, it’s true and sends Choong Shik off to complete the ceremony.
Se Young is visiting YJ’s mother- she still wants to remain in contact, even after Yoon Jae gets married. They discuss how Yoon Jae is getting married in a such a rush even his father won’t be able to make the wedding. God, can’t I have exposition without either of these two involved? No? Okay. The mystery of the ‘miracle’ book and picture is revealed: Yoon Jae’s father painted the picture, and the book Yoon Jae has is unpublished. Apparently the book is about one child who saves another child, so that child could save yet another child. Drama, are you setting us up for a sad ending?
Cue wedding prep. Hanbocks get whipped out, Mari tries on what appears to be a mini-wedding dress. It’s both inappropriate and ugly. That particular shade of white and that fabric is really quite awful. Choong Shik tries to suggest that maybe it’s not the right choice, but Mari is unfazed. She’s going to wear the dress and stick to Kyung Joon. Choong Shik: “It will seem like there’s one groom, and two brides…” Mari exclaims “Exactly!” totally pleased with herself.
Da Ran and Kyung Joon are drinking beer and vitamin water respectively, apparently it’s the night before the wedding. Wait, WHAT?! How did we get here so quickly?
Da Ran uses the Vitamin water and the beer to illustrate the difference between them. She can drink, he can’t. They must never forget that divide between them. Kyung Joon agrees, when the day he can open (drink) a can of beer comes and he hasn’t switched back, they’ll share a friendly drink and say their goodbyes to each other.
The next scene… demonstrates they’re married, with DR’s father adding a wedding photo to the rock collection. So we don’t get to see the wedding I guess. I’m back to being bored.
Da Ran and Kyung Joon are on the way to the airport, now newlyweds. Da Ran is practising her Chinese. Apparently she’s going to China for their honeymoon… alone. A plan Kyung Joon doesn’t seem to be down with, as he sulks all the way through their goodbye until he notices Da Ra has left her ticket and passport behind in the car.
At first he tries to get Da Ran’s attention, but he quickly gives up in favour of grinning evilly. He waits for Da Ran’s call in the car, in which she’s frantic, begging him to return quickly with her ticket. He feigns ignorance, further pretending he’s already far away from the airport, maybe too far to make it in time. He waits until her plane has left before he finally saunters in with her ticket, “Am I too late?” Hee, he’s so gleeful.
Kyung Joon takes her to eat Chinese food (still at the airport- also, it would be a Koreanised version of Chinese food making it an even poorer substitute). Kyung Joon is in a great mood, while Da Ran munches her black bean noodles like a sad kid. Kyung Joon suggests they should forget the honeymoon, but they could go on a trip together. Ah, that was his plan.
Meanwhile, YJ’s mother calls YJ’s father, complaining he couldn’t even make it to his own son’s wedding. He says he’s been too busy, apparently he just discovered “that child”‘s mother was recently shot and killed, and he no longer knows where he is. YJ’s mother is shocked by the news. YJ’s father says he’s looking for Kyung Joon, and Yoon Jae would understand the significance of it. Hmm, this conversation leads me to believe maybe Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon aren’t related after all? The way they’re talking about Kyung Joon doesn’t seem like there’s any familial connection at all.
Kyung Joon and Da Ran try to decide on a destination for their trip- Da Ran personally still wants to go to China. It finally occurs to her to ask how is it he already had his passport and things ready? Kyung Joon fluffs out a lie about always being prepared. Da Ran- “Oh, then if I asked before if you wanted to come with me, you could have! Honestly, I didn’t feel good about going on my own.” Kyung Joon is happy to hear it, but tries not to give it away. Da Ran confesses, she wanted to ask, but thought it might be too weird (being a honeymoon).
Kyung Joon too innocently: “Why?” Da Ran struggles to answer and Kyung Joon condescends “Don’t go overboard! This won’t be like a honeymoon.” Da Ran makes an excuse about needing cash, and tries to pull herself together, wondering aloud why she’s all fluttery. She can’t let on to Kyung Joon, or it will be embarrassing.
Kyung Joon is happily looking at possible destinations, when he starts to become dizzy. We see coma-Kyung Joon’s body momentarily come to life, as if his heart has been started for a split second.
Da Ran returns- “Kyung Joon-ah!”, he looks at her but doesn’t answer. Da Ran asks “what’s wrong?”
Finally he responds: “Just now, I think I went to my body and back. Congratulations Gil Teacher, it seems like Seo Yoon Jae is coming back.”
I’m still not 100% on the Kyung Joon & Da Ran boat. Not because I don’t love them together, but because they seem at their best as friends and protectors, not boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife. This may be because Da Ran has tried hard to keep that distance between them, but I wonder if it’s also a conscious choice on the part of the writers. On the other hand, I could be projecting because I love their relationship the way it is.
I was excited at the thought of Yoon Jae coming back in previous episodes, but now Da Ran has gone and married his body, I’m not quite sure how that will serve to direct their interactions. I’m still excited because at this point, it feels so necessary to the show (especially if without him we’re just going to circle the same plot points over and over), however I’m a little concerned Da Ran is going to further go into her timid and meek shell, rather than assert herself as she might of, had been no wedding. It’s hard to be the wronged party when you’ve gone and married someone without their consent.
Finally, Kyung Joon has really demonstrated how much he’s grown throughout the drama in the last couple of episodes. His scenes with the kids at the hospital illustrates it in quite a sad way I think. Before, he desperately wanted to be recognised as an adult, but now he’s starting to feel the loss of not being able to be a kid. He behaves like an adult with Mari now as well- some of it is because he’s always behaved like an older brother with her, but some of it is also because he now actually feels older than her. There’s a distant maturity in the way he handled her this episode as opposed to previous ones. I wonder if the appeal of being with Da Ran these days is because she won’t let him forget he’s still a kid.