I’ve enjoyed writing recaps for Big (this has been an entirely new experience for me), because the time it takes to write out every scene gives me a chance to process everything I’ve seen in different way. Today, unfortunately I’m too swamped with work to manage it, but I figured since Dramabeans and Koala’s Playground do such great recaps anyway, there’s no reason to put one out a couple days late.
I did want to write my thoughts on the episode however- although as I said, I’ve had less to time to process it all. My thoughts here aren’t a critical assessment of the quality of the episode, as much as it is me spewing ‘I have too many feels!’
Let’s deal with this noble idiocy action: it’s stupid. The behaviour of pretty much everyone at the end of this episode, sans Se Young (Se Young for god’s sake), and Kyung Joon, are straight up whack. Whether you consider the result to be affective is another question altogether, that I’ll address a little later. Firstly, let’s break everything down:
1. As I wrote last week, Kyung Joon comes to the conclusion his body swapping experiences so far, haven’t been attempts to swap back, but are likely direct results of Yoon Jae’s body breaking down.
2. Kyung Joon overhears the truth about his birth: he shares the same parents with Yoon Jae, and apparently he was born purely to save his older brother. That’s some pretty heavy shit. Unsurprisingly, his mother’s assertions that she was only thinking of Yoon Jae, and that Yoon Jae is the only thing that matters, doesn’t go over too well. Seriously, Yoon Jae’s mother is the freaking worst.
3. Mari also overhears the big birth secret at the same time, and when she discusses it with Kyung Joon, who is still reeling from the news, he CONJECTURES that saving Yoon Jae’s body may balance things out and put everyone back in their respective bodies. He also frames Yoon Jae’s current coma state as a manipulative means of staying alive…
4. Still angry, he also states he’s not going to help Yoon Jae, he’s going to ignore everyone and just stay with Da Ran. Here is where the logic and motivation begins to break down a little, because we’re all working on so many assumptions. If he does nothing, is he assuming he’ll be stuck in Yoon Jae’s dying body, in which case he’ll also die- somewhat defeating his determination to stay with Da Ran? OR does he believe he’ll go back to his own body when Yoon Jae’s eventually breaks down? Personally I don’t think he’s really had a chance to process everything and think it all through. His decision here didn’t feel like it was a definitive choice, as much as it was simply lashing out at all the people who have betrayed him.
5. Mari however, takes this statement and runs with it, seemingly because it suits her own purposes. She poisons Kyung Joon with the idea that Da Ran has known everything all along, and she’s been lying to him in order to save Yoon Jae. *shakes fist*
6. Mari covers her bases and tattles to Da Ran that Kyung Joon now knows everything. She blames everything on Da Ran being unable to stop herself for falling for Kyung Joon. HOLD UP. What?! She actually says that Yoon Jae’s illness and Kyung Joon being sad are Da Ran’s fault, and Da Ran useless as she is, just takes it.
7. Mari repeats Kyung Joon’s thoughts to Da Ran- that if he goes through with the surgery everything will go back to the way it was. She impresses upon Da Ran the importance of pushing Kyung Joon away by reasserting her loyalty to Yoon Jae.
8. Da Ran, continuing her reign as the most passive, easily persuaded heroine ever, does Mari’s bidding and breaks Kyung Joon’s heart, literally pushing away his plea (by pushing away his hand while wearing Yoon Jae’s ring) for her to stay by his side and support him.
Okay- let’s not even discuss the fact that this sequence of events makes almost no fucking sense, everyone is working on assumptions they’re not even sure are possible, but whatever. Mari’s saving grace as character thus far has been her absolute and unflagging loyalty to Kyung Joon, the sweetness of which has softened all her abrasive edges. This episode torpedoed all of that goodwill, showing that her loyalty is actually rotten. I don’t know if that’s what the writers intended, but her actions in this episode don’t paint her as doing what she thinks is best for Kyung Joon; nothing she does here is altruistic, everything she does is selfish and for her own benefit. She’s seemingly only willing to save Kyung Joon on her own terms, and it sours a character that I was mostly fond of.
Now Da Ran: I believe her noble idiocy to be as much a result of her desire to save Kyung Joon as it is a means of atoning for falling for him. I get that she’s still feeling guilty and conflicted, but I cannot stress how much I don’t care about that angle, NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF AND STEP UP SON. Because fuck drama logic, pushing away Kyung Joon isn’t the only way of saving him.
I’m going to be Miss Obvious with the logic here, but does it never occur to anyone that actually talking through the problem with the person they care about could be more effective than fucking around with their emotions to manipulate them to do what you think is best for them? No? ‘It’s a drama’ is not a good enough excuse, especially if the execution is as poor as this, because I’d argue, subverting expectation and having Da Ran step up and support Kyung Joon could be equally, if not more, emotionally effective as what they pulled off here.
Particularly, because Kyung Joon’s reactions to everything, especially to Mari’s poison, is comparatively mature. Further, Da Ran knows he’s virtually alone in the world, and that he’s now dealing with the fact he was born purely to be a donor for another man, and she thinks it’s a good idea to stomp all over his heart? I also don’t actually believe in this act as being a form of noble idiocy- because stupid as those acts are- they’re by definition active, and self sacrificing gestures, and frankly this one reads more selfish (more about self flagellation really) and passive, than altruistic. Honestly, neither Mari or Da Ran, the two women who claim to love and care about Kyung Joon, behaved like they were really thinking more about him than they were about themselves, and I think that’s really disappointing. If Se Young can step the fuck up, then so can Da Ran.
Overall: This episode was sweet and endearing and exciting. I was genuinely swept away by the whole thing (I watched this at 2am and I was exhausted. That it managed to keep my attention says it all). I was also affected by the noble idiot storyline, so it’s not that it didn’t work to get an affective response from it’s audience, it’s just it’s such an obvious move, it’s almost a short cut to that emotion. It’s lazy. I would have been more pleased if the writers worked harder and did something less predictable. The end result of such laziness is an extremely disappointing heroine. Kyung Joon deserves better, and I genuinely hope Da Ran turns it all around and does something awesome for him in the remaining episodes.