TL;DR: I am very excited for all of the ladies who got some this episode.
But before I can squeal over that, I actually need to address the shoe that finally dropped this episode: Sung-jae. The flashbacks in this episode finally put the mall collapse in vague chronological order for us. Moon-soo and Kang-doo found each other on day one or two; Moon-soo was rescued on day three; Sung-jae and Kang-doo found each other on day three, four, or five; Sung-jae died on day three, four, or five; Kang-doo started talking to Sung-jae’s corpse on day five; and Kang-doo was rescued on day seven. By this count, Kang-doo may have spent more time underground with Sung-jae(/the Sung-jae in his head) than he did with Moon-soo.
The ways they found out about their mutual connection to Sung-jae were heartbreaking. Poor Kang-doo was halfway to a panic attack when he realized that Moon-soo was taking him to Sung-jae’s home—what happened when he went there after the mall collapse?—and it got even worse when Moon-soo told him that Sung-jae was the first guy she had ever liked. Kang-doo has been carrying the voice and memory of Sung-jae for the last twelve years, and he seems to treat it partly as a penance for surviving when Sung-jae didn’t and partly as repaying a favor for begging Sung-jae to answer him after Sung-jae had died.
And Moon-soo has repeatedly referenced the fact that she thinks she is a bad person for surviving when Yeon-soo didn’t and for asking Sung-jae to meet her at the mall. It’s no wonder that she had such a hard time approaching Sung-jae’s mother when the way she spoke implied that Sung-jae was alive. Moon-soo could have chickened out and asked Kang-doo to handle it on his own, but Sung-jae—well, he deserved for her to come to his family directly.
I can’t be upset with Kang-doo for keeping this information from Moon-soo. For one, he needed some time on his own to wrap his head around it, plus it was just last episode that he told Moon-soo it would be better if at least one of them was comfortable instead of both of them being miserable about what happened in the collapse. She didn’t insist on knowing the details, so he probably was telling himself that Sung-jae—well, Sung-jae was just more of that same awfulness, and Moon-soo had already been rescued by then, anyway. Why tell her about that particular flavor of horror when she probably thinks Sung-jae died instantly, like so many others?
I can’t be upset with Moon-soo, either. We’ve seen over and over that she reacts to surprise/shock by shutting down and/or trying to run away to give herself time to think (like when Yoo-jin let it slip that Kang-doo was also a collapse survivor). So of course when she finds the phone charm she made for Sung-jae, her prompt reaction is to connect the dots, cry, and then try to get the hell out of there.
Every time I think about that final scene, I want to wail. I thought Moon-soo pulling away from him after finding out that his father might have had a (small) part in the mall collapse was awful; it does not compare at all to that desperate hug and repeated declarations of love. He said he loved her because he wasn’t sure he’d get another chance to say it. ASDFJKL; that may actually be some fine-quality dramatic irony considering we’ve got the Nosebleed of Doom hanging over us for the finale.
In less emotionally fraught storylines, Yoo-jin and Joo-won finally had some comfort sex. It looks like maybe Joo-won is softening his stance toward Yoo-jin, what with ordering her room service and actual mixed emotions on his face during his scenes with her. But I wonder if this is too little, too late. Yoo-jin seems to be on the verge of tidying up her feelings and getting ready to say goodbye. She even went as far as to agree that she will probably sacrifice her marriage on the altar that is Cheongyu. Stepping in when possible human remains turned up on the site could very well be a final goodwill gesture. I’m torn between wanting Yoo-jin to finally get over her feelings and Joo-won to finally reciprocate.
Wan-jin, in the meantime, was adorable. I can accept Jin-yeong now that it’s clear he adores her, respects her, and is willing to fight people for her. Wan-jin thinks he has properly redeemed himself from his less-than-stellar start, and I haven’t wanted to snarl at him in several episodes, so he can stay—provided he keeps making Wan-jin smile like that.
Poor Ma-ri, on the other hand, just had the awful, embarrassing Other Woman encounter. As annoyed as I am that Yoo-taek’s wife isn’t going after, you know, her faithless husband, part of me hopes this was the reminder that Ma-ri needed to keep her heart out of the game when it came to Yoo-taek. (You are never tacky,
most of your outfits are stunning, and you deserve much better than Yoo-taek.) I want Ma-ri to settle down with some nice guy who genuinely likes her and doesn’t treat her like an emotional dumping ground/replacement goldfish. After that ugly way he accused her of sleeping with Kang-doo, my hatred for Yoo-taek has skyrocketed. Is it too late to hope for his comeuppance?
By the Numbers
- Repeated outfits: 2
- Blood-stained shirts: 2
- Inconvenient room service delivers: 1
- Scenes mentioning Sook-hee: 0 🙁
- Bechdel Test: 14 episodes passed