I made the mistake (?) of watching the previews of eps 15 and 16 before watching episode 15 today. And honestly, after seeing those previews I was tempted to skipped this week’s episodes. The pain and angst in there nearly made my teeth ache and I thought back to what I wrote about a week ago on my fear that Dohyun would start to treat Rijin like a china doll and that Ri on would begin to posture and argue that he knew what was better for Rijin than she did. Yet a brief clip within the related videos of Dohyun weeping while speaking of Rijin made my change my mind. I skimmed over it briefly, awed by Ji Sung’s acting as usual but Ri On’s tears gave me pause. Plus I love this show too much to do it the disservice of skipping a part of the narrative
So despite the inherent stupidity and noble idiocy that I felt was coming, I went ahead with watching episode 15.
I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. I was completely and utterly wrong in so many ways. It feels like ym heart’s been used for target practice. How am I still breathing?
Yes, Rijin is going to be sent away for her own good. But firstly, this isn’t about Ri on and Dohyun knowing what’s best for Rijin and making decisions on her behalf without her input on the matter. Both men, Dohyun especially, have the horrible misfortune of being placed in an untenable position involving her. Dohyun can’t simply go up to her and blurt out that he’s recovered his memories. He can’t tell her what he’s learned due to how awful, disgusting and traumatic those events were for her. Due to how damn guilty he feels, even though it was something so far out of his control, and out of fear that he’ll shatter the life she’s made for herself. This was the same decision Ri on had to make all those years ago when he found the truth. Should he tell her and risk seeing her hurt and breaking the Oh family up? Or should he remain silent and bear the weight of it, watching her live her life as the bright empathetic person she is? He chose the latter and so does Cha Dohyun. Not because they don’t think her strong enough to handle the pain that will follow (both are quite aware and appreciative of what a strong person she is) but simply because they know it’s going to be long and arduous healing process. Learning that you were horribly abused as a child isn’t going to come easy. She’s going to wonder, why her? why didn’t anyone help her? Dohyun knows this because – and the reason is damn heartbreaking- he’s asked himself those same questions night after painful night. He, who wanted more than anything to love and be loved, knows what she’s going to feel, and never ever would he even think of putting her through that.
It’s more than noble, and it’s certainly not noble idiocy, as I honestly can’t think of a way out for them. It’s one thing with Choi In Ha and Dalpo, casting longing glances at each other whenever the other isn’t looking instead of fighting together and dispensing with the useless angst. THAT is noble idiocy, when you have a smarter option but you aren’t taking it because you want o be stupidly noble. What Dohyun is doing is far, far beyond that. He’s sacrificing the one person in life he holds dearest so that she will never have to fear anything.
Dohyun doesn’t just care for Rijin. This is something born out of far more than simple gratitude for how she understands him and doesn’t fear his disorder, his attraction to just bright warm and caring she is, and his general fascination with her. He -and I don’t think anyone who has seen today’s episode can disagree with this- adores her. I’ve never had cause to use this word in conjunction with a character’s relationship before simply because ‘love’ was always enough. But what he’s doing here goes above and beyond that. Ji Sung owns this episode, with the palpable agony in his eyes, with the awful heart-wrenching sobs he gives way to when realizing just how depraved his batshit crazy mother is, and his profound words to Ri On. There was even that heart-stopping instant when his gaze turned into that of Segi.
Even screencaps won’t do this justice.
But what I find just as painful as his love and sacrifice is the enormous self-hatred he bears once again. Dohyun today, was just as gentle as he always was, but the teasing, the puppy-like smile in his eyes, the little kid excitement that ran through him has vanished. The Dohyun of old, of the first few episodes has returned, quiet, somber, with the weight of the world on him. For a few seconds on the roof, he even believed that he no longer had the right to touch her, to comfort her. Damn Cha Joon Pyo for destroying the minds and hearts of two children that way. And Damn Shin Hwa Ran for caring for none of it, save her own self-interest. Dohyun may have retreated into himself yet he channels Segi’s rage and fury, coupled with several billion gallons of his own, towards Seungjin Group and its evil groomers. Yet any revenge he might wish would mean that Rijin would learn of her past, so Dohyun has little choice, as he sees it, but to leave, taking at least one source of Rijin’s pain with him. It’s an agonizing process to watch, even as I can’t think of a way out for him. Rijin needs to find what happened back there. Not just for Cha Dohyun but for herself. And for either Dohyun and/or Rion to pull the curtain away from those memories would make them much less likable in my view.
So who better to pull the plug than Grandma? We all get a reason to hate her more and Rijin recovers her memories, so neither Dohyun nor Ri on need to bear that pain or make those sacrifices anymore. The preview for Episode 16 shows Dohyun and Rijin being adorable on their ‘final’ date (THERE WILL BE MORE, I think we can safely bet on that knowing this show) with Dohyun acting weird and sad and Rijin calling him out being the perfect human vitamin she is. Dohyun says his requisite goodbye with enough pain in his eyes to fell what’s left of soul.
You guys, I was weeping buckets at the end of this episode. And the preview nearly made things worse. Until…Rijin stares someone down saying “He thinks I’ll become unhappy if I remember my past.” She then walks away from Dohyun whose staring sadly at the ocean…HOLD UP! That’s not Dohyun, that’s Ri on but he’s at the same place that Dohyun said goodbye to Rijin…meaning if this is going where I think this is going…
OH RIJIN IS BRILLIANT. This show is brilliant. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode. I would speculate on my fears and how it could all go horribly wrong (what with Chae Yeon professing that there’s someone she wants to ‘have’ and the chance for potential Dohyun-chasing and misunderstanding) but I won’t. Those are foolish cliches that have been beaten to death, and I hope – no – I trust that this show will not take that insipid path. To me, this is what that preview shows. Rijin has a brain and realizes that Dohyun is doing this because he adores her and fears what lurks in those memories for some reason, she also appeared to have realized that Ri on has been keeping a lot from her, and gets slightly mad at that. She’s forced into Grandma Seo’s presence and sees a picture of her abuser which triggers a panic attack. Whether Dohyun swoops in or Rijin navigates the murky Seungjin family waters with her trademark straightforwardness, courage and one-two punch is the final question. I just hate seeing them in pain. Dohyun especially
Considering how lovely he is, it’s gut-wrenching, and soul-shattering to see his pain. I can’t wait to see him smile again. Let this wave pass soon, show. Let’s have them firmly united, ready to battle anything and everything together as soon as possible. For, our poor puppy’s sake.
This show has delighted me, and continues to surprise me at every turn. I’m not to deny that some worry does exist for what’s in store for us these final five (WHY? WHY? I want more!) episodes but I’m holding firmly to the idea that these characters, actors and writers won’t let us down. Ri On whom I thought would become this show’s antagonist, turned out to be a wonderful person, who cares deeply for Rijin in his own right, doesn’t feel the need to be a posturking jerk to Dohyun, and feels every inch of Dohyun’s agony, as we saw during that ending. Given wonderful writing, acting (with Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joong acting their chops off just as well as Ji Sung) and directing like this, I have faith that we’ll get our ending at the end of the rainbow.
And that it’ll be pure gold