Well that’s a ponderous title, innit?
But it’s the latter part that’s going to elevate this post beyond squeefest. Because that’s what 90% of this will be. I love, love, love, love, love, love Jian and Hyun as people and as a couple. I love every bit of their dynamic. Take note, drama couples. Hyun and Jian begin their relationship in (in my humble inexperienced opinion) the best way possible. They’re don’t tread lightly around each other. He blatantly calls her an annoying stalker and she blatantly calls him a too-intelligent jackass. But when he’s accused of murder, the first person he goes to is her. Well…sorta…he did break into her home and stuff. Not that I would complain if i came home to him in front of my tv.
Especially if said person decides to clean up my pigsty of a home and most definitely if said male is more of a hedgehog than a murderer. I love how comfortable they are with each other from her casually flipping him over and dousing his wound in antibiotic cream and him carrying her over to the bed and shoving her on it with the gentleness of a rhino.
They don’t bother with trying to impress each other. Him with his penchant for housecleaning, cooking, crime scenes and aprons, and her with her messiness, forgetfulness and blatant lack of English knowledge. They take each other as who they are and it frankly doesn’t take them long to like what they see.
She may not be as intelligent as he is in matters of psychology and understanding the criminal psyche, but she remains the voice of reason through the show. Hyun believes himself to be a monster? Nope, she’s not taking that.
Hyun’s going through some sort of mental turmoil with regards to his brother? Fine, she’ll wait until he’s ready to tell her but once he does, whether he believed her asleep or not, she’s not going to let him avoid it that easily.
They talk to each other, support each other and rely on each other without needing words. She’s going out with a gun to kill Lee Joonyoung? Nope, he’s not having that.
It’s her birthday? Guess who’s baking (and icing) a cake?
Meaning whenever they show up and that ghastly ill-time OST starts to play, I begin squeeing. She asks him out to the movies as a bonding session once they’re partners. Cue girly dress-up time? Nope, she gets into a dress, stares at herself and promptly steps back out into work wear. Not that I have any problem with dress-up time (frankly, I spend far more time than I should on the activity) but it’s just so nice not to see fierce kick-ass Jian pondering what she could wear on a movie night with her hot partner. And I sort of love that they visited the same abandoned carnival where the opening sequences of Angel Eyes was shot. Their relationship flies in the face of all the slow-motion dreamy/ overbearingly, irrationally angsty/ why can’t we be together style romances in Kdramaland. Take the “First Kiss” for instance.
First Kiss: A crucial moment in Kdramas where hero and heroine fuse lips, most often due to drunkness, hormones or other extremely controllable results. This often results in a fallout between them for reasons ranging from feigned amnesia of the incident (for unknowable and often irrational reasons), the classic “but we can’t be together anyway”, the “I don’t actually like you, you were sitting in for someone else” lie, the “I didn’t mean it, I was drunk” excuse, to the extremely exasperating “we can’t behave like adults for some reason now that our lips have touched.”
As a result, I was
ridiculously giddy, pleasantly surprised when Jian stood on her toes, and planted one on him while he stood, utterly stunned. And then of course, Jian realizes that she’d leaped before looking and waits for a hole to open up and swallow her while he remains in shock for a few seconds before reverting to that gives her that “You amuse me” look. And whoa baby is it just me or is he pleased to see her? Take a good look at that final screencap (his pants) is all I’m saying.
She retreats to her room (in his house) to die of mortification.
And a few hours later, Hyun walks in to see this,
he’s just like “Want to get on this case?” and she’s like “yeah”. How awesome is that?
Their interactions are amusing, candid and just a breath of fresh air on any and every level.
Frankly, I’d have preferred it if that OST didn’t start nearly every time they were being perfect because those moments of perfection are quite low-key and that OST is anything but that. But this is seriously such a great romance. She’s warm, gentle, kickass and just the perfect partner and foil to snarky, prissy, “get lost” Hyun. But there are more than two people in this romance as strange as it may sound. Because there’s someone else whom Hyun loves dearly.
Hello bromance of the century. Is it just me or was their crazy chemistry between Seo Inguk and Park Bogum? From the moment Lawyer Jung came onscreen the question was whether he wanted to kill Hyun or win Hyun over and the answer was really both and neither. He simply wanted his brother’s love. And as we watched the realization slow dawn upon Hyun that this man whom he’d treated like an enemy, to whom he’d made his dislike and disinterest blatantly clear, could be his brother, we knew we were being set up for a great deal of pain. What I didn’t expect was for it do draw such a visceral reaction out of me. That moment where they met face to face as brothers for the first time in twenty years? Heartrending. That was honestly an Oscar-worthy performance on part of both. Hyun’s anguish coupled with the horrifying realization that he’d betrayed his brother was tangible, Min’s pain was agonizingly raw. And I was left gaping like a fish at the sheer beauty of this show. Honestly screencaps don’t even do this justice.
Good Lord that’s painful. But there’s where the beauty of this show – of any great show – lies: in making you feel for and with the characters in a manner so deep, it has you questioning your own attachment to a fictitious narrative (and the argument I make for that is always the same. It’s real to the writer penning this and mentally living in this world, it’s real to the actors putting their heart and soul into the realizing of this world, it’s real to those scoring and editing this work, so why shouldn’t it be real to you watching this work?) Like former lovers reunited we watch their story begin anew, from Hyun returning to visit his brother everyday to Min tentatively beginning to respond to those demonstrations of affection. And how much do I love that this show didn’t pull the “the heroine’s in danger and need of rescue” card but instead put Min in danger? And how much do I adore that it was the collective effort and incredibly quick thinking of both Jian and Hyun that saved him? I gotta say, I fell hard for this show. As bonds of warmth, affection and love began to grow (and in Min and Hyun’s case regrow and straighten out) between Jian and Hyun and Min and Hyun, it was a given that Min and Jian would have to interact at some point. And honestly? It was phenomenal.
It’s fair to say that Min frightens Jian at times, heaven know he certainly did me at the start of the final episode. It’s strange, knowing what a lost puppy he is around Hyun and then seeing him turn into this confident, menacing, Lee Joonyoung-like creature around Jian. But I think it’s safe to say that Min is frightened a great deal by Jian as well. Jian and Min are honestly the most important things in Hyun’s life. Remember that part when Hyun tells her that her worth to him is the equivalent of dividing a number by zero and launches into an explanation of Fermat’s last theorem I thought I left behind in first year calculus? Yeah, I swooned.
Point is that Min remains afraid of Jian’s place in Hyun’s life. Not that he’s about to order another hit on her or something, but the lad is neck-deep in insecurity and having this perfect, warm, intelligent female next to Hyun isn’t doing anything for his poor heart, especially when said female is a cop. Part of him wants to test her, the other part simply wants to be by his brother’s side without fear, just like she is. And as frightened as Jian is, (and I love that she makes no qualms or apologies about it to Hyun and that he takes no offense and listens carefully to her) she sees that lost child in him. Hence this scene of gloriousness in the finale.
This was honestly just beautiful. Watching her offer comfort for what he’d been through and what he had yet to do was incredibly moving. There was no fear there, simply understanding and sorrow for the ending she knew was inevitable. This wasn’t in the same vein as Lee Joonyoung’s messing with Min’s mind. She was simply trying to show him that there were really only two outcomes here. The choice was his, and as much as it hurt her to having to say it, only the difficult one held even the smallest chance of a happy ending. She just looks straight through all the menace to the puppy beneath and hugs it tight while telling him what has to happen for that ending to come true, and man I just wish Hyun had seen how beautiful it all was.
I honestly couldn’t find fault with what he said here. But like I said before, this isn’t the Middle Ages or Middle Earth or some movie with billionaire playboys turned vigilantes. You can’t get away with that sort of thing without spending a great deal of money or scratching some very nasty backs. And how on earth would Lee Hyun – or Min for that matter – live with themselves after having done that? Then there’s the fact that Min has quite a twisted worldview which is in severe need of being straightened out at least a little. This isn’t about making him think the way everyone else does because of what’s right or wrong, but merely reacquainting him with society in a manner different from Lee Joonyoung’s. His thinking processes might change or stay the same, the important point is that he can control them fully and has a safe place to vent if he needs to (by Hyun’s side) with people who understand and care for him. And we saw him realize that simpler terms: he had to go to jail for Hyun to be free.
Which is why that last date honestly had me bawling my eyes out. The hesitant way he asked that question.
The sweet smile on Hyun’s face as he caught the gist of what his brother meant.
The tentative “I’ll take a picture if you do” after both of them disavowed all interest in selfies
The first try where neither smiles, because let’s face it, they’re brother to the bone and they don’t smile much anyway
When Min hesitantly leans in closer to take a look at the picture
The second try where both sport pained grimaces at the slight awkwardness of selfie-taking and at the picture that follows
The third try where the most stunning smile you can imagine suddenly beams on Min’s face. The first we’ve seen all sixteen hours of this show. It’s wonderful. And utterly heart-rending due what we know will come next.
It’s one thing to have a bromance and a romance, and it’s another when they feed off each other. Which is why a great deal of tears was mixed with all that swooning I did because the end was coming.
I had one hell of an oh-shit! moment when Min collapsed but some part of me refused to believe that this was happening. Definitely a Healer-style fakeout, it kept telling me, because Lee Joonyoung wouldn’t kill one of his kids, especially not the one closest to him. And it was quite the relief when my fears were allayed. I’m glad that we had a one year gap, honestly, I really am. We saw how strong the bond between Hyun and Jian was and it easily survived a year’s gap. A gap which was necessary for Hyun and Min’s bond to deepen. Putting the romance on hold for the bromance. Hyun has his priorities right, because Min’s the most broken one here and I’m glad that he focused on salvaging, and reforging that relationship before forging ahead with Jian.
Not that Jian wasn’t thinking of them both either. The alternate timeline she daydreamed of was one of the most poignant moments in the show. It’s all too likely that Hyun and Jian – one with a father who went in and out of the jail frequently, and the other whose father was a prison guard – would have met. And it’s all to easy to believe that Jian would have fallen headfirst in love and Hyun would have graced her with a “get lost”. But what hurts most is the happy little brother standing by his side with a grin stretching from ear to ear.
A brother that grows up perfectly well because of his promise to Hyun, and one that irritates Jian along with Hyun with his knowledge of English.
Alas that is something that we can only hope for once all is said and done, after Min made the brave choice to leave Lee Joonyoung and his legacy behind. I love how put out Jian was that he didn’t contact her once during the past year and simply vanished off the face of the earth. I mean, fair warning is fine and all but that is quite sudden. Then again, the man had priorities. She sure has a lot to catch up on! But first, kisses a plenty please!
And excuse me if I delight in how she clutches at his arms and suit jacket. It’s the most adorable thing!
I love how even Lee Joonyoung looks at Hyun, then Jian, and smiles. I will never truly understand what to make of that man and I suspect neither will Hyun (he’s more interested in getting him to pay for his crimes at some point) but there are times when his reactions really are spot on (like when a wet hair-towel wrapped Jian nearly brained him with a cellphone). And so onwards we go, to our happy ending?
And here’s Part 4! Hint, hint, it’s a meticulous analysis of what may occur in the future (oh who am I kidding, it’s a fanfic because I love Min a little too much than is healthy)