The number of crazies goes up as Dong-chan and Soo-hyeon delve further into Saet-byeol's not-yet-happened murder mystery. Everyone has an agenda, even the most seemingly innocuous of characters, and each of them pushes the story forward.
Three characters this episode made their agendas known, which shed light on several other characters. Dong-chan's mother is still trying to prove Dong-ho innocent and she took the job babysitting Saet-byeol for that end. This in turn sheds light on Ji-hoon's past work and gives rise to a few questions. The other character is the squatter grandpa who is currently living with Dong-chan. It had seemed as though he wanted to donate his fortune to Dong-chan when he died, but his name has now been tied to the president of South Korea - grandpa is firmly against the death penalty, the very thing that got the president elected. That death penalty will take Dong-ho's life if Dong-chang and Soo-hyeon don't change fate. Grandpa has a plan in mind that involves Dong-chan clearing his brother's name.
The third is Min-ah, Ji-hoon's mistress and Soo-hyeon's work junior. She wants to have Ji-hoon's baby. That baby is revealing a darker side of Ji-hoon - he wants it aborted. It also loses him his family, Saet-byeol and Soo-hyeon. This loss sends him into much darker territory that include secret meetings in the rain, ominous phone calls, and dire threats. Of course, all of this could be a writing smoke screen to make us think that he's the ultimate bad guy. But as this show tells us, there are never a shortage of bad guys. People do bad things every day. Saet-byeol's fate lies in the culmination of those bad things.
I love how the layers of our characters are peeled away as we delve deeper into the mystery. This episode was Ji-hoon's and Dong-chan's. Ji-hoon wasn't a strong supporter of his wife from the beginning. He never once believed her fears, or really even listened to them. His cheating, and the way he reacts to be caught proves that he's too selfish to do so. Then there is Dong-chan who was too damaged to care about anyone else until he met Soo-hyeon and was moved by her driving passion to save her child. We learned this episode that his first love was one of the women supposedly killed by his brother - that just complicated matters tenfold. It also makes his efforts with innocent Yeong-gyu that much sweeter.
What makes Dong-chan amazing is the way he grows. He'll take two steps forward, and then be pulled one step back by his painful past and his inability to let go. He's fallen in love with Soo-hyeon, and that's not necessary bad. He was also won over by Saet-byeol who is so much like Soo-hyeon and is quite the little charmer. Together mother and daughter represent the kind of love he is missing - familial. He's estranged from his mother who supports his felon brother. He rarely approaches his nephew. But his love for Soo-hyeon is opening him up, making him able to change. Her ability to see beyond his gruff exterior opens him up. This use of the romantic aspect of storytelling is awesome.
Add Saet-byeol into the Soo-hyeon/Dong-chan mix and we have something wonderful. The child makes him open up in the way that only a child can. She's frank in her reactions to him. When he's goofy, she smiles. When he's angry, she's scared. She's a mirror for him. She's also a shield for her mother. She knows her father has done something bad and promises to protect Soo-hyeon. Children may act like children, Saet-byeol may run off when she's not supposed to, but she's acutely aware of her mother's feelings. Her scenes are some of the most poignant in the show because of her raw understanding.
In the same way, Yeong-gyu grounds Dong-chan's family and keeps them connect - he keeps the hope alive. All of the adults involved want to care for him and protect him. He provides the reason to have a small hope that the family will reconcile. Again, I have to compliment Baro on his acting. He's natural and effervescent as the intellectually impaired Yeong-gyu, a role that could easily be overacted.
The show is starting to show a few effects from the live shoot process. A lot of scene editing and cuts are jarring, and the lighting in the darker scenes is still an issue. Also, Soo-hyeon is so hysterical that she stands out in comparison to the other, better developed characters. It feels like the writing was geared towards developing the other characters and not as much effort was put into her. I did appreciate that she married Ji-hoon for his upright morality as a defender, but in the end, that blind faith betrayed her. That is a reason to be very hurt. However, her hysterics are too much.
With eight episodes left, we've made progress into the mystery of Saet-byeol's death, but a lot of that progress may be undermined. The show tends to do that. The prophecy made by the mysterious shop lady in the first episode said "one of two will die". That looms over my head pretty heavily. Which two are we talking about exactly? We probably won't find out for eight episodes. That's okay. I'll go along for the ride.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Follow on Twitter @raine0211
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "God's Gift - 14 Days" Episode 8"
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