Nutshell Recap Episode #12:
Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) remembers Mi Young (Jang Na Ra), their baby, and their marriage. At her mother’s eatery he watches Mi Young interact with her sister’s baby but drives away unseen. He asks the doctor at the hospital if the brain disease has him in it’s grasp. The doctor says his father’s decline started just like this in his early 30’s. Lee Gun walks away believing his head is a ticking time bomb and his death is impending.
Now we begin the Lee Gun farewell tour.
Stop 1: Lee Gun attends the last prenatal class and his letter to their unborn child is not exactly uplifting. He takes Mi Young to lunch after the class. She presents him the Gunnie mug. He is visibly moved at the simple but beautiful gift. He encourages her to be strong (just like he did in episode 1).
Stop 2: Lee Gun breaks up with Se Ra (Wang Ji Won) who bitterly complains that if it were not for Mi Young this would not be happening. Lee Gun assures her this has NOTHING to do with Mi Young. In fact he will be breaking up with her later.
Stop 3: Lee Gun meets with the Lawyer and rips up the divorce agreement. Instead he dictates a will giving half his fortune to Mi Young and the baby should he die.
Se Ra meets with Mi Young telling her that Lee Gun will be giving her a revised divorce agreement. She slides the supposed revised agreement to Mi Young. Mi Young is stunned to see the divorce agreement requires her to hand over the baby to Lee Gun.
Stop 4: Lee Gun asks Mi Young to meet him. He returns the DP mug. He tells her that his new divorce terms include her receiving custody, alimony and child support. He returns his wedding ring. They agree to break up.
Lee Gun walks Mi Young to the street and they part. As she crosses the street Mi Young realizes that HIS MEMORY IS BACK. She calls to him but he will not turn around. As she turns back to him a car enters the cross walk hitting her.
At the hospital Lee Gun is frantic and is given a terrible choice – save Mi Young or save the baby.
Mi Young wakes in the hospital room with Lee Gun by her side. She asks where the baby is. Lee Gun tells her the baby is gone and that “I told him to leave”. She is distraught. That is NOT what she wanted. He was to SAVE the baby. Her family arrives. Lee Gun watches her sleep but does not touch her thinking it is best if he walks away completely.
Some time later Mi Young meets Lee Gun in his office. She asks if they can start over. He is surprised and visibly moved but he quickly shoves down the emotion and tells her no. She returns the signed divorce agreement and her wedding ring. She goes to the house and packs her remaining items with a tight leash on her emotions. When she finds the baby diary she openly weeps repeating “I am sorry” over and over.
Daniel Pitt (Choi Jin Hyuk) tempts her with a new life in Paris. She could go to the art school there. Mi Young considers this option for a fresh start.
Lee Gun returns home to an empty living suite. He goes to his private study where he has stored the baby crib.
Lee Gun and Mi Young’s mother say their goodbyes. Mi Young’s mother returns the money her son-in-law borrowed by selling the shop. She and her family will return to the island. She tells Lee Gun they are now strangers. Lee Gun asks if he can see Mi Young one last time. She tells him Mi Young is boarding a plane that will whisk her abroad and give her a fresh start. Lee Gun goes to the airport to see Mi Young but he misses her.
3 years later Mi Young returns to Seoul passing Lee Gun in the airport. He stops and stares wondering if it is her. Secretary Tak interrupts his thought process and whisks him away. Mi Young walks up to Daniel. He grins, thrilled she is back in town.
Comments are a chronological stream of consciousness I jotted down while I watched the episode:
* Mi Young doing Lee Gun’s voice at the last prenatal class was cute. I was pleased when Lee Gun showed up.
* Oh no, the show has gone melodramatic as Lee Gun PRETENDS NOT TO REMEMBER to protect Mi Young. Awk! Noble idiot! Awk!
* At the post prenatal class lunch, I like when Mi Young tells Lee Gun she is working to be stronger so HE can depend and lean on HER. Nice! The Gunnie cup presentation was wonderful. Lee Gun was so beautifully touched. Another subtle and impactful moment delivered by Jang Hyuk.
* Good grief, we’ve got the farewell tour going on. I know how to organize the nutshell recap! Now Lee Gun breaks up with Se Ra. She makes me nervous blaming Mi Young. I have joined the masses of folks that want to protect Mi Young.
* Now Lee Gun is drafting a will?!! Half of his fortune to Mi Young upon his death.
* Se Ra meets Mi Young and hands her a revised divorce agreement but this one is a lie. It states that she must turn over the baby. Se Ra, you are mean when hurt. You will get a lump of coal in your stocking this year. Glad the Mi Young doubted the validity of the document.
* Next stop on the farewell tour, Lee Gun tells Mi Young it is over. He offers her custody, alimony and child support. He returns the wedding ring to her. Their politeness rips me up. Lee Gun welcome to the wonderful world of noble idiot. You believe you will spare your loved ones but instead the pain you will cause yourself and those you love…trust me…it never goes like you imagine. Nice choice when Jang Hyuk took a drink of water to steady himself before delivering the DP cup and the blow that their marriage was over. Nice choice when Jang Na Ra leaned back slightly like she’d taken a physical blow at those words.
* By the way…my favorite Mi Young line is from episode 9 which they have repeated each episode since she confessed to Lee Gun at the auction “I’m scared that I won’t want to leave you; that if it is not you, it cannot be anyone.” That sums up her point of view perfectly.
* Crossing the street Mi Young realizes Lee Gun is faking his memory loss. She calls to him and rushes back into the street. Oh..NO…Mi Young is hit by a car…the DP mug shatters. The chaos of the emergency room, Lee Gun’s fear for Mi Young and her fear for the baby was captured in all its raw glory. The way she pleads for the doctor to save baby, wow, that gets me. What a heart wrenching choice for Lee Gun, Mi Young or the baby. My tears are flowing now. I like the production choice of not hearing him utter the choice but seeing it when they put her under anesthesia.
* Emotional gut punch when Lee Gun tells Mi Young the baby is gone and “I told him to leave”. Her reaction was raw and real. Major tissue grabs by me now. Jang Na Ra delivered the emotional goods in that scene.
* When Lee Gun watches Mi Young sleep but stops himself from touching her, his tears flow, that rips my heart too. An impactful moment delivered by Jang Hyuk.
* The meeting between Lee Gun and Mi Young in his office surprised me. Mi Young was forthright and cut to the chase asking why he was hiding the return of his memory. I was even more surprised when she asked him to return to her. Affected, he represses his emotional response and says no. With that, she returns the signed divorce agreement and her wedding ring. Here I see a glimmer of a more empowered Mi Young.
* Daniel did a perfect job tempting Mi Young with the chance for a new start by attending art school in Paris. Good writing in that scene. The line “you will never find another neighborhood oppa like me” merited the smile she gave him.
* Another emotional gut punch when I saw that Lee Gun has stored the baby’s crib in his study. He sinks to steps alone and hurting.
* Positive scene between Mi Young’s mother and Lee Gun. I have enjoyed their interactions and this was another good one. She is kind but firm that their family relationship is over. His request to see Mi Young one last time was sad. Now it was his turn to be surprised that Mi Young was leaving the country to start anew.
* Nice production moment when her hand was on the escalator heading to her gate followed by his hand on the escalator as he tries to find her before she leaves. He yells for her, “snail”, but to no avail.
* Call me crazy but I thought the 3 year fast forward was jarring at the end of the episode. Not sure I would have included it in this episode that was so emotionally packed. On a superficial note, his hair is much improved. Her hair is a different color. Give me a minute to adjust. I will render my verdict next episode.
* A marked improvement from the last episode. Two complaints on this episode 1) Noble idiocy – I feel it is a sloppy story telling device (just like amnesia). This is what Lee Gun elects to do and it sets in motion a dreadful chain of events; 2) Pacing – jam packed episode. I would have preferred some of this episode’s plot points be placed in the previous or next episode to improve the pacing and emotional punch.
This was an emotionally wrenching episode. I have a hard time with the noble idiocy choice and the ripple effect it had. This enjoyable couple was torn apart by a mutual loss. The lead actors, Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra, delivered gripping emotional work.
As we enter the second phase of this series and their romance you will not be surprised that I want:
1) the brain disease to be a non-issue,
2) a more confident Mi Young that does NOT lapse when she encounters Lee Gun,
3) a Lee Gun that has grown to be more caring,
4) a supportive Daniel that listens to what Mi Young tells him and does not push his own agenda if it does not match hers,
5) I do not really care about Se Ra but she and Daniel need to find each other as brother and sister so he is not alone at the end of this series.
8 episodes to go…let’s do this!