Separation by choice or force may be next…
Legend of the Blue Sea Episode 8 Recap
Wow, the first time this show starts in the present. We hear Yoo Jeong Hoon’s voiceover telling Sim Chung that her man will never accept the fact that she’s a mermaid. Sim Chung (Gianna Jun) swims in the indoor pool in full blown mermaid mode. Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho) enters the house having forgotten his cell phone. As she breaks the surface to exit the pool, she hears him. At the railing, she spies him and he spies her. She demands that he not come towards her, then she demands that he turn around, then she demands that he not shut the door, you can hear the panic in her voice. The last thing she wants is for him to find out that she’s a mermaid. Joon Jae only thinks she swims naked having seen her back which did not appear to have a swim suit.
Crisis averted, Sim Chung puts her robe on and stands on her human legs. She tells Joon Jae he can turn around. They stare at each other. He scolds her for careless behavior in a house full of men. She scolds him for returning so quickly after leaving. He counters this is his house and he can come and go as he pleases. They banter a bit and Joon Jae high tails it out of the house.
Joon Jae returns to his car where Jo Nam Doo and Tae O are waiting. He tells them that from now on they must ring the doorbell, twice, before entering the house. Naturally, Jo Nam Doo asks why. Joon Jae claims he will follow this new rule. Jo Nam Doo counters that doesn’t answer why. Joon Jae counters that as the owner of the house he can set any rule he wants. Tae O shakes his head at Joon Jae’s request. They leave.
Yoo Jeong Hoon (Cho Jung Seok) meets with Sim Chung and is glad to hear that Joon Jae didn’t discover her secret. He warns her to never get sucked into sharing her secret and “coming out” or as Yoo Jeong Hoon put it “mermaiding out”. Yoo Jeong Hoon comments at least on land real feelings can be hidden because their thoughts cannot be heard unlike the ocean where everyone knows your thoughts. Sim Chung concurs. Yoo Jeong Hoon explains that advertising or service in stores a designed to do one thing, get you to spend money. Yoo Jeong Hoon explains that the phrase “I love you” is used casually among humans. Sim Chung wants to know how can you tell when someone is lying? Liars can’t look you in the eye, or they stutter, or they touch their ears, or they cross their arms over their chest…these are some of the signs of lying per Yoo Jeong Hoon.
Jo Nam Doo notes that he’s never seen Joon Jae get dictatorial with a woman like he did when he ordered her to change out of the short skirt into pants. Joon Jae claims that he’s equally concerned about their dressing habits. Tae O scoffs at that lie. Joon Jae asks Jo Nam Doo to drop him off so he can attend to an errand.
Cha Si A is thrilled that Joon Jae stopped by to see her. Joon Jae asks her about the ship wrecked items and their owner. Cha Si A confirms the owner’s name is Dam Ryeong. She explains he was a village leader. She shows him the vase painted with a picture of a man kissing a mermaid. She notes that the man is wearing modern clothing not mid-Josen era clothing. That’s interesting. I hadn’t noticed that. Dam Ryung painted the vase. Did he have a vision of the future? Joon Jae crouches down and stares at the vase. He’s wearing protective gloves and touches the vase. He has a vision of falling down into the sea and a mermaid coming and kissing him. He’s startled. Awesome! Will the vase unlock his memories?
Unnerved Joon Jae seeks medical advice explain he senses he’s the man painted on the vase. That coupled with the recurring dream from the past, and the fact that only a portion of his memories from Spain are missing, make him wonder what’s going on. The doctor hypnotizes Joon Jae. He tells him to go back in his memory. Joon Jae recalls Dam Ryung and sees Sim Chung! He wakes startled that the Sim Chung he knows in the present was in his past memory. I bet that would freak you out. You are dreaming of your own past but then see a current person in your past dream? Who wouldn’t be startled? Joon Jae wonders if he’s accessing his subconscious or an illusion. Good question. Thinking about seeing Sim Chung in the past, Joon Jae draws the conclusion his dreams and thoughts are only illusions because it would be impossible for Sim Chung to have a shared past with him. Logical thinking on his part.
When Joon Jae returns home Jo Nam Doo and Tae O are on the couch relaxing. Sim Chung enters dressed to go out. He stares at her and seeing a flashback from his vision. She tells him she’s going out. He acts unconcerned. But then he announces everyone is now under an 8pm curfew. The doors will be locked to anyone not in the house by 8pm. Jo Nam Doo says it’s 7:30pm now. Ha! Jo Nam Doo comments that Joon Jae won’t have any time to do anything with only 30 minutes. Joon Jae comments that Sim Chung will have some time with her guy friend, then tries to pretend that she can do as she wishes because it doesn’t matter to him. Then Jo Nam Doo finds the book on becoming a public worker. Joon Jae tries to snatch it but Jo Nam Doo eludes him. Joon Jae says he was studying the process for future jobs. Ha! Joon Jae asks Sim Chung if she’s heading out. She says with the curfew, she’ll do it tomorrow. Joon Jae flashes a brief satisfied smile. He leaves. Jo Nam Doo asks where Sim Chung was going. She holds up a black plastic bag (that we know holds the tear pearls) and tells Jo Nam Doo she was going to sell these and give the money to Joon Jae. Jo Nam Doo and Tae O are surprised when the bag contains pearls. Jo Nam Doo asks where Sim Chung got them. She tells him she worked hard to earn them. Flashback to her crying while watching copious amounts of TV. Ha! Jo Nam Doo asks for a pearl. Sim Chung snatches the bag out of his hands. He coaxes her to give him the bag and he tells her the pearls are good quality. He palms one of the pearls before giving her the bag back. Sim Chung is so sweetly earnest in wanting to give Joon Jae the money he desires in life.
Yoo Jeong Hoon clutches his heart while walking with Sim Chung. Yoo Jeong Hoon shares that his heart is hardening and only several hours a day in the water staves off heart failure. Sim Chung worries for him and asks if anything can be done. Yoo Jeong Hoon tells her if his girlfriend came back to him things could change but that’s unlikely because she married another man. Sim Chung tells him to return to the sea. He counters that she couldn’t leave Joon Jae after traveling so far to be with him. He urges her to return to the sea. So, both of them could save their lives if they lived in the ocean again. Frankly I’m not sure why Yoo Jeong Hoon allows himself to linger near death when he doesn’t have a chance with the woman he loves. Sim Chung has a real shot with Joon Jae but Yoo Jeong Hoon does not. Sim Chung bemoans that returning to the sea would have her endlessly pining for Joon Jae. Yoo Jeong Hoon understands admitting he’d never be able to move past his memories of his love either. Yoo Jeong Hoon says he’ll either die quickly on land or live a longing life in the sea. Sim Chung cries. Yoo Jeong Hoon wishes that he could eliminate the desire to be near the woman he loves. He declares in his next life he’ll be a womanizing human. Sim Chung asks how long she has before her heart gives out. Yoo Jeong Hoon shares he’s been out of the water 2 months. Sim Chung cries knowing time is slipping away from her.
The police stake out where they last saw Dae Young. Detective Hong believes he will return. Dressed as a street cleaner Dae Young bumps their car but they don’t recognize him.
Joon Jae fixes himself a drink and has a flashback his father’s assistant and the friend in the past he found at the bottom of the cliff. Excellent! He’s tying the past person to the present-day version. Now he’s seen himself, Sim Chung and the assistant in the past and the present. He calls his father’s assistant but the phone is turned off. Recall his father’s assistant is in a coma that his stepmother engineered by turning Dae Young loose on him, but Joon Jae knows none of this. Joon Jae texts the assistant and asks him to contact him. Holding the assistant’s phone, Dae Young smiles as he reads Joon Jae’s text.
Sim Chung wonders how long her heart will last.
Joon Jae gets a text from the assistant asking if he can meet. Joon Jae agrees to meet him the next evening. The assistant texts back that he’ll send the meet location tomorrow. Joon Jae is relieved. I of course have the opposite reaction. Dae Young will undoubtedly pick a secluded location and try and hurt if not kill Joon Jae. I have a bad feeling about this.
Sim Chung comes down the ladder and asks Joon Jae directly, does he have any plans to love her in the future? Joon Jae tells her flatly he has no plans to love her in the future. She scolds him for not considering the question seriously. He pretends to think. He stares into her hopeful face. He tells her he has no plans to lover her in the future. Sim Chung back pedals saying she’ll ask again in the future. Joon Jae warns her that one can be easily disappointed by another person. He says loving another is difficult. She doesn’t agree. She finds loving someone easy to do. She can’t stop herself from loving another. She stares into his eyes. He stares at her. Gosh, these two are pretty people with under currents between them that Joon Jae just can’t admit to…yet. She tells him she can’t help but love unconditionally. She asks him to tell her if he changes his mind about liking her in the future. She climbs back up the ladder. She couldn’t have been more obvious and Joon Jae knows it. She can’t sleep. He can’t sleep either.
Ahn Jin Joo tells her mother in law, Seo Hee, that she made her a cutting board that she’ll bring over this weekend. Cha Si A shakes her head at Ahn Jin Joo’s solicitous tone. After she hangs up, Ahn Jin Joo advises Cha Si A that men can’t reject a woman that is kind to his mother. Ahn Jin Joo tells Cha Si A if she wants to capture the man she delivers food to, then she has to establish a positive relationship with his mother. Cha Si A admits the man she likes never discusses his family. Ahn Jin Joo advises using alcohol to loosen his tongue. Joon Jae’s mother serves them tea. Cha Si A snaps at her for not bring her the particular drink she wanted. Joon Jae’s mother says she’ll have to purchase what she wants tomorrow. She tells Cha Si A a little kindness would go a long way. Cha Si A doesn’t like the feedback. Ahn Jin Joo tells her to ignore her and instead concentrate on finding the mother of the guy she likes and befriending her. Oh, the irony that Cha Si A just dissed Joon Jae’s mother.
The next day Cha Si A asks Jo Nam Doo for information on Joon Jae’s mother. Jo Nam Doo stalls asking if Joon Jae visited her. She confirms smiling that he was interested in her work and the picture on the vase, which she shows Jo Nam Doo on her phone. Jo Nam Doo is surprised at the picture of a man kissing a mermaid. He wonders what the connection between the jade bracelet and Dam Ryung is. Cha Si A presses him for information. Jo Nam Doo relents and tells her that Joon Jae was separated from his mother a 10 and still looks for her. Jo Nam Doo confides he doesn’t know if Joon Jae’s mother is alive or dead. Cha Si A frets. She wants to meet his mother and win her over.
Joon Jae’s mother stares at the picture of herself, Joon Jae’s father and Joon Jae in happier times. Recall this is the same photo that Joon Jae and Chi Hyeon fought over.
Joon Jae’s father calls his lawyer to get his new will notarized. He confirms that he can leave his assets to Joon Jae without his consent. The lawyer happens to be in conference with Seo Hee and explains what her husband wants to do. She doesn’t understand why her husband is determined to put a new will in place.
As Cha Si A finishes her conversation with Jo Nam Doo, Sim Chung asks to speak with her. Jo Nam Doo leaves them alone to talk. Sim Chung asks Cha Si A how to get a guy to like her. Cha Si A claims she doesn’t know. Sim Chung details the nonverbal signals that Cha Si A uses. Cha Si A asks if she wants to fight. Sim Chung says she wants to secure Joon Jae’s affection and fast. Cha Si A advises Sim Chung that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sim Chung scoffs and call her a liar. Ha! Sim Chung says Cha Si A was clearly lying because she didn’t look Sim Chung in the face. Sim Chung says she’ll do exactly opposite of what Cha Si A recommended and stick to Joon Jae like glue. She flounces away. Cha Si A can’t believe it. She shakes her head as she exits the home. She calls Sim Chung a fox.
When Joon Jae strides through the house, Joon Jae is by his side. He tries to leave for the library but she blocks his path. She asks if Joon Jae has decided to like her in the future yet. Joon Jae says it’s too soon. Sim Chung allows that she’ll give him time to change his mind. Joon Jae asks Tae O if he’s going out like Jo Nam Doo. Tae O explains he’s staying in for the day. Joon Jae decides removing Sim Chung from the house is wise. He asks her to go the library with him.
At the library Joon Jae sets Sim Chung in a chair and whispers he’ll be back after looking in the ancient documents section. She calls after him and everyone stares. He whispers she must be quiet. Sim Chung declares (in a whisper) the library is fun because they have to be close to each other to whisper. Joon Jae chuckles at her declaration. She is darling. How does he manage to keep her at an arm’s length? A girl passes Joon Jae a note asking him to keep it down. Joon Jae lies that the girl’s note said she liked him. Sim Chung leaps up and Joon Jae has to hold her back from confronting the girl. Ha!
In the ancient documents section, Joon Jae learns that Dam Ryung was born in 1572 and a widower that never remarried. Dam Ryung was appointed leader of the village at 27 and died that same year. Joon Jae is shocked to learn that Dam Ryung died so young. Flashback to Dam Ryung waking from a dream. He tells the doctor that reality and fiction are harder to discern in his dreams. Dam Ryung has a flash forward to his future self-learning that he’ll die in December. The doctor informs him that there are 20 days remaining in December. Dam Ryung shakes his head wondering if he really has 20 days left to live. The doctor tells him that the sleeping Sim Chung isn’t an ordinary human. He worries that if Sim Chung is a mermaid then she’ll die in this bed. He recommends that Dam Ryung return her to the sea. He believes this is the only way to save her life. Dam Ryung takes the jade bracelet from his wrist and puts it on the sleeping Sim Chung’s wrist. Present day Joon Jae fingers the jade bracelet and realizes that he and Dam Ryung are both 27, too young to die he muses. Warning bells! Oh no, will history repeat itself? Did Dae Young kill Dam Ryung in the past? Will Dae Young kill Joon Jae in the present?
Sim Chung reads the classic mermaid fairy tale and cries when the mermaid throw herself into the sea and evaporates into bubbles.
Chi Hyeon assures the assistant’s that her husband will wake up. He tells her he doesn’t believe her husband was drinking and driving. He asks if the black box from the car was recovered. No, it was not salvageable. He asks if the cell phone was phone. No, but she has access and there was nothing important prior to the fateful night for her husband. Chi Hyeon promises to look into the assistant’s phone records. His wife is relieved. Chi Hyeon assures her that he’ll tap into his network of police and prosecutors. She’s grateful someone is willing to investigate especially after his mother told her not to. That gets Chi Hyeon’s attention. He assures her he’ll look into the matter. You can see him wondering what his mother is up to. Can Chi Hyeon figure it out? Can he thwart his mother? Would he if he could?
Joon Jae gets a text from the assistant (really Dae Young) defining their meeting place for 7pm. He offers to drive Sim Chung home. She declines saying she wants to see her friend. Joon Jae isn’t excited that she’s going to see Yoo Jeong Hoon. He warns her to be home by 8pm, the curfew time. He strides away.
Seo Hee surprises her husband at his office. She invites him for bite to eat. He tells her he has an appointment. When she asks what it is, he lies. She offers a fake smile and tells him to go forth to his appointment. The lawyer calls and says he can’t make the meeting. Joon Jae’s father tells his wife that he’s now available for dinner. Seo Hee suggests inviting Chi Hyeon so it can be a family supper.
Sim Chung goes to Yoo Jeong Hoon’s workplace and learns that he suffered a heart attack and died. Ouch, that’s sobering. That’s a 2-month timeframe that was just set. Plus, Sim Chung has lost a friend and confident. I don’t like her being alone like this. A woman rushes in the office and asks about Yoo Jeong Hoon. This must be the woman he loved. The coworker hands her a box and says that Yoo Jeong Hoon left this for him to give to her. The woman opens the box and finds a beautiful pink pearl ring. Awk! Tears! Recall Yoo Jeong Hoon said that pink pearls (from tears) were rare. Sim Chung flashes back to Yoo Jeong Hoon telling her that pink pearls only come from pure happiness. Yoo Jeong Hoon confided that he only cried from pure happiness once. Sim Chung tells the woman that Yoo Jeong Hoon told her that he was happy when he cried about her. The woman fingers the beautiful pearl.
Outside the woman is grateful that Yoo Jeong Hoon had a friend to confide in. The woman says the Yoo Jeong Hoon had many secrets. Sim Chung asks her if she left him because of his secrets. The woman says that secrets hurt the person keeping them and the person they are hidden from. The woman says some differences cannot be overcome. Some differences only give pain. Love cannot overcome some differences. Sim Chung shares that Yoo Jeong Hoon wasn’t sorry that he came, found love, and would die because of his choice. Sim Chung says Yoo Jeong Hoon didn’t want to erase the happy memories he had. Sim Chung says Yoo Jeong Hoon wants the person he loved to draw strength from their memories together. The woman cries as she sinks to her knees holding the pearl ring. Sim Chung clutches her heart. No, no! Too soon! Not now! I’m already afraid for Joon Jae meeting Dae Young, Sim Chung’s heart issues must go on the back burner.
Joon Jae drives to the meeting location. He takes a pistol with him. He calls the assistant. He walks the deserted hallway. He flashes back to Dae Young tailing him and appearing at his door. He calls the assistant. He hears the phone ring. He slowly approaches the ringing phone. Danger! Danger! Danger! He rounds the corner, but nothing is there. When Sim Chung call’s him he jumps from the incoming call. He immediately hears that something is wrong with her. She confirms she’s not feeling well. He asks where she is. Rats, he’s so focused on Sim Chung that he doesn’t hear Dae Young approaching behind him. Joon Jae hangs up. He turns and sees Dae Young with his hat lowered (for that extra creepy effect). Joon Jae stares and asks Dae Young if he’s the man that pretended to be a police officer at his house. He asks why Dae Young has the assistant’s cell phone. Dae Young says that Joon Jae has many questions. Joon Jae confirms this and says he needs answers quickly because he has someplace to go. Dae Young tells him he’s going nowhere. Dae Young attacks him with a pipe. Joon Jae’s guns is actually pepper spray and he sprays Dae Young in the face. As Dae Young moans about the pepper spray, Joon Jae whips out his trusty lighter and examines Dae Young’s face. He flashes back to the past incarnation of Dae Young from his dreams. He steps back stunned. Another present-day person that he’s dream about in a past time. Dae Young takes the opportunity to hit, kick and strike Joon Jae with a chair. Joon Jae falls to the ground. Dae Young pulls out a screwdriver and prepare to plunge it in Joon Jae. The car’s alarm goes off distracting Dae Young. Joon Jae seizes the moment and attacks Dae Young. They struggle and fall to the ground. Dae Young limps away. Hmm, that surprised me that he didn’t finish the prone Joon Jae before he left.
Joon Jae hobbles to his car and finds multiple cars there. Flashback to Joon Jae calling Jo Nam Doo to come in 30 minutes because Joon Jae had a weird vibe about the meeting location. Joon Jae tells Jo Nam Doo to call bullet taxis to arrive versus the police that Jo Nam Doo suggested. Clever! Joon Jae tells Jo Nam Doo to instruct the bullet taxis to honk their horns loudly when they arrive. Joon Jae call the taxi drivers to exit so he can pay them. He offers a bonus to whoever can get him to the Han River the quickest. He clutches his torso.
In the taxi, Joon Jae sees his bloody face. He’s frustrated when Sim Chung’s cellphone goes directly to voicemail. He asks the taxi driver to hurry.
Sim Chung sits at the Han River and wonders if she and Joon Jae won’t be able to make it into the future together.
Joon Jae arrives at the river and begins to search for her. He’s in pain.
Sim Chung stares at the water. She remembers Yoo Jeong Hoon urging her to return to the sea. She wonders aloud if she should go. She hears Joon Jae ask where she would go. She turns and see him staring at her. Gosh, their hair looks great blowing in the night breeze. She sees he is hurt and asks him about it. He asks if she got hurt crossing the street. She asks about his hurt. He asks about her hurt. He takes her hand. He feels her face. He sees the tear roll down her face. Sim Chung tells him that she can’t tell him anything. She says that she’s full of secrets. She doesn’t want him hurt because of her secrets. She doesn’t want to make him sad. He asks what she intends to do. Sim Chung says that she’ll return home before it’s too late. Joon Jae reminds her that she asked him to tell her if he planned to like her in the future. Yes, yes, yes! Staring into her eyes he says “I have that plan. So don’t go.” Swoon! They stare at each other.
Epilogue in the past: Dam Ryung holds Sim Chung’s hand while she sleeps. She wakes. She sits up. She tells him she will return to the sea. She tells him that is they only way they can both live. She tells him just like when they were young and parted then, she will be the only one with memories of them. She tells Dam Ryung that they should have lived in the own worlds and not tried to cross into each other’s world. She tells him she won’t come back and he should forget them. She cries. He asks her why she erased his memory the first time they parted. She tells him if she didn’t erase his memories then he would be in pain from the memories. Dam Ryung says that if she didn’t erase the memories then he could have longed for her. He looks into her eyes and says “this time, don’t erase them. You must not erase them. These memories, even if they hurt, I want them. They are mine.” He gently kisses her. Awk! Tears!
I wasn’t ready to be plunged into the serious consequences side of this story at the midpoint of this series. My hats off to the writer, Park Ji Eun, for deftly weaving an episode that tugged at my heart. I’m impressed how easily Writer Park is weaving the past and present together. Joon Jae’s dreams about the past showed Sim Chung’s face. Dae Young lured Joon Jae to kill him. Sim Chung contemplated leaving after Yoo Jeong Hoon’s death. With all this turmoil, there remains a gentle tenderness to this couple. Their hearts long for each other. She’s openingly longing and he tries to hide it. But after the attack as he rushed to her side, he finally realized she mattered deeply to him. When he stood before her holding her hand and caressed her face, his feelings were finally evident. He asked her to stay. Simply lovely!
The epilogue in the past gave us an equally lovely moment between our couple. This time he asked that she not erase his memories. Those memories were his to keep. They kissed a gentle kiss that promised devotion forever. Simply lovely!
Dam Ryung/Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho) stole this show. His realization of his feelings was perfect. Lee Min Ho’s searching looks, tender touches in the past and present felt genuine and touched my heart. Joon Jae is coping with a full plate of items. When he touched the vase, he had a vision being kissed by a mermaid. His past memories haunted his dreams. He sought medical help. He had a vision of Sim Chung in his past. That was a big moment. He didn’t treat himself like he was crazy when he saw Sim Chung in his dreams. Instead he researched his former life. When he learned that his past self died at 27, a chill went over me. When Joon Jae realized he was the same age and not many days away when his past self died, another chill went over me. When he walked into the trap Dae Young set for him, it didn’t look good for him in that moment. I was impressed that Joon Jae realized that Dae Young had stalked him in the past. Now Joon Jae knows that Dae Young is a killer intent on killing him. But the show stopper moment was recognizing his overwhelming need to get to the woman he loved, the woman who was contemplating leaving him, the woman he asked to stay.
Sim Chung (Gianna Jun) is achingly lovely in her longing. I was glad that we didn’t see Yoo Jeong Hoon die in the hospital, I was glad that was done off camera. But when Sim Chung saw Yoo Jeong Hoon’s love struck with grief, when she saw Yoo Jeong Hoon’s beautiful ring with the pink (happy) pearl, she considered the pain she’s given Joon Jae and her heart contracted in its own pain. I worry for her health. I’d prefer that she spend some time in the sea/river/whatever to strengthen herself. Her sweet scenes with Joon Jae prodding him to let her know when he thought he might like her in the future were wonderful. This couple has a connection. These two actors click on screen. They make the most of their moments together. They don’t feel overwrought, or staid, they strike the perfect balance that makes me love them. I wish them happiness but we clearly saw that if the past is an indicator of their future, they have steep obstacles to overcome. The journey through the latter half of this series may not be sunshine and roses but I’m willing to bet that it won’t be all angst and unhappiness either. No matter what, I’m along for the ride.
The sixth song of the OST, “King” is the second song by Lyn (she also sung the first track “Love Story”).