In this episode, the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives. After sending Bong-so to hospital, Young Shin starts to put together the pieces and it dawns upon her that Bong So and Healer are the same person. Young Shin’s reaction to the truth is wonderfully played out in this episode as we get to see the complexity of emotions she feels.
Her first reaction upon seeing him wake up is a sense of disorientation – she doesn’t know how to relate to him anymore. Is she speaking to Bong So? Or is she now relating to Healer? In fact, Jung-Hoo also seems to be aware that she knows the truth as he nervously stumbles through an utterly unconvincing explanation of what happened. Yet as he leaves, her first question to him is whether he’ll be back tomorrow, holding back her tears until he leaves. It’s a scene with such beautiful restraint, and kudos to Park Min-young for her stellar performance.
Later on, we get another touching scene at home, where Young-Shin pours out her feelings to her dad and it’s a confusing mix of anger, fear and longing – anger that everything she’s felt so far may have been a lie yet still wanting to see Bong So/Healer again. We get a heartwarming moment of bonding as her dad recollects the moment where she came to him.
And that final scene in the cafe – OMG. My wife says I’m a sap and I gladly accept that, but that scene was so, so moving and Park Min-Young and Ji Chang Wook play the mix of emotions so well. Young Shin shares with him that she’s not angry, but she’s holding back – holding back from wanting to hold hands. Jung Hoo is shocked, as she goes on to say she wants to talk all night and kiss, all this with a longing smile on her face. Yet, she then turns the tables around and says she wants to do that with Healer. Jung Hoo looks at her, and seems like he’s going to say something, yet he can’t and then she puts her head on his shoulder and walks off, before he can even hug her. It’s heartbreaking to watch and I’m sure most viewers would have wanted Jung Hoo to just catch her hand again and the scene to end off with both of them kissing. However, the restraint, uncertainty and tension felt by both of them is even more beautiful and complex, and so in keeping with their characters thus far.
Jung Hoo may already be aware that Young Shin knows his identity, but he too is not ready to confirm his identity. He’s related to her behind a facade, whether as Bong So or Healer and to reveal his true self to her is something he’s not ready or even able to do at this point. Young Shin too might not be ready for him to do that – she would not know how to handle it and resolve her feelings for both Bong So and Healer. Both of them have never encountered such intense emotions before, particularly so for Jung Hoo and it’s great that the show is taking its time to explore how they confront their feelings to each other.
While Jung Hoo and Young Shin’s love story takes its time to develop, the surrounding storylines continue to unravel in a satisfying, exciting manner. I’ve never really felt much for Teacher, but he does get some good backstory and moments of victory in this episode, which ties our characters together nicely. His reaction to the poison was well-played out; upon realising his food was poisoned, he decides to no longer play a cat-and-mouse game with Detective Yoon and swiftly comes upfront with the truth. It seems a little convenient for Min Ja to be off her game in this instance and not spotting the suspicious person in time to save Teacher. Nonetheless, what happens to Teacher will certainly be a catalyst for Jung Hoo to take more action in pursuit of the truth regarding his dad and to take on Moon Shik.
I also liked that we see Jung Hoo gradually realising that he needs Moon Ho in order to confront Moon Shik. His usual gung-ho method of taking on a disguise, barging in and taking what he wants would not work, because there’s a more complex world of politics, power and deception at play here. This is a world that Jung Hoo has never dabbled in, given that he’s used to simply taking on one-off assignments and accomplishing the mission through the assistance of Min-Ja. As much as Jung Hoo wanted Moon-Ho to disappear from his life, he will eventually realises that he needs to work together and more interaction between both characters and eventual reconciliation is certainly something I am looking forward to, amongst many other things.
It’s certainly to the show’s credit that every storyline, relationship and character is developed so satisfying and I can’t wait to see what happens next!