Legend of the Blue Sea Episode 17

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Things really start moving in this episode of Legend of the Blue Sea and our “villains” take very concrete steps ahead, resulting in a tense episode with lots of twists and surprises. It’s a move in the right direction as the upping of intensity was long overdue.

In order to defend herself, Sim Chung decides not just to erase Ma Dae Young’s memories of his evil deeds, but to completely erase all memories, leaving him with no identity at all. Ironically, I enjoyed the scenes with Dae Young more in this episode than in all previous episodes. The sense of loss and disorientation that Dae Young experiences really displayed what we heard in the first episode about the mermaid taking away your soul. It is even more detrimental than taking away your life, because by removing all his memories, she’s essentially left him as an empty shell of a person. Sung Dong Il does a fantastic job in this episode in particular conveying that sense of loss.

As for Seo Hee, the reappearance of Mo-ran, the realisation that Joon Jae’s dad is no longer taking the pills and the handicapping of Dae Young forces her to take things into her own hands. She continues to be the one character who instils fear and all the scenes of her spotting things were amiss with Joon Jae’s dad were so chilling. She decides to poison Joon Jae’s dad, which eventually leads to his death.

Separately, Nam Doo’s schemes become even more evident. I had suspected already that he was eavesdropping on Joon Jae and Sim Chung’s conversation by the pool last episode. Turns out it’s true and he has figured out that Sim Chung is a mermaid and is planning to sell her off for profit. Joon Jae’s decision to leave Sim Chung alone with Nam Doo is so ominous.

The question now is how Chi Hyun fits into all this, especially since we know from the previous episode that Nam Doo and him were working together in the Joseon era. What happened after he entered the house and met Dae Young? Was he there in his dad’s final moments, witnessing his death? Would his dad’s death prompt him to take action against his mum? There seems to be strong hints too that ajusshi will have a big role to play in preventing the tragic fate from repeating. The fact that he is also having flashbacks indicates that he has unfinished business and all the talk about how him waking up is a miracle suggests that this miracle will actually take place. In a strange way, Dae Young’s character is now also left hanging – we were initially led to believe that he has unfinished business too, so how will that be carried out since all of his memories were taken away? Is he even going to have any role to play in the supposed death of Joon Jae and Sim Chung?

As for Sim Chung and Joon Jae, they talk about what she saw through Dae Young’s memories, that Dam Ryung and Sae Wa do not have that happy ending that Joon Jae told her about. However, both of them acknowledge that knowing the sad ending changes nothing – they do not regret coming together and falling in love once again. What is beautiful about their romance though is that both of them had to make active choices in this life to ensure that the romance happened – history repeating itself wasn’t simply about them passively sitting back and just falling in love.

Even though Sim Chung did fall in love for Joon Jae immediately, she did have to swim all the way to Korea to find him, learn a new language and culture, and support Joon Jae through his family issues. For Joon Jae, he had to make the decision to turn away from his life as a conman, in order to become a better person for Sim Chung. There were moments where Sim Chung could have left or run away, but Joon Jae was there to hold her, find her and protect her. They were more than just chess pieces being moved around by the hands of fate, but active agents in creating their own love story in the present day.

The fact that they’ve been actively creating their love story also gives me hope that they’ll exercise that same power to bring it towards a happy ending. After all, the first step towards having a happy ending is being able to envision it and Joon Jae has already done so by rewriting the story of Sae Wa and Dam Ryung. In fact, when he shared that ending with Sim Chung, he could possibly have been looking to the future rather than the past, believing that it was him and Sim Chung who would live a long happy life, have babies and grow old together. He reasserts this vision of the future again when talking to Shi-ah, telling her that both him and Sim Chung will be together for a very long time.

I cannot end this review without mentioning Lee Min Ho. Even though I’ve never quite connected with the family storyline or felt much for his dad, I have to give props to Min Ho for portraying the pain, regret and sorrow so movingly and convincingly in the final scene. With Nam Doo eyeing Sim Chung, he definitely has more pain and struggle coming his way, but such adversity will be his and Sim Chung’s opportunity to prove that they will rewrite the past and create that happy future for themselves.

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