09 June 2013

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When A Man Loves - Episode 20 Final (A SqueeCap)

Posted by CM Shukmeister on June 09, 2013
Shuk: The final episode. Where writer-nim has to ferret out anything and everything to tie up. No drinking game this time; I don't want anyone accusing me of alcohol toxicity. Any thoughts, JoAnne, before we finish this?
JoAnne: Oppa best get his happy ending, y’all, or I’mma cut a b****. Also, volunteering. 
kakashi: *sobbing uncontrollably* (cause it's the last WAML SqueeCap)
*sigh of relief* - "finally done!"
Episode 20

Shuk: We open up with Seon-joo trying on wedding dresses, and I feel the vomit coming up in my mouth. Yong-gap charges into the dressing room, telling her she can't marry Tae-sang. She calmly tells him she won the bet, and he should find a good woman and settle down. He promises the biggest wedding present ever.
JoAnne: Grandpa Leeteuk: Voice of the Audience.
kakashi: He has tears in his eyes .... oh, my feels! He lurves her so .... o_o 
And I finally understand why I like this guy! He looks a lot like my uncle. Yeah, people, I have a really sexy uncle!
Shuk: The police are at The Alley Restaurant and are interviewing Han Eomma, and telling her about their investigation of her son. I have to reiterate that real detectives don't work this way. She tries to tell them she killed her ex-lover, but clearly they are just there to menace her, not for any, yunno, investigation purposes or anything.
JoAnne: Brother-in-law of the writer, and his ‘room-mate’.
kakashi: If I ever feel like committing a crime, I'll go to South Korea. 

Shuk: Chang-he is at the hospital and sees the news report regarding the homicide investigation, and right away wants to leave.
JoAnne: But not to go to the police station. To go to Hong Kong. At first that confused me, but then I realized he was taking care of loose ends before turning himself in to the police. Always with the tidying up, this one.
kakashi: His hair, like Mi-do's, has already fully grown back. Oh miracle!
Shuk: Our wonderful Hong Kong connection sees the news too, and the Chairman squeezes Roy’s hand.
JoAnne: Seriously. So much win in the Chang family. That dad is just a genuinely nice person, and he raised a good son. That we hope to see more of, Drama World.
kakashi: And indeed, people do not die in this drama. Him having a heart-attack was ... uhm ... there to spice things up? To make us worry? I think it worked on JoAnne.
Shuk: The new Seo household is also buzzing with the information, and for once, Dad appears to be taking President Han’s side. After all, he appears to be protecting his mother. Mi-do remembers Tae-sang mentioning the other pages of the letter, and goes to the office to ask him about them. He tells her, rightfully, what does it have to do with her? - She replies: “Because I want to be free from any bad feelings I have against you.” She entreats him to show her the rest of the letter, but he has no intention to do that.

Shuk: The bride shows up, surprised to see her old rival, and Tae-sang uses the chance to tell Mi-do of his upcoming nuptials. She’s surprised, but asks for an invitation to the wedding. Tae-sang watches her as she leaves. On the bus, she finally deletes the face mask pictures.
JoAnne: The look on Oppa’s face: Save me, Save me, SAVE ME.
kakashi: Yeah. And now, please leave him alone. Forever. Both of you.
"Loooooky, Tae-sang oppa! I can do this, this and this with my phone!"
"And I can do this! I will forget you! Yes! Forever! And Ever!
Shuk: Chang-hee kneels in front of the Chairman, and brings him the usual toothbrush and stuff for DNA testing. He tries to explain why he denied him so many years ago, and our Awesome Appa welcomes him into the family as well.
JoAnne: People are just so understanding. I can’t decide if it’s because they're good or the writer was just working down the list of things to close out going check, check, check. If so, I’m still waiting for the Shoulder of Doom, Writer-nim.
kakashi: #WhenAWriterIsInWrappingUpMoodAndNiceAppaIsUsefulForThat.

Shuk: At The Golden Tree, the Board of Directors votes to oust Tae-sang from his position, and put Jae-hee in his place. Roy Chang scoffs at their disloyalty in kicking someone out on unproven charges and ignoring his contributions to the company. And he leaves the table. Score one for the dongsaeng!!
JoAnne: Chubs looks like he just pooped his pants a little and wants to sing about it *I’ve got something youuuuuuuuuu don’t….*
kakashi: I think people wanted to see more Roy Chang gifs? Here is one: 
Shuk: Seon-joo and Yong-gap meet at a bar for drinks, and Seon-joo tells him she will do what she can to keep Tae-sang’s position as President, but he knows Tae-sang won’t stay if it hurts the company. And in a roundabout way, implies he has some knowledge of what happened to the dead guy. Seon-joo immediately takes the bait, and we get a flashback of the fight Tae-sang had with the ex-lover. Oh look! There’s that shiny hat again; Yong-gap was there at the restaurant. Geez, like a cockroach or Elvis, he’s everywhere. The guys swings, Tae-sang punches him, and drags him outside. Yong-gap comes out to watch the fun just as Seon-joo runs up, frantic to find Tae-sang. She runs off in the wrong direction.
JoAnne: Oppa looks the same and Interfering B***** is dressed for a picnic on Sound of Music Mountain, but why is Grandpa Leeteuk wearing Gay Trucker?
kakashi: Gangster Tae-sang? HOT. Baseballcap Yong-gap? Uhm ... not feeling it.  
Shuk: We see them trade a few punches, then, with a rock, the ex-lover knocks out Tae-sang. Unfortunately, he then takes a step backwards and tumbles down the stairs. Yong-gap confirms the guy is dead, but does nothing as Chang-hee runs into the scene and finds Tae-sang on the top of the steps. Yong-gap hides.
JoAnne: Well he can’t be seen without his FACE on and his HAIR did, now can he?
Shuk: Chang-hee realizes the antagonist is dead, and quickly carries him off, presumably to bury him in the mountains. Um, did he just leave his hyung unconscious, hurt, and laying at the top of a flight of stairs that just killed someone? We are brought back to the present, and Seon-joo asks if that was really true.
JoAnne: No, at this late date we're just making up lies.
Shuk: [snicker]
Look! I'm evil! There even is lightning!
Shuk: Mi-do is in bed, when she hears pebbles against her window and Tae-sang calling to her. She runs outside and Tae-sang smiles at her and thanks her for helping find her brother. He takes her hand, and she marvels at how warm it is. He asks her about the quote, and whether it’s about him. He erases the Chalkboard of Cheese to write his own. But, first, she has to turn away and close her eyes. When she doesn't hear anything, she turns around and Tae-sang is gone. The board reads: "Why didn't you love me?”
Shuk: And she wakes up and realizes it’s a dream. She runs back to the closed bookstore, but only her quote is there. Even your subconscious is calling you an idiot, chica.
JoAnne: Along with all the cool kids in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.
kakashi: Great hair-commercial shot! 
Shuk: Tae-sang and Roy visit the restaurant, but Mom isn’t there. They sit and wait, and Roy asks if he killed their mom’s lover. He says no, and, if he has to step down, he expects his brother to take care of the company. Mom arrives, and immediately breaks downs and hugs and cries and hugs some more. Gee, Ahjumma, couldn't you have shown a bit of that emotion to your oldest? Nevertheless, it’s a great heartwarming scene, with tears in everyone’s eyes. I think even Ddol was feeling it.
JoAnne: No, this makes perfect sense to me. She always knew were Oppa was, pretty much. And he knew where she was. But Roy was lost, and at such a young age. She’d have spent years wondering if he was dead, alive, happy, being sold for terrible stuff, all that going through her head and not knowing? I get it.
Shuk: I still think Oppa got gypped.
kakashi: Totally. This is not a nice mother.
Shuk: Later, it’s just the two boys strolling along, and Roy admitted he was the one that called the orphanage and told them Tae-min was dead. He was 20 and angry, but now, knowing how tough Tae-sang’s life was, he feels bad. The day Tae-min got lost, he tried to take the bus to their aunt’s house, he was beaten and robbed, and ended up in an orphanage. Wow, incompetent police and no Child Protective Services, is uri Korea.
JoAnne: New motto for cops: To Protect and Serve Melos.

Shuk: Tae-sang thanks him for hugging their mother, and they share a brotherly moment overlooking the city.
JoAnne: And I’m thinking that’s two nice butts right there.
kakashi: Not close enough for a good gif though. Sorry. 
Shuk: Seon-joo is taking wedding photos when her retainer shows up to let her know the bookstore building is empty, but Tae-sang won’t be happy to know what she did. She doesn't care, since she gets them in the end.
JoAnne: Cannot wait for your inevitable comeuppance, Missy.
kakashi: This is for Seon-joo: Bleh. 
Shuk: Mi-do and Jae-hee share lunch, and she tells him she is leaving right after President Han’s wedding. He asks her why she would go. She tells him that Tae-sang was part of her life, and she wants to see him married in order to settle her feelings, and it finally sinks into Puppy’s thoughts that Han Tae-sang was always in her heart. She tells him she never lost her memory, but was protecting someone she liked. He doesn't regret meeting her all those years ago and recently in Guam.
JoAnne: No? What do you regret, then, Chubs? Do you regret assuming the worst of the man who gave you everything decent in your life? Do you regret trying to steal his woman? Do you feel bad for going behind his back on the Asia Star Deal? Are you wishing you would have bought just one more plaid suit? What. What is it you do regret, I really want to know.
kakashi: I am sure he is NOT regretting the über-hot scene he had with Mi-Do. I think I need to file that one away under "hottest almost-sex scene on public Korean TV"

Shuk: At the jewelry store, Seon-joo puts on a locking bracelet and gives Tae-sang the key. He puts on a watch. An interesting idea on couple rings: slavery and making time??
JoAnne: When he says ‘You are mine.’ I kinda zoned out a little bit and pretended that was me.
kakashi: I don't get that scene. He tries to be nice, even caresses her hand. She just looks sad. But look how good he looks as a groom.
Shuk: It’s confirmed by our Asia Star partners that Jae-hee is the Chairman’s biological son, and they hug, although Jae-hee is clearly uncomfortable with the PDA. Dad is ecstatic – now he has four sons. Why can't we have more generous characters like this man?! I want to be in that family too!
JoAnne; And then Chubs, Destroyer of Moods, says how he can’t leave his brother. No one ASKED you to, you enormous clump of stupid.
Shuk: Mi-do and Eun-hye go to a camping store to find her a pretty outfit for the wedding. As Anthony would say, it’s 5 000 000 won for 30 seconds of PPL. Eun-hye bugs Mi-do that she still has feelings for ‘that ahjussi’. Dad meets up with them at a p’macha, and Eun-hye worries about her debut; sometimes you have to decide what you want and what you want to let go.
JoAnne: Friend whose name I never bothered to learn, let go the idea that you will ever debut. Trust me. (And I laughed my A** off that they seriously went to a camping store to buy a dress for a wedding.)

Shuk: Mi-do goes on some rambling story that’s half-autobiographical. Dad says it a stupid story and he won't write it. I won't either. Here's a picture of a Shih tzu playing the piano instead.
JoAnne: What are you talking about? That was actually a good story. Here’s this woman agonizing over two men, and whichever one she chooses, she’s always going to be wishing for the other. So her whole life, both men are completely central and present in her thoughts. And then we find out after her death, in both scenarios, the ‘other guy’ didn't even remember who she was. I loved that. We’re the stars of our own stories, but that doesn't make us the star in someone else’s. Its’ not really analogous to what’s been going on in THIS story…but it’s still a very valid point and an insight that many people never achieve. So like the writer to come up with something good and then JUST MISS connecting it to the actual plot.
Shuk: I love his little nose and paw.
kakashi: Why are KDrama writers obsessed with giving every single character and his twenty brothers a "good" ending?! Who cares about her stupid father! Redundant, redundant, redundant!

Shuk: The Lee brothers share food and beer, and hyung apologizes for all the decisions he’s made so far. Jae-hee thanks him for raising him. He tells him Tae-sang cried many tears looking for his brother, and that Jae-hee should do well.
JoAnne: When a Murdering Gangster is the Better Brother
Shuk: It’s the wedding day, and the Chief gives everyone the bad news that Tae-sang has been forced out by the Board of Directors. Chang-hee asks Dong-goo to take care of Tae-sang; after the ceremony he intends to turn himself in to the police station. Why, hyung? They would probably get you confused with someone who jaywalked or something. Tae-sang greets Mi-do at the ceremony, and she gives her congratulations on the marriage.
JoAnne: In the fugliest, most confusing mishmash of a dress I have ever seen. It’s all garden party in the front, Naughty Librarian in the back.
kakashi: Need proof? Here we go: 
Shuk: Yong-gap and Seon-joo have a final chat, and he’s back to his 70’s look. Damn, I’m gonna miss those dark gray suits, I think. He drops his final trump card; Tae-sang will go to prison if he doesn't confess to what he witnessed that day, and he won't go to the police station unless she promises not to marry Tae-sang.
JoAnne: BOOYAH
kakashi: SEE?! I always knew he was one of the most crucial characters in this! My love for him was not in vain! And he is a good guy after all!
Shuk: And just like that, the wedding venue is empty except for Tae-sang and Mi-do. They pass a look, and she walks away while he watches her leave. Poor Oppa.
JoAnne: He’s thinking ‘I cannot catch a fucking break.’
kakashi: He is thinking 'close one. But saved by Grandpa Leetuk.'
Shuk: Outside the wedding venue, Chang-hee asks Mi-do for her forgiveness. She states she told the officers it was an accident, but Chang-hee insists that he has to pay for his crimes to help all those that he affected. Tae-sang really is a good person.
JoAnne: So wait. Is Chang Hee planning to go to jail for running her over, which is what this sounds like, or is he planning to go to jail for disposing of a dead body, which is what it sounded like when he said he had to leave the hospital? Or is he just going to show up at the police station and say ‘Trust me, I’ve done some shit. Put me away for a couple of years so I can reflect.’
kakashi: Time to say it: What the frigging hell is he wearing on his head?! The magical "I can make an open head wound disappear in 2 nights"-beanie? I want one! 
Shuk: Uh, kakashi. Do you have an open head wound we need to know about??
Shuk: Our grizzled cockroach is at the precinct when our runaway bride is driving away, crying.
The voiceover is the message she left Tae-sang:
BSJ: “I'm sorry, Tae-sang. I finally realized that this isn't right for the either of us. But you made me the happiest woman for the past couple of days. Thank you.”
Shuk: She goes to the Han River and throws herself in….not really, just to sit and cry as the sun sets.
JoAnne: That was a really lovely sequence, the flowing dress over the grass, the lonely bride by the river as the sun sets. How come we’ve never seen that location before in any drama, ever? Plus, I knew in the end she would do the right thing.
kakashi: Wow. They really managed to make her a good person in the end. Almost. 
Google Fu FAIL: I couldn't find the location.
You know you were hoping she would...


Shuk: Tae-sang is back and alone in his Mousetrap apartment. Man, he’s gotta feel like the most unloved unlucky guy around. But the light still lovingly caresses his features.
JoAnne: I loved his chuckle and head shake on the couch. 
kakashi: Most beautiful shots of him on the couch with yellow light. I'll remember this. Forever. Fondly. 
Shuk: He’s reading a book outside when his mom meets up with him, and we find out the police never charged him. He admits to her that he liked Mi-do. That night, he stops by the bookstore, and finds out it's closed and they've moved.

Shuk: The Seo family sees their oldest off to New York City, and Mom is still pushing President Han. Idol Boy gives her a "Hwaiting!" and she's off. No Jae-hee, no Tae-sang.
JoAnne: As it should be, as she always intended. She didn’t leave Oppa for Chubs. I know a lot of people thought she did, but she was always pushing for her own right to have a life that wasn’t focused on a man.

Time Skip, and a chance for writer-nim to come up with all sorts of tie-ins, both plausible and implausible.
The threads of the story, as plotted by scientists from SunKungKwan University.
Shuk: Mi-do is working costumes when Kelli Jo stops by. She’s been asked to go back to Korea and interview with her dad.
JoAnne: That woman’s voice is Mickey Mouse’s on helium.

Shuk: Chang-hee is out of prison, and Dong-goo and Jae-hee meet him with tofu, and playfulness.
JoAnne: They were cute. It can’t be denied.
kakashi: In your face, Chang-hee! 
Seon-joo and Yong-gap share a drink on her birthday, and he mentions Tae-sang is back again. This is his last birthday present to her, as he is finally letting go of her.
JoAnne: I love how his own plan is what did it to him. He told her that in order to save Oppa from the cops, she’d have to call off the wedding. You know that he did that because he wants her for himself, but also because he knew it was the wrong thing for her, marrying a man who didn’t love her. Because just as Seon-Joo truly loved Tae-Sang, Dong-Gap truly loved Seon-Joo. And then that became the instrument of his own destruction: he realized that if Seon-Joo loved Tae-Sang enough not to marry him, there was never going to be a day when she’d turn toward Yong-Gap - so he should just stop.
kakashi: Oh whatever. Drama, end already. They are really wrapping EVERYthing up neatly and with a bow.

Shuk: Seo Appa’s book is a hit, and the interview goes off without a hitch. Jae-hee waves to her from the back of the audience. Whatever.
JoAnne: Whatever. At least it got her back to Korea so we can move on to what’s important.
kakashi: Whatever. 

Shuk: Mi-do goes to the old residence, to find that the bookstore was reopened a year ago under the same name. She goes inside and meets the proprietor. She asks if she can write on the chalkboard, and writes her last quote, “You are someone I had read the most painful book with.” As she leaves, we see a gorgeous man with an excellent forehead, cleaning up the window upstairs. Tae-sang is bringing books down from upstairs. He sees the new quote, and asks the manager who wrote it. He looks around, but there’s no one on the street.
JoAnne: I know we spent a lot of time on how awesome Oppa looks both shirtless and in a white dress shirt, but I really like the jeans and work shirt combo on him. Especially because he wears his clothing tailored jussssssst tight enough to lovingly caress his spectacular bod, but not so tight that it looks uncomfortable or too small.
kakashi: I think at this point, we can easily agree that this man looks good in ANYTHING. and I am sure withOUT anything.
Shuk: The Seo kids stop by the bookstore with Eun-hye, and the quote has been changed to the quote that Mi-do read out loud to Tae-sang once; “Your eyelashes cover mine.” She erases it and adds another.
JoAnne: I liked Idol Boy demonstrating what that meant.
kakashi: Uhm ... eyelashes ... Oppa Hot aka Handtowel With Eyelashes. 
Shuk: And when Tae-sang stops by….jeans….blue shirt…boots…hair…what was I saying??
JoAnne: *Nods head in agreement.*
kakashi: This stylist is a fucking genius! First, they get us with the abs, and then, they prepare us for a WAML2 with this new haircut! I want MOAR! NAO! 
Shuk: Oh yeah, must.type.recap. He sees a new quote: “I can't tell if you are looking at me or I’m looking at you.” He looks around, but the only thing he sees is a debut poster for Idol Boy.
kakashi: We are definitely all looking at you. 
Shuk: Mi-joon is debuting with about 15 people in the venue, including his parents. The song is “Intimidated” by Heo Young Saeng.
JoAnne: Whatever.
kakashi: Well done, Shuk! You did it! The last one! YAY! 
And ... cue ... (cause who cares about the stupid Boy Band) strutting hotness:
Shuk: At The Golden Tree, Han Tae-sang is welcomed back as President by his brother. Out on the Roof of Reflection, he meets with Jae-hee. It seems they are on cordial terms, although definitely not hyung / dongsaeng terms anymore.
JoAnne: So basically the only pair that didn’t try to kill each other is the only pair that isn’t going to be lovey-dovey now.
kakashi: They are totally at peace with each other. Look! Smiley-smiley!
Shuk: Mi-do is dozing against the bookstore doorframe when a familiar voice hails her. Tae-sang tells her to go home and sleep. She refuses, stating she was just hired. He tells her she’s fired; the previous person is the manager and he is the actual business owner. He won't hire her, because he might fall in love again. She refuses again. Why? Because she might fall in love again too.
kakashi: Bring on the cheez. 

Shuk: And the love theme swells as two hearts do the same. The camera pans back showing the Seoul skyline. No deaths, no punishments, no abs, no kiss.[sigh]
JoAnne: No but we did get my favorite smile of his, that shy little grin where he ends up looking off to the side. Oppa, saranghae!
kakashi: And in the next scene, that we did not see, he tells her to go F herself and leave him alone! Yes, a little birdie told me. Oppa forever!
 

FINAL FINAL THOUGHTS

Shuk: Well, this has certainly been a ride. Merry-go-round or rollercoaster? I’m thinking carnival funhouse, where you walk into things, circle around while someone laughs cruelly, and eventually find the exit. This show was a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing: too mild for melo, too violent for romance, too lacking in cheesecake for fanservice, with a twisty, spaghetti-esque plot that kept me going week after week even while scratching my head. All in all, I really enjoyed the show, and never felt that it dragged down, even while getting cross-eyed from the plot. Song Seun-hun’s acting was a massive, massive improvement over Dr. Jin, but is that him or the PD? It certainly wasn't the storyline. You ended up really rooting for poor Han Tae-sang, who couldn't catch a break but also whom nothing particularly crappy happened to him. You just wanted to see him happy and smiling, preferably shirtless.
We didn't get this...
...but we didn't necessarily get this either.


Thanks to my collaborators JoAnne and kakashi, who allowed me to browbeat them into coming on board and who are two very very special and terrific friends. Without them, this would have been as boring as Seo Mi-do… Kamsahamnida, uri unni’s! And a deep bow to several others that helped me with the language, music, and general information.
JoAnne: I’m so glad you talked me into this! Thanks to my collaborators, who did all the heavy lifting. Without you, I’d have had to tweet all this! I agree with Shuk that this was not an easily defined show, and that Oppa’s acting was probably about the best it’s ever been - no telling why, but I’m grateful. I loved that in the end, Han Tae Sang has his family, his friends, and the possibility of the love he’s wanted for the better part of ten years. While there’s a part of me that would have liked him to rip his shirt off and kiss her hard, the truth is that sweet moment of possibility and hope that they share in front of the bookstore feels much more real to me and much more in keeping with the incredibly sanitized version of the world that this writer gave us. I’m sorry this is over. I could watch more Oppa. To help ease the pain of this loss…come back to this space in a few days, and you may see a new Object of Squee.
kakashi: Thank you, Shukie and JoAnne, for Squeeing publicly on this blog! We've been through a lot together and bonded for life. Life after squeecapping is not the same. Definitely not. And oppa forever.

B O N U S    T R A C K
For JoAnne:
"Yes, JoAnne, I want to announce my sincere appreciation for your efforts.  Love, Oppa"
For kakashi:
"kakashi - I want my eyelashes to show their appreciation to your eyelashes."
..... Until next time, Shukmeister. 

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