My Love Eun Dong - Episode 1 (A SqueeCap)

Hi there dramaworld! Guest blogger Dewaanifordrama here. Normally I blog over at Samsoon Down the Rabbit Hole but the lovely ladies of PotUP are good friends. Um, what else, I live in South Korea right now and I teach English at a university there, but really I'm just a culturally confused, K-drama-loving citizen of the world who stays up too late on Twitter so I can hang out with all my awesome Tweeple. I'm excited to recap this with JoAnne!

JoAnne: You all know D, right? So happy she wanted to do this with me! We have this friend who neeeeds the recaps, for reasons. Who are we to say no? So let's get to it, shall we? After all...
someone is waiting for us

Episode One

Meet Ji Eun-Ho, fictional Korea's top male actor for the last 10 years. He's organized a press conference to announce that he's writing his autobiography. The interesting part, though, is why. He openly admits to the room of reporters that his sole reason for writing the autobiography - for becoming an actor in the first place - is to find someone named Eun Dong. I kind of really love that Ji Eun-Ho loves to stare at the camera so intently. It makes my screencapping twitchy fingers click too much. He's so lovely to stare to at.
Oh Good Lord, yes. Want.  It doesn't hurt that this entire drama is just gorgeously, lovingly, skillfully filmed.  A real visual treat, even if it wasn't the delectable Joo Jin Mo and his liquid, lovely eyes, slightly tough face (it's the nose) and solidly NOT PUPPY body.  When he smiles...goodness.  Ahjumma down!
Rewind to 1995 Chuncheon (which is famous for its dakgalbi) where a bunch of teenagers on motorbikes flee furiously from the police. They separate at an intersection and their leader gets separated from the rest. A crash and tumble down an embankment ends with a rather scratched up Park Hyun Soo sitting in a police station with his mom. He's in trouble mostly because he was riding a stolen motorbike. He's not too happy that he was duped into buying stolen merchandise and straight after the scolding at the police station, he's off to give the sellers a beating. He takes their leader's motorbike and rides off as it starts to rain.
Ah, JR, of Got7 fame.  One of the few not embarrassing things about Dream High 2 was JR's performance, and he continues to show winning charm and convincing emotion here.  Get ready to fall in love, folks.  Even if he IS - gasp - an idol.
Cue fated meeting! Hyun Soo tries to swerve to avoid the girl in the crosswalk, but the rain-soaked streets are too slick. The bike goes flying, so does he, he crashes into the girl who lies seemingly dead. Panic! Hyun Soo scrambles over to her and cradles her in his arms. He tries to get her to wake up and she does open her eyes momentarily. She's not dead!
Shortest drama ever, if she was.  The youngest version of Eun Dong is admirably played by Lee Ja In, and it seems not much is known about her other than that she is ELEVEN.

This girl looks about eight, though.  Come on.
We next see a surly Hyun Soo sitting in court about to get a strict sentence because he hit the girl in the crosswalk and combined with the previous stolen motorcycle incident, the judge isn't so keen on letting him off the hook at all.
He can't go to prison.  His ears are too big.  It will make him a very easy target.  Judging by his face, he realizes this.
Just then, the girl in the crosswalk limps into the courtroom and tells everyone: "Oppa didn't hit me, I just fell". Today is his lucky day! She promptly limps right out the courtroom again leaving behind a rather bewildered and grateful Hyun Soo. Seriously though, Jr. really does look like he could be a younger Joo Jin Mo.
I'm bad at that kind of thing, so I'll take your word for it.  He's a cutie, though, and he passes my 'If I were 16 would I...' test with a resounding yes.
We head back to 2015 briefly where the mellifluous and bass tones of Joo Jin Mo narrate: "She lied that day." He gazes out onto the rain-drenched streets of Seoul nostalgically dictating his story as a mysterious writer types away at her computer.
That voice could make me do things. Bad things, good things, things I could not write home about. But why did that sweet little girl lie? (She didn't hear that voice, after all.)  
Apparently overcome with fascination as to why a total stranger would lie for him, Hyun Soo skips school and waits for the crosswalk girl. She's still limping and he fusses over whether or not she's okay. She's not particularly impressed that she lied for someone who would skip school. He also notes her dirty and scuffed shoes that look well past their wear. He follows her home later and finds out that her name is Eun Dong and she lives with her grandmother in a poor part of Seoul. He catches sight of the local parish priest (and maybe a social worker?) leaving the house discussing her pitiful situation.
Yes, my guess was social worker/community health aid, that kind of person.  Interesting that he knew how to find  No quibbling.  They're going to be too sweet.

Troublemaker Hyun Soo then starts to initiate all sorts of excuses to stop by and visit and help Eun Dong out. He even scuffs up his new, white tennis shoes, which gets him a cuff to the ear from his mom. He even takes all the food from his refrigerator and leaves it anonymously at Eun Dong's house. He eavesdrops on Eun Dong reading her grandmother A Dog of Flanders, which she changes to a happy ending so that grandmom doesn't feel too sad. It's a really sad story about a poor boy named Nello, and the beaten up dog he finds, named Patrasche, and eventually they freeze to death in a church one night.
Sometimes I think this is one of the only two stories that anyone in Korea ever reads as a child.  The other would be that goat one.

He comes over often and helps her carry heavy boxes, do the laundry, and just makes sure that she's okay. Ack! These two are just so stinking cute together.  Of course they just have to stomp on that laundry together because what else says teenage romance than awkwardly doing laundry together. Actually, it's just sooooooo cute! Hyun Soo is totally a little giddy at being so close to Eun Dong.
It is really cute.  It honestly is.  And you TOTALLY buy her crush on HIM...but I wish they'd spent just a teeny bit more time making a distinction between his initial impulse (grateful assistance) and how that morphed into admiration for a girl who truly was someone to admire and respect.  Because she's just TOO pre-pubescent for any 17-year-old boy to fall for.  They're so cute, and the story is so circumspect, that you just let it go...but it does cross your mind. It has to.  I love the actress' portrayal...I just wish somehow she could have looked a TEENY bit older.
Really, they are just so cute! While eating ice-cream at the local convenience store, the neighbourhood gang, who sold the stolen motorbike to Hyun Soo, comes by to harass him. He's not having any of that anymore because he's trying to become a better man. He tells Eun Dong that all men are dogs and that he's the only one she should trust. He also makes sure to buy her new shoes to replace the old, beat-up ones.
See?  You see how puppy-dog in love he is?  I did spend some time wondering how that boy could feel that way about that girl...but as we go along, and you see the older versions, you'll come to a realization, same as me.  Mentally, this guy is a pure innocent.  Way more innocent than she is.  THAT'S how it could happen, because he just cannot exist in the real world.  While she, on the other hand, very much can.
While Eun Dong stands nervously at the high school entrance, all the high school boys walk past. You can tell she's a little nervous about seeing Hyun Soo on his home turf and for a minute we worry if he's going to be typical teenage boy and ignore her standing there. But he doesn't. He's all cool and laid back and happy to see her there. He happily notes the new shoes and they walk off together and he compliments her on her pretty, giraffe hair pin. She is of course tickled pink that he noticed her hair pain. Ah! Young teenage love.
You just can't help with the squees, watching.  It's just so sweet.  You want to squish them both and put them on a shelf far from anything bad and keep them perfect forever.

Hyun Soo asks Eun Dong how they will recognize each other if they ever get separated. She says that he has the warmest back and that's how she'll know. He says that he'll just know. That he'll just have this feeling and he'll know it's her. And then things get really cutely awkward when she says that being around him gives her a cramp in her heart.
Where is this place?  Does it exist, somehow, in the center of Seoul?  Are children allowed to just wander out to the country side? Did school let out at NOON? Can they get home before dark, and parents start to worry?  She's THIRTEEN.
They joke around about being like Nello and Patra and she says that he's the dog in the story. Cue adorable barking from Hyun Soo.
Don't expect anything else from me.  I'm in a diabetic coma.
You would think that this wouldn't be as lovely and cute as it is, but they really have this lovely, yet really innocent, attraction and rapport. It makes it really hard to say goodbye. Ack! They are so cute! He offers to come back the next day to fix the rusty and squeaky entrance gate, but fate has other plans for them.
Look at their faces.  Those of you who've experienced a first know exactly how they feel, don't you? They capture it perfectly.  It's crazy stupid how perfect it is.
The next day on his way to fix the gate, he runs into the neighbourhood gang again. They threaten to mess with him but he blows it off and tries to go on his way. He really is trying hard to not get mixed up with them again. It's only when they threaten to mess with Eun Dong (they very strongly imply that they would rape her)(KILL THEM ALL HYUN SOO), that he gets fired up and fights with the whole gang all at once. He ends up in hospital and unable to tell Eun Dong where he is and what's happened.
Well it's not like we didn't expect something, but still.  You will feel despair.
Eun Dong waits for him, but he doesn't come. Her grandmother dies and she has to leave. When he finally gets out of hospital, she has gone and he's completely distraught. He's completely frustrated. With no Facebook or Google stalking available, she's gone and there's not much he can do about it. A neighbourhood ahjumma has the box Eun Dong left for him.
She's been saving up her pennies and bought him matching shoes. All the note says is: "Oppa, I won't forget you!" But we get a flashback telling us that she agonized over writing the note, which originally read: "Dear Hyun Soo oppa, thank you for making lots of good memories. I will not forget you. I will miss you. Don't forget me~ Live well until we meet again. Eun Dong-ah."
Just take it, my heart. Take it and stomp it into dust while tiny 13-year-old girl hearts break into millions of pieces.

Hyun Soo doesn't really know what to do with himself. He's incredibly distraught at thinking he might never see Eun Dong again and while watching TV, he remembers that she wanted to be an actress so she would be famous enough to find her mom. Earnest Hyun Soo thus commences to become an actor, but sadly he's just not that great at it.
That's putting it mildly.  Thankfully the drama is good at injecting humor in a natural way, and this part would be one of them.
Flash forward about 10 years later and our determined Hyun Soo Park Eun Ho is dutifully putting up posters for the latest theatrical gig he's a part of. (I am about 99% sure that in this scene while he's putting up posters, Eun Dong walks by him and she sort of takes a backward glance at him). His agent wants him to change his name, but he's doggedly determined to keep it as Park Eun Ho. He wants to make sure that Eun Dong can find him again. He also does his military service as public service officer.
Yes, that's her.  It happened twice, that I noticed.  Both right around here, but one when she was a kid, and one as a young woman.
One day as he's issuing parking tickets in the pouring rain, he starts thinking about her. Her memory walks past him with an umbrella just as a woman on a bicycle crashes into him and they both fall down. As he looks into her face, he knows it's her.

I love these actors!  Baek Sung Hyun and Yoon So Hee.  Although for some reason, I always think this girl is hiding an evil secret, even when she's not.
We get a flashback to their conversation on the fence about how they will recognize each other if they are ever parted. We also see some new flashback where he once carried her in the rain and she got to feel how warm his back is. With emotion threatening to overwhelm Eun Ho, he asks her: "Have you been well?" She nods. He asks again: "Have you eaten?" She shakes her head no. Cheesy 90s music swells as our lovers reunite, staring emotionally into each others' eyes.
I heave a happy sigh.


So I was surprised at how quickly this drama episode sucked me in to wanting to watch more. I know the story is a bit over the top, but the young pairing were just so earnest and sweet and lovable that I wanted to know more about them. Jr. was just perfect as a younger Joo Jin Mo as well.
Can it be enough that they get parted over and over again, just by events that happen?  Can there be no human interference?  Can there be no second leads, please?  Can we just have them finding and losing and finding again until the time is right for them to be together? (I'm on board, can you tell?)