Ok, I’ma stop gushing about GD. I won’t apologize for it though!
Dramas I will spoil after the jump: Master’s Sun (Eps 7-8). I am still watching Who Are You, but I have little to say on it, other than Kim JaeWook continues to be a handsome spectral figure. Oh, and I had to officially drop Goddess of Fire. I hit my tolerance. Sorry, Bummie, I guess your cloak of fake flowing locks isn’t shield enough from the cracking pottery logic of your show.
Ghost stories they may be, but they are also sad stories about human nature, and the pain we endure while alive. So much so that the pain lingers even in death, like an echo that won’t let sound go. The theme of this post seems to be pain and survival in the underworld, pain that threatens to swallow souls whole. Even little souls. The central story of this one deals with kids, who apparently, in their pureness, can see ghosts like HyoJin. Stories with transparent little kids with black voids for eyes are creepy, but this story doesn’t end as we expect.
Onto the romance! Since JiSub was almost a casualty in last episode after helping HyoJin, he decides that he needs to keep more definitive separation between himself and his wacky sun. He decides there will be a “Tae GongShil Zone” where she is allowed to touch him, which is a scant piece of forearm. She’s not happy that he’s pulling away, but she does understand why he’s doing it. During this separation, however, both are clearly miserable to the max. He takes anti-anxiety pills that don’t seem to relieve any anxiety and she mourns that she wishes she could at least hear his voice to chase away her fears.
A few things we learned, or didn’t learn:
—It is not yet confirmed whether JiSub’s dyslexia is cured by contact with HyoJin, and the fact that we’ve not gotten an answer yet leads me to think it just might...
—We’re beginning to realize that JiSub needs HyoJin more than she needs him. Granted, HyoJin was a skittish personality when we first met her, but she was still kind-hearted and open to the world. JiSub, on the other hand, was a closed off master hiding in his tower, standing apart from people and observing them through a telescope from a distance. But now he is slowly growing more and more heart every episode, and like HyoJin’s gift of vitamins to him, he finds it a bitter pill to swallow, but it is healing him.
—We can see the intimacy of their constant physical contact is now beginning to affect HyoJin in the heart fluttering kind of way. For her, touching him has become almost as scary as not touching him. By episode’s end, we get the first hint that JiSub also feels something more with every contact. Oh, and apparently, her hair does not smell bad to him anymore.
—HyoJin’s Jesus Save Me pajama is hilarious.
In more humble corners of the kingdom, InGuk has been observing from the sidelines and gets increasingly jealous at the closeness growing between master and maiden, which leads him to resort to some petty snooping. He finds pictures of JiSub’s dead ex in HyoJin’s desk at work. Dun, dun, dun.
Less plot, more love, and even more foreshadowing. So let’s see, what happened…most adorably, we get to spend more time with
Ripping out his own heart in the process, he tells a surprised HyoJin that he never actually liked her. He lies that she was foolish for thinking candy-giving and theater-inviting was an indication of amorous intent when it was only pity. He then proceeds to do everything possible in this episode to ensure he does not get The Girl. And the cold way he tramples HyoJin’s heart, I’m sorry to say, is the kind of thing that earns him a solid red card. And it is the only scene he really shares with her this episode, so it was almost like he really did get banned from playing the field for the rest of the match.
Our main couple, as usual, are left alone to have at their ghost-busting job. HyoJin hates all ghosts related to water, but JiSub has one trying to drown Kingdom Hotel pool partiers.
This episode’s watery ghost ended up being a woman who long ago won a prize to enjoy one of Kingdom Hotel’s more lavish suites, and now lying in a coma, her longing spirit has come back to the hotel where she had once found happiness.
InGuk told HyoJin earlier in the episode when he “broke up” with her that “Even if the heart can’t be honest, pain will reveal the answer.” He said this to her as he realized that HyoJin never liked him, and the phrase later resonates with HyoJin as she realizes she must have feelings for JiSub for her heart does reveal an answer. The saying, unfortunately, for all its sincerity, is sourced from a cruel location. Turns out, it was something Han BoReum used to say to JiSub before the kidnapping, that she would like it if he felt lots and lots of pain over her. Hmmm. Not very romantic. The phrase leads JiSub to connect that InGuk is a spy for his father. But the better question is, how the hell does InGuk know the saying? It seems JiSub’s father is also keeping secrets.
HyoJin made plenty of good attempt to become more independent from JiSub in this episode after he revealed that he is definitely affected by her constant touching, in a negative way. Specifically, he doesn’t want tongues wagging. In a delightful twist, he is the one who spends the majority of the hour trying to grab her hand. At one point he even challenges after taking hold in a tight vise, “Let go if you think you can!” But what I loved even more than JiSub doing the reaching was that he also displayed trust. Unlike InGuk who immediately thinks the worse of HyoJin when he finds incriminating evidence, JiSub trusts HyoJin implicitly. Even when she’s quoting his dead ex-girlfriend, his first thought is to ask where she heard it, not how she’s connected to the big evil dead girlfriend. Not only does it speak to faith, but also that he knows her very well now, believes in her goodness without reservations.
The episode ends with another intense ex-girlfriend appearance and the ghost refuses to reveal the name of her accomplice behind the kidnapping because she must protect that person. This is another emotional punch for JiSub, the idea that this woman who betrayed him once and broke his heart is betraying him yet again even in death, choosing to protect his kidnapper instead of settling peace with him.
He tries to remain in unmoved…and in rare show of weakness, asks HyoJin to stay by his side and protect him.
The show continues to be a tearjerker with its ghost stories, but more surprisingly, the romance between the all the couples continues to explore deeper valleys. One would not think there would be so much real emotions to mine in such a fantasy world, but the parallel between dead ghosts and living ghosts seems a really effective one.
The romance in this one works so well because it is based on need. Certainly there is attraction, everyone is very good-looking, but this is also about finding a place in the world that is safe. When one finds the person that brings peace in a world of madness, isn’t that love? When the ghosts, real phantoms or the inner demons that haunt from the past, fall silent, isn’t that a shelter, a home, a place to settle? More dangerous than aimless spirits are the memories that haunt our living characters. And they are all trying to find haven from hurts they’ve already suffered. Many kdrama couples often feel unbalanced, all the power and charm held by one side, but here, all the people seem to carry strengths that balance well against their partners.