Bubblegum 풍선껌 Episode 13
[A Green Signal In the Dark Night Sky]
As Haeng Ah leaves after her appointment at the hospital, she runs into Ri Hwan. He walks past, but she grabs his arm. For once, she has something to say. A gurney with a bloodied patient rolls past and, instinctively, he pulls her close and covers her eyes.
Ri Hwan asks if she’s okay. She says she is fine, but what about him? After all, she hasn’t broken up with him. He tells her that to start over means she will have to cry again. Doesn’t she understand that? She argues that since they met like they did today, unplanned, they should go in together to talk to Chief Doctor about Mother/Aunt. I like Chief Doctor’s directness. He tells Ri Hwan that depression will hit if he continues to handle things the way he is without treatment. To Haeng Ah he says that continuing to blame herself for everything will mean that she will need treatment for one more thing. He wonders how things turned out this way; did Mother/Aunt do something wrong by opposing their relationship because of her own past issues? Immediately Haeng Ah defends Mother/Aunt. So, continues Chief Doctor, when a mother defends her son she is always right no matter what? Haeng Ah does her blame-rationalizing thing and says that it was all because of the burden she and her father were to Mother/Aunt, and then father died – wouldn’t Mother/Aunt feel the way she does toward her because of that?
Chief Doctor asks if that makes Mother/Aunt’s behavior okay, then. Haeng Ah, who is yelling by now, says that she can’t be the one to question Mother/Aunt because, ultimately, she is the source of her sorrows. Chief Doctor challenges her thinking: then Mother/Aunt was right in trying to commit suicide to oppose her relationship with Ri Hwan? Haeng Ah has piled on blame from day one so high that she can’t get out from under it. Mother/Aunt can’t even look at her because she is a constant reminder of father’s death and her loss, wouldn’t that be true? Haeng Ah only sees herself as a loathsome burden to Mother/Aunt and, as a worthy martyr, accepts the angry treatment. With that kind of thinking, Chief Doctor concludes, then the situation is okay with everyone the way it is, right? That’s not it! she shouts. Ri Hwan silently sits there. It’s a total relationshipwreck.
Ri Hwan’s conclusion is equally as twisted. He tells Haeng Ah that she’s not the burden; it’s Mother/Aunt and him. He shouldn’t have gone to get her in Namhae that time and brought her back to the house where she would constantly worry about being thrown away by Mother/Aunt. Haeng Ah stands her ground though, and says she can and will go through it all again unless he is saying that he doesn’t like her. If that’s the real reason. He doesn’t respond. But she will stay even as a throw away in Mother/Aunt’s eyes if he is distancing himself only because he thinks the situation is too hurtful for Haeng Ah. Furthermore, if he is worried about having the hereditary gene for Early Onset Alzheimer’s, then he should know that she has studied up on it. Ri Hwan is caught off-guard; he hadn’t said anything to her, but she knows him well enough that she could tell it was a concern he was hiding. If he does [have the gene] – she is not taking that possibility lightly, there is plenty that can be done if it’s found early on, she assures him. Like any disease, just take medication and be careful. In other words, she is telling him, don’t use that as an excuse to be apart from her.
Ri Hwan decides to be tested for the PS1 gene and asks Chief Doctor to keep it secret. Haeng Ah sits along the Han River in the middle of the day drinking beer from a straw. Tae Hee comes by and asks what’s up. As usual, Haeng Ah plays down her burden and runs to the store for another beer. She’s left her phone behind and Tae Hee can’t help but see the article on it about Alzheimer’s.
There’s a scene at Secret Garden – in her curiosity, Mother/Aunt has taken a picture of a couple having lunch there. Dong Hwa has been showing Mother/Aunt how to use the camera and it was all done innocently. But the patron is furious and demands to know who this lady is and why she took their picture. Dong Hwa, wanting to protect Mother/Aunt from being embarrassed, tries to defuse the situation but the patron is belligerent. When he demands to speak to the owner, Uncle Gangster marches him out the door by the collar (haha). Aunt Princess takes care of Mother/Aunt who is teary, feeling suspended between her fading mind and the present.
Ri Hwan is devoted to Mother/Aunt more than ever. He picks her up at Secret Garden and takes her for a walk. He’s brought her a lovely bouquet and is touched at his mother’s sincere expression of happiness. It is the first time he can recall her saying that she is happy.
Jung Woo stops by Yi Seul’s office to visit his sister and ask if Overbearing Mom is still bothering her. They laugh, both knowing the answer. Where in the world does their mother shop, he asks teasingly, to come up with those silly pink outfits? Although Overbearing Mother’s faults are many, still she is their mother. Yi Seul says she doesn’t want her to change, and that perhaps she pesters her daughter so much because she is bored and has no one to fight for or protect. Jung Woo says he didn’t stop by to make fun of their mother, but to ask Yi Seul what he can do for her. It’s a sweet sibling moment between them. He heard she looked into an Alzheimer’s hospital for Ri Hwan’s mother. Can she let go of that Eastern medicine doctor, now? Yi Seul says that she wants to (because she knows the relationship is futile) but she can’t. Jung Woo wants to see his sister happy and is bothered to hear that she can’t let him go.
Ri Hwan finds Mother/Aunt’s journal in the fridge where she has misplaced it. He sadly reads her “to do” list, the one she has written so that she won’t forget important things. 1. Contact the sanitarium. 2. Haeng Ah… 3. Let Ri Hwan go. Tell him I’m sorry. 4. Listen to my recording on my phone if I forget things. 5. Keep cell phone under pillow. 6. If I can’t remember any of this don’t say anything to anyone. It is a solemn moment for Ri Hwan as he reads his mother’s notes.
Se Young is all dolled up to look more youthful in a ponytail and ribbon. Joon Soo is unsure about all this – it’s hard to differentiate between his job as manager and being her boyfriend. She is doing a commercial highlighting “The heroine of Nine Affairs – Secret of Youth by Oh Se Young.” She has promised to treat Black Radio team to dinner.
On short notice Jung Woo asks to meet Ri Hwan. He wanted to check out his medical office even though he could have taken care of what he wants to say over the phone. Ri Hwan asks the purpose of the meeting. Jung Woo says he’s unhappy that his sister likes someone who doesn’t like her back. How awkward. Jung Woo places a credit card and a reservation to the best hospital in the world for Alzheimer’s on the desk. He tells Ri Hwan he only has to make one call and everything is ready to accommodate complete care and living arrangements for him and his mother. “I have no reason to accept this and there is no reason I would,” replies Ri Hwan. Jung Woo responds, “I want my sister to marry the man she loves. More than that, I want the man she loves to love her.” He tells Ri Hwan that if he can’t be that person, then he should disappear so that neither he nor his sister will have to deal with the rejection. It’s a two-edged offer: on one hand, it is the help Ri Hwan’s mother could benefit from; on the other hand, it is a display of money that only Korea’s top 1% can flaunt to get what they want.
Suk Joon wanders into the old office to meet Dong Il to go out to eat. They run into the Black Radio group on their way to eat, too, and end up going together. It is awkward for Haeng Ah when Suk Joon – in a display to show his new, attentive manners – cuts her meat and pays all sorts of attention to her.
After dinner, Tae Hee calls Dong Il to meet her at the cafe in front of the office. He agrees, but ends up calling Ji Hoon and tells him to be the one to show up to meet her. Ji Hoon doesn’t think the idea will work. Tae Hee is good at reading people and knocks at Dong Il’s dorm door. She guessed he wouldn’t go even though he said he would. In a frank, heart-to-heart talk with her, Dong Il admits that he can’t cover his daughter’s and wife’s picture in his wallet with hers. He likes her, he tells Tae Hee, and he is flattered, but it ends there for him. Meanwhile, having given it some thought, Ji Hoon dashes over to the cafe after all. He waits all night until closing for her to come. As teary Tae Hee drives home, she passes Ji Hoon on the street. When she backs up the car, he says he guesses she must have met “the other person” and everything must have worked out. What is the fate of these two?
Haeng Ah and Dong Hwa have coffee together after a long day. Dong Hwa things Ri Hwan should be better to Haeng Ah. When Haeng Ah defends him (it’s her specialty to hold up those who hurt her), Dong Hwa says it’s no fun; she wanted to have a girls’ rag session on him. Haeng Ah gets to thinking that if she were him, she would simply disappear in order to make that person’s life easier. *Pop!* *Flash* !!The lightbulb goes on!! She runs to Ri Hwan, realizing that’s exactly what he is doing – disappearing to protect her.
Ji Hoon answers the doorbell and Haeng Ah barges in and asks if he went and got tested for the gene. Before he can answer she tells him that if she knew her mother was going to die when she was 5, and if she knew her father would die when she was 15 and her aunt would lose her memory 20 years later, then she wouldn’t have been able to live. It is because she didn’t know those things that she got through them and is living well today. “I was dying of sadness but I got through them somehow.” She tells him that in ten or twenty years, whatever happens she’ll get through it. She is not afraid of anything now and she will be living well. “As long as you are by my side,” she tells him. She said what she wanted, and heads for the bus stop. Ji Hoon tells Ri Hwan to go after her, that the longer they stay apart, the deeper the wounds become. “You doing this right now to Haeng Ah…You’re making the same mistake your mother did. You’re hurting her just to protect her.” Ji Hoon’s become a regular philosopher now that he isn’t pickling his brain every evening. Ri Hwan startles upon hearing those words, as if he hadn’t seen it that way, but realizes it’s true.
Haeng Ah gets on the bus. She looks up to see Ri Hwan get on behind her. They stare into each other’s eyes; no words are necessary.
Her smile is as bright as it’s ever been. They lock fingers and sit close. He leans over tells her and says, “I’m here now,” and kisses her forehead.
- It feels like the story has run its course and there are no more surprises – at least not any I care about, which is kinda boring.
- For the life of me, I can’t figure out Yi Seul and her brother Jung Woo – maybe because I’m not filthy rich – who toss money everywhere and anytime to get their way. They’re just so gosh darn nice about it, but all the same, it’s because they can to ultimately to get their way. Perhaps it’s that top 1% Korean chaebol-ness that makes money-related matters seem so greasy. In a nice way, in this case. It must count for something, I just don’t know what.
- The story and the characters are falling apart like in so many kdramas, but since I adore Dong Wook and Ryeo Won, I can tolerate it. I don’t think any ending is really going to grab me, though.
- Is the melo in the drama making you fall asleep, too?