And finally the pace picks up! And finally I’m back to completely enjoying myself. I don’t know what caused the sudden upswing in plot development and character-action, but I am grateful to whomever decided it was time to kick the tires and light the fires and get this story moving.
Spoilers of episodes 13 & 14 below:
Both Tan and Eun-sang returned to being dynamic characters in their own right. I enjoyed all of their scenes — from cheeky doughnut eating to tag-team Rachel confrontations. We got lovely banter and humor in their flirtations (from Eun-sang as well!) and even their heavier emotional moments (Tan finally realizing the battle he’s heading towards with his brother — Eun-sang deciding to come clean about being in the “Social Care” group) had movement to them.
Both Tan and Eun-sang are coming to terms with their places on the playing board. Eun-sang is refusing to bow to the strictures of the game and Tan… I’m not sure he’s refusing (for one, I think a full on refusal would mean a complete separation from his family, which I don’t think he wants to do) but I do think he’s trying to decide how he wants to play the game, rather than just remaining a piece to be played by others.
(My hope is Tan figures out a way to ally with Won. I feel like Won is the best choice to run the conglomerate: he’s been doing it, seems to enjoy it, and seems to be good at it. And while I think Tan would like to be a part of things as a member of the family, I don’t feel like he hungers to actually run everything. I think he’d be content in a supporting role. Staring adoringly at his brother.)
Eun-sang’s grab is smaller — or at least, less dramatic. But she’s finally decided to pursue her own happiness and date the boy she wants to date. Since she’d been acting like going after any kind of personal happiness was beyond her, I’m happy for her new outlook. For one, it’s a lot less mopey. For another, it’s somehow created this awesomely weird partnership between her and Tan’s mom. Which, since it’s Tan’s mom, brings a whole lot of funny.
And then there’s the rest of the cast! Myung-soo has his hilarious paparazzi moment outside of his studio.
Bo-na and Chan-young were even more adorable (which hardly seems possible, but they managed).
Rachel got to do something more than all stink-face all the time.
And Hyo-shin… continues to scare me. I didn’t like that one of his conversations with Tan had that body-outline, protest-art hovering in the background. I really, really hope Hyun-joo being at the school saves him from some kind of mortal act of protest.
Extra special mention goes to Young-do’s heart growing one size bigger — as illustrated by the gentling of his hair in his final few scenes. (I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but I loved that it’s after he’s showered out his hair shellack that he swings into action as an actual “black knight” — riding to Eun-sang’s rescue without any thought of compensation.) I’m glad he’s finally stopped being run by his rage. Or at least, is questioning that life-choice. He may actually become a full-fledged human being by drama’s end.
And then there was that final, glorious, cheese-tastic ending! It was like the encapsulation of every prom-movie ever, with our couple in the spotlight on the dance floor, staring into each other’s eyes, while everyone around them looks on with envy or admiration. The only thing missing was a slow-clap. (I thought, for a brief moment, that Chan-young would get one going, but I guess they decided that was a step too far.)
Also, the whole removing her apron moment! I don’t think such an innocuous move has ever seemed so steamy — especially considering she was wearing a pretty thick sweater under it.
Well played, show. Well played. May this heightened pace, and heightened romance, continue.