This episode was like heading right into the eye of the storm, and suddenly it’s all quiet and calm again for a brief moment in time. Our OTP found a pocket of serenity surrounded by a maelstrom that threatens to destroy everything that matters. It was temporary and hard fought, but I got to enjoy it with them for the short reprieve. Best Love (The Greatest Love) is headed towards its finale next week, and honest to god I have no clue what’s going to happen. Even if Jin survives his heart surgery and lives to be 80, I’m sure the Hong Sisters will still surprise me with how the story wraps up.
This has been an exhilarating journey, one that I concede I would be much (MUCH) more rabid about had BL not aired at exactly the same period as Lie to Me. There is no accounting for what drama bites you harder on the arse, like LTM did to me, but it doesn’t discount how much I love BL and how much I’ve understood and appreciated the writing mastery for the drama. I decree the Hong Sisters have to keep doing more adult fare. Their dramas that are more mature with greater stakes are ultimately their works that I love the most.
Episode 14 Recap:
Jin wants to give his image, which is priceless, to Ae Jung. She yells at him to tell her that he’s joking. Jin reminds her that she can’t get out of this mess by herself alone. He wants her to sell him out. Ae Jung sarcastically says that it’s great – if she said that Jin was her man, no one would be mad at her, since he’s about to die.
Jin tries to grab her hand, but she repeatedly pulls her hand away. She says that she’s not his charger, and has nothing to do with him right now. Instead of being happy, she’s furious, asking him if she’s supposed to be elated that he just told her he could die and she should drag him into the mud with her? She tells him to keep living in his lofty tower and let her wallow in her own muck. She walks away, and Jin quietly says “Gu Ae Jung, please…..” after her.
Ae Jung shakes her head at Agent Moon, confirming that she’s not going to do as Jin wants. Agent Moon reassures Ae Jung that if she just apologizes, the rest will be taken care of. At the press conference, Ae Jung is grilled on her betrayal of the Treasure Girls and whether she feels any guilt towards Pil Joo. Ae Jung says that she’s sorry for everything and she will reflect.
When she’s asked about living as an entertainer with such a negative image and whether she’s thought about changing her image, all Ae Jung can hear is Jin talking to her. Ae Jung asks if she died, would that work? If she died, no matter who she betrayed, who she loved, could everything be forgiven by her death? She starts to sob, saying that someone wants to protect her…..
Ae Hwan rushes to help Ae Jung off the dais and Agent Moon puts an end to the interview. She tells Jin the press conference didn’t go well. Jin tells Agent Moon to prepare a press release about his upcoming surgery. He’s willing to lose the rest of his free time before the surgery to be hounded by the press. One has to lose something to protect something else.
Ae Jung is getting wasted at Jenny’s restaurant. She asks Jenny if she’s supposed to cry and wail if someone she loves might die. To comfort him and grieve with him? But that person says that his death will be good for Ae Jung, so how can she respond. Is she supposed to say thank you? Jenny guesses something happened to Jin. Ae Jung says that Jin wants his death to help Ae Jung’s public image. Ae Jung passes out and Jin arrives. He asks Jenny not to wake her up. He’s here to abduct her.
Ae Hwan finds out from Jae Seok about Jin’s upcoming surgery since Jae Seok prepared the press release. Ae Hwan is worried about how this will affect Ae Jung, which annoys Jae Seok, saying how he can be worried about Ae Jung. Jae Seok says that Jin is releasing this news to protect Ae Jung. He asks Ae Hwan to convince Ae Jung to accept Jin.
Jin talks to a sleeping Ae Jung, asking why she’s so quiet today and not parroting people in her usual drunken habit. He tells her that if he did anything, she’ll forgive him, right? She’ll understand him, right? He leans down and tells her “I love you.” She then whispers right back “I love you.” Oh lord, spork my heart right now. Jin smiles and says that she said the right thing, because now he can abduct her rightfully.
Pil Joo meets with the production of Couple Making, who have helped him clear up the mis-statements in the media attributed to Pil Joo. But a search of the web shows no news about Ae Jung, everything is about Dokko Jin and his upcoming heart surgery.
Ae Jung wakes up at Jin’s place. He brings her water and tells her that he kidnapped her here. She wants to leave but he reveals that she can’t because the place is surrounded by reporters. There is no news about her press conference, all everyone wants to talk about is Dokko Jin’s heart.
Ae Hwan, Jae Seok, and Jenny read the news and discuss how Ae Jung is with Jin right now, and the house is surrounded by reporters. Jae Seok says that they have to support them, even if the world is against that couple. Jenny says that Ae Jung loves Jin, so she needs time to figure out her feelings.
Jin says that Ae Jung can’t leave, she’ll have to stay by his side until his surgery. He doesn’t care about convincing her or explaining himself. He just want to see her in the remaining time he has left. Her two choices are to leave and let the world know they are a couple, or stay here and keep him company. Either option works for him. She walks upstairs to get away, and he tells her that his house has an open layout and he can see her wherever she goes.
Ae Jung checks the news and finds out that there are no news articles about her. Jin opens the fridge to find it fully stocked, which makes him happy. Pil Joo reads the news and mumurs that in the end, Jin told the world. Pil Joo meets with Jenny, who tells him that Jin took Ae Jung away. Jenny feels sorry for the two of them so didn’t stop him. Pil Joo says that the misunderstanding with Ae Jung is still not cleared up. It’s time that the people who Ae Jung protected need to step forward now to protect her.
Se Ri meets with Agent Moon, finding out that Jin wants to give his image to Ae Jung should he die. Se Ri wonders why Ae Jung didn’t accept Jin’s offer. Agent Moon says that Ae Jung is protecting Jin. Se Ri murmurs that Ae Jung is always protecting people, and is reminded that Ae Jung also protected Se Ri back when they were Treasure Girls.
Mina meets with Pil Joo, telling him that she’s headed back to the States. She’s happy Ae Jung’s scandal got covered up. Pil Joo tells Mina that she needs to tell the truth now. Se Ri walks in and finally meets up with Mina. The two of them meet with Jenny and find out what happened back then.
Apparently Mina wanted to kill herself, and that speech Ae Jung gave at the press conference was the speech that Mina said to her. Mina reveals that she was exhausted and wanted to leave because she fell in love. She wanted to marry him and run away, but because of Se Ri’s joke, Mina lost her baby.
Se Ri’s face falls as she realizes what the consequences of her actions were. She was just angry that she was always ostracized back then. She blamed Ae Jung and just wanted to get back at her. Ae Jung knew what happened to Mina, which was why she was so angry at Se Ri. To help Mina, Ae Jung never explained what happened and broke up the group. Ae Jung protected everyone back then.
Ae Jung looks at the potato plant and Jin asks if she’s going to keep hiding upstairs. He comes up and takes his shirt off, telling her that he needs to change. This gets Ae Jung downstairs. Wherever she goes he pretends that he needs to do something there. Finally she sits down and turns on the TV, watching news reports about Jin’s heart surgery.
He turns off the TV and tells her to ask him directly. She refuses, she wants to hear it from a news report. He holds up the remote control and asks her as a Section TV reporter to interview him now. Ae Jung asks and Jin answers – the surgery is in one week (160 hours from now) and has a 10% success rate. Ae Jung whispers that she hopes he recovers soon. He chides her for not asking good questions.
Jin holds up the remote and says that he has someone very precious to him. Because he doesn’t have much time left and a low success rate, he kept this from her. He thinks she must be very angry with him, but wondering why he did this? Jin says he did it because he likes her too much. Jin tells Ae Jung that he doesn’t have time to explain it to her. He looks at her and says “I love you.”
Ae Jung looks down and starts to cry. Jin pulls her into his arms and lets her cry on his shoulder. He asks reporter Gu Ae Jung that isn’t a shame that she got an exclusive, so is she sad she can’t report it to the entire world. She tells him not to put their situation into front page news. He promises not to do that.
Se Ri meets with Manager Jang, who brought a reporter to ask Se Ri to reveal the truth about her break up with Jin. Se Ri says yes, it was all because of Ae Jung. She didn’t butt it, she comforted Se Ri after the break up. Se Ri says that she’s been feeling bad about the rumors of their Treasure Girls discord. She wants this interview to clear things up.
Manager Jang wants to know why Se Ri changed her story. Se Ri asks him to just forget about 10 years ago. But he’s still bitter that he made Ae Jung, but she ditched him to go sign with another agency. He wants all his entertainers to know that they can’t betray him. Se Ri tells him that if he has this attitude, his new group will also disband. Se Ri tells Manager Jang to keep his mouth shut, since Se Ri knows that his entertainer has a secret boyfriend and yet went on Couple Making.
Se Ri tells Pil Joo that she’s managed to handle Manager Jang. She asks Pil Joo if he’s still going back in to save Nina from the evil king? He says he’ll wait until Nina comes back into his world. He’s not sure if he’ll accept Nina at that time. Se Ri stands up to leave, but stops to yell at Pil Joo, asking how long Paul will still carry a torch for Nina? Pil Joo says until Nina stops crying.
Jin and Ae Jung are eating dinner. She’s eaten a lot so she has the energy to go outside with Jin. He doesn’t want to go outside and be treated as a victim and get pity. He wants to stay here and be cool until the end. Ae Jung asks if he was willing to expose their relationship because he’s about to die? She reminds him that he used to worry about his own future, but why is he worried about her future now? She doesn’t want him to worry, she wants him to keep living.
Ae Jung says that she doesn’t want to sit here with him and let time pass him by. She thinks he’s so afraid of dying that he wants to stay here with her. Jin stops her and tells her to stand up. Suddenly he leans in and just kisses her. He pulls back, and then leans in for a second deeper kiss. They break apart, and Jin tells Ae Jung that he’ll make sure the surgery is a success, so that he can show her their future.
He hugs her, and she makes him remember his promise. She needs him to follow through on his promise so that she can leave here. She can’t stay here with him, because if he were to be moved from the house to the hospital, she can’t accompany him because she’ll be surrounded by reporters. He agrees, he needs her by his side during his surgery. She needs to sing him the song. They hug each other and Jin says he’s recharging.
An ambulance pulls up to Jin’s house, and someone is carried outside in a stretcher. Jae Seok follows into the ambulance, which lures all the reporters away. It’s of course Ae Hwan hiding under the covers.
Once the reporters all leave, Ae Jung quickly sneaks out. Ae Jung tells Jin that she’ll see him at the hospital. Ae Jung says that she doesn’t want to do what Jin wants is because of one reason. Jin asks if its because she likes him. She shakes her head no. It’s because it’s more than that, it’s because she loves him so much more than he knows.
He smiles and says that his heart is alive because of Ae Jung’s love. He holds her face, telling her that he originally had another goal when he abducted her, but he’ll wait for the future to make that come true. She nods and then turns to walk out. Jin watches her leave, his eyes completely red with unshed tears. He holds his heart.
Sitting at his desk, Jin opens a ring box. He asks the ring if one day, the ring can make it to Ae Jung’s finger?
Jenny hears that Ae Jung got home safely and is sleeping at home. Jae Seok reveals that Jin is also safely at home sleeping. Both of them treasured their time together, so now they have to rest. Jae Seok mentions Jenny giving him wine last time, and asks for more. Ae Hwan gets nervous and asks when Jenny and Jae Seok drank wine? Jae Seok and Jenny giggle and won’t answer Ae Hwan, who wonders if he’ll end up like Yoon Pil Joo?
Jenny walks outside and sees Se Ri waiting for her. Se Ri tells Jenny that she gave an interview that made it seem like they were still very close. So she needs Jenny to agree to a photoshoot. Jenny asks why Se Ri is here? Se Ri finally asks if Pil Joo has been by lately? Jenny figures out that Se Ri is interested in Pil Joo, and Se Ri asks Jenny to stop pushing Ae Jung and Pil Joo together. Jenny says she won’t anymore.
Se Ri goes to the church to pray. Other churchgoers think she’s praying for Jin’s surgery. She is, but it’s because she wants Jin’s surgery to succeed so that he can be with Ae Jung. She asks God to give her Pil Joo.
Agent Moon tells Ae Jung that Se Ri has cleared up the Treasure Girls misunderstanding, and Pil Joo is giving an interview about Couple Making. Ae Jung feels bad whenever something like this happens. Agent Moon reminds Ae Jung that if Jin’s surgery succeeds, he needs to go back to his world. Ae Jung says that if Jin lives, she’ll happily let him leave.
Ae Jung thanks Pil Joo for everything he’s done for her, Mina and the interview. Ae Jung originally wanted to say goodbye properly on the last show, but now she wants to thank him. She hears that he’s going abroad to study and they won’t do the show anymore. Pil Joo says that Ae Jung is stronger than he thought. He was worried about her, but she just wants to be strong and by his side until he recovers.
Pil Joo thinks that staying by Jin’s side will only make it harder for her later. But he tells her that if later one she needs an excuse to escape (i.e. leave Jin), then he can still be her excuse. Ae Jung smiles at his kindness and concern for her.
Pil Joo’s mom meets with Ae Jung’s dad and reluctantly apologizes for her behavior. She has to get evidence of her apology or else her Pil Joo will keep eating ramyun. She takes out her cell phone and hands it to Ding Dong, asking him to record her giving a box of Oriental medicine to Ae Jung’s dad. She apologizes for making Ae Jung’s life difficult. Ae Jung’s dad opens the box and finds a few pills missing, which she explains that she was so busy so didn’t have time to pack it. She promises to bring the remaining ones over later. Ding Dong tells them to get closer and he snaps a picture.
Jae Seok brings Ding Dong over to see Jin. Ding Dong ask if it’s true that Jin is sick since he saw it on TV. Jin flexes his biceps to show the kid how strong he is. He hands Ding Dong the ring box and asks him to keep it safe for him. If Jin doesn’t come back, Ding Dong needs to sneak it into Ae Jung’s favorite things so she sees it.
Ding Dong opens the box and asks if Jin is planning to marry his aunt? Jin says ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. He is Dokko Jin, a very special person, so he will marry Ding Dong’s Aunt. Ding Dong hides the ring in the same box where he keeps the purple sneakers.
Jin is on the phone with Ae Jung, saying that he misses her. He makes her promise to be by his side during the surgery. He tells her that the heart is stopped during surgery. So she needs to sing for him to restart his heart. He asks her to stay by his side so he’s not afraid. She promises.
Agent Moon tells Jae Seok to start preparing for the surgery day, since the hospital will be surrounded by media. Jae Seok hands Agent Moon a CD and pictures of Jin kissing Ae Jung on their picnic date. Jae Seok says that this is Jin’s last request. f he doesn’t make it out of surgery, he wants Agent Moon to use this to help Ae Jung if she gets into trouble. Agent Moon realizes that this will turn Ae Jung into a beloved girlfriend.
Ae Jung is doing another Section TV segment, and she’s asked if she can interview Jin before the surgery. She says she’ll do an interview after the surgery. Jin is at home looking at his potato and asking if it’ll really flower? He asks it to flower quickly so he can brag to Ae Jung. Suddenly Jin collapses, clutching his heart. The potato falls on the ground.
Jae Seok is accompanying Jin as he’s wheeled into the hospital. The doctors prepare for surgery. The media is camped outside. Jae Seok calls Ae Jung but she doesn’t answer because she’s doing the Section TV segment right at that moment. Agent Moon rushes to the hospital and finds out that Ae Jung is recording right now and can’t be reached.
The PD is told about Jin being wheeled into surgery and tells the MCs to change the rest of the show into reporting about it. The MCs announce on air that Jin has been wheeled into surgery. Ae Jung’s eyes widen and Ae Hwan looks shocked. The next segment asks Ae Jung to report on her star date with Shin Mina, but Ae Jung doesn’t say anything.
Suddenly Ae Jung says “I’m sorry” and gets up and walks off the show. Ae Jung arrives at the hospital to find it surrounded by the media. Jin is told that Ae Jung can’t come inside even if she wanted because it’s surrounded by media. The doctor says he’ll play the song for Jin during surgery. Jin cries and tells the doctor it’s not necessary, that woman will be singing for him live wherever she is at. OMG, tears, they be coming from my eyes.
Agent Moon and Jae Seok accompany Jin as he’s wheeled into the OR. Jin’s surgery begins and he’s put under. Ae Jung sits outside at the hospital, fretting that she didn’t get to see Jin, worried that he was afraid going into the surgery. She starts to sing the song, and we see her singing intercut with Jin’s surgery.
The more Ae Jung sings, the more she starts to cry, until finally she’s bawling. She thinks back to all the moments she’s experienced with Jin. Jin’s heart cavity is opened and the doctor orders that his heart be stopped. We see the heart monitor flatlining.
Thoughts of Mine:
Everyone take a deep breath now. And don’t be afraid to blow your nose and wait until the hiccups subside before reading further. I don’t have much after-thoughts on this episode, because so much is at stake and so much remains undetermined. If Jin dies, I can accept that the Hong Sisters held our hands and took it up to that point in a fluid narrative arc that leaves me neither stunned by a left hook nor feeling cheated that the ending is predictable. I may hate it, but it would be understandable if they wanted to go there.
But I don’t think they will. The beauty of this episode is that Jin has put all his affairs in order and has bravely faced his fate left in the hands of a surgeon with a scalpel, yet he spent the entire episode reaching deep into all our hearts with a deafening plea that he wants to live. He wants to live more than anything, not because he is Dokko Jin and has a successful life, but because he is Dokko Jin who has just found the love of his life.
A man who exulted in the adoration of millions now wants only the companionship of one. I love how this episode finally peeled back all the lies and hidden truths, and suddenly everyone can see what is before them. The Hong Sisters have spent 14 episodes creating so many rich and three-dimensional characters and relationships, I spend the episode just tearing up when screen flashed by the little scenes that have such impact.
How much Jae Seok adores his hyung, understanding his final wish and passing it along to Agent Moon, who is surely the awesomest agent to exist in all of entertainment. The way she looks out for Jin, but is never self-serving for her own needs. Her understanding that fame means nothing to him anymore, and he’s clawing for either life or a future for Ae Jung if it becomes an either/or option for him.
It was gratifying that Mina finally told the truth, but truth be told it felt so meaningless. The brilliance of the story is that the pursuit of fame, the protection of reputation, the search for love, all of that is rendered pointless when death is the wild card. I’m really just so moved by how a love story that started off in the most preposterous of ways has journeyed to a moment in time where my heart is in as much pain for a love that lies on the brink of fictional life and death.