This episode of Best Love (The Greatest Love) was surprisingly low key, a little too low key for my tastes to be honest. It did end on a whopper of an ending that left me totally blubbering like an incoherent loon. But for the most part it felt like people were rehashing some of the same issues that ought to have been thought through already. Not really much of a gripe, because I like all the scenes, so it’s more just a personal opinion that this felt like a filler episode. I got the same feeling from the last two episodes of You’re Beautiful. But heck, even a filler episode of BL is pretty rocking awesome.
Episode 15 Recap:
Agent Moon holds a press conference in the office and announces that Jin survived his surgery and he’s current abroad to recuperate. Fans discuss how rumors had been flying that Jin died, or is in a coma. Ae Jung’s walk off the stage of a live Section TV broadcast has been turned into a media parody used to mock her – that she left the stage because she had to go take a dump. She continues to be the butt of public jokes.
Ae Jung was fired from Section TV for her walk out, but thanks to the parody her bottom dweller celebrity status remains and nets her other comedic gigs. Ae Jung and Jenny talk about what’s going to happen with Jin going forward. Jenny wonders if Jin will still go public after he comes back all fixed. The public outpouring of concern for Jin since the surgery has reinforced Ae Jung’s understanding of just how loved he is by all of Korea, and magnifies yet another the distance between them.
Ae Jung concedes she loves him and misses him, but she doesn’t know how to discuss the future with him. Ask Jin to step in her dog poop status with her after he got a second chance at life? She promised to let him go after he recovered, and she’s decided to keep that promise.
Jin sneaks back to Korea after two months, with Jae Seok meeting him at the airport. Jin shows Jae Seok his heart works perfectly now. Jae Seok susses out that Jin’s back without telling Agent Moon because he wants to take care of things with Ae Jung. Jae Seok wonders if Jin has a surprise for her, and suggests an idea like tying a bow around his neck to present himself as a present for her.
Jin laughs and tells Jae Seok to throw the blue bag away, which contains Jae Seok’s present. Jin can’t believe Jae Seok is so sassy with him. Has sick Jin been that easy to tease? He tells Jae Seok to keep his eyes down. He’s new and improved Dokko Jin, he can’t just be any old present to Gu Ae Jung after two months.
Ding Dong asks grandpa why Jin isn’t back yet? Is he alive or dead? Ding Dong takes out the ring box but grandpa confiscates it up high saying kids shouldn’t play with such a valuable item. Luckily Ding Dong was holding the ring so he hides it directly in Ae Jung’s sneakers.
Jin comes home to find his potato plant hale and hearty, having been repotted by Ae Jung and lovingly nurtured back to health while he was away. Ae Jung tells the potato that it can’t die because it’s a special spud. Jin wonders why Ae Jung didn’t visit him in the hospital, and is told that there were too many reporters while he was in surgery, and afterwards when he was in the IC unit Jae Seok doesn’t know why she didn’t come.
Agent Moon meets with Ae Jung and informs her of all the new endorsement deals Jin has received, as well as a Hollywood movie role with a premiere at Cannes. Ae Jung knows why Agent Moon keeps updating her on Jin’s status, and she confirms that she’ll keep her promise to let him zoom past her and keep going. Agent Moon says that going forward, she and Ae Jung can simply clap for Jin as he climbs even higher.
Jin compliments the potato on growing well, and says that both he and the potato are fine because of Gu Ae Jung. Before Jae Seok leaves, Jin asks him to show him the cheesy present act to surprise Ae Jung. Jae Seok happily demonstrates, but Jin the consummate actor one-ups him and shows the kid how it’s done, complete with adorably exaggerated surprise face.
Pil Joo walks to Seoul’s Chinatown to buy Oriental medicine, leaving his mom grumbling that he still doesn’t listen to her nor has he gone abroad. Pil Joo finds out from the shop owner that he’s going to be interviewed by Ae Jung today. Ae Hwan meets with the production of Couple Making, who are happy Ae Jung has new gigs and is doing well. When Ae Hwan suggests they consider Ae Jung for their next cooking program, both of them book it.
Ae Jung is dressed in a hanbok and filming a show in Seoul’s Chinatown. The PD suggests that she dance for the camera since she was an idol before, but Ae Jung offers to a tumbling routine instead. She does a few dozen cartwheels, finally landing awkwardly and twists her ankle. Pil Joo sees it all.
Jin wraps a giant red bow around himself and heads to Ae Jung’s place to wait for her. Ding Dong comes home and sees his Ironman before his eyes. The kid is too shocked to properly welcome Jin, needing to finger poke him a few times to make sure he’s real and not a ghost. Ding Dong asks if Jin is a present, and Jin confirms he’s indeed a present for Ding Dong’s aunt, and then hands the kid a bag containing his present.
Ding Dong gives Jin a big hug, so pleased to see him back. Jin’s face softens and says he’ll be Ding Dong’s present as well since Ding Dong is so happy to see Jin.
The shop owner notices that Ae Jung is limping and suggests she see an Oriental medicine doctor. Pil Joo walks up and says hi. It turns out he was the doctor the shop owner was suggesting Ae Jung see. Pil Joo explains he was in the neighborhood to buy medicine, but confesses that he also knew Ae Jung would be filming here today. He tends to her ankle and gives her a pair of Birkenstocks to wear because she can’t put her high heels back on.
Jin puts some of Ae Jung’s face cream under his nose so he can smell Ae Jung again after such a long time away. Ding Dong tells Jin that he hid the ring in Ae Jung’s sneakers, but now the sneakers are gone and he thinks maybe his aunt threw it away. Jin’s more upset she threw the sneakers away again, and the dynamic duo head to the recycling bin to retrieve her sneakers.
Jin dons a bandit disguise to avoid being recognized, and the two of them pull items out of the bin. Some neighborhood ahjummas come and make them clean it all up. The ahjummas are willing to clean it up for Ding Dong, but they think Jin is Ding Dong’s dad and yell at him to clean it up himself. Ding Dong almost reveals Jin’s identity but is shushed and reminded that superheroes don’t reveal their identities.
Pil Joo drives Ae Jung home, discussing in the car that really Team Pil Joo was the much better choice. Ae Jung says that while the world thinks Yoon Pil Joo is the perfect man, he’s actually imperfect, because of his mom. LOL. Pil Joo says that he can easily control his mom by eating ramyun morning, noon, and night. Ae Jung points out that she’ll nag her daughter-in-law for allowing Pil Joo to eat ramyun, leaving Pil Joo no choice but to concede Ae Jung pointed out the weak link in Team Pil Joo.
Ae Jung says she’s sorry for teasing him, which is how she deals so she doesn’t feel even worse. Pil Joo asks if Ae Jung is afraid, and she confesses that she’s terrified. How does she deal with a man whose mother-in-law is the entire country of Korea?
Ae Jung is still limping, so Pil Joo the gallant knight helps her up to the house and carries her things for her. Ding Dong doesn’t see Pil Joo so runs to inform Jin that his Aunt is back. Jin is getting read for his surprise greeting when he spots Pil Joo rounding the corner first. Jin runs to hide, but not before Pil Joo also catches a glimpse of him.
Pil Joo drops Ae Jung off, giving her a reassuring shoulder clasp before he leaves, but not letting her know that Jin is back (and literally hiding right behind her). Jin hides in the corner and clenches his fist when he sees Pil Joo touch Ae Jung’s shoulder.
Jin pops out and shocks Ae Jung after Pil Joo leaves. He starts babbling about how he’s imagined their first meeting many times, based on various movie scenarios. What he didn’t count on was that a horror movie scene would be thrown in. Ae Jung confirms that it must be the real Jin because he just says whatever he wants.
Jin says he can’t help it. He thought she was missing him while he was away, but she was hanging out with that “anyone” Oriental medicine doctor instead. Ae Jung shushes him and then puts her head against his chest. She listens to his heartbeat to make sure it sounds normal and strong. Jin says he’s new and improved.
Ae Jung goes inside the house and grumbles as to why the house is such a mess. Jin explains he was looking for something, and asks where the sneakers are. Ae Jung put the sneakers in the shoe closet and takes it out for Jin, who retrieves the ring. He’s not happy the shoes are stuffed in a regular ole closet and have become shoes she wears anywhere.
Ae Jung asks what the item he’s holding in his hand is, but he tells her it’s not time to show her. If she went to one end of the room and ran like the wind into his arms, maybe he’ll show her. Or perhaps she can weep dramatically and welcome him back. But he hates this weird and awkward reunion they are having right now.
He tells Ae Jung that he wants to redo their reunion day because it didn’t go accordingly to plan. He tells her to remember what he wants the next time they meet – a dramatic scene, with some erotic moments, followed up a romantic interlude. Ae Jung asks if he wants to eat, but he just waves his clenched fist at her with a pout and leaves. After he leaves, Ae Jung mumbles that she put the shoes in there so she could wear it when she went to visit him.
Jin looks at the ring and congratulates himself on his heart and mind control today. He was patient and restrained himself from blurting things out. He’ll do it right tomorrow. He puts the ring on the potato plant. Pil Joo remembers back to seeing Jin today. He looks at the two identical pens, honestly confessing that he wished there would be one more misunderstanding and that Jin would just get lost. He knows it’s childish, but at least he’s being candid with himself.
Agent Moon hands Jin a stack of new CF endorsements, and a new Hollywood script. Jin doesn’t want her to book any CFs yet, because if its revealed he’s dating Ae Jung he may have to pay a penalty. He doesn’t want Ae Jung to feel pressure or responsible for anything related to him. Jin understands Agent Moon’s position to guard her celebrities, but he will never let Ae Jung go for any reason. Agent Moon doesn’t push him, only reminding him to read the script.
Jae Seok wonders why Agent Moon has to keep trying to keep Ae Jung and Jin apart. They are truly in love and went through so much together. Agent Moon honestly replies that it’s her job, her duty to do what is best for her clients.
Jin reads the script and is genuinely impressed. He thinks this movie should be “I Am Gunning for Cannes.” He’s tempted, but to take the role means pushing Ae Jung away. He tosses the script aside and wonders what his recharger is doing at a time like this. Ae Jung rings the doorbell right at that moment. Jin lets her in and wonders why she doesn’t just come in herself? He has a new heart, so she’s not sure she can still come right in. He says of course, why not?
Ae Jung declines Jin’s motion for her to come sit next to him. Jin asks why she’s being so awkward since they’ve seen each other. She says every moment was precious back then, but now they have to face reality. Ae Jung heard he got a lot of CFs, so would he be okay losing it going forward? Jin says if he has her, everything will be fine. He can overcome everything.
She asks if his house is on a monthly rent basis. He asks her to stop talking about this since they’ve overcome so much to see each other again. He asks if he needs to show her his assets so she feels better. Ae Jung says that Jin is used to being loved, so can he live being reviled by the public? Jin says he has a reason to live, to be with Ae Jung. He tells her to stop using excuses to scare him.
Ae Jung says she’s scared of pulling him down to her level. Initially she wanted to take care of her lowly status before welcoming him back. But it’s not something she can handle in a day or two. She’s so sorry to him. He tells her to cheer him on then, reassure him. She walks over to sit down next to him and she lightly slaps him on the face. She tells him recharge! Ae Jung gives him one final chance to leave her. She leaves, and Jin wonders what the heck happened to make Ae Jung so depressed.
Jin meets with Jenny and asks if she’s the one planting this fear into Ae Jung’s head? Jenny says she just told Ae Jung the truth. Jin thinks he’ll just become an item with Ae Jung and everything will be fine. He’s willing to take the criticism, but Jenny reminds him that all of Korea will be Jin’s mother-in-law and collective torture Ae Jung to death.
Jenny points out that everyone will just assume Ae Jung got knocked up, and her reputation will still be shredded. It’s the same thing that happened to Ae Jung before when Jin missed his Hollywood chance and everyone blamed Ae Jung. After marriage, there will constant rumors of discord, separation, and even divorce. Jenny wants Jin to leave Ae Jung alone so she can find a good man.
Pil Joo calls Ae Jung why she hasn’t gotten treatment on her ankle. Ae Jung reveals that she might get an international program to host, which will hopefully raise her image. If she can climb one level higher, then the person she wants to grab can fall less steeply to be with her. Pil Joo reminds her that it’s going to a hard fall regardless.
Jin asks Se Ri what happened to her when they first started dating. Se Ri recalls hate mail and even death threats. People accused her of using Jin to climb the social ladder. Jin finally understands that it must’ve been hard for Se Ri as well back then. Se Ri says if that happened to her, worse things will happen to Ae Jung if the public find out they are dating. He wonders if he should just go away somewhere quiet, but Se Ri says hiding won’t resolve the issue.
Ding Dong is doing homework at Jin’s place, wondering why he hasn’t given the ring to his Aunt yet? Jin tells the kid that his 7 year old mind won’t understand the complicated situation. Ding Dong confesses he has complicated matters of his own. Another student wrote about someone liking Ding Dong in the bathroom, so he has his own scandal. But the girl is upset at being teased, so Ding Dong feels bad. Jin tells Ding Dong that he needs to step forward and claim the girl as his so people can’t tease him. Jin looks at the ring and says he will do the same.
Jenny, Ae Hwan, and Jae Seok discuss Jin and Ae Jung and Jin’s situation. Jin is doing a program to discuss his health. Jenny tells Ae Hwan to help Ae Jung by sending her far away from Jin. Jenny is happy that Ae Jung is going to China for a program because Pil Joo is going to China. Jenny walks off and Jae Seok wants to follow. Ae Hwan tells Seok not to have hopes about Jenny, because Ae Hwan drank wine with Jenny and did more. Seok is heartbroken and both guys call her a bad girl and commiserate together.
Jin goes to see Ae Jung and tells her that he recorded a talk show program today. He makes her promise she’ll watch it. She says the interest is already high for the program. Jin thinks the entire country will watch it. Jin says he will answer her question on that program – whether he wants to leave her or not. After watching the program, Ae Jung will know what he wants to do in the future. She has to film that night, but promises to watch it.
Jin wonders why Ae Jung never once clung to him, if the situation were reversed, he’d love her enough to toss it all aside and cling to her. Ae Jung says she sees the bottom of the heap so clearly she can’t ignore it. She’s experienced the dizzying fall from grace once, and she doesn’t want him to endure it. And if it happens, she knows that he’ll come to resent her.
Ae Jung confesses that she’s not all that selfless – she did resent Mina and Se Ri, she did hate having to live like this. So she’s afraid Jin come to feel the same way about her. She tells Jin that if he decided leave her, she would never resent him or hold it against him. She knows he sincerely loved her. Jin looks so sad during her speech, because he has nothing say that can refute the honest truth.
Se Ri gets her assistant to photoshop pictures of her and Pil Joo into the Paul and the Strange World comic strip. The results look cute, making it seem like the mushroom is very close to Paul. She wants to show it to Pil Joo, but her assistant points out that Pil Joo will likely think Se Ri is a stalker rather than find it cute. Se Ri saves it to her phone first and runs off to show Pil Joo anyways.
Jenny finds out that Pil Joo is still getting ready to go to China. She tells him that Ae Jung is going to China for a program as well. Jenny asks Pil Joo to teach Ae Jung some Chinese. Or some English will be fine. Se Ri arrives and pretends to be surprised to find Pil Joo here, though Jenny mumbles that Se Ri called in advance asking if he was going to be here.
Pil Joo doesn’t look happy to see her, asking if she doesn’t feel any embarrassment to keep contacting him even after he’s rejected her? Pil Joo thinks Se Ri is just like Jin, both of them doing whatever they want. Since Pil Joo doesn’t like Jin, and thinks Se Ri is just like Jin, Se Ri wonders if this means Pil Joo doesn’t like her as well? She tells him not to answer, she’ll be hurt if he says it to her face. Pil Joo mutters that he was going to say the mushroom was close to Paul.
Jin asks his potato buddy why it’s so hard for it to flower? Ae Jung takes a break from filming and sees a photograph of a field blooming with potato flowers which are just gorgeous. Jin’s program starts and he talks about his current health. The PD turns it off so Ae Jung can film another segment, then turns the TV back on allowing the team to take a break.
Pil Joo sits with Jenny and Se Ri and watches the program. Jin is being asked the play a game where two actresses are listed side-by-side in a bracket selection process where Jin has to select between the two and winnow it down until only one is remaining.
The list of ladies Jin picks between are all Hong Sisters drama heroines, which is just a wonderful walk down memory lane. We’ve got Lee Da Hae (My Girl), Park Shin Hye (You’re Beautiful), Han Ye Seul (Fantasy Couple), Shin Mina (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), and Han Chae Young (Delightful Chun Hyung). The only one missing is Sung Yuri (Hong Gil Dong) which I’ll chalk up to her drama Romance Town airing currently opposite BL.
Jin picks Ae Jung each time her picture comes up, never once hesitating or looking towards the screen. With each pick of Ae Jung, the audience and the hosts start to murmur. The crew filming with Ae Jung turn to look at her. She stares at the TV in rapt attention, walking forward slowly until she’s closer to the screen. In the final battle – Ae Jung versus Korea’s top beauty Jeon Ji Hyun, Jin picks Ae Jung.
When finally only Ae Jung remains and she’s deemed to be Dokko Jin’s ideal woman, Jin confirms that she is indeed his ideal woman. But more than that, she is the woman he loves in real life. The audience watching with Ae Jung loudly exclaim in shock. Jin tells the world that he is currently dating Gu Ae Jung and they are in love with each other.
Ae Jung watches him make this announcement, tears of happiness coming to her eyes, and then finally she smiles ever so tentatively. Hyo Jin’s acting was just brilliant in this scene – a perfect mix of tentative sadness and genuine happiness.
Thoughts of Mine:
I don’t know if my anticipation was too high, or this episode really was that slow, but I found myself kind of zoning out here and there. I felt like a balloon with some air let out, likely because the last few episodes were so taut and tension fraught, thereby leaving me a tad underwhelmed. I feel like all the issues being discussed by all the people involved have all been mulled over before.
Jin wants to date Ae Jung, Ae Jung is afraid to date Jin, Pil Joo still slightly pining over Ae Jung, Se Ri is totally pining over Pil Joo – two months later and we’re still at the same place? I’m glad the ending to this episode finally pushed Ae Jung and Jin into the public limelight. I was also a bit annoyed that Jenny is still trying to get Pil Joo and Ae Jung together. Like, that ship sailed 4 episodes ago, Jenny. I know she means well, but honestly, I found that odd.
Now that we’re almost to the end of the drama, I think I’m finally able to decide how I feel about all the characters. I like them all, and find them pretty well-constructed and definitely well-acted. But Best Love doesn’t have a single character I would take away from the drama and have a hard time forgetting. I love the story more than I like the characters (which is diametrically how I feel about Lie to Me).
Jin is too much of a caricature, with zero resemblance to any human being on this planet. I even find sofa-jumping Tom Cruise less weird that Jin’s tics. Not to say I don’t enjoy watching him, and find that inside his oh-so-dramatic shell is a truly wonderful man yearning for love. But as a whole, he’s too cartoonish for my tastes. Cha Seung Won‘s acting was uneven for me here. I wished he could have toned it down, but at the same time he nailed it in the critical scenes and moments that mattered.
I find the Hong Sisters have lately been creating very unique characters, each of whom keeping pushing the boundaries of believability. With good acting we believe, but on paper I wouldn’t buy them as coming alive in my mind.
Ae Jung is not my favorite heroine trope, which makes her fall into a long line of Hong Sisters heroines I find way to passive for my taste. I hate passivity in my heroines (my own personal quirk – I prefer heroines that dare to fight against the odds) and Ae Jung’s much too self-sacrificing. I don’t think her daring to love Jin in public makes her selfish, I think it makes her stronger by confronting her own fears and together with Jin, facing down public scrutiny and rising above it. In their relationship, it’s always been Jin making the first move, and I wish she would meet him halfway sometimes.
Pil Joo is a wonderful character, really not too perfect as to be two-dimensional. I think Yoon Kye Sang did a marvelous job, and his chemistry with Gong Hyo Jin convinces me that they need to reteam for another drama as the OTP. Yoo In Na was serviceable, with Se Ri being a character that I liked more as the drama went on, but ultimately nothing terribly noteworthy.
I actually loved the third tier characters a ton, from Ae Hwan to Jenny, from Jae Seok to Agent Moon, and of course, everyone’s favorite adorable munchkin Ding Dong. It definitely shows how much care and thought went into building the entire drama that so many characters were seamlessly integrated into the story without taking time away from the OTP narrative. So many scriptwriters need to take lessons from the Hong Sisters on building a cohesive narrative. I may not love all their dramas, but at least they all flowed and remained consistent throughout.
I am so ready for a happily ever after ending for BL. I really feel like I’ve been through the proverbial ringer with these guys and want to give them a happy ending crowned with whipped cream and a cherry on top.