It’s official. I love Big. Completely and totally fallen for it. The passable directing and wonky editing is still making the drama rather herky jerky at times, but a good use of music smoothes over the rough edges. What’s amazing is seeing how the Hong Sisters tone down their penchant for situational comedy to drive character development and allows the characters to breath and connect. Episode 2 did have some laugh out loud moments with the soul-switching hijinks, but nothing was dragged out or overly ridiculous. Gong Yoo settles perfectly into the role of Kyung Jae (Kyung Joon’s soul in Yoon Jae’s body), and I am head over heels in love with the dynamic of watching this 18 year old deal with being in the body of the fiancée of his teacher. I don’t think Kyung Joon likes Da Ran (yet), but I’m totally ready for that moment to happen when he realizes he doesn’t want to let her go to Yoon Jae.
Episode 2 recap:
Da Ran confirms that the Yoon Jae in front of her has Kyung Joon’s soul inside of him. Uh oh is right. Da Ran tries to drag Kyung Jae to the hospital, insisting something happened and the doctors must be told. Kyung Jae correctly points out that all the doctors will do is stick the three of them in a mental ward.
Kyung Jae sits down across from Da Ran and uses two robots in two cups to illustrate what he thinks happened. The accident caused their souls to leave their body. Kyung Jae adorably shows the two cups flying off and changing sides. Seo Yoon Jae believed his body died so his soul went into Kyung Joon’s body, leaving Kyung Joon no choice but to go into Yoon Jae’s body. Da Ran says her Yoon Jae is an upstanding person and wouldn’t do something like that. I’m not sure soul-switching has any rules or right and wrong, Da Ran.
Da Ran grabs the cup representing Yoon Jae’s soul and sadly looks at it, asking why he went to Kyung Joon? Kyung Jae hits his body and huffs that he doesn’t like it in here either! When Kyung Jae goes to drink some coke, Da Ran stops him, insisting Kyung Jae take good care of Yoon Jae’s body when he’s in it. He needs to drink water and eat healthy foods. She starts fretting over a cut on his hand and Kyung Jae pushes her hand away. He tells her that if she doesn’t stop hovering over him, he’ll go crazy first.
Da Ran grabs his hand again and asks him nicely to take care of Yoon Jae’s body, Yoon Jae is someone very important to her. Kyung Jae has Da Ran call his uncle and find out the state of Kyung Joon’s body. Uncle says Kyung Joon has been moved to another hospital and is in a coma.
Kyung Jae tells Da Ran to leave for the night but she worries about him staying here. Kyung Jae says he lives alone here, his relatives won’t be coming by. Da Ran then asks if he will really be okay staying here by himself, especially after the accident. Kyung Jae tells her that he’ll be fine and then heads to bed, snerking that she’s just pretending to care about him but really cares about the body. Da Ran looks in the fridge and sees it stocked with sugary drinks and frozen pizza only.
Kyung Jae wakes up and hits himself on the small toy bed, muttering about why this body is so big. He sits up and then realizes that he doesn’t need to go to school anymore. He smiles in happiness and goes to get a drink. He sees porridge on the table and when he opens the fridge, its now filled with water, fruit, and juice.
Da Ran goes to see Kyung Joon’s body in the hospital. She sits down next to him and grabs his hand, remembering how she held Yoon Jae’s hand on a date once in the snow. She remarked that his hand felt so warm. Da Ran cries as she holds Kyung Joon’s hand.
Da Ran sneaks home and her parents are wrapping mandoo in the restaurant. Her mom is happy that her daughter was out with their future son-in-law, saying their daughter is getting married in a month so they need to stop being so strict. She wants her husband to bring him some eel mandoo to eat (supposedly eels increase men’s sexual stamina).
Kyung Jae eats a slice of pizza that has mushrooms on it. He suddenly feels itchy and he pulls his shirt up. Da Ran is late for the school assembly and sneaks into her spot in line. The Vice Principal is ready to chew her out but the other male teacher who has a crush on her steps up to shield her.
Suddenly Kyung Jae arrives at school in a taxi and he runs up to Da Ran, screaming for her to give him some money. He grabs her wallet and pays the taxi driver, while everyone stares. He then runs back shrieking and tells her that he’s itching to death. He starts to pull his shirt up and everyone gapes at Yoon Jae’s abs. Da Ran drags Kyung Jae away while her teacher friend says that the man is Da Ran’s fiancée.
Da Ran pulls Kyung Jae to the teacher’s room and checks out his rash. Kyung Jae squirms and screams as Da Ran checks him out, and from the outside, the Vice Principal and the other teacher see the tableau and it looks quite X-rated what they are doing.
Da Ran takes Kyung Jae to the school nurse who gives him allergy medicine. Da Ran is chewed out by the Vice Principal for that totally awkward display today, even if the guy is Da Ran’s fiancée.
Da Ran walks Kyung Jae out and gives him money to take a taxi home, telling him to not leave the house, she’ll bring him whatever he needs. Kyung Jae goes to the bus stop and he sees an ad of a man wearing a suit. He notes that while his clothes were stylish on Kyung Joon, it looks dorky on Yoon Jae. He decides that he’ll buy a suit for Yoon Jae’s body when he finds his wallet.
Da Ran’s dad arrives at the hospital to deliver mandoo for Yoon Jae. Kyung Jae arrives asking for Kyung Joon’s room number, and when he walks away, the nurses wonder what is wrong with Dr. Seo. Turns out this is the hospital Yoon Jae works at. Da Ran’s dad sees Kyung Jae standing at the elevator and calls him “Seo son-in-law”. But Kyung Jae doesn’t recognize him and ignores him completely.
Da Ran gets a call from her dad who demands to know why Yoon Jae ignored him at the hospital today. Poor dad is feeling so unloved. Da Ran wants to ask the Vice Principal for time off but can’t bring herself to say it. The male teacher with a crush on her stands up and makes an excuse for Da Ran to leave. Da Ran runs off and Choong Shik sees her but she ignores him.
Yoon Jae is walking around the hospital and everyone greets him. He starts trying to duck and hide his face, until he sees a poster of Yoon Jae on the wall holding a baby. Kyung Jae finally realizes Seo Yoon Jae is a doctor at this hospital.
He ducks into the bathroom but there is yet another picture of Yoon Jae in there. Kyung Jae practices smiling like Yoon Jae, and parting his hair the same way. But its so awkward he gives up.
Da Ran arrives at the hospital and goes looking for Kyung Jae. As Kyung Jae is trying to avoid being seen, he runs into his doctor colleagues, including ex-girlfriend Se Young. They stop him and ask what’s wrong since he’s acting all shifty.
Se Young touches him on the forehead and cheek to see if he’s okay? She asks Kyung Jae is the thing she gave him is still there? Now is the time to use it, so don’t feel awkward about it. She reaches out to stroke his hand and Kyung Jae pulls back in alarm. When Se Young walks away, Kyung Jae mutters why this ahjumma is touching people’s body like that.
Da Ran arrives and pulls Kyung Jae away. She finds out he’s here to see Kyung Joon’s body and look for some stuff (his wallet). She takes him to Yoon Jae’s office and makes him put on his white coat. She remarks that he is so much like Yoon Jae, in the same hospital and wearing the same white coat.
Kyung Jae lays down on Yoon Jae’s bed. Da Ran sits down and looks at him, asking if he can give her his hands. She grabs Kyung Jae’s hand and says its not warm, because Kyung Jae is not Yoon Jae. Da Ran stands up and holds out her hand, telling Kyung Jae to come with her to see Kyung Joon.
When Kyung Jae reaches out his hand, he flashes back to the accident and seeing Young Jae reach out his hand to grab his in the water. Kyung Jae grabs Da Ran’s hand and pulls her down on the bed. He sits up and tells her that Yoon Jae grabbed his hand in the water, and that might be how they swapped souls.
Da Ran takes Kyung Jae to Kyung Joon’s room and the two guys hold hands. Kyung Jae closes his eyes and then when he opens them, he turns and calls her “Da Ran-shhi”.
Da Ran is teary to see Yoon Jae back, and Yoon Jae tells her he has something to tell her. He says “buing, buing”, and of course this is still Kyung Jae as the souls haven’t switched back.
Da Ran storms out, upset that Kyung Jae would pull this trick on her. Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle arrive and Kyung Jae has to pretend to be the doctor. The aunt is especially wondering how long Kyung Joon will be in a coma, while uncle at least seems to care a bit more about Kyung Joon’s welfare.
When the nurse hands aunt Kyung Jae’s belongings, she carelessly rifles through it, only taking the money out of his wallet and tossing everything else aside. Kyung Jae watches this and looks so hurt.
Kyung Jae walks outside and sees Da Ran waiting for him, clearly having overheard what was said inside. He takes off his white coat and throws it aside, kicking a trash can as he walks away. Da Ran runs after him but he’s so angry after seeing his aunt and uncle caring more about his money than him.
Kyung Jae accuse Da Ran of being just like his relatives, she only pretends to care about him when in truth she cares about her precious Yoon Jae’s body. Da Ran is worried about Kyung Jae, knowing he must be feeling really hurt right now. When Da Ran tries to talk with him, he pushes her away, which is when Choong Shik arrives and sees it.
Choong Shik confronts Kyung Jae, asking why he’s doing this to his noona? When Kyung Jae walks away and Choong Shiks stops him, Kyung Jae says he’s not Da Ran’s fiancée. Choong Shik thinks this means Yoon Jae has broken up with Da Ran. Kyung Jae is in such a bad mood he calls Choong Shik stupid and then walks away. Da Ran tries to calm Choong Shik down.
Kyung Jae purposely drinks coke even remembering Da Ran’s admonition for him to drink water. Kyung Jae tosses his coke can away and remembers his aunt tossing his belongings in the trash. He goes back to Kyung Joon’s hospital room to look for the wallet, telling himself it couldn’t have been thrown away since it contains a memento from his mom.
When Kyung Jae goes home, he sees a bag on his front door containing his wallet and a box of mandoo from Gil mandoo restaurant. He makes the connection with Gil Da Ran.
Da Ran is being grilled by her dad and brother about Yoon Jae’s suddenly odd behavior, such as calling Choong Shik stupid and ignoring her dad. They ask if the engagement is over? Da Ran tries to explain that something is up with Yoon Jae lately and not to worry.
Kyung Jae arrives at the restaurant and runs into Da Ran’s mom outside, and she happily tries to make him guess what was inside the mandoo (eel). She drags him inside and he finally makes the connection – Choong Shik is Da Ran’s younger brother, the ahjushhi he ignored at the hospital is Da Ran’s dad, and this woman is Da Ran’s mom. Kyung Jae pretends to be Yoon Jae and politely greets everyone. He adorably says “surprise!”
Kyung Jae decides to stay for dinner as invited, despite Da Ran’s protests. He promises to pretend to be Yoon Jae for the dinner and not get discovered. They are bickering outside when Choong Shik comes out to get them for dinner. Da Ran tells her brother that they are talking about things kids needn’t worry about. Kyung Jae tosses in one more “kids needn’t worry about it” for good measure.
Kyung Jae walks into the house and looks around, smiling at the family portrait of the Gil family. He sits down next to Da Ran’s dad, who notices he’s not wearing socks. When asked about the accident, Kyung Jae says he’s all fine. Kyung Jae starts scratching himself and explains that he has an allergy.
Kyung Jae notices a lot of rocks around and finds out that it’s a hobby of Da Ran’s dad to collect prayer rocks. On a table, Da Ran has placed four rocks displays that represents the four members of the Gil family. A big black one is dad, the pretty white one is mom, the elegant round one is Da Ran, and a tiny baby one is Choong Shik.
Dad says he’ll need to add a rock to represent Yoon Jae since he’s joining the family soon. Kyung Jae says “no thanks”, but when dad looks all taken aback, he quickly says sure. Kyung Jae asks dad what his criteria is for looking for the right rock. Is it by size, how pretty is it, etc? Kyung Jae says it its by either, dad ought be always be ranked last as the little ugly rock. Dad says getting along is the criteria for looking for the rocks and arranging it. Kyung Jae touches the spot reserved for the son-in-law rock and says its for Seo Yoon Jae, not himself, so why does he care?
The family sits down to dinner and Dad offers Kyung Jae a drink. He’s eager to drink but Da Ran tries to make excuses for why Kyung Jae can’t drink. But Kyung Jae says he’s fine to drink. When Choong Shik wants some, everyone tells him that kids can’t drink. Da Ran says it extra loud and stares at Kyung Jae, who turns and sticks his tongue out at her. When Dad pours Kyung Jae a glass, Da Ran steals it and drinks most of it. Kyung Jae is left with just the dregs.
Kyung Jae and Da Ran walk home, with him griping that she won’t let him drink, while her response is that she’s just watching out for him as his teacher. She then shyly thanks him for pretending to be her fiancée. He says its nothing, since he got his wallet back. They decide to go to Yoon Jae’s house to get some clothes.
They manage to open Yoon Jae’s door since it’s a fingerprint lock. Da Ran explains that Yoon Jae lives alone and his parents are abroad. Da Ran tells Kyung Jae to grab some clothes but all Yoon Jae has are suits and dress shirts. Kyung Jae manages to find a casual outfit and changes into it. As he’s changing, Da Ran walks over and shrieks, turning around since he’s topless.
Kyung Jae points out that Da Ran hugged a naked him wearing a bed sheet back in the hospital, but Da Ran says she thought he was dead plus she wasn’t checking him out back there. Kyung Jae wonders what is the big deal, and asks if Da Ran and Yoon Jae haven’t you-know-what despite being a month away from their wedding? Kyung Jae offers to show Da Ran Yoon Jae’s body and pulls up his shirt.
Kyung Jae sees how sculpted Yoon Jae is, and supposes that Yoon Jae must need to work out at least 2 hours a day to get a body this chiseled. Kyung Jae wonders why this ahjusshi hasn’t shown off his hot body to Da Ran, since he must’ve worked on it for her. Kyung Jae points that that Yoon Jae was always canceling on Da Ran saying he’s busy, which means he places working out above Da Ran.
Da Ran realizes it, that Yoon Jae might’ve have been making excuses not to see her. Kyung Jae can see how sad she is and he points out that on the day of the accident, Yoon Jae was coming to see her. Da Ran wonders what Yoon Jae meant to say to her that day, what if he wasn’t intending to say that he loves her?
Kyung Jae steps up and says “Gil Da Ran-shhi, I love you.” They stare at each other, with Da Ran beaming in happiness to hear these words come out of Yoon Jae’s mouth. Kyung Jae looks caught up in the moment, until he snaps out of it and quickly steps back and says Yoon Jae must be intending to say that.
Da Ran smiles and goes to grab more clothes for Kyung Jae. After she walks away, Kyung Jae grabs a sweater and a house key falls out. Kyung Jae picks up the house key and asks Da Ran if she knows what its for? Da Ran doesn’t, suggesting maybe its for her new place with Yoon Jae.
A call comes in and it’s Se Young. She’s heading over to see him. After the call ends, Kyung Jae tells Da Ran that Se Young touched him a bit too warmly at the hospital earlier today. Da Ran thinks Kyung Jae is just a teenager and is reading too much into it. Kyung Jae goes downstairs to wait for Se Young.
Da Ran goes to grab a vacuum cleaner to clean up the apartment when she sees a packed suitcase in the closet. She opens the suitcase and wonders where Yoon Jae was planning on going? Kyung Jae looks at the unknown key as he’s waiting for the elevator. Se Young pulls up and we see that she has the exact same key on her key chain.
Da Ran finds Yoon Jae’s passport in the suitcase. Kyung Jae walks out and greet Se Young from afar, but she runs and embraces him. She was so worried about him, why didn’t he tell her about his accident.
Kyung Jae pushes her away and asks what she’s doing? Se Young says “Yoon Jae, I love you.” Da Ran arrives at that moment. Kyung Jae looks between Da Ran and Se Young, before muttering “Seo Yoon Jae, you bastard.”
Thoughts of Mine:
While Big hasn’t necessarily gotten qualitatively better, the proverbial switch flipped on for me in episode 2. It’s a moment of attraction that can’t be explained away other than I am really taken with the character of Kyung Joon, this young man who isn’t broken but is in need of some familial connections. While Shin Won Ho did a good job of setting up Kyung Joon, it was Gong Yoo as Kyung Jae that takes him to a new level. This role needed a solid actor to capture so much emotional range, and Gong Yoo really has it in him to hit both the comedic and quiet moments in between.
Yoon Jae is a boring character (set aside the possibility that he was a two-timing douchebag) and Gong Yoo paled in episode 1 because we spend most of the time with him as Yoon Jae. I feel like the drama has really taken off in episode 2 now that the OTP has found its footing, with Da Ran being the only one who knows the truth about the soul-switching. Right now she wants her fiancée back, but I betcha pretty soon she’ll be hoping she can keep Kyung Jae, the perfect pairing of thirty-year old doctor with the soul of a younger man who constantly challenges her and notices her.
The contrast of Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon is so extreme, starting from their age to their attitudes to the way they treat Da Ran. I hope that Yoon Jae doesn’t turn out have been cheating on Da Ran (or marrying her out of guilt or duty or anything other than love). I don’t mind seeing the two men fight for Da Ran further down the line once they get their souls switched back. For now, Kyung Jae’s character is the hook for me in this drama. As a Hong Sisters male lead, he’s surprisingly not full of exaggerated tics or requires tons of emotional maturing beyond growing up in due course since he is just 18 years old. I feel like the leads of Big are thus far written in a ordinary way that makes for the interactions between characters to take center stage.
I feel like Kyung Joon’s chemistry with Da Ran was even more potent in episode 1, but became simmering once he became Kyung Jae. In episode 2, Kyung Jae did seem more childish, but it wasn’t as extreme as I worried it might be. Kyung Jae did a good job of pretending to be cool but the situation nevertheless did affect him as it ought to. I see Kyung Jae and Da Ran as this coupling rife with so many possibilities. I don’t think he likes her yet, but he’s so reliant on her plus Kyung Joon paid so much attention to her before the soul switch that I think it’s clear she affects him greatly. Thus far the Hong Sister have pleasantly surprised me, and I look forward to the rest of this ride with an open mind.