Episode 7 of Big was noticeably low on energy. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it felt devoid of any zip and the characters were rather in suspended animation. A few plot points got moved forward, but the process unfolded without much to grip my attention. Emotionally I was invested, because the episode moved Da Ran and Kyung Jae forward in yet another big step. But in the end, the presence of one newly discovered ring appears to push them three steps back. I remember my gripe in episode 1 of Big about how the narrative appeared to be choppy, and the same problems reared its head in a noticeable way to remind me that it’s really the overarching story I’m hooked on and not necessarily the execution. The Hong Sisters give off the impression that they are intending to do so much with this story, to the point there is just too much story floating around and no good way to tie it all together. Let’s hope the second half smoothes itself out, because I’m gearing myself up to get my mind blown.
Episode 7 recap:
Mari hugs Kyung Jae after confirming that he’s Kyung Joon, and then promptly faints from the shock. Kyung Jae carries her into the bedroom and deposits her on his bed. He tells Da Ran to patch up her wound, revealing that he can’t stand the sight of blood. He heads out to buy some medicine.
Choong Shik calls Mari but she doesn’t pick up. He’s worried so he heads over to Kyung Jae’s house, correctly believing that Mari might be there after she asked so many questions about him. He finds Mari passed out on the bed while Da Ran tries to conjure up a believable explanation.
As Da Ran tries to get Choong Shik to leave, suddenly Mari wakes up. She sits up and immediately calls out for Kyung Joon. She runs around the house looking for Kyung Joon, which alarms Choong Shik since Kyung Joon is lying in a hospital bed. Suddenly Kyung Jae returns home and Choong Shik’s hackles are raised as he questions whether his sister has gotten back together with Dr. Seo.
Choong Shik is about to punch Kyung Jae out, and this time Kyung Jae braces himself for the contact, when suddenly Choong Shik topples forward in pain. Turns out Mari arrived and kicked him in the groin from behind. Mari runs over and is about to call out Kyung Joon’s name when Da Ran claps a hand over her mouth and drags her away.
Kyung Jae kneels down to check on Choong Shik to make sure he’s alright. The boy is in severe pain but hasn’t lost his family jewels. Da Ran walks Choong Shik out and he expresses his disbelief that she’s still seeing her ex-fiancee.
Inside the house, Mari demands to know why Kyung Joon never told her the truth, but he keeps her at arms-length because her wound still bothers him. She realizes it and goes to hide behind a sofa to continue her interrogation. She finds out that Gil Teacher knew the truth from the very beginning. Mari asks if Kyung Joon met Gil Teacher for the first time when he came to Korea and he confirms it.
Kyung Jae explains that he can only be himself with Gil Teacher. Mari promises to keep his secret and protect him. Choong Shik goes home and finds his parents still happily chatting away with Teacher Na. He sighs and shakes his head, noting that his parents happiness over this prospective son-in-law isn’t going to to reach a happy conclusion.
Da Ran goes back to Kyung Jae’s house and tells him that she’s changed her mind. She is willing to help him. He thanks her, asking what she’ll do if it gets hard? Da Ran says she’ll endure since she’s an adult. He promises to make it easier for her. He’ll be like a rude dog, with doggy manners, around her. That way she won’t find herself falling for Seo Yoon Jae’s face again.
Kyung Jae looks around and tells Da Ran not to move the furniture out for now. They can use it. He tells her to clean up the area, making the excuse that he can’t help otherwise she’ll start to like Yoon Jae again. Kyung Jae goes to his room and looks at Da Ran through the window and smiles. When she meets his eyes, he frosts the glass.
Se Young meets with Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle and reveals to them that Seo Yoon Jae was also in the same accident as Kyung Joon. His aunt and uncle now wonder if Yoon Jae is hanging around Kyung Joon to get a piece of the inheritance. They wonder how Yoon Jae knew so much about Kyung Joon’s background.
Mari returns to Kyung Jae’s house armed with a suitcase, declaring that she is moving in. She thinks that even if he’s turned into a frog prince, she’ll still like him. She makes him cover his face with a fan that has Kyung Joon’s face printed on it. She sneaks a quick kiss and is surprised that her kiss didn’t transform him back, muttering that those fairytales stories are lies.
Kyung Jae tells her she can’t move in with him. Even though Mari sees Kyung Joon, the rest of the world sees Yoon Jae. And to the rest of the world, this body belongs to Gil Da Ran. He explains that Da Ran has agreed to be by his side again. Mari wants to know if it was a lie that Kyung Joon liked Gil Teacher, but Kyung Jae confirms he was telling the truth. He does like Da Ran, and even confessed to her, but she rejected him. This makes Mari pleased and she says Da Ran is a good person.
At breakfast the next morning, Da Ran’s parents are disappointed she never showed up to meet Teacher Na. Choong Shik casually asks what they think if Seo Yoon Jae reappeared again? Mom expresses her disapproval if Da Ran ever got back together with him. At school, Teacher Na tells Ae Kyung that he’s finally got his courage up to confess to Da Ran. He throws a fastball that demonstrates his conviction.
Da Ran and Kyung Jae are sitting at a restaurant waiting for Yoon Jae’s mom to arrive. Da Ran is nervous as heck, and explains this is even worse than her first meeting with Yoon Jae’s mom. Back then Yoon Jae’s mom already didn’t seem all that pleased with Da Ran, and wanted Da Ran to spend time with her in the US preparing for the wedding. She reveals that Yoon Jae saw her hand trembling and he held it under the table to reassure her.
Kyung Jae tells her that if her hands tremble today, he won’t hold it since he’s still going to act ill mannered around her so she doesn’t fall for him again.
Yoon Jae’s mom arrive and they greet her. She sits down and immediately asks Da Ran why she hasn’t resolved everything yet? Kyung Jae speaks up, saying that Da Ran has agreed to stay with him and he needs her. He explains that he was the one pursuing reconciliation with her.
Yoon Jae’s mom orders a rare steak and explains that she eats it with Yoon Jae here in the past and used to be his favorite. The bloody steak makes Kyung Jae uncomfortable and he averts his eyes, telling Yoon Jae’s mom he doesn’t like it anymore.
Yoon Jae’s mom insists he eat it and try to remember. Then Yoon Jae’s mom offers to move into his house if he needs someone by his side. The server is preparing to deposit a bloody hunk of meat on Kyung Jae’s plate and Da Ran sees this. She stops the server from putting it on Kyung Jae’s plate, and she slams the lid over the entire steak placed right before Yoon Jae’s mom.
Yoon Jae’s mom is stunned by Da Ran’s rudeness but Kyung Jae smiles a little to know what Da Ran did for him. Kyung Jae says Da Ran’s action was expressing her opposition to Yoon Jae’s mom coming by the house. Yoon Jae’s mom calls Da Ran ill-mannered. Da Ran tries to explain that isn’t what she meant. Kyung Jae says he was the old who told Da Ran to be direct and forward if she hears something she doesn’t like.
Kyung Jae grabs Da Ran’s hand and holds it up for Yoon Jae’s mom to see. He informs her that in the past, he held Da Ran’s hand like this as a reassurance for her to endure whatever his mom said. But not anymore. Now he’s holding her hand and they are leaving. Kyung Jae walks out holding Da Ran’s shoulders while she tries to apologize to Yoon Jae’s mom.
In the restaurant entrance, Da Ran shakes his arm off and asks how he could do this? Now Yoon Jae’s mom has the worst impression of her. Kyung Jae shrugs and says Da Ran pretty much made no impression on her in the past (i.e. she’s a doormat). He was just continuing with his being a dog in having bad manners. Da Ran says she’ll show him bad manners and tries to hit him with her purse. He grabs her hand and they stare at each other.
Kyung Jae then twirls her around and presses her up against the wall, leaning in as if he was going to kiss her. Da Ran pauses, but the kiss doesn’t happen since Kyung Jae saw Yoon Jae’s mom watching so he wanted to put on this show to keep her from dropping by the house in the future. He releases her and then walks away with a smirk.
Choong Shik and Mari go see a shaman, and this scene is straight out of The Moon Embraces the Sun. The shaman is dressed like the head shaman in MoonSun and the background music is the same. Mari writes down the names of Kang Kyung Joon and Seo Yoon Jae and says their souls need to be switched back. When asked what their relationship is – dating, brothers, friends – Mari refutes all that and says the two guys like the same girl.
Back at Kyung Jae’s home, Da Ran and Kyung Jae continue to bicker over his bad manners. She finds beer in the fridge and learns that Yoon Jae’s mom would bring it over on occasion. Kyung Jae would dump it so it looked like he was drinking it. Da Ran says it’s a waste so he tells her to drink it. They sit outside eating snacks, with Da Ran drinking the beer.
Da Ran asks Kyung Jae why he’s afraid of blood? He explains that his mother died after being shot when she was leaving the restaurant, and she lost all her blood. Since then he’s been afraid of seeing blood. He is studying medicine not because he wants to be a doctor, but because he needs to take care of this body for who knows how long.
Da Ran gives him a sad look and then offers him the piece of dried squid snack she was munching on. He declines since it’s spicy so she licks off the spice for him. He says its gross, and then points out that snack has been in this house for two years. Da Ran spits it out and looks all worried. He tells her to stick her tongue out. She sticks her tongue out adorably and he makes her stick it out even longer, and then touch her nose with it.
Kyung Jae goes to the hospital and tries to conquer his fear of blood but can’t. He sees a bunch of little kid patients who cling to him as Dr. Seo Yoon Jae. He’s awkward around them until he realizes he can treat their little boo boos and it doesn’t bother him.
Se Young sees him at the hospital and wonders why he’s back. He tells her that he’s back together with Da Ran. Se Young mentions Kyung Joon’s name and reveals she knows about the accident. She wonders if Kyung Joon and Yoon Jae are tied together in a special fate? Kyung Jae tells Se Young that all he knows is that he’s not fated to be with her.
Da Ran is at school when she gets a rude text from Kyung Jae to bring him some bread. It makes her smile, and Ae Kyung sees it and asks if Da Ran is back together with Yoon Jae? Da Ran gets a second text from Kyung Jae, telling her to come over with the bread. This makes her smile again.
Mari finds Da Ran in the school courtyard and hands her a talisman that she got from the shaman. Mari says this will help Da Ran gets Yoon Jae back, while she wants Kyung Joon back because Kyung Joon is hers. She thanks Da Ran for taking good care of Kyung Jae this whole time. After Mari flounces off, Da Ran sits there and looks rather deep in thought.
Choong Shik is talking with his friends, who tease him about his crush on Mari. He sees Mari coming so he strikes a cool pose, but Mari just rushes past him, completely oblivious. Poor Choong Shik’s face falls.
Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle are dining at the mandoo restaurant and discussing what to do with the inheritance money when they get it. They consider opening a restaurant. When Da Ran’s mom comes by to serve them, Kyung Joon’s uncle stares at her and flashes back to the past. Turns out they were high school classmates and it’s clear Kyung Joon’s uncle had a crush on Da Ran’s mom back then.
Kyung Jae and Mari are eating an icy snack in his living room. Mari finds out that Yoon Jae saved Kyung Joon in the accident, so she suggests he recreate it and then their souls will switch back. Mari wants Kyung Jae to pretend to be her uncle so she can live with him but he says hell no. She runs around while he chases after her to get her to leave.
Da Ran arrives carrying groceries and she hears them bickering, which makes her smile. She sees Kyung Joon’s wallet on the table and looks at the Miracle picture in it. Choong Shik begs his mom to allow him to study abroad, but she just tells him to stop dreaming and go grocery shopping with her. After getting rid of Mari, Kyung Jae drags Da Ran out shopping as well, complaining that she only brought over fresh produce.
At the grocery store, Da Ran encourages Kyung Jae to learn to cook a few easy dishes. She asks if he knows how to cook since his mom used to own a restaurant. He starts grabbing ingredients to make a dish for her today. As they are shopping, they totally look like a newlywed couple. Kyung Jae eats horn chips from his fingertips like a kid, and he offers Da Ran one. She pauses and then eats one off his finger. So. Cute.
As Da Ran and Kyung Jae continue shopping, she spies her mom and Choong Shik. Kyung Jae is non-plussed and is willing to get walloped by her mom if she sees him but Da Ran shuffles him away. She goes to distract her mom and brother. Afterwards, Da Ran runs back into the grocery store looking for Kyung Jae. She seems disappointed when she can’t find him.
As Da Ran leaves, she sees Kyung Jae sucking on a lollipop outside. She is happy to see him, but he makes it appear like the groceries were too heavy for him to carry home. He grabs a bag of open chips and walks away, but when she complains, he ends up carrying two bags while Da Ran carries the watermelon.
Kyung Joon prepares an oven-roasted chicken dish and pops it in the oven. He tells Da Ran to be prepared to blown away in an hour and a half. Da Ran gets a call from Ae Kyung, who is with Teacher Na preparing his confession to Da Ran. She agrees to meet them and promises Kyung Jae that she will be back in an hour and a half in time to eat the chicken. Kyung Jae looks slightly disappointed.
While Kyung Jae is waiting for Da Ran, Mari arrives and she smells the food cooking. She peeks into the oven and asks if this was the dish Kyung Joon’s mom made before. Kyung Jae is impatient and tells her to grab whatever she left behind and leave.
Da Ran arrives at the restaurant and Teacher Na is so nervous around her. Ae Kyung makes the excuse to leave first, but she accidentally grabs Da Ran’s phone on her way out. Outside the restaurant, Da Ran’s phone rings and Ae Kyung answers. It’s Kyung Jae asking why she’s not back yet. Ae Kyung recognizes Yoon Jae’s voice and reveals that Da Ran is currently meeting with Teacher Na, who is about to confess to her.
After Kyung Jae hangs up, Mari comes downstairs holding a ring box. She shows Kyung Jae a ring that must’ve been purchased by Yoon Jae for Da Ran. Mari thinks it’s so romantic. Mari asks if she can stay and eat the chicken but Kyung Jae says no. He tells her that if he goes back into his own body, then he’ll make her a chicken for her to eat.
Da Ran excuses herself from Teacher Na and gets up to leave, which is when he gets up the courage to tell her that he likes her and has for a long time. Da Ran stammers that she has agreed to stay by someone’s side. Suddenly Ae Kyung returns and asks if Da Ran heard that Teacher Na confessed to liking Ae Kyung. She effectively helps the poor guy save face, leaving Da Ran to think she misunderstood who Teacher Na’s confession was directed at. She grabs her phone back from Ae Kyung and leaves.
Da Ran starts running back to Kyung Jae’s house, and mid-way she answers a cal froml him. She’s out of breath and tells him she’s on her way. He tells her not to come anymore, and if she wants to eat chicken she should buy some herself. He asks if her heart fluttered as she ran towards him?
He wants to keep his promise not to let her waver, so she shouldn’t come back. He hangs up on her. Da Ran looks sad and considers whether her feelings are beings swayed. His question of her heart being moved was so loaded. He meant whether her heart was swayed for Yoon Jae, but she’s clearly feeling it swayed because she was running towards Kyung Jae. Sigh.
Kyung Jae goes to the hospital and meets with Se Young. He shows her the ring and asks if it was for her. Se Young tries it out but it’s too small for her ring finger. Kyung Jae confirms Yoon Jae bought it for Da Ran. He wants to know what Yoon Jae’s relationship was like with Se Young, making the excuse about his lost memories. Se Young says Yoon Jae appeared to be wavering in his decision to get married. Se Young isn’t sure what was going through Yoon Jae’s mind back then, and she tells Kyung Jae to regain his own memories and let everyone know.
Yoon Jae’s mom goes to the mandoo restaurant to meet with Da Ran’s parents. Afterwards, Da Ran’s parents asks Da Ran if she’s meeting with Yoon Jae again? Da Ran confesses that she’s starting over with Yoon Jae, just meeting him again. Her dad is quite disappointed with her, but says that if she wants to be with Yoon Jae, then they need to get married this time. If she doesn’t, then he doesn’t want to see Yoon Jae or her ever again.
Kyung Jae meets with Yoon Jae’s mom and asks if she went to see Da Ran’s parents. She says yes, and reveals that they were shocked to hear that he was back together with Da Ran. She tells Kyung Jae to stop using Da Ran as a shield to keep her from trying to push him back together with Se Young.
Kyung Jae meets with Da Ran and finds out what her dad said. He tells her that she should have replied that they will get married. She calls him crazy. He asks her to decide again – to keep seeing him (and risk her father’s wrath) or stop? He counts to three, and at the third count, he slips the ring on her finger. It fits perfectly. You can just see Kyung Jae’s heart fall, as he’s probably hoping it wouldn’t fit.
Kyung Jae reveals that Yoon Jae appears to have bought this ring for Da Ran before the accident. He tells Da Ran that she’s allowed to let her heart waver towards Yoon Jae again. And he, Kang Kyung Joon, will never like Gil Da Ran. Da Ran and Kyung Jae stare at each other.
Thoughts of Mine:
At this point, I think it safe to rename this drama “Hands”. Y’all agree with me? While I can write a novel analyzing all the hand symbolism between Da Ran and Kyung Joon, the hands appears to be all that has tied Yoon Jae and Da Ran together in the past, the times their hands missed each other (on the stairs, measuring the bed), and the times their hands have touched (the snow walk and at the restaurant). It’s such a chaste relationship, and one that continues to leave me scratching my head. At this point the Hong Sisters can reveal that Yoon Jae is gay and Da Ran his beard and I wouldn’t be surprised. Though I’m sure it’s highly unlikely to be so groundbreaking.
I really love watching Kyung Jae and Da Ran’s relationship build and burst through so many of the boundaries that existed between Da Ran and Yoon Jae. The moment at the restaurant when Kyung Jae grabbed Da Ran’s hand and then walked out with her, had me shouting booyah and high-fiving the screen. Here’s the very problem I have with Yoon Jae laid bare. Yoon Jae appears to have allowed Da Ran to be a doormat and shielded her, whereas Kyung Jae pushes her to stand up for herself and never feel bad when she does something right that might be perceived as rude. I can’t handle Da Ran ending up with Yoon Jae because all I see is that she’ll return to being that tentative and low self-esteem mooncalf she was in the early episodes. She’s come too far to walk a backwards path.
Sometimes a story is about the maturation of one character, but for all intents and purposes, Big has created an equally substantive story about the mutual growth of an OTP. While Kyung Jae was away for a year, it’s clear that Da Ran has emotionally matured. She kicks Se Young out of the house, she stops patronizing Kyung Jae, and she reacts to situations with a newfounded calmness. This adds to the drama feeling less slap stick, as the two leads have grown, and so have their formerly funny interactions. Now it’s just electrifying at times, and simmering in others.
I have to confess to finding Mari’s role and her story feeling like filler. It’s cute, but not terribly riveting. Whereas I’m no longer annoyed at Se Young anymore, because she’s turned out to not be a clingy ex-girlfriend. She’s someone who wants another chance with Yoon Jae and makes that clear, but doesn’t hover or play games. It’s clear that pre-accident Yoon Jae gave Se Young the impression he was reconsidering his marriage to Da Ran (keeping her key, not giving out the wedding invitations), so its no wonder Se Young felt like she could make a move. I like her last conversation with Kyung Jae in this episode, when she told him to come back and let everyone know what Yoon Jae was thinking. Perhaps that’s a precursor to Kyung Joon’s body waking up soon.
I continue to be in the dark about what the Hong Sisters have in store. It’s clear that Kyung Jae and Da Ran are not meant to have a platonic relationship with each other. He likes her, and that like is growing deeper all the time. She clearly feels her heart flutter for him, Kang Kyung Joon’s soul in Seo Yoon Jae’s body. While I love the feeling of uncertainty watching this drama gives me, I can see why it doesn’t work for others. But if I strip away the issues of identity, age, and the fantasy elements, what’s left is as basic and fundamental a love story as anything in a K-drama. It’s just a boy, standing before a girl, asking her to love him (for who he is on the inside).