It’s here. The incipient achy breaky heart parts of the drama we knew was coming has arrived and made itself known. Da Ran is in love with Kyung Joon, but doesn’t know how to deal with it since he’s still Kyung Jae at this stage and she’s still got some unfinished matters with Yoon Jae that makes moving on seem crazy and impossible. Forget the age difference, which Da Ran ought to be fine with if anyone is fine with it since her dad married his younger by sixteen years student. What we’re dealing with is the maelstrom of identity that seems to put up a wall between two people who have feelings for each other.
I’m glad episode 10 of Big focused on Da Ran figuring out her true feelings (about time), because she’s going to have to step up and fight for a chance to be with Kyung Joon pretty soon. Whether or not we get a soul switch back, it’s not an easy path for the couple to navigate, what with stalking crushes, married to the older brother legality, and some donor baby consequences mucking up the pool. This drama is going to pile on the guilt soon, Da Ran for going from loving one brother to the other, Kyung Joon for stealing his brother’s girl if it turns out Yoon Jae did love Da Ran, the Seo family dealing with the ethics of having one kid to save another, and the Gil family maybe having to swap out one Seo son-in-law for another. This would be hilariously awkward if I weren’t so emotionally involved. I love this drama to distraction.
Episode 10 recap:
Kyung Jae listens to the walkman while Da Ran asks quizzically why she’s strangely this happy that he’s here. I dunno, maybe cuz you lurve him? Sometimes the correct answer is the mot straightforward answer. Studying for all those standardized tests in my lifetime taught me that.
Kyung Jae notices her staring and takes off his ear buds to ask what she said, since obviously he can’t be allowed to hear her pseudo confession just yet. Boo. Da Ran snaps out of her daze and quickly lies that she was asking if he wanted to drink some water? She hurries to the movie theater to get water, but then wonders why she lied? She calls herself an idiot. I think we’ve establish you are, Da Ran, but a well intentioned and thoughtful one, so I’ll let this pass. Turns out Kyung Jae did hear her! Hallelujah, and he wonders to himself why she lied about what she said. Da Ran runs back to Kyung Jae and both of them are slightly awkward.
They go see the movie, which seems like a horror or slasher flick, I can’t tell. Da Ran watches the screen while Kyung Jae watches Da Ran. No, I’m serious, he keeps starting at her THE ENTIRE TIME without blinking or turning away. Swoon, my knees got weak just watching that onscreen. She asks if he doesn’t like the movie and admits that Choong Shik doesn’t have the best taste.
Kyung suddenly asks “Gil Teacher, do you like me?”, but his question happens to be delivered at the same time the movie hits a spot where a character lets out a blood curdling scream, so it appears Da Ran might not have heard his question.
After the movie ends, Da Ran and Kyung Jae walk out and she’s happy. Turns out she did hear his question and is trying to avoid it. He directly asks what she meant by being happy that he came? Da Ran makes the excuse that she was happy not to be all alone. He points out her expression while staring at him outside was all sorts of odd.
Da Ran piles on the ridiculous excuses, like she was thinking of what to eat and drink at the movies. Kyung Jae makes the “yeah, right” face and points to his face, asking if what she was thinking about was “this”. She admits she’s confused lately and it was nice that he showed up. Kyung Jae notices her wedding ring and that sends him crashing down to reality.
He mentions his vow not to like her and cause her confusion, which he still intends to adhere to. He asks her not to like him, because if she does, he doesn’t have the confidence he can keep at her bay. Why! Why babies you need not love each other? Yoon Jae? Whatever, I’ll push the virtual him off a cliff for you guys.
Kyung Jae says he’s hungry and wants to go eat. He walks off and a bickering couple walks pass Da Ran where the man is pleading with the woman. She wonders if she’s clingy and causing Kyung Jae distress? She imagines the scene outside the movie theater but this time she’s grabs Kyung Jae’s arms and strokes his cheeks, while Kyung Jae is all “Jesus” and disgusted with her. Da Ran snaps out of it and vows not to be that way.
Choong Shik finds Mari at Kyung Joon’s bedside instead of at the movies. Mari wonders if a person must really like another if he is willing to see a show he wasn’t interested in? Choong Shik thinks the person at least likes the other person 80%. Mari wonders if she at least has the remaining 20%. This conversation leads dim witted Choong Shik to wonder if Mari likes someone new these days.
Se Young meets up with Yoon Jae’s mom to give her a farewell gift. Yoon Jae’s mom asks to be kept apprised of Kyung Joon’s situation, making the lame excuse that she’s interested because this was the patient Yoon Jae saved. When Yoon Jae’s mom walks away, Se Young grabs a strand of hair from her hairbrush.
Kyung Jae and Da Ran are dining at Kyung Joon’s uncle restaurant. Kyung Jae reveals that Yoon Jae’s mom said Yoon Jae was searching for someone before the accident, but she hoped Yoon Jae would never meet that person. Kyung Jae thinks maybe it’s yet another woman, maybe someone Yoon Jae secretly had a matseon with. Da Ran laughs it off, but she’s not even the slightest bit hurt at the possibility.
They discuss the restaurant, which Da Ran finds really cool. Kyung Jae reveals his uncle modeled it after his mom’s restaurant in LA, but the food here sucks. Kyung Joon’s uncle comes by and recognizes Da Ran as Kyung Joon’s teacher, and here with the man who saved Kyung Joon. He thanks Kyung Jae for the chef’s phone number and directly asks if he was sent here by Kyung Joon’s dad to help.
Kyung Jae asks who Kyung Joon’s dad is? All Uncle knows is that his sister referred to the man as a doctor. His wife comes and drags him off, chiding him for talking to Kyung Jae and Da Ran. Uncle thinks Kyung Jae is a good person. Da Ran wonders why Kyung Jae isn’t looking for his dad, but he points out that he can’t do anything while Kyung Joon’s body is lying in the hospital. His mom mentioned some things to him before and he did try looking in the past.
Yoon Jae’s dad looks at a picture of Yoon Jae with him mom. He turns the picture frame around and opens the back, revealing a picture of a younger looking Kyung Joon’s mom. Se Young grabs a hair from sleeping Kyung Joon’s head and hands both hairs to another doctor to run a DNA test. She wonders if the two men are brothers?
On the drive home, Da Ran looks at the Miracle picture in Kyung Joon’s wallet and asks if this is a connection to his dad? Kyung Jae says yes, but he doesn’t know where to start looking for his dad. The picture seems familiar to Da Ran somehow (she found Yoon Jae’s plane ticket in the book in episode 5) but she doesn’t remember where.
Kyung Jae confirms he’s had the picture since he was a kid and there is only one since his dad drew it. Da Ran insists she’s seen this picture before. Da Ran promises to help him find his dad. Kyung Jae asks for the wallet back and she puts it in his palm and folds his hand over it. He teases that she’s coming on to him again by holding his hand for so long, which flusters her.
Da Ran does her patented bang her head against a hard surface routine. Kyung Jae asks what she wants to do since this is the last night of her vacation?
They end up at a convenience store to try and buy Made in China gifts for her colleagues. Da Ran looks through various knick knacks, until they discuss pandas. Yoon Jae finds some all-white teddy bears and has the brilliant idea to convert them into pandas as the perfect gift. They start arguing over the black and white pattern of a panda, whether pandas have black arms or black legs.
Operation panda-coloring showdown begins! This scene is so amazingly sweet I got cavities. Kyung Jae and Da Ran make faces at each other and begin to use black marker to color their respective bears.
When completed, they present their “pandas” to each other. Kyung Jae’s panda has black around its collar, while Da Ran’s has black legs and belly. Kyung Jae bursts out laughing at Da Ran’s panda. Da Ran really needs to stop competing with Kyung Jae on anything requiring some use of intelligence, because she’s losing big time. Da Ran asks her smartphone to pull up a panda picture. Lo and behold, pandas look like Kyung Jae’s version.
Their panda-coloring contest winner gets to live like a panda, lazy and carefree, just eating and sleeping. Kyung Jae immediately collects by saying his shoulders are sore from all the painting. Da Ran has to give him a back massage. Then he says he’s thirsty, and Da Ran goes to grab him some water. He laughs because he’s enjoying this immensely.
Da Ran and Kyung Jae sit at the table and wrap all the colored pandas into gift bags. The camera pulls back and we see his panda and her panda hanging on strings from the ceiling, facing each other with their noses touching. I think I just melted.
Boundary-deficient teenage stalker Mari continues her tour of denial by heading to Kyung Jae’s house in the morning, declaring to Choong Shik her plan to come every morning. Oh good lord. Choong Shik is naturally not kosher with that and points out his sister and brother-in-law are newlyweds. Mari turns into a peeping tom and stands outside the window looking at Da Ran and Kyung Jae at the breakfast table.
Da Ran is insisting Kyung Jae eat his beans, but he refuses and picks all of them out. This makes Mari happy, knowing Kyung Joon hates beans and still refuses to eat them. Da Ran warns him to eat it all and leaves to go see her mom. After she walks away, Kyung Jae grabs a glass of water and eats all the beans like pills washed down with water. Choong Shik is pleased, pointing out that his brother-in-law must really love his sister.
This shocks and depresses Mari, and she asks how much a person must like another to eat food he hates? Choong Shik says 90% like, which leaves Mari with only 10%. Choong Shik now wonders if Mari likes his brother-in-law? He wants to tell Mari that he likes her to the extent he can give his life for her.
Da Ran goes home and finds her mom packing a gift for Da Ran to bring to her mother-in-law as a farewell present before she goes back to the US. Da Ran is reminded that to the world, she is married to Seo Yoon Jae. Mari asks Da Ran not to like Kyung Jae since she must be wanting Yoon Jae to come back. So if Kyung Jae does anything, Mari wants Da Ran to put him in his place. After Mari leaves, Da Ran looks at her ring as a reminder that she can’t like Kyung Jae because his soul will be going back to Kyung Joon one day.
Da Ran comes home and sees Kyung Jae sitting on the sofa staring at the Miracle picture in his wallet. She asks if he wants to find his father? Kyung Jae says that if the other side comes to find him, then he will meet with them. Otherwise he won’t go searching for his father. He and his mom lived well just the two of them.
Kyung Jae and Da Ran are sitting at the table discussing Yoon Jae’s parents. Kyung Jae knows they live apart, and when he was in the US he met Yoon Jae’s dad once on 6-24, which was also the code to Yoon Jae’s phone. Clueless Da Ran wonders what that date symbolizes, maybe an anniversary of sorts? Kyung Jae is angry Da Ran forgot his birthday and huffs back to his room.
Da Ran remembers something Yoon Jae said and runs to Kyung Jae’s room, which gets his hopes up thinking she’s here about his birthday. Da Ran says 6-24 was the day Yoon Jae decided to become a doctor. She hands him a book that has an article about Yoon Jae. When Yoon Jae was 18 years old, he decided to become a doctor. He wanted to become someone with warm hands who would heal others. Yoon Jae held someone’s hand and made that decision
Kyung Jae asks Da Ran to be that person to him, to help him decide what to do with his life. He mentions 6-24 again before walking out, asking her to think about his future. Which is when Da Ran finally remembers that its Kyung Joon’s birthday, and that it was today. Which means Kyung Jae is now 20 years old. Throws confetti! Da Ran looks at Kyung Jae’s back and smiles as she thinks about his future.
Se Young gets the results of the DNA test and turns out Kyung Joon’s biological mom is Yoon Jae’s mom. JAW DROP! I thought at most half-brothers, but turns out they are full brothers and Kyung Joon was likely born to his mom who carried him as a surrogate. This is all sorts of screwed up.
Se Young is pretending to check on Kyung Joon but is really trying to get more information from Kyung Joon’s aunt. She asks if Kyung Joon’s mom is really his birth mom? Kyung Joon’s aunt says yes, she saw Kyung Joon’s mom pregnant. Se Young comes to the very logical conclusion that Kyung Joon was born via a surrogacy. Yoon Jae’s mom stares at her Miracle book and wonders what to do.
Kyung Joon’s uncle and the Vice Principal are back at the mandoo restaurant being all sorts of wistful and pathetic about their thwarted youthful loves. Turns out they were each late for a meeting with their crush, and think that was the reason why their love didn’t come to fruition.
Da Ran walks with Ae Kyung brainstorming birthday presents. Ae Kyung thinks its Choong Shik’s birthday, but Da Ran wants a present that makes a person’s heart move. Mari comes to find her and asks about finding Kyung Joon’s dad. In her itty bitty brain, she thinks that finding Kyung Joon’s dad is a great excuse for Da Ran to not need to take care of Kyung Jae. Da Ran says she doesn’t dislike staying by Kyung Jae’s side. Mari refuses to back down, she’s determined to find Kyung Joon’s dad to preserve her own future with Kyung Joon.
Mari finds Kyung Jae and brings up looking for his dad. He doesn’t care to, nor does he have the money to hire an investigator. Mari says Da Ran will pay for it, she would be for it since it alleviates her responsibility to take care of Kyung Jae. Oh shut the hell up, Mari!
Kyung Jae is hanging out in the pediatric playroom with Teddy Bear and Rabbit. As usual, Rabbit wants to play with Teddy but he’s having none of that. Kyung Jae wonders if he really is a burden on Da Ran?
Da Ran reminds herself that she should be thinking of Yoon Jae instead of picking out a birthday present for Kyung Jae and wondering about his future. She tries to remember what she did for Yoon Jae’s birthday. They were supposed to go bike riding and she was waiting for him for two hours that day in the cold. Good one, Yoon Jae. He didn’t show so she left, but during her wait she drew hearts on the park bench. Da Ran is cheering herself up to stay focused on Yoon Jae when Kyung Jae sees her, and he wonders again if she’s feeling stressed out.
Kyung Jae stares at Da Ran as she cleans the living room. His piercing gaze (my Shin baby totally brung it in episode 1 with the staring already) makes her uncomfortable, because she sees Kyung Joon and not Yoon Jae staring at her. Yesyesyes, trust your gut, girlfriend. She makes a big deal of cleaning, so Kyung Jae makes the effort to clean thinking he’s taking a load off her shoulders. This makes Da Ran think that Kyung Jae is self-sufficient without her.
Da Ran goes back to her room and tells herself to stop thinking about Kyung Jae. She decides to go out and he offers to go with her. She asks him to stay put, she’s off to find the version of herself who knows how to patiently wait. He tells her to go and not feel any pressure, he’ll cook and clean and wait for her.
Da Ran rides her bike back to the bench where she waited for Yoon Jae but she can’t find it, she thinks it all looks the same. Kyung Jae has thoroughly cleaned the house and he compliments himself on doing a great job when he sets his mind to it. Oh yes sirree. Mari comes barging in, as usual, this time declaring that she’s located Kyung Joon’s dad.
She shows Kyung Jae a magazine of a famed professor. She remembers her dad taking Kyung Joon’s mom to an exhibition of this professor’s work once, and Mari has found the connection where this professor was teaching at the university where Kyung Joon’s mom went to school.
Yoon Jae’s dad returns to Korea, and instead of going to see Yoon Jae’s mom, he asks the driver to take him to go see a professor. Yoon Jae’s dad goes to the meet Professor Bang from the magazine Mari was holding. Professor Bang reveals that Yoon Jae came to see him last year asking about Hee Seok and her son. When asked if the son has been found, Yoon Jae’s dad says not yet.
Kyung Jae doesn’t want to look for him, because a dad is someone who will be by his side in the future. He also doesn’t want to proactively seek out someone, but he’s willing to respond if approached. He wants to rely on himself.
Kyung Jae wants Mari to leave and not mess up the clean house, which he intends to show Da Ran. Mari makes the excuse of a headache and goes up to the room she commandeered. She tells herself that if she stays here and leaves all her things here, then this will become her room one day. Dream on, kiddo.
Da Ran finds the bench and tries to think about Yoon Jae, willing those feelings of her heart racing while waiting for someone to come back. But she feels nothing. She gets a call from Kyung Jae, who asks where she is. When she says that she’s at the park, he’s also there and will come find her.
After hanging up, Da Ran’s heart starts to race and she wonders why her heart is beating so fast when she’s waiting for Kyung Jae? She remembers back to when her heart faced while waiting for Yoon Jae, and now she’s feeling the same way as she waits for Kyung Jae.
When she sees him, she hides behind a tree and calls him to lie that she’s not at the park anymore. Da Ran lies that the person she’s waiting for isn’t him, so he shouldn’t come find her. He sees her hiding and tells her he will leave and not burden her anymore. After he leaves, Da Ran cries behind the tree, asking why her heart is breaking?
Professor Bang reads the Miracle book, confirming that the two angels in the picture are both sons of Yoon Jae’s father. Kyung Jae goes home and opens the fridge to get a drink, which is when he suddenly has another attack like when he was at the airport. His head spins and his body buckles, sliding down on the floor. In the hospital, Kyung Joon’s body once again jerks upward.
Mari is at the hospital and hears the nurses talking about Kyung Joon moving his hand. She runs into the room with Se Young and the nurses. Da Ran finally locates the bench where she drew her hearts, but she touches her heart and wonders why she her heart is completely unmoved? She wonders why she can’t recollect the feelings of the past?
Mari calls Da Ran and says Kyung Joon’s body moved in the hospital. Da Ran hangs up and wonders if Kyung Joon’s soul went back to his body? Da Ran runs home, her anxiety and worry for Kyung Jae splashed all over her face.
She rushes into the house and finds Kyung Jae lying prone on the sofa. His eyes are closed. She kneels down and asks if he’s alright. He slowly opens his eyes and says “Gil Teacher, it’s me”, confirming it’s still Kyung Joon’s soul inside.
She sags in relief and starts to cry, but he thinks she’s sad that Yoon Jae didn’t come back. He tells her that his soul seemed to have gone back to his body, this time for longer, and then apologizes that Yoon Jae didn’t come back. He starts to cry, and OMG I’m crying here, too. So. Much. Imminent. Pain. Coming.
Kyung Jae talks with Mari and confirms there was a momentary switch, which has left his body completely weak. Mari asks about Da Ran and Kyung Jae thinks she’s disappointed there wasn’t a switch to bring Yoon Jae back so she’s crying in her room.
Da Ran goes to her room and continues crying, berating herself for being crazy. She asks why she can’t control these feelings? Kyung Jae listens to her crying from outside and he cries as well. He tells Seo Yoon Jae to hurry up and return. Ae Kyung asks for a day off for Da Ran, saying to the VP that Da Ran is not feeling well.
The next morning, Da Ran is laying in bed and Kyung Jae comes into her room and sits down beside her. He’s asks if she’s disappointed about the non switch, but she starts to say she’s disappointed about….but doesn’t finish her sentence. He offers to take her to the hospital if she’s not feeling well, but she doesn’t want to. He reassures her that the change seemed to be longer this time, so it’s a sign that Yoon Jae is coming back.
Da Ran asks Kyung Jae, when he’s back in his own body, how she will deal with it? He thinks she’s worried about the burden and tells her not to worry about it. In fact, his disappear right now to give her some peace. After he leaves, she keeps crying.
Se Young gives Yoon Jae’s mom the medical update on Kyung Joon, finally coming out and asking if that boy isn’t also her son and Yoon Jae’s younger brother? Mom finally admits that the two guys are brothers. Because she couldn’t carry a baby, her husband has the child with another woman.
Professor Bang reads from the Miracle book “one child saves another” by reaching out his hand. Se Young mentions that Yoon Jae saved Kyung Joon in the accident. Professor Bang says the boys are fated to save one another. Since the story is about saving a life, one needs love to do so.
That child was Kyung Joon, and his blood was used to save Yoon Jae. Because of Kyung Joon, Yoon Jae was able to survive. Se Young thinks the two guys met during the accident is astonishing, but Yoon Jae’s mom doesn’t think they ever need to meet. In fact, as long as Yoon Jae doesn’t get sick again, she never intended to see that child again. Ugh, you hateful witch!
Se Young goes to Kyung Joon’s hospital room and wonders if she should tell Yoon Jae what she learned. Kyung Jae goes to Da Ran’s room and finds it empty. He goes outside and finds Da Ran at the park sitting on the park bench.
Kyung Jae asks if she’s fine, and she says she is. She asks how he’s feeling. He’s fine as well, but if there is another switch, he knows it’ll be painful but he’ll endure it. Kyung Jae tells Da Ran that if she’s feeling burdened and in pain, she doesn’t need to worry about it. He will stay by her side and when he switches back, he’ll leave so she doesn’t ever need to see him again. They stare at each other. OMG, if post-swap Kyung Joon leaves Da Ran, I’ll break his legs so he can’t take a single step. Drama, you better not separate my OTP, hear me?
Thoughts of Mine:
I want to start off by explaining why I really love the pace of Big. Compared to the chipmunks on acid pace of the Hong Sisters previous works, this one has a sweet calmness I’ve not yet seen from them before. It’s also rare in recent K-drama rom-coms, which always skews towards a hoppy rather than mellow vibe. Ten episodes in, Big still feels more than a J-dorama than a K-drama, despite all the makjangy elements now floating to the surface. The drama focuses on the characters rather than the situational narrative, so what comes off as boring for some viewers is the very thing that owns my heart. I get to spend time with Da Ran and Kyung Jae spending time with each other. It’s the very experience of watching two people fall in love that is so special to me. It’s not a bickering their way to love pas de deux, but rather a tentative attraction that is allowed to grow into something because of a situation beyond their control.
Once I watched Big episode 1 and realized that all my preconceived expectations were off, such as thinking Yoon Jae was the male lead when in truth it was Kyung Joon, and being taken off guard with the pacing, I’ve grown to appreciate and treasure how Big is choosing to tell this story. Very rarely do we see the experience of a female lead falling in love with both male leads, but we saw Da Ran fall for Yoon Jae through flashbacks and we have lived through Da Ran falling for Kyung Joon in the present. I still am fine with the end game being Da Ran with either Kyung Jae or Kyung Joon, because Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung are beyond perfect in their roles, but Shin Won Ho also sold the mature Kyung Joon from episode 1 as completely a viable love interest for Da Ran. I have no problem with his baby face, the boy’s eyes scream “I’m a man.”
But my gut tells me………and don’t quote me here……..the end game is Kyung Jae. I think there is a reason why Kyung Joon’s body has lain in a coma while Yoon Jae’s body is up and about. I wonder if Kyung Joon was not meant to survive that accident but Yoon Jae gave his life for Kyung Joon, just like Kyung Joon was born to save Yoon Jae. It’s not exactly a life for a life, but it was Yoon Jae’s way to pay back his brother for being born to save him, and then given up by the family. It’s not like Kyung Joon’s surrogate mom didn’t love him, but oomph it’s gonna break Kyung Joon to pieces when he learns the truth. I think Yoon Jae has turned out to be the classic second male lead – sacrificing, decent, honorable, and ultimately, suffering in silence – so if he dies in the end while in Kyung Joon’s body, I wouldn’t be surprised.
It was a stunner to discover that the brothers are full blooded siblings. That just makes Yoon Jae’s mom even more loathsome, what with giving up her own blood son just because she didn’t carry the boy. I don’t see the huge ethical considerations for donor babies, as long as the babies are loved and won’t die in the donation procedure. Some bone marrow or cord blood never hurt anyone. What I find abhorrent is giving up Kyung Joon and never having any contact with him. That boggles the mind, and while it appears Yoon Jae’s mom does have a heart when she went to visit Kyung Joon and looked really sad, she’s still a Grade-A heartless beyotch in my eyes.
Se Young has turned out to be surprisingly useful. Her sleuthing out the connection between the two guys was nicely done, and renders her character less like useless filler and more integral to the narrative. Mari I continue to want to truss up and ship her off somewhere far far away. I don’t even need her to be a third wheel and push Da Ran and Kyung Jae forward, because they are doing so well on their own trying to suss out their feelings. What kills me is how Kyung Jae misreads every emotion from Da Ran these days, because of the belief that she’s still fixated on Yoon Jae. That ship sailed a long time ago, and everyone would be better off admitting it and dealing with the inevitable aftermath.
While I just said that I think the end game is Kyung Jae, the Hong Sisters can easily switch it up. Kyung Joon just turned twenty in the drama, and that’s not a coincidence. He’s legally of age now, and that just throws out any underage concerns. I think he’s matured far more than any boy his age, and his emotional journey has been undertaken with Da Ran by his side in all the important ways. Because of being in Yoon Jae’s body, he’s had to learn to sleep on other beds, he’s had to learn to do and eat things he doesn’t like, he has had to hold his feelings inside for the sake of another. I think he’s getting closer to being as Big on the inside as he is on the outside at this point, and it’s time for the OTP to confess their feelings for they have each other to weather the impending storm of many unknowns laying in wait for them.