When a drama I really loved finishes, I usually need a gradually weaning off of it. Such as rewatching choice scenes, and inevitably posting some more about it until I’m ready to put it to bed. So if you didn’t like Big, ignore me as usual unless you want to listen to me talk to myself (which might be amusing in itself). Otherwise I thought about some valid gripes with the ending and pondered how to plug that hole where issues were unresolved. I asked my Brains side to debate with my Feelings side (what? I’m a Gemini, that’s how we roll) to try and make sense of the Big brouhaha over the drama itself, the ending, the writing, and what happens next. This might seem surreal so think of it as underwater Yoon Jae talking with underwater Kyung Jae. As a bonus, KBS released a final BTS clip where the main cast bids farewell to the drama as well as showing Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo filming the final scene of the drama.
Brains: Hey kid, it’s embarrassing to share a body with you thanks to your Big love. Do you know the majority think that drama was a piece of shit?
Feelings: Lalalalala….excuse me, what? See this happy face? See how much I care what other people think? Yeah, do not care. My heart, my feelings. Why should what the majority thinks or does sway my beliefs when it comes to purely personal enjoyment of frivolous entertainment?
Brains: You’ve got a point there. But how could you enjoy something so poorly written that sense didn’t just take a nap, it probably never got on the bus to begin with?
Feelings: True dat. This story was indeed silly. But I found something really sincere and moving tucked away inside all that ridiculousness. The parts where a kid is struggling with adulthood, the impetus for an insecure girl to fight for her love. If Big was a glass where it wasn’t just half empty, but mostly all empty, I simply enjoyed the one sip of water that remained in it. I recognized what was lacking, but chose to enjoy what was there rather than bemoan what wasn’t.
Brains: Yeah, so that you could “enjoy” this drama in peace, I really “enjoyed” being locked away in that room you lured me to using promises that we would build a bonfire and burn Fifty Shades of Grey together.
Feelings: We could still do that later. *bats innocent puppy dog eyes*
Brains: I didn’t know you were such an optimist when it came to lackluster drama constructions. Now you make me seem like a grumpy grouch who wants to rain on your happy parade.
Feeling: But you come out and play all the time. When there is a drama that is lacking and I don’t care much about it, I let you take charge and dissect it to pieces.
Brains: Which makes me seem like the bad guy all the time by being “overly analytical”. And how come I only take charge when you don’t care enough about something? Doesn’t seem fair to me.
Feelings: *shrugs* We can’t both be the good guy all the time, and frankly you can take your sharp knives to Big and that wouldn’t change how I feel about it.
Brains: I can? Good. *takes out sharp knives*. So what you think about the fact that the final resolution of about a billion plot points happened off screen. Care to comment?
Feelings: I already said it didn’t bother me. But yeah, a good writer would have found a way to resolve it properly onscreen since many of those plot points were important to viewers.
Brains: Like that Yoon Jae feller. Whatever happened to him? Did he fall off the face of the planet? Did anyone care in this drama? I felt like his name was mentioned in every other freaking scene and in the end, poof its like he didn’t exist anymore.
Feelings: Yeah, that Yoon Jae got shafted big time, no doubt about it. He did nothing wrong, and ended up waking up from the world’s longest nap only to find his fiancée married and then dumped him while he has no memory of it.
Brains: Now you’re going to say love is not a crime, right?
Feelings: It isn’t! Dating, engagements, marriages, it begins and ends voluntarily and premised on feelings that can come and go. I feel like Da Ran and Kyung Joon have to (must) beg Yoon Jae’s understanding and acceptance of their getting together, but that is for them to do and doesn’t make their relationship anymore right or wrong.
Brains: So how come Yoon Jae’s story never interested you?
Feelings: Because I didn’t understand him. Even from his actions alone, I couldn’t figure out how he felt and what he was thinking. In episode 1, what little I saw of Kyung Joon, I understood his impetus. Conversely, in episode 1 (and later on the additional information we learned of Yoon Jae), that man was a mystery to me. So he liked Da Ran from the moment he saw her at the wedding, but then why propose to her in such an unromantic (and frankly clinical way) by saying he’ll take responsibility for her since she missed her teaching exam because she got hurt thanks to him bumping into her. Why was he so warm and cold with her? Was he just a love idiot? I don’t get his motivations even based on his actions, so how could I be interested in his story?
Brains: So what do you think happened with that poor sap? After he woke up again and got cured again.
Feelings: I think his mom sat him down and told him about his two years where he lived abroad with her for a year, and then returned and married Da Ran for a short period of time before she ended things with him. I think he eventually came back to Korea and returned to work. He made his way to the mandoo restaurant to say hello to Da Ran’s family, and found out she was working in the countryside. He went to see Da Ran there, and they caught up on each other’s lives. Yoon Jae knows that Da Ran is no longer waiting for his answer, but he wants to tell her that he was going to say he loves her. Da Ran thanks him for coming to see her and answering her question. She really did love him when she agreed to marry him, but back then she was so unsure of herself and never really knew what it meant to love someone without reservation and fear. Things didn’t work out between them the way she wanted, and for that she’s to blame. She’s so sorry that she fell in love with someone else, and she understands that she wronged him and accepts his disappointment and anger towards her. Yoon Jae reveals that he’s not angry. He’s sad, but the two years of lost memories (in his mind) made those feelings lighten over time. He wishes things could be different between him and Da Ran, but he hopes that she’s happy with her choice and doesn’t regret it. Da Ran says she will never regret it, she’s only truly sad that she hurt him. Yoon Jae smiles, saying that he’s happy to see her so happy and confident. The Da Ran in front of him is the girl he fell in love with at first sight, and he’s sorry for brushing her off many times during the engagement and making her question his feelings for her. They wish each other well, grateful to have journeyed a part of their lives together, even if that journey ends now.
Brains: Hahaha, that’s how you justify to yourself this guy getting shafted. What if he’s off crying somewhere, not showering and growing out his beard, and spending every day stapling skirt hems together? What if he trolls weddings to find his Da Ran again, and poor innocent victims get bumped left and right?
Feelings: C’mon dude. Yoon Jae? The most emotional I’ve ever seen from him is when he was swerving to miss the wreck and saw Kyung Joon also swerving and had this shocked look on his face. Every other time he was complete and utter calmness. Even if he loved Da Ran so much his life depended on it (which no one can convince me of), the most he’d do is do some solo traveling to soothe his wounded heart. And with his looks? No way this perfect man wouldn’t be able to move on. I never believed Da Ran was the love of his life, losing her is not the end of the world.
Brains: You got a point there. So moving on – what the frickety frick was the ending with Gong Yoo’s body as a stand in for grown up Kyung Joon? Did the production not have money to pay Shin for the final scene? Did Shin get suited up only to be locked in the trailer by Gong Yoo? Did the plaid shirt fit Gong Yoo so that sealed the deal? Did the two guys rock-paper-scissors for the right? Did Shin know he was signing up for a drama where he was laying on a bed for 15 episodes of it? Ahhh, my head hurts! Explain it to me, missy!
Feelings: I have no explanation. I wanted Shin in the last scene. Wanted it from the moment I laid eyes on my boy in episode 1. You won’t hear me defending this execution as ideal. I am fine with it because it still worked. I was still all teary-eyed knowing that Kyung Joon came back to find her, and she was going to hold on to him like she promised.
Brains: But you do understand that (1) half the world is pissed off, and (2) the other half are confused. I still hear people mistakenly bemoaning the unfairness of Kyung Joon staying in Yoon Jae’s body at the end. A drama that ends with such a majority of viewers unhappy is not the way to go.
Feelings: Agreed. Which is why I said that I liked the concept of ending (the bus, the umbrella, the rain), not that I think the ending was ideally executed. If anyone needs to spend time analyzing the ending to make sense of it, then the ending is not well done. This is the whole Lovers in Paris thing all over again.
Brains: Whew, thank god for that. Here I thought you were off in stupid land as well as happy fantasy land.
Feelings: Hey! Name calling me is like name calling yourself.
Brains: Not really. I’m the one who did all the heavy lifting. Who earned all our degrees? Yes, you probably ought to be credited for graduating Kindergarten what with the “show me how you feel” requirements in that grade level, but everything else afterwards was me. If it was up to you, we’d still be in college where you would ride your bike around the Quad in circles, pausing to read the Daily and eat froyo, and still trying to pass that CS 101. One day when technology advances so I can be removed and cryogenically frozen, I’ll be happy to part ways with a body so prone to excesses of feeling.
Feelings: Good luck with that. *sniggers*
Brains: So what about all the other loose ends?
Feelings: Gil parents still happily married, Choong Shik becomes a mandoo chef and eventually moves on from Mari, though they stay friends. Mari keeps in touch with Kyung Joon and understands all her misdeeds in the past and atones for it by being a platonic connection to Kyung Joon’s past (his surrogate mom, life in LA), that he can always reach out to. Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle continue running the restaurant successfully enough to be content with their finances. Kyung Joon and Yoon Jae are still getting to know each other, but Kyung Joon doesn’t like Yoon Jae’s stuffiness. Evil mom makes the effort to embrace Kyung Joon into the family and patiently deals with his snarky attitude. Loser dad is still a spineless loser.
Brains: Sounds plausible. And boring. I guess it was okay we didn’t see any of that onscreen. Moving on now to what happens after Kyung Joon and Da Ran reunite. There is not enough soju in this world to numb the shock of learning those two got together somewhere down the line.
Feelings: Which is were formerly-psycho Mari comes in. She reveals the truth about the soul swap and who Da Ran really married (the soul of Kyung Joon in Yoon Jae’s body), and how Da Ran and KKJ ended up falling in love and being really really sorry to Yoon Jae. Everyone gets their mind blown. Kyung Joon doesn’t even blink in eye, because his feelings for Da Ran are as strong the second time around even if he doesn’t remember the first time still.
Brains: What about family dinners and reunions for the next 4 decades?
Feelings: Awkward of course. But the Seo family was awkward enough already, I don’t see this derailing a formerly happy functional family. Plus Yoon Jae likely got back together with Se Young, who in the character descriptions was described as breaking up with Yoon Jae the first time around because she didn’t want to settle down, hence this time around she does, and they plausibly make another go at their relationship. I would love to be a fly at those family dinners.
Brains: So how did memory-less Kyung Joon know to put on the watch and find Gil Da Ran again? Did he already have his memories back when he got off that bus and called her name?
Feelings: This is where the viewer is asked to believe in the miracle of love as an emotion that is beyond the control of memory. We can talk about nerves and synapses and love being hormonal, but it is something that science cannot explain. Kyung Joon at the end still didn’t have his memories of Da Ran from the time they spent together, but his heart remembered vestiges of her and that compelled him to act. It’s like we sometimes get to urge to do something that we can’t quite explain why.
Brains: I still don’t understand it. Sounds like a bunch of hoo doo to me.
Feelings: You’re not supposed to understand it. If you loved the OTP, their reunion in the end is supposed to bring the feeling of satisfaction and contentment, not intellectual clarity. That’s what I got out of it.
Brains: And you have no problems with Da Ran being in love and engaged/married to one brother and ending up in love and likely engaged/married to the other brother?
Feelings: Nope – because of the context of this story. Wasn’t like she was really married to Yoon Jae. Yes she loved him and he loved her when they got engaged so quickly, but I didn’t feel the love was built on a strong foundation or had the legs, so short pain is better than long pain. I can’t believe that folks discussing the two brothers-one girl set up as some sort of major sin fail to see that this is a recurring arrangement in K-dramas. Hello? And I the only one who doesn’t have a momentarily memory loss that this is really quite common in K-dramas?
Brains: Is it?
Feelings: Allow me to share two. The grandmommy of all – Beautiful Days, where Choi Ji Woo is in a love triangle with older brother Lee Byung Heon and younger brother Ryu Shi Won. Or My Sister-in-Law is 19 (wherein I started my Yoon Kye Sang love), where girl marries older brother Kim Jae Won and ends up divorcing him and being with younger brother Yoon Kye Sang.
Brains: Those dramas sound way too messy and complicated for my brain not to fursplode if I watch it. But yes, you’ve made your point, Big is hardly the first ever drama with two brothers in love with one girl.
Feelings: I think the concept is fine and yes I accept its going to be awkward in the long run, but the only way this would work is if the execution and resolution need is satisfying and logical. In Big it wasn’t satisfying for those who wanted closure for Yoon Jae. I get that.
[Fingers: Will you two zip it up there. Some other body parts do way more work every day and are trying to get some rest. Recaps don’t just write itself, you know!
Eyeballs: Just ignore them. This is nothing compared to the last time they had it out over some drama called Lie to Me.]
Brains: So where to from here?
Feelings: Onward to the next drama, of course!
Brains: Did you enjoy the ride? Was it lonely up top (or rock bottom) all by yourself?
Feelings: I loved the ride. It wasn’t lonely because I did have a few folks for company, but I’m a “the more the merrier” kind of person. I have this niggling sensation that more people like Big than care to admit since the tidal wave of consensus rides the other way. Perhaps when the waves recedes this drama can be enjoyed more for what it did rather than what it failed to do. Or maybe not? Maybe it just is that unsatisfying to watch.
Brains: So where do you put the OTP of Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo?
Feelings: They were fantastic together. But in this drama, I see them as Kyung Jae and Da Ran, they were my OTP.
Brains: Do you think this is the worst Hong Sisters drama?
Feelings: Probably, considering that it pissed off so many people. Qualitatively, I would rank it pretty low on their oeuvre for all its myriad faults. But emotionally, it’s my favorite, the one work of theirs where I truly connected with the OTP’s love story.
Brains: Do you realize that you seem to like a lot of dramas that people think suck donkey balls?
Feelings: So? Your point is? I have no taste? Of course I have no taste, tongue refuses to share her buds with me.
Brains: Haha, funny. Stop prevaricating.
Feelings: I’m not. I would gladly pimp out awesome dramas I love if more folks would watch them and want to talk about it. I can sit here discussing the majesty of Joseon X-Files or the magnificence of Resurrection all day long and I’ll probably be talking to myself. But what is taste? Is there an arbiter out there on K-dramas? An “authority” so to speak, who doth always judge on a higher plane than I, a mere Koala?
Brains: There might be. I’ll need to look around. If I find such an “authority” and that person thought Big was a pile of shit, would that change your mind?
Feelings: No. That logic is epic fail, you know that, right?
Brains: I just wanted you to know that you’re dragging down the IQ meter for me.
Feelings: You’re a sanctimonious ass. How could enjoying something silly equate with intellectual limitation. Whatever. You can talk to my metaphorical hand now. Conversation over.
Brains: Jeez, no need to be so sensitive. Just pointing out a possible perception is all.
Feelings: And the majority view is always right?
Brains: Touche. You’ve got guts, Feelings, that much I give you.
Feelings: Awww, you paid me a reluctant compliment. I’m so verklempt now (NOT). To end on a high note, let’s go watch panda videos now. We both like that.
Brains: Oh yay! I want the one where four pandas slide down the slide together and then get tangled up on the bottom and can’t get up.
Feelings: Let’s die of the cute together. Oh, I almost forgot, KBS released the final BTS video from Big showing the cast saying goodbye as well as Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung filming the final scene of the drama. Watching Shin out of his PJs and walking around, he’s really much manlier than his baby-face gives off. I’m sad we couldn’t see him shooting hearts out of his eyes towards Gil Da Ran in that final scene.
Brains: Stop talking and gimme my panda video like you promised! I want pandas! Pandas……
Final Big BTS video with Shin, Suzy, Lee Min Jung, and Gong Yoo:
Brains wants to share the Panda video with y’all: