For the first six-episodes Flower Boy Next Door has been decidedly low key, and just the way I like it. It was casual and playful, with an everydayness about it that made watching it a breeze. But a good drama doesn’t just stick with one conceit and beat it to death, it builds upon its premise as the situations presented become more complex and layered. Dok Mi has lived years sequestered in her apartment but each episode brings her physically and emotionally out of her comfort zone all thanks to Enrique Geum, the human puppy from Spain. Obviously the first break is going to come somewhere and its arrival in episode 7 as a full blown confrontation between Dok Mi and Enrique was absolutely riveting to watch. We know Dok Mi isn’t shy or incapable of thoughtful discourse, she is merely choosing to remain a silent player in this world. But when Enrique pushes her to the edge of her limit, not to mention the reappearance of former friend from hell Do Hwi, Dok Mi finally snaps and it was awesome to see her light into Enrique.
I may love that boy to pieces for his caring heart, but he lacks a filter and knowing when to stop, so its high time Dok Mi made him take a hard look at himself and his motivations. Is he really the savior angel who helps hurting souls, or is he using that as a means to satisfy something he lacks in his own life? Jin Rok sees Dok Mi as this injured doe he needs to protect from afar, but this episode proves without a doubt that Dok Mi is a deer and has horns and can protect herself just fine. Enrique also drops his cheery front with Dok Mi and the fires of frustration shooting between the two of them made me rabidly dying for their relationship to keep developing along the lines of the push-and-pull that has been going on. But really what turns my love for this drama from intense to rabid is the appearance of angry Enrique, because if Me Too, Flower! taught me anything, it’s that angry hurting Yoon Si Yoon can do no wrong in my eyes.
Episode 7 recap:
Jin Rok takes Enrique up to the roof and awkwardly tries to have a mano-a-mano talk with him. The confrontational music starts and Jin Rok tries to break off a broom to no avail. Ha. He changes tacks and starts off by saying he doesn’t want to pick on a younger guy but he can’t pretend to like someone for niceties sake. Enrique pouts and wonders why he’s the butt of dislikes lately, what with the poster-defacing antis out there as well.
His pouts get to Jin Rok, who can’t help but assure Enrique that he seems like a nice guy. Enrique perks up and says Jin Rok is a good dude as well. Jin Rok gets back to business and explains he moved their convo up to the roof because he doesn’t want things to progress to the point he’ll dislike Enrique.
Down in the 4th floor hallway, Dong Hoon is holding the boxes and stuck between two girls at odds with each other. Dong Hoon asks Dok Mi if something is going on that is causing Jin Rok and Enrique to be disliking each other? Do Hwi takes the initiative and shoves the boxes to Dok Mi and says inside contains memories of their friendship and Dok Mi is mean for not accepting it.
This confrontation is cut short by two men in suits walking up to Jin Rok’s apartment and asking for him by his new name Oh Jin Rok. They claim Jin Rok is wanted for fraud and that makes Dong Hoon’s jaw drop.
Back on the roof, Jin Rok brings up Enrique’s comment about standing by and watching silently over Dok Mi, which Enrique correctly points out was directed at Jin Rok who likes Dok Mi but doesn’t confess. Enrique teases that Jin Rok pretty much confessed already and lightheartedly punches him on the arm. Jin Rok is furious and says no he did not confess! Confessing is like asking to go out and he doesn’t do one-sided confessions because that is imposing on a girl!
Enrique points out that relationships can’t happen if one side doesn’t take the initiative? Jin Rok takes the opposite approach, he takes his time getting to know someone and slowly…… Enrique interjects and says another will swoop in and confess first with a “Dok Mi, I love you” and he’ll lose out.
Jin Rok hears the confession words from Enrique and freaks out, wondering if he said the same to Dok MI? Enrique is all like “why would I say that?” Jin Rok is upset Enrique just barges into their orderly existence and mucks it all up. Enrique clears up that he’s returning to Spain in a month and just working with Dok Mi in the meantime. But he tells Jin Rok that his approach isn’t going to work, Dok Mi isn’t going to open up like that.
Do Hwi sneaks up on the roof and eavesdrops. Jin Rok and Enrique get into an arguing match over who knows Dok Mi better, with both of them rattling off things that she does. Enrique has been inside her place while Jin Rok knows her routine. Enrique is such a puppy and gets excited when Jin Rok rattles off things he knows about Dok Mi and is pleased to help bring them together. Do Hwi runs out to stop them and keeps trying to assert that Enrique and Dok Mi are a couple. Which leads to Jin Rok yelling loudly that they are not!
Downstairs, Dong Hoon is trying to get rid of the suits but he can’t help but imagine Jin Rok as a convicted felon taking a mug shot.
Do Hwi then changes tacks and brings up her past with Dok Mi, but this time switching their roles. Back them they shared all their secrets about first kisses and crushes. Both had a crush on their teacher but the teacher like Do Hwi and even gave her a book to read. When Dok Mi found out, she ruined the teacher’s life. After that the students shunned Dok Mi which led to her current closeted state. Do Hwi then acts like she over-shared and can’t say more. Hearing this, Jin Rok feel even more sad for lonely Dok Mi,
Dok Mi flashes back to her high school days of being bullied for something she didn’t do, all led by her so-called friend Do Hwi.
Dong Hoon is trying to get rid of the men in suits and Dok Mi is inside her apartment but can hear them outside. She gets up her courage and walks out and confronts the men, asking to see their ID and whether they have any proof. If not, she’s going to call the cops. Dong Hoon is supremely impressed with Dok Mi’s ability as the suits slink away.
Jin Rok finally registers Do Hwi’s presence up on the roof and finds out that there are suits downstairs waiting for him claiming he committee fraud. Enrique inquires about the situation and Jin Rok claims the person they are looking for is his hyung. Dong Hoon texts Jin Rok that its all clear and he can return now. Do Hwi uses this chance to press the guys to help her make up with Dok Mi and they assure her that it can work.
Jin Rok goes back to his apartment and Dong Hoon once against asks if his hyung is a fugitive? Jin Rok confirms he’s not a criminal but he did make a mistake in the past. Jin Rok finds out from Dong Hoon that the suits left so fast because Dok Mi smartly confronted them. This makes Jin Rok happy again to think Dok Mi is on his side.
Enrique goes back to Dok Mi’s apartment and sees her working. She tries to ignore him but the doorbell rings and it’s the security guard here to bring them to unit 403 for a meeting and cooking class.
Enrique makes fast friends with equally happy-go-lucky Watanabe while the others sit around a table passing out the compensation checks. Dok Mi still tries to decline her portion but Jin Rok tells her to accept because everyone else did despite others not attending the protests as well. Enrique tries to get Jin Rok to talk some more with Dok Mi.
Turns out the other lady in the building is the owner and she is so pleased with all the flower boys living here and wants everyone to learn cooking from Watanabe. She arrives with Do Hwi in hand since Do Hwi continues to worm her way into life in this building. Do Hwi cheerily greets Dok Mi with a fake annyeoung but Dok Mi pointedly ignores her.
Do Hwi sits down and takes out two pink aprons, one for her and the other for Dok Mi. When Do Hwi tries to put it on her, Dok Mi takes it and puts it on herself. We find out that it was Jin Rok and Enrique’s idea for Do Hwi to join in the cooking classes to make up with Dok Mi. YOU STUPID GUYS!
Jin Rok and Enrique are aligned and tell Dok Mi she looks great. Cooking classes start and Watanabe has Enrique playing translator, except Enrique doesn’t actually translate the cooking instructions and merely tells everyone the food is delicious and people will be happy eating it.
Everyone starts cooking and Dok Mi interacts with everyone. Do Hwi suggests taking a picture and Enrique offers to take it. He tells Jin Rok to stand next to Dok Mi while grody Do Hwi puts her arms around Dok Mi.
After the food is prepared, the gang sits down to eat. Jin Rok gives his seafood items to Dong Hoon because it’s his favorite, while the security guard flirts with the owner lady. Dok Mi watches this all and smiles warmly and Enrique watches her and smiles as well.
After the group disperses, Dok Mi beelines for her unit and closes the door behind her despite Do Hwi’s attempts to talk with her. Enrique follows her in but not before telling Jin Rok that he’ll invite him over later. Jin Rok reminds Enrique that its not his place and he can’t be inviting people in willy nilly.
Enrique goes in and immediately wants to talk with Dok Mi. He cuts straight to the chase and says he knows what happened with Do Hwi and that Dok Mi has depression from the incident. He shares Seo Young’s history, how she got depressed after the death of her parents and was even institutionalized for a period of time refusing to talk. But one day she opened up to him and now she can’t stop talking as all the things she kept bottled up inside poured forth.
Dok Mi asks if it was right for Enrique to just reveal something very painful in Seo Young’s life with just a random person like her? Enrique says she’s not a random person and he is sharing this not because its something easy to reveal. He knows a lot about people suffering from depression and he knows Dok Mi is hiding herself from the world. Enrique suggests that she let the world in and have her friends help her deal with the painful memories.
Dok Mi grips her pencil tighter and tighter as Enrique talks and finally gets up and orders him to leave. She will handle the rest of this work with the editor but she doesn’t want him here anymore. Enrique keeps pressing Dok Mi to deal with Do Hwi, the problem is between the two of them and the teacher they had a crush on was just a symptom. Dok Mi rails at Enrique for claiming to be an expert on human psyche but really he knows nothing.
To Dok Mi, Enrique is just a guy full of empty words – talking and talking all the time with nothing substantive inside. He thinks he knows everything but really he knows nothing. So he needs to stop acting like he knows her and leave. Enrique is upset now and rails back that Dok Mi is just using her painful memories as a way to keep herself from being judged by the world on her own merits.
Dok Mi doesn’t need Enrique’s validation of her lifestyle. Yes, this apartment is her entire world and she likes it that way. They stand there glaring in anger at each other, and man this confrontation is just amazing.
Enrique grabs his things but tells Dok Mi that she doesn’t know him well enough to judge him either so it’s also presumptuous for her to say he is filled with empty words. He knows she is trying to drive him away so he’ll do it for her and end their connection now. It’s only after Enrique leaves that Dok Mi’s tears fall.
Enrique rings Jin Rok’s doorbell and he’s totally distraught. He wants to talk with Jin Rok but he doesn’t let Enrique in. This makes poor Enrique even sadder that no one is letting him into their homes. He reveals that he’s given up on helping Dok Mi but is reassured that Jin Rok will still be looking after her. He’s worn down now and heads off.
Dok Mi tries to get back to work and her routine and reads a section written by Enrique about how he can’t help but want to reach out to people who are hurt and alone.
Enrique goes back to Tae Joon’s apartment and finds out that he’s quit his job at the hospital, though he bought a new TV for Enrique. Buh? That was random. Seo Young is there as well and is surprised when Enrique declines to watch a soccer match on right one featuring his favorite Barcelona team. Enrique is worn down by a girl who said he was just full of empty words, though Tae Joon wonders why he’s upset since normally he doesn’t let what others say about him bother him.
Enrique sits on the couch and watches Tae Joon and Seo Young installing the TV. He tries not to think about Dok Mi but can’t help but look out the window at her unit.
Dok Mi types on her computer about a woman’s scars and being confronted by a person. Dok Mi is contacted by the publishing company the next morning to go in to discuss the project.
Enrique heads out to promotional activities and signs autographs for his fans. As he’s leaving a masked person bumps into him and snatches his phone. Enrique gives chase and the person runs into a bike and then is hit by a car. A bit of hair tumbles out and the mask slips lower and from the eyes it appears to be an older woman. Enrique lets the woman go but gets a bit banged up during the chase. Don’t tell me there is secret family drama involved with Enrique’s background.
Dok Mi finally meets with the editor who is happy to finally have a face-to-face meeting. Dok Mi declines to complete the project and the editor tries to persuade her to stay on. As Dok Mi leaves the publishing house, she runs into Enrique outside but the two of them just pass each other without saying a word. Enrique finds out from the editor that Dok Mi doesn’t want to do it and the editor isn’t going to pressure her. Enrique feels guilty that he’s caused her to lose this project.
Dok Mi is at the bus stop but then decides to walk home. She slowly walks through the city.
Enrique heads to Watanabe’s work and buys three take out meals. He calls Tae Joon who asks if he’s almost home, almost like he needs to talk to Enrique about something.
The suits are waiting for Jin Rok outside the apartment and this time they see him. Jin Rok offers to change his name back but mentions how it might be uncomfortable for everyone involved. He takes an envelope from them and tells them to wait for his call and not to come by again.
Jin Rok sends the suits off and then sees Dok Mi walking home. He wants to explain the situation with the suits but Dok Mi keeps walking so he grabs her arm. Which is when Enrique arrives on the scene to make this into a party. Except he lowers his head and keeps walking past them while Jin Rok asks Dok Mi to hear him out. Jin Rok stares at the uncharacteristically disengaged Enrique and looks between his back and Dok Mi, almost like he knows something must’ve happened between them. Dok Mi begs exhaustion today and Jin Rok saves this conversation for another day.
Enrique walks ahead while Dok Mi is in the middle and Jin Rok picks up the rear.
As they near the building suddenly Seo Young comes walking out from Tae Joon’s building wearing just her inside clothes and room slippers. She’s crying and asks if Enrique knew all along that Tae Joon was planning to leave Seoul to pursue his dreams?
Seo Young is upset and cries but Enrique reminds her that she also knew what Tae Joon’s dream was? Seo Young acts like a child and asks what about her? She uses Enrique as a punching bag so he has no choice but to step up and hug her.
Dok Mi watches this all from the sidewalk and looks surprised when she sees Enrique hugging Seo Young. Enrique turns his head and looks at Dok Mi and he looks quite upset and we can see Dok Mi understanding his situation.
Dok Mi walks forward leaving Jin Rok alone on the sidewalk. She walks up to Enrique and pulls him out of Seo Young’s arms and facing her. The two of them stand there staring at each other.
Thoughts of Mine:
What? NOOOOO, you cannot end the episode right there! Grah, I am so so happy that finally Dok Mi has some conflict in her life beyond being slightly resigned to leaving the apartment to replenish her larder. No, I don’t think Enrique has any right to keep pushing his way into her world and Dok Mi was right to tell him off. But at the same time, he makes her confront hard truths she’d rather not assess and that’s never a bad thing. If Dok Mi worked through all her issues and then still wanted to live like a hermit, I don’t think anyone ought to challenge her on that. It’s that Enrique sees she wants to go out (her travelogue), she actually enjoys living life except chooses to do it from the confines of her apartment, that is why his insistence on knocking down her walls makes me happy. I like that he’s being a pest and a nuisance and annoying and cross boundaries with her, because it’s time somone noticed Dok MI AND told her he notices her. She wants to hide herself from the world to avoid any possibility of conflict and pain, but she’s giving up the opportunity to experience all the good aspects of social interactions. That’s just sad to see and I’m on the side of Enrique that Dok Mi needs have the courage to reassess her lifestyle.
Words cannot express how much I loathe Do Hwi. She is a bully back in high school and she is a bully now. And for a reason I cannot condone. Does she want to genuinely make up with Dok Mi? If so, then her approach is all wrong and a continuation of her terribly me-first attitude. Is her purpose to get close to Dok Mi to land Jin Rok? Then she is one craptastic human being and I wish she’d fall head first into a tree grinder. Yes, it’s disgusting and bloodthirsty of me, but I don’t think she deserves an ending that is less gruesome for all that she’s done in the past and is continuing to do to Dok Mi, a girl who has done nothing wrong to Do Hwi other than be a good friend. I suppose Do Hwi’s existence in this drama is for Dok Mi to exorcise her demons and confront a painful past that was never dealt with, but I’m just waiting for the day when everyone around Do Hwi sees her blackened core and then maybe takes turn bitchslapping her while Dok Mi watches. I cannot stand any of the guys believing in her distorted lies about her history with Dok Mi and then trying to help them patch up. Ugh, so aggravating!
Jin Rok’s dual identity bit is pretty nicely handled so far, with little details revealed but keeping the whole truth from us still. I’m not that invested in his character to have to know, but I like that he creates a viable other person who cares about Dok Mi along with Enrique. But similar to Enrique using his own perspective to interact with Dok Mi, Jin Rok similarly also applies his own logic to what Dok Mi needs. Enrique thinks she needs to be confronted and pushed to open up, Jin Rok thinks she needs to be left alone and sheltered from a distance. Neither is wholly right or wrong, but I find the narrative needs both to exist to let us see that that path to healing is hard and complicated and there are no quick fixes or easy outs for someone like Dok Mi who has been living a fractured existence. This episode was so fantastic in that it rocketed the story to another level and now I live on pins and needles to see what comes next.
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