O.M.G. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I am supposed to wait 6 more days until I get to inject episode 11 of Flower Boy Next Door directly into my veins? I will feel like death before then, because this episode was DA SUPREME BOMB. So much awesome I felt infused with the drama holy spirit and the urge to fling off my clothes and go run around a Swiss countryside singing hymns of glory. Or something like that. Best episode of FBND so far, with so much going on I’m going to need days just to digest it all. If I were a Victorian lady I would tell the servants not to bother me as I head to my fainting couch with a box of chocolates and swoon right then and there. Dok Mi is that wonderful complicated existence of pain and grit, of sadness and longing, of thoughtful discourse and instinctive self-preservation. But above all else – she is so so soooo kind. The type of goodness of heart that doesn’t feel fake like many of the Candy-esque heroines written into K-dramas, but a person who desires very little but never desires to hurt another.
Enrique stepped up his leading man perfection in this episode from cute puppy to man-on-a-mission. He’s turned the corner in his own heart and is just letting Dok Mi know in not-so-subtle ways while hoping to get a reaction out of her. Jin Rok has kinda lost me know, I do think he’s a good person and in many ways a wonderful potential companion to Dok Mi, but I dislike how possessive he is towards his “dibs” claim on Dok Mi. Enrique has as much a right to like Dok Mi as Jin Rok, and I was whooping and hollering with joy at the very first face-to-face showdown between the two men. It was still civil but good gosh was it satisfying to see them be upfront about how they feel towards Dok Mi. She might’ve had a bad high school experience, but good lord is the world repaying her past suffering with two very spine tingling knights in shining armor. The three leads all took giant steps forward in making decisions about their feelings, but its not always so easy to pick between what is best versus what one wants.
Episode 9 recap:
Enrique informs Seo Young that he’s staying. OH HELLS YEAH! Seo Young wonders why the sudden change of heart and Enrique confesses its not sudden, he’s been looking for any excuse to stay. Seo Young wants him to leave anyways because this will fade with time and he can go back to his old life.
Enrique admits he’s desire to leave was a form of self-deception and he’s the one who can’t let it go. Seo Young sighs and tells him to stay then, take this all the way to the end. She compares his situation to hers and tells him not to give up like she did. Okay, finally she acts like a person who cares about Enrique. Seo Young hands him her phone and turns to board.
Enrique gets in the cab and tries to call Dok Mi but she’s buying flowers and doesn’t pick up. Enrique realizes Do Hwi has something nefarious planned and then puts the pieces together about Jin Rok lying to him about his identity (giving his name as Oh Jae Won). He also remembers hearing that Jae Won committed fraud and that the webtoon artist Oh Jin Rok plagiarized Enrique’s Zombie Soccer. Enrique does some online digging on Jin Rok and sees a picture of his hyung Jae Won. Ooooh.
Jin Rok is still trying to end his meeting with the editor, who is chatting up Dong Hoon as they discuss their mutual insomnia.
Enrique calls Jin Rok and uses both his names to reveal he knows the truth. He doesn’t care about Jin Rok’s plagiarism of him or potential crimes but he is upset about being lied to. The thing he hates the most is people not being honest. Since Jin Rok has been less than candid, Enrique isn’t going to leave Dok Mi in his care. Enrique lays down the gauntlet and tells Jin Rok to step away from Dok Mi and he’s not going back to Spain anymore. Booyah, game on boys!
Jin Rok rushes out of the office to catch a cab. Dong Hoon is perplexed and finds out Enrique knows everything and is staying in Seoul now, plus he’s on his way to find Dok Mi. Jin Rok refuses to concede because he was the one who liked her first.
Dok Mi arrives at Do Hwi’s party and is immediately shocked into dropping the flowers when Do Hwi reveals their old high school teacher is present. The teacher says he was hoping to see Dok Mi again.
Enrique and Jin Rok are in separate cabs rushing back to the apartment building. They both wonder why they are so nervous right now?
Everyone sits down awkwardly and Do Hwi reveals the teacher is now teaching elsewhere. The teacher asks what Dok Mi is doing now, wondering if she’s writing since she’s so talented. Do Hwi is surprised to hear that Dok Mi was a good writer even in high school.
Dok Mi is silent all this time and she suddenly speaks up, asking why everyone is acting perfectly normal like nothing happened in the past? Why ask normal questions of her? How could they be so cruel to her even now? Dok Mi gets up and stumbles out, barely holding on as she reaches the front door.
Her knees suddenly buckle and before she collapses, Enrique catches her in his arms. He calls her ahjumma with a worried tone and she looks up at his face and wonders why he’s here since he’s supposed to have left? Dok Mi faints.
Do Hwi and the guests rush towards the fainted Dok Mi and then we see that the person who actually caught Dok Mi was JIN ROK! Omo omo omo, I can’t believe Dok Mi imagined it was Enrique so naturally. Jin Rok looks at Do Hwi with anger and screams at her, demanding to know what the hell they did to Dok Mi!
Jin Rok carries Dok Mi out to the waiting cab as everyone trails behind him. They get in and the cab drives off, which is when Enrique arrives. He notices the cab leaving and walks over to Do Hwi, asking what happened? Do Hwi screeches a retort, asking why he thinks she did anything?
Dok Mi is resting in the ER and Jin Rok gets a report from the doctor that she’s fine and can leave once she wakes up. Dong Hoon arrives at the hospital and tells Jin Rok that Enrique is back.
Enrique continues to drill into Do Hwi, demanding to know what happened. He’s one persistent feller and will find out the truth so she might as well come clean now. What the hell happened to Dok Mi years ago to make her isolate herself from the outside world? Do Hwi is like a cornered badger and keeps insisting she did nothing and knows nothing. Enrique notices the teacher standing in the back and gives him a pointed stare.
Dok Mi awakens in the hospital bed and sees Jin Rok beside her. He asks if she’s alright and she reveals this happens and she will recover in a few moments. Jin Rok softly says that he heard from Do Hwi what happened in high school, but he knew there was more to the story than Do Hwi gave. People are like that, always concealing truths and exaggerating lies. He gently asks if she can tell him what happened in the past to cause her so much pain?
Enrique arrives at the hospital and notices them talking so he stands off to the side unseen. Jin Rok assures her he can listen to her side of the story, he’s watched over her all these years. Dok Mi says its gotten easier to deal with in time, but back in high school, she became notorious in a blink of an eye as rumors were spread about her. She couldn’t escape or run away, only enduring the bullying and ridicule.
Dok Mi wonders how people could be so cruel to another human being and she grew to hate being surrounded by people, all of whom were cruel to her. She wished to not have people around her and chose to live alone because it was better. Enrique cries as he listens to her story.
Jin Rok absorbs her painful history and thanks her for sharing it with him. He reveals that he also struggled in high school over being a total girl idiot and not knowing how to interact with them. He admits that his confession to Dok Mi was in truth done very cowardly to keep himself safe.
Enrique walks over and Dok Mi sees him and remembers him catching her before she fainted. Enrique chastises Jin Rok, asking if he doesn’t have another confession coming. He then turns to Dok Mi and apologizes for his mistake. He was wrong to flippantly ask her to reconcile with Do Hwi without understanding everything. Now he’s back and the person who should be by her side isn’t going to be Oh Jin Rok anymore. Jin Rok looks stunned while Enrique stares at him with daggers.
Dong Hoon goes back to the party, where Do Hwi is angrily destroying the decorations. He’s not an idiot and asks Do Hwi why she likes Jin Rok, and it’s not something as silly as love at first sight. Isn’t she worried about his potential criminal history? Do Hwi lets slip that Jin Rok is for sure not a criminal and Dong Hoon is impressed she investigated Jin Rok.
Dong Hong actually supports Do Hwi. He can tell she’s not a nice person, and this harsh world isn’t conducive to nice people succeeding. Unit 402 is probably not well equipped to survive in this harsh world.
Dok Mi is getting discharged and Jin Rok doesn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for her stay so Enrique steps forward. Dok Mi promises to repay him but he doesn’t care as long as she promises not to land here again. Enrique says that he should have been there to take care of her when she collapsed. Dok Mi then realizes the truth and looks towards Jin Rok, who was there but she imagined to be Enrique.
The three of them walk home, with the two guys in front and Dok Mi trailing a ways behind. Jin Rok asks why Enrique is back and is told Enrique is planning to keep Jin Rok away from Dok Mi. He can’t stand liars and doesn’t want to entrust Dok Mi to Jin Rok anymore. Jin Rok says bullshit and demands to know when Enrique knew how he really felt – when did Enrique know that he liked Dok Mi? When did he discover that he liked her so much he couldn’t return to Spain?
Enrique is pressed and pushes back – asking rhetorically when he knew? When he had to leave for Spain? When all he wanted before he left was to see her one more time? When they had their beach trip? Jin Rok bites back that Enrique lives fearlessly because he hasn’t failed before and isn’t afraid of rejection.
Enrique remembers Jin Rok’s own words about hating becoming a grown up and tells him to step up now. Enrique has failed and is afraid of rejection, and he does think of himself as special as a way to motivate himself. Is that any worse than Jin Rok, lying and concealing the truth from others? Jin Rok screams at Enrique not to screw with Dok Mi’s heart at this critical moment, especially when he still plans to leave.
Jin Rok demands Enrique leave Dok Mi alone, it can’t be him, anyone but him. Enrique is fine if Dok Mi doesn’t choose him, but it sure as hell isn’t going to be Jin Rok either. They suddenly pause in their screaming match to look behind them and finally realize Dok Mi is nowhere to be seen. They split up to look for her.
Dok Mi walks home slowly and heads to a realtor’s office to request a search for a new apartment, anything is fine as long as it’s far away from her and super cheap. It doesn’t matter if it’s smaller or shabbier.
Enrique rushes around and is the first to find Dok Mi. He asks if she’s trying to hide herself away again? Dok Mi asks why he’s back? Enrique reverts back to his cheerful self and uses his upcoming book release as the perfect cover. He then looks at Dok Mi seriously and asks in a gentle voice whether he should return to Spain? He admits he came back because he was concerned about her.
Dok Mi reveals she played his board game and took the first step out (to attend a party). But what she experienced on the outside isn’t something she likes so she’s not going to do it again. He needn’t worry about her, she’ll be fine, so he can leave now. Enrique calls it living in seclusion again but Dok Mi counters that she doesn’t see it that way.
Before Dok Mi can walk away, Enrique stops her by bringing up her old high school teacher who he spoke with earlier. The teacher betrayed Dok Mi and tossed her under the bus years ago because he was worried about his teaching career. But the guilt weighed him down and he actually quit teaching for a few years in the end. He came to the party today to apologize to Dok Mi.
Enrique asks if she is comforted hearing that he is sorry and he also suffered because of what happened? Dok Mi isn’t happy to hear that, a flippant easy apology doesn’t erase what she went through. In addition, she would rather be the only one to suffer. Enrique uses a soccer analogy and explains that when teams win everyone praises the efforts of all the players, but when the team loses everyone claims to be the person responsible for the loss.
No matter what the truth was, in time people will rise above the bad memories and move on. Dok Mi thanks him for his advice and assures him that she can handle this now. She’ll be fine so he needn’t worry about her. She wants to walk him by herself and leaves. Enrique stands there as she walks away and says to himself that she’s not admitting that her assurances are a lie.
Jin Rok ends up waiting for Dok Mi outside her apartment and finally goes into his before she returns. Enrique goes back to Tae Joon’s place and plugs the USB into the computer.
Dok Mi sits at her desk and looks at the board game. She types in her journal about a woman who hid herself away until someone battered her door like a wind storm and her fear is actually because she knew her wish was to open the door for that someone.
Dong Hoon continues his Flower Boy Driver service but gets into a car accident. Next thing we see is hilarious and sleep-deprived editor lady sauntering into the club, turns out Dong Hoon called her to bail him out. He couldn’t call his hyung because he kept this part of his life secret from him. The editor is asked to sign a guaranty that Dong Hoon will repay the car repair bill.
Dong Hoon and the editor try to stall for time at the club but end up nodding off. The club closes and the bouncer comes in to force the editor to sign. She leaves but then returns and signs it, much to the relief of Dong Hoon.
Dok Mi heads out the next morning, first looking at Jin Rok’s post-it note. On her way pass the guard station, she sees the landlord lady and the guard and she hands him an envelope. Dok Mi heads to the realtor’s office to sign some documents.
Enrique is hanging out in the apartment watching TV and reads online comments about his latest activity – how he stayed in Seoul because of his love child, etc. He’s adorably sketching pictures about the situation with Dok Mi. He draws Jin Rok as a cat, and he may have watched over Dok Mi first and longer. So all he needs to do is take a different approach. For example, he can remind Dok Mi that she did everything new with Enrique first. He gets frustrates at how dorky that sounds and cuddles the pillow in angst.
The doorbell rings and Enrique huffs over to open it. He’s shocked to find Dok Mi on the other side, she’s here to repay the money for the hospital bill. Enrique hesitates, asking if she’ll sequester herself away once he takes the money? Dok Mi asks to go in and talk.
Dong Hoon is woken up by the security guard and the landlord lady coming by to share the news that Dok Mi is moving. Dong Hoon wonders why they need to be told and the landlord lady points out that the entire neighborhood knows that Jin Rok likes Dok Mi. Poor Jin Rok’s face falls and he shuffles off.
Enrique sits in the kitchen and launches into this protracted story about how he rushed to the same restaurant to have seafooid black bean noodles when he got off the plane from Spain but what he ate didn’t taste as delicious as before? Why was it, when seafood noodles and black bean noodles eaten side by side taste good? Because he was thinking too much of what to eat? He doesn’t regret not leaving because he finally made a choice and he’s staying until he figures out the noodle connundrum.
Dok Mi thanks him for everything he did for her. When she relives those memories she will smile in the future. She didn’t do anything for him and only received all he did for her, she is thankful and sorry. Enrique doesn’t want to hear sorry, if she didn’t do anything for him in the past, she can start now. She can see what he needs and do it for him.
Enrique asks her for a favor – he wants her to accompany him to the book signing tomorrow. She can wear a red carpet worthy dress and be very pretty. Is that too much to ask? Fine, she doesn’t have to dress up, she can just go with him. Dok Mi stares at Enrique and says that “he” is a good man. Enrique assumes she’s talking about him and acts shy at the compliment.
Dok Mi clears up that she meant Jin Rok, he is someone she can comfortably talk with. Enrique is visibly affected to hear her so this, and he asks if she’s chosen then? Did she think carefully before making her choice? Dok Mi says nothing and merely hands the money to him and turns to leave.
Enrique follows her to the door and opens it for her when she can’t do it. They stand in close proximity and stare at each other. He puts his finger to her forehead like he did long ago and says that once he could hear the thoughts in her mind, but strangely now he cannot hear anything at all. He doesn’t know why. Enrique pulls his finger back and Dok Mi leaves.
Dong Hoon and Jin Rok are hanging out, with the editor texting Dong Hoon to urge him to keep paying back the car repair money. The doorbell rings and Jin Rok opens it to find Dok Mi standing there. Dok Mi talks first and invites him to attend a Van Gogh art exhibit which is almost ending. She asks if he likes Van Gogh and Jin Rok struggles to say he likes it, loves it, no not her, Van Gogh. Dok Mi smiles a bit at his fluster.
Enrique is actually standing around the corner and he overhears this date being scheduled. He mumbles that all she could say to him was sorry for not doing anything for him. He sadly says that he loves Van Gogh more than Jin Rok.
We see the back of the stalker lady who stole Enrique’s cellphone on the computer doing searches on Enrique. This is either a genuine evil stalker situation, or she’s somehow related to Enrique, like maybe his mom who was prohibited from contact with Enrique after he was taken to Spain by his dad. I dunno, this tangent seems pretty out of place in this drama regardless of how it pans out.
Enrique heads out and a girl carrying a guitar case hides from his view. Enrique is at his book signing as fans clamor for his picture and autograph. The stalker is hiding in the crowd. When Enrique spots a Van Gogh exhibit poster, he visibly becomes saddened.
Enrique finishes the book signing and heads out, snapping pictures on the street as he walks. He senses someone following him.
Jin Rok and Dok Mi arrive at the Van Gogh exhibit. Dok Mi is reading the exhibit program when she cuts her finger on the paper.
As the girl with the guitar on her back gets close to Enrique, suddenly a figure darts out and pulls Enrique into the middle of the street. Enrique falls over and looks stunned as a car barrels towards him.
The crowd is frantically crowded around Enrique who is laying on the ground. He looks up and sees Dok Mi pushing her way through the people until she hovers over him. She is crying with worry and Enrique smiles wanly at her and thinks to himelf “I’m in love.”
Thoughts of Mine:
So….uhm….where do I start? How about let’s start with a prayer – “Thank you oh drama gods, for starting off 2013 with the perfect little drama that is FBND. I promise to be a good viewer for the rest of the year so keep up the good work.” This might be one of those amazing drama episode endings that leaves the viewer literally hanging on the precipice of anxiety and anticipation. And it doesn’t hurt that FBND is filming so well ahead of schedule that we’re still getting previews. And the preview for episode 11 is a doozy. I’ve been walking around with a giant dorky grin on my face after watching it. Everything that has been building up between Dok Mi and Enrique will finally come to heads in the next episode and our OTP is making giant strides towards confessing their undeniable feelings for each other. Jin Rok, you may have been first, but I hope you take this as a learning experience that “you snooze, you lose.”
Back to what happened in this episode – I guess it turned out for the best what Do Hwi did. It gave Dok Mi closure and it revealed her true ugly nature to Jin Rok and Enrique. Plus neither of them will ever push Dok Mi to reconcile with Do Hwi anymore, than lord for that. I wish the Do Hwi subplot would end now, much like how it appears the Tae Joon-Seo Young subplot has ended for the time being. I’m glad the teacher told Enrique the truth and he shared it with Dok Mi, but the teacher is still one giant douchebag to me and I hope Dok Mi and him never have the occasion to cross paths again. There is never any excuse to throw another person under the bus, especially when that other person is in a position of less power and looks up to you. Even if Do Hwi feels bad about her past and present bullying of Dok Mi, she is totally and completely dead to me. I also am not interested in why she is after Jin Rok, other than it holds a clue to who his other identity is.
I’m fascinated with the silence in this drama and how it speaks volumes and allows the actors the room to breath in every scene. Park Shin Hye is delivering the best acting performance I’ve seen from her in any drama, which is especially important since I hated her acting in Heartstrings, which can’t be considered over-acting but more like heightened miming as per the PD’s instructions to treat the viewers as idiots who can’t read a facial expression unless it’s emphasized to the nth degree. Here she is restrained yet very raw, her feelings in any scene flows from her eyes and through her quivering lips and steely shoulders. Yoon Si Yoon is doing a phenomenal job of transition between goofy Enrique and serious Enrique and you never have a problem believing he’s a real man who can protect Dok Mi as well as a playmate who can draw her out to enjoy what life has to offer.
Their every interaction in this episode was amazing to watch. The way they each imagined each other being present in their most dire of time of need speaks volumes, no? It’s sad Jin Rok is totally relegated to kindly protector status but its sort of his own fault for playing the kindly protector for so long. I loved the mano-a-mano showdown between Enrique and Jin Rok in this episode, because it was by sheer heart and experience that they challenged each other’s feelings and approach to Dok Mi. It wasn’t a brawl but I felt rather bruised for both of them afterwards. Dok Mi chose Jin Rok at the end of this episode because she has decided to retreat back to her seclusion and it’s Jin Rok who offers her companionship in the status quo. He wants her to stay put and he’ll join her. It’s a lovely offer but oh so short sighted. Is a self-imposed captivity any less stifling if another joins you? Whereas Enrique treats her not as a broken thing to be protected but a healed thing to lead back out into the world to stand on her own two feet, but with him beside her. I can’t wait to see what’s coming up, especially this giant spoiler revealed in the preview below.
Click here to watch Flower Boy Next Door.