Wow, I feel like someone just kicked me in the gut. It wasn’t even an accidental kick either, this was a purposeful jab aimed at taking the wind out of my sails. And it worked, because I will be anxious and annoyed for the remainder of the week leading up to next week’s finale of Flower Boy Next Door. Episode 14 was all sorts of chill and amusing, the typical FBND bit of silliness mixed with sweetness. Then came the final few seconds of the episode which left me reeling from the unexpected left hook. The consolation is that at least Dok Mi didn’t plan it, since there was no way she could have known Enrique would have arrived right at that moment. Nor was it meant for the any of the guys to hear or intended to drive Enrique back to Spain. The final scene was a long overdue continuation of the confrontation between Dok Mi and Do Hwi where Dok Mi speaks her mind about what a horrible self-serving human being Do Hwi is. I love that Dok Mi wants to protect Jin Rok from her, not that he needs any protecting since he treats her like a leper already, but that this oddball family unit which has formed around the denizens of that apartment building is bringing Dok Mi’s fire back out.. Enrique is the catalyst but everyone adds to giving Dok Mi the reason and impetus to continue the transformation.
FBND posits that it isn’t romantic love that saves people, it’s friendship and human kindness and empathy that forms the crux of giving people the strength to face life’s myriad challenges. Jin Rok learns that even if he doesn’t have blood-related family anymore, he’ll always have a little brother in Dong Hoon. Enrique is faced with a professional dream or a personal love and it’s not a simple decision for him despite being able to easily pick Dok Mi over career wish fulfillment. I wonder why the drama says Enrique needs to be in Spain to work on the animation, or why Dok Mi doesn’t consider going with him to Spain despite that being a huge leap for a girl who started walking out her door not too long ago. I don’t think the drama is grasping at straws, but the choice can’t be so either/or. I remain completely confident the drama won’t let misunderstandings stand and Dok Mi and Enrique probably need to really be honest with their struggles to come to a decision about how to make their future work. I foresee a time jump ahead and Enrique going back to Spain, but I also foresee that it’ll be done with the relationship still rock solid rather than predicated on any noble idiocy. This drama has turned out to be so satisfying by not trying so hard, and in its little slice of life I’ve experienced a feeling of warmth that envelopes me during these cold Winter nights.
Episode 14 recap:
Dok Mi tells Enrique to return to Spain and pursue his animation dreams, she edited his book and knows that he really wants to do that project. Enrique tells her not to lie about what she wants from him, especially now that he can hear her heart again. He asks her to put her feelings above others for once – would she be fine if he left, can’t she just tell him to stay? Dok Mi turns to walk away and Enrique grabs her arm. She tells him to let go since he’s using the arm that was hurt earlier so he asks if she doesn’t like to see him hurting? Enrique grabs Dok Mi for a hug and asks her to go with him to Spain.
Enrique ends the hug and asks Dok Mi to trust him, his dream is now her. She thinks these feelings will die down and he asks if her feelings for him will as well? Dok Mi candidly says that he just brought her back out into the world but its too early for her to go abroad with him. Enrique holds Dok Mi’s hand and asks that she trust him and consider his request. She agrees to do so. Enrique says that he’s also changed, he’s now a man in love. So while she’s deciding don’t ask him to reconsider because his decision is to be with her no matter where.
As they walk past a singer performing, Dok Mi stops to watch and Enrique comfortably lets his joking jealous flag fly and tells her to stop admiring the guy. He’s happy to share that he’s not as cool as everyone thinks.
Dok Mi asks him to let her know when this burden gets too heavy and he needs to leave. Enrique nods and its Dok Mi’s turn to put her finger on his forehead and tells him to nod once if he needs to leave. As Dok Mi thinks about him leaving, Enrique knows what she’s thinking and thinks to himself that he won’t promise to leave because he can’t.
Jin Rok is happily drawing his webtoon in his apartment when suddenly there is a blackout. He walks out and the landlord lady is there as well and they notice water in the hallway. Everyone heads outside.
When Enrique and Dok Mi return to the building, they see all the residents milling around outside. The landlord lady suggests contacting the owner about the problem and everyone thinks she’s weird since she is the owner. The security guard arrives and reveals a rooftop leak shorted the power so tonight all the residents have to find another place to sleep since repairs won’t happen until the morning. Enrique offers to let everyone crash with him at Tae Joon’s place. He happily herds Dok Mi into her room to grab some items for the sleep over.
The not-landlord lady asks the security guard why everyone thinks she’s the owner of the building? The guard says the owner wants anonymity and since she’s so pretty and well-dressed, he said it was her as a cover. He asks if she got the flowers he left for her? After he walks away, she looks rather pleased to have an admirer in the security guard. I bet the owner is the security guard himself and he enjoys spending time with the interesting people who live in his building probably because he had no family of his own.
Everyone files over to Tae Joon’s apartment, with Jin Rok sheepishly saying they will impose tonight while Watanabe hugs Enrique and says he is so happy to be here.
Enrique shows Dok Mi to the bedroom and tells her to rest well. He looks so happy that she is at the apartment with him. After he leaves, Dok Mi thinks to herself that Enrique really likes company and dislikes being alone. She thinks back to his request for her to go to Spain with him.
Dong Hoon is at work doodling on his phone. He takes Enrique’s picture and puts Jin Rok’s head on it before emailing it to Jin Rok suggesting he dress like Enrique so he can win Dok Mi’s heart. He gets a call from Jin Rok that the apartment flooded and everyone is staying at Tae Joon’s for the night. He tells Dong Hoon to visit the editor and reveal this draft will be late since it wasn’t saved before the blackout.
Enrique makes a pot of ramyun and brings it to the table to share with Jin Rok. He offers to help Jin Rok with the webtoon and claims its the best ramyun ever. Jin Rok wonders why Enrique thinks he’s the best at everything. They sit down to eat.
Jin Rok brings up visiting Enrique’s fan cafe and asks him if he really intends to not pursue his animation dreams? Enrique asks what Jin Rok would do? Jin Rok would pursue both his dreams – Dok Mi and the animation. Enrique doesn’t have the confidence to make it work with a year apart, especially when he doesn’t want to be apart from her for even a day. He was the one who brought her back out, how can he just leave her now? In this situation, he should be the one to give up his dream.
Dok Mi is standing behind the bookshelf listening to the conversation. Jin Rok confesses that he wasn’t being honest earlier – if he was Enrique, he wouldn’t be able to give up on the animation dream. That is why Enrique won Dok Mi’s heart, while Jin Rok did not.
The editor is microwaving a plate of mandoo and wishing Dong Hoon would show, when suddenly he shows up. But that freaks her out and she starts to yell at him with her chopsticks pointed at him like weapons, when she remembers to act sweet. Dong Hoon drops the bad news that a power outage erased the latest draft. The editor is furious but when Dong Hoon tells her to calm down, she gets distracted by his puckered lips and suggests a solution. Dong Hoon sits down next to her and says they can work on it together much faster. She grabs the plate of mandoo and offers him some food as they hunker down to fix the problem.
Dok Mi puts her pencil down and walks out into the living room. She sees Jin Rok standing by the window looking out at their building, with Enrique and Watanabe asleep on the chairs. Jin Rok sees Dok Mi looking at sleeping Enrique with a happy smile. Jin Rok reveals that when Enrique was leaving that first time, he told Jin Rok to take care of Dok Mi. He offered suggestions on how to slowly bring her out into the world.
Back then Jin Rok worried that Enrique would not end up leaving, because if he stayed Jin Rok knew he would never leave Dok Mi’s side again. Now Jin Rok’s worries have proven to be right. He tells Dok Mi not to overthink it, Enrique will never change his mind and go back to Spain, so she should just accept that.
The panda hat fangirl is sitting in a small room with many of Enrique’s most ardent fans. They are making signs and organizing a protest centered around getting Enrique to go back to Spain and do the animation. The fangirl scrolls through pictures of Enrique and Dok Mi that she secretly took. The fans have a plan and start sending messages and posting online pleading with Enrique to go back to Spain for the greater good of the gaming and animation worlds.
Enrique, Dong Hoon, and Jin Rok are sitting around the dining table discussing how today is the deadline for Jin Rok to sign the papers giving up his inheritance. He doesn’t care but Dong Hoon still has that debt to pay back. Enrique decides that Jin Rok will sign the papers but they will do a car heist and steal Jin Rok’s brother’s car as final payback. When Dok Mi comes out, they quickly pretend to be discussing other things and Jin Rok and Dong Hoon leave.
Dok Mi can tell they are planning something but Enrique says Jin Rok and Dong Hoon are going to see Do Hwi. Jin Rok accused Do Hwi of writing on Dok Mi’s wall but it wasn’t her, and turns out Do Hwi liked JIn Rok from a long time ago. Enrique asks if Do Hwi is a good writer as well otherwise why would their high school teacher like her? Dok Mi is surprised and asks Enrique what exactly Do Hwi told them about the past.
As Jin Rok and Dong Hoon walk out, Dong Hoon suggests he apologize to Do Hwi for wrongly accusing her but Jin Rok doesn’t want to.
Enrique gets ready to go out and tells Dok Mi to stay home today. She smiles at him from the dining table and then he pulls her towards the door to walk him out. He tells her not to go out because of his fans and she suggests his fans wants the best for him. Enrique says his fans don’t know what he really wants, and he doesn’t want to experience the fear of not being able to find her again.
Jin Rok, Dong Hoon, and Enrique are at a clothing shop and modeling black suits. Yum, that is some gorgeousness overload. Also, seeing Yoon Si Yoon with his hair styled like that and wearing a suit totally flashes back to Seo Jae Hee. The men in black walk down the street strutting all the way. They arrive outside a golf driving range and Enrique tells them to follow the plan and leave it up to him.
Enrique, wearing a fake goatee, struts inside holding the disinheritance papers and goes to Jin Rok’s brother and slams it on the table. Enrique then starts babbling in Spanish and Jin Rok walks out and says this guy is an Italian gangster who heard what Jin Rok’s brother is doing to him and is very unhappy since family stay together. Jin Rok signs the paper while Enrique and Dong Hoon make note of Jin Rok’s brother’s license plate number on his car keys.
Dong Hoon goes down to the garage and ties cans to the back of the car. Their grand plan is to have the brother stop the car to investigate the cans and they will jump in and carjack him. Turns out the brother just drives the car off and doesn’t stop so the boys plan is thwarted.
This silly interlude aside, Jin Rok sighs that he really is without a family now. Dong Hoon hugs his hyung and says he will always have him as a dongsaeng. Enrique tries to get in on the hug but he hasn’t quite gotten there with Jin Rok yet.
Dok Mi leaves Tae Joon’s apartment to go home and passes by Enrique’s fan protesting outside the building. She stares right at the panda hat fangirl and walks past her, while the fangirl turns and glares at Dok Mi.. Grrrr, she’s so annoyingly crazy.
Dok Mi sits in her own apartment typing on the computer. She thinks to herself that Enrique asking her to go to Spain with him was his way of saying that he loved her.
The three amigos are taking the bus home and Jin Rok tells them not to worry about his emotional state since for all intents and purposes he has been alone for a long time now. Dong Hoon reveals that the commentary to their webtoon indicate a lot of people are harboring one-sided crushes. Enrique answers a call asking when he’s returning to Spain. He says it’s up to him when he goes back to Spain. Enrique hears Jin Rok saying to go and thinks he’s also pressuring him, but turns out Jin Rok was telling Enrique they need to get off the bus here.
Dok Mi carries two boxes over to Do Hwi’s building and thinks about what Enrique said, that Do Hwi has liked Jin Rok from when they were in the US. She waits outside for Do Hwi to come back.
The guys walk back to the building and wonder what to do about the clothes. They can’t return it since Dong Hoon cut the tags off so they tell Enrique that he promised to buy it for them so they are going to keep it.
Do Hwi steps off the elevator with her minions and is surprised to see Dok Mi there. She notices the boxes and calls Dok Mi immature for returning them but opens the door for her to go in. Dok Mi curtly tells the minions to leave so she can speak with Do Hwi alone. The minions are annoyed but Do Hwi tells them to grab items from the car for her,
The boys happily walk up to the building, with Enrique pleased that Jin Rok is starting to call him KaeGeum as well. They stop when they come face to face with the fans holding signs and chanting for Enrique to go back to Spain and work on the animation. The panda hat fangirl hides off to the side and watches this.
Enrique and Jin Rok both realize Dok Mi could be affected and rush inside to look for her. Dong Hoon stops to talk with the minions. They find Tae Joon’s apartment empty and hears from Dong Hoon who heard from the minions that Dok Mi is over at Do Hwi’s office.
Dok Mi tells Do Hwi that she knows it was a lie that Do Hwi came specifically to find Dok Mi. It was Jin Rok that Do Hwi was here to find. Do Hwi admits it and says she’s liked Jin Rok for a long time so why is Dok Mi in the way? Dok Mi asks why Do Hwi likes Jin Rok? Does she know anything about him? She knows nothing about Jin Rok other than he’s from a rich family which makes Do Hwi’s feelings for pitiful.
Dok Mi drops the boxes on the ground and out tumbles the mementos. Dok Mi say Do Hwi uses these memories to manipulate people’s feelings but a person’s heart can’t be toyed with. She tells Do Hwi to stay away from her and from Jin Rok. Do Hwi asks what right Dok Mi has to ask her to stay away from Jin Rok? Is Dok Mi his girlfriend? Does she like him?
Dok Mi confesses to liking Jin Rok, which is when Enrique, Jin Rok, and Dong Hoon arrive just in time to hear this. Dok Mi says she likes Jin Rok because he’s a really good guy, unlike Do Hwi who only sees a person for their exterior. Dok Mi turns around and sees Enrique staring at her with utter heartbreak.
Dok Mi only has eyes for Enrique and she looks totally shaken and in pain. Jin Rok recalls Dok Mi asking him last night to help her convince Enrique to go back to Spain because she can’t watch him conflicted like this. He walks up to Dok Mi and grabs her hand, before pulling her out of the room and past Enrique.
Thoughts of Mine:
I’m very conflicted about this episode ender. On one hand, it was indeed dramatic in that good way, where viscerally it just hits me right where it hurts and now I’m worried for my beloved OTP. On the other hand, I feel like it doesn’t matter because Enrique couldn’t possibly believe that Dok Mi likes Jin Rok over him, especially after all they’ve been through. I’m ambivalent on the Enrique goes back to Spain dilemma because I think its realistic he’ll be torn between his career and staying in Korea for Dok Mi since initially he didn’t plan to stay in Korea and she’s a new addition to his life. I love that he’s so clear about what he wants, which is Dok Mi over his animation dreams if he had to choose, but I’m not sure so he need to choose between the two. Perhaps their burgeoning relationship is so new and tentative being apart can’t sustain it, or even that being apart will be too difficult when one is fresh in the throes of a heady new romance. I’m annoyed that the crazy fangirl and even the rest of Enrique’s fans think they have any right to pressure him to return to Spain. I love watching this story be true to its own tempo and Enrique needs to be left alone by everyone to make his own decisions. Dok Mi can tell its not an easy choice for him, but why does she need to get involved as well to steer him in one direction? I’m not going to parse to death what happened here at the end of the episode and wait to see what the drama does with the oddball characters of this little apartment building in the final two episodes. So far FBND has been the most endearing of drama rides and I have faith it’ll get to where it ought to go.
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