Another shocking revelation, and heartbreak in its aftermath. This time, instead of Kang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun), it is Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji) in the clutches of guilt and isolation. It has taken her a lifetime to open up her heart and start caring for others. How will she deal with being so closely related to the suffering of the two people she values the most? Now that we know who Moon-young’s mother is, will the show satisfactorily explain how and why she was in hiding for years? Will our beloved trio’s bond be able to stand this test of love for each other?
Moon-young’s spiral into guilt and despair follows pretty much the same trajectory as Kang-tae’s, two episodes ago—she, too, pushes him away and asks him not to follow her. While Kang-tae could still cling to some hope of his suspicions remaining just that—suspicions, Moon-young knows without a shred of doubt that the butterfly is related to her mother because it’s an original, one-of-a-kind design. She’s in so much shock that it’s worrying, but the nice thing is that she’s not alone this time. She has a lot of people worried for her—Kang-tae, Sang-tae, Manager Lee, Joo-ri, Joo-ri’s mother, and even Jae-su.
Moon-young has come so far from where she started, she has friends and family now, and I wish she would let herself feel it. She feels especially guilty towards Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who has been plagued by nightmares of his mother’s killer since he was a child. Sang-tae doesn’t know why Moon-young is sad, but he wipes her tears with his sleeves and feeds her congee, which just makes her cry harder. Him caring for Moon-young like an actual little sister is one of the sweetest scenes of the episode. When I started the show, I never imagined that Moon-young and Sang-tae would go on to develop such a mutually-nurturing and pure relationship, but they have, and it’s heartening to watch.
Sang-tae blossoming into a nurturing and caring presence in Moon-young and Kang-tae’s life has been a delight to watch. While it might seem that they are the ones caring for him, he gives back more than he asks. He promises to protect and look after them both, and for the most part, follows through with his promise, giving emotional support and hug therapies to both his siblings.
For his part, Kang-tae tries to assure Moon-young at every opportunity that to him, she’s just Moon-young and not the daughter of his mother’s killer. But Moon-young seems unconvinced. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be for her to deal with all this in a brand new relationship, but they talk as much as they can. Kang-tae repeatedly assures her that their relationship won’t be affected by the revelation, but the revelation is so massive that I can’t blame Moon-young for struggling to believe it. Kang-tae has had time to process it, but for Moon-young, it literally must feel like the ground has shifted beneath her feet.
The mystery of Head Nurse Park Haeng-ja (Jang Young-nam) turning out to be the killer and Moon-young’s mother, the novelist Do Hui-jae, is as perplexing as it was in the last episode. Dr. Oh (Kim Chang-wan) and Kang-tae manage to find a CCTV recording of her drawing the butterfly and Kang-tae connects the dots, while Dr. Oh is in shock himself and apologizes to Kang-tae for exposing him and Sang-tae to danger. The show attempts to explain away all her years of hiding as a nurse as her waiting for Moon-young’s father to die a painful death, but frankly, I’m unconvinced.
As far as side characters go, the show has made some last-ditch attempts to bring backstories to them. Joo-ri’s mom (Kim Mi-kyung) and Dr. Oh have a nice friendship going, which came out of nowhere, but which I like a lot and wish we got to have more of. Joo-ri (Park Gyu-young) and Manager Lee (Kim Joo-hun), while not the most interesting couple, are now pretty sweet. What I’m liking more than their relationship is watching Joo-ri get over her unrequited love for Kang-tae and replace it with genuine interest in Manager Lee as well as concern for Moon-young. It’s not often that we see a character with a one-sided love move on harmlessly.
My biggest disappointment will forever be that the show never utilized Jae-su’s (Kang Ki-doong) character as much as they should have. For how hilarious and loyal he is, we barely got to see him. How can the show just ignore a character that has been on the move with the brothers for years? Moon-young’s mother, Seung-jae, and Dr. Oh are other characters that could have done with better writing but weren’t given the attention they needed.
Towards the end of the episode, it finally looks like Moon-young is getting over her guilt, but it turns out she’s just playing the dangerous game of catch with her mother. The media stunt she pulls would have worked, if Kang-tae hadn’t been planning something with Manager Lee behind her back as well. I honestly think romance drama leads would save so much time and heartache if they just told each other their plans instead of going behind each other’s backs. And so, we end the episode with a terrible, terrible situation: Park Haeng-ja, free; Sang-tae, kidnapped and held hostage; Kang-tae, trying to fight alone; and Moon-young, terrified.
This cliffhanger is perfect for finale week. In the final two episodes, our characters will be forced to come face-to-face with their greatest traumas, perhaps for the final time. It’s going to be a tough confrontation for all three of them. But I like the pacing of the finale episodes—there is going to be ample time to get to the bottom of unsolved mysteries, get some resolutions, and then have time to wrap things up in a nice happy ending. I hope we get to see our favorite little family to make their way out of this last big obstacle and live the lives they were always meant to live.
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