At present, BIG is shaping up to be my favorite Korean drama of 2012 to date. Thankfully, though I can only count the number of K-dramas I’ve sincerely liked this year from beginning to end on about two fingers, I’m reasonably pleased with what is airing (and I’m invested in) currently. This drama wasn’t what I initially anticipated but it has surpassed my expectations in many other ways, therefore, overall, I can’t complain.
The drama is nearing the end and though I will be loathed to see it go, I am grateful that we are finally getting some emotional strides and confessions from all the right places. However, we wouldn’t be there, without great moments like this one. Episode 10 was full of OTP greatness but there were two scenes that specifically shined and I couldn’t not gab about them.
Scene 01 Setup: Da-ran begins to notice a shift in her feelings towards Yoon-jae, and decides to spend the day remembering for whom and why she’s waiting by Kyung-joon’s side. She travels to a park to recreate the giddy feelings she had waiting for Yoon-jae to meet her the previous year and find the doodled heart she’d made out of anticipation of their date. Unfortunately, not only can she not locate her drawing, her feelings seem to elude her as well.
Da-ran: Waiting for the person you love to appear re-enacting the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest. Why can’t I recreate that feeling?
Kyung-joon: Gil Teacher, where are you?
Da-ran: Didn’t I say I was going to the park?
Kyung-joon: I’m at the park too. Where are you?
Da-ran: Oh, you’re here too. Why are you here?
Kyung-joon: I came to look for you. Where are you?
Da-ran: Here? I’m at the area near the end of the trail.
Kyung-joon: Ok, I’m coming to you.
Da-ran: Pffft. Why’s he coming? Does he even know where? He just said he’ll come for me.
Da-ran: Why is my heart beating so fast? Just like when I was waiting for my love to appear… What’s wrong with me? I’m clearly waiting for Kyung-joon.
Da-ran: I must be crazy.
Kyung-joon: Where are you?
Da-ran: I’m not there.
Kyung-joon: You left already? Didn’t I tell you to wait for me?
Da-ran: The person I was waiting for, isn’t you. So you should stop looking for me. I can’t meet with you right now.
Kyung-joon: Ok. I won’t meet you then. I’m leaving.
Da-ran: Kyung-joon, leave. I’m waiting right now, so you have to go.
Scene Thoughts: This episode should be called : Da-ran (finally) gets a clue. Almost every beat with her leads to this very park bench; from the opening scene to forgetting she had a mother-in-law to feeling unneeded. This moment by far is one of my favorites in the drama for it highlights so many themes within the drama proper, while pinpointing specifics for the characters, mainly Da-ran. Plainly, it marks a huge unraveling of revelation in her mind and heart. However, I emphasis mind over heart, for it’s our thoughts that block us from acting, not our feelings. And though, I’m not one to perpetuate the “follow your heart” sentiment (cause that’s just stupid), I do believe it’s important to take stock in what it’s trying to tell you at times. Da-ran touches her chest and it seems that her heart is the focus but it’s not, it’s the mental recognition that her “heart” is different. That somehow, without her knowing, Time has changed her.
This zeroes in one overarching point: You can’t recreate the past. In life, we all have deja-vu moments and stirrings that travel us back to instances where we were happy or sad, joyful or listless, but the moment can never be redone, much like, it can never be undone. I won’t say that it was irrational for Da-ran to think she could “remember” or even re-imagine her feelings, because, well she did, but it is unrealistic to believe she could “re-feel” them. Because emotions are never torpid but fluid, whether deepening positively, pejorative, or diminishing. When she breaks up with Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon leaves, there’s a passage of time and though once he returns, she appears to be rather staid, she isn’t. Even if her heart had pounded, it would not have been the same, nor would it have been for the same reason. But of course, it makes much more sense that it didn’t move at all, because she’s no longer “moved” by anything concerning Yoon-jae (in that way). However, to me, what is even more telling is what lead her to the park in the first place. It wasn’t because she was missing Yoon-jae and wanted to remember better times, but rather, the provocation of losing Kyung-joon prompts her to drudge up her memories of Yoon-jae. If she hadn’t been reminded that once the switch back occurs she’d be rendered useless in his life, she’d never urged herself to rekindle her Yoon-jae cuddlies. Furthermore, never acknowledging that Yoon-jae had been forgotten.
Up until this scene, Da-ran was spurned by the idea that she married Kyung-joon to be with Yoon-jae, believing she wasn’t over him and this way she could kill two birds in a sense. She could help Kyung-joon and get things straight with Yoon-jae. The problem is, this has nothing to do with actual “love” for Yoon-jae. Although, I concede she does believe such. So, when she feels the stirring in her heart over the anticipation of Kyung-joon’s arrival, it’s devastating, because she knows who is on his way. Though, it’s imminently clear that Da-ran’s puppy love feelings for Yoon-jae are long gone, she has never contemplated that ever happening. Therefore, she feels more and more uncomfortable as she begins to realize that no matter how often she stares into Yoon-jae’s face, she doesn’t identify him with his own body, nor does she “remember” him.
The issue of waiting is another factor, for there is the literal act of waiting, then the emotional ties that come with the expectation and anticipation, while waiting. What this scene does well is showcase the fact that the excitement of waiting isn’t based on someone’s physical makeup. It’s rooted in who is coming (the person you know), what they’re going to say, how they may look at you and what you will do together once they arrive; basically, who they are– not what they look like. When Da-ran looks across the park and sees him coming, it’s not Yoon-jae but Kyung-joon that her heart and mind resonate is on his way to get her. I adore that she hides behind the tree, because it begs the question of why? She shouldn’t be afraid to “see” Kyung-joon for, if anything, seeing Yoon-jae, should spark her old feelings for him, but instinctively she hides because she no longer “recognizes” Kyung-joon in Yoon-jae’s body, but more Kyung-joon as Kyung-joon; his body is no longer just a shell but who she identifies Kyung-joon to be. Also, at this point, she’s concerned at how elated she actually is that he not only came but found her, and then afraid he might notice how happy this fact makes her. Her hiding is an indicative flag that she has something to hide. (Think Garden of Eden.) That the opposite of her words are true, that he is who she’s waiting for but feels guilty, knowing that isn’t the way it should be. And she not only isn’t ready to admit that truth, she definitely doesn’t want him putting two-two together.
Da-ran has done a lot of waiting in this drama. Some understandable, some not so much but for whatever the case, Yoon-jae, has never appeared. I feel this goes back to how they met, in that, even when they were in the same place at the same time, after her being oblivious to his existence, he bumps into her, their eyes lock, and she’s falling but they (their hands) never meet. In the same way, ever since, when she really needs Yoon-jae, they never connect, he never comes (physically or emotionally). This isn’t a complete slight on Yoon-jae but it is a stark comparison to the fact that Kyung-joon always does. No matter where she is, regardless of whether she’s “waiting” on or for him, specifically, Kyung-joon shows up. And he usually has her pegged, and meets her emotional needs, even if at times, slightly off-base.
In the scene above, Kyung-joon asks Da-ran, “Where are you?” and they both mention, he’s “coming to get/find her,” about four times, which I also find significant. For, this can be applied literally and figuratively concerning her physical location and the placement of her emotions. And though Kyung-joon may be focused on the literal aspects, Da-ran recognizes the figurative is just as compulsory. From the beginning, Kyung-joon has made every effort to seek and find Da-ran; come and meet her where she is. Then, again, here, not only does he come, when he doesn’t see her, he looks for her and is successful in locating her. This is an expression of his heart for her. Because she’s his priority, Kyung-joon’s innately interested in where she is and longs to be with her, then acts on it. I won’t say that this isn’t true for Yoon-jae, for I’ve always believed he loved her, but it’s undeniable that he never met her needs and we’re not even sure if he ever thought to try, regardless of his intentions. Now, Da-ran has finally begun to acknowledge this fact. Therefore, when she tells Kyung-joon to stop looking for her, it’s not only because she doesn’t want to see him, it’s because she’s too frightened to be found. And without being told, she also knows, Kyung-joon won’t stop searching. Her tears articulate such a myriad of emotions, that it’s not difficult at all to empathize with her disillusionment, disappointment (in herself) and regret. Nor, is it a stretch to understand, that it’s even more disconcerting for Da-ran to reconcile that she is presently, more than willing to be met, swept, whisked, trotted or taken away by someone other than Seo Yoon-jae, especially given that person is Kang Kyung-joon.
I, personally, found this moment a long time coming, though painful to watch for Kyung-joon. This scene is wonderful, all on it’s own, but, I can’t help but wonder what would’ve been different had he chosen to stay; to ask more questions or continued to pursue her– Alas, we’ll never know.