We’re on the home stretch for BIG and there are plenty of theories circulating but I try to stay away from spoilers when I’m writing, needless to say, it’s been a very loooong weekend. However, so far, I’ve been pretty spot on with the journey of this drama and though that normally annoys me, with this drama it’s unusually comforted and endeared me more to the story and the Hong Sisters vision. That’s probably why I’ve shied away from speaking about this drama for the majority of it’s run, for theories are just that and I wanted to enjoy it and bask in the greatness without having my views scrutinized by the opinions of others.
But now, with the drama ending, it’s a great opportunity to get some more of my thoughts out there, just because my love for this drama is that big.
Picking up where I left off, these scenes have very little but repetitive dialogue and rely more on the reactions of the characters but those reactions are what makes the moments worth deliberating about.
The more I spend time with BIG, the more I’ve come to realize how vitally important Da-ran is as a character. That though I don’t understand her actions, her feelings become more tangible and her growth much more paramount with each episode. The drama is centered around Kyung-joon, therefore, he sucks away the majority of my priority and attention but with a little patience, wider angles and larger lenses, I’m able to sneak in a few glances at a woman that is shaping up to be worthy of his love.
Scene 02- Ep 10 Setup: After Kyung-joon leaves, Da-ran cries in the park, disappointed in herself for being stirred by him. She continues her search deep into the night and finally locates the heart she’d drawn a year ago. What had once been a cute sign of her affection on an unmarred bench, was now just another piece of graffiti among other dated relationships marking the time that’d passed. She touches her chest again, but there’s no movement and is saddened again that it her heart no longer beats for Yoon-jae. On her way home, she gets a frantic call from Mari informing her Kyung-joon is having another soul switch episode and was all alone.
Da-ran: Kyung-joon has left already?
Da-ran: Kyung-joon! Kang Kyung-joon!
Kyung-joon: Gil Teacher. It’s me. I…It seems I returned to my body again.
Kyung-joon: I’m sorry, Seo Yoon-jae hasn’t returned yet.
Scene Thoughts: This moment plays into what happened earlier, for Da-ran has spent the entire evening grappling with her conflicted emotions. Therefore, when she gets the call, one can only imagine all the fears that run through her mind and this is what Kyung-joon opens his eyes to; a woman scared to death at losing someone she loves. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see it this way and later, as she cries in her room, asks Yoon-jae to hurry back. I don’t think that it’s unreasonable for Kyung-joon to believe Da-ran is upset there was no change, especially given what transpired between them earlier, but I love that in this moment he genuinely begs Yoon-jae to return. It’s actually his heart that is broken with disappointment that Yoon-jae is nowhere to be found. Therefore, it draws further attention to why, yet again, Yoon-jae is a no show. I find it very interesting that from the onset of this drama there have been very many assumptions made by the characters, whether it’s Da-ran with Kyung-joon and the rumor in episode 1, Kyung-joon over Da-ran’s investment in Yoon-jae and lack of care for him, the key and Yoon-jae’s cheating or the oddly discovered, missing, then recovered ring or the overall million dollar baby that Yoon-jae’s soul is somewhere in BIG‘s dramaverse. Assumptions are deadly and I think that the drama has done a good job of pointing that out, without drawing a line and highlighting it. For most of the insinuations in this drama. have been debunked and proven baseless, basically because there was never any true sound evidence that what the characters believed was based on concrete facts. In life, unfortunately, we choose to believe what we want, sometimes we believe easy to reach conclusions or harder to maneuver ideals but either way, if there’s no evidence, total belief is irrational.
That said, I’ve never believed Yoon-jae lived passed episode one. It’s most likely, that he died, basically because there was never a time the viewer has been given concrete basis to believe otherwise. Therefore, it’s not at all a coincidence that Yoon-jae never appears and Kyung-joon is a constant, for, I don’t think it’s possible for Yoon-jae come to meet her now. Before, when Yoon-jae and Da-ran setup meetings or planned dates, he was too busy or too preoccupied or too uncertain, mostly because he was a dedicated doctor and a relatively sweet guy. I’ll even go as far as to say, he didn’t know how to sustain a good relationship outside the hospital, probably because he’d never really been in one. However, back then, all those missed opportunities were within his control. He could have chosen to tell someone “No” or rescheduled or just bit the bullet, whether it was toward Da-ran, so she wouldn’t wait unfulfilled and feel unrequited or the other parties he was otherwise engaged with. But now, I believe Yoon-jae is in place where he has no options and unfortunately, the result is the exact same. (This fact, in my mind, is also a wink at one of the motifs in this drama– second chances, but that’s a topic for another post.)
Da-ran’s outpour of emotion is a direct reaction to her intense relief that Kyung-joon is alive and still with her– a far cry, but distinct difference to her initial reaction to the soul-body misstep. At the end of episode one, it was easy to understand why Da-ran was tentative in asking simply if who she was looking at was Kyung-joon or Yoon-jae, but now, in light of having seen this very moment three times, I find it extremely eye-opening (pardon the pun). Back then, Kyung-joon told her several times that he wasn’t Yoon-jae, so when she finds him in Kyung-joon’s house, on Kyung-joon’s bed, she already has an inkling ol’ guy might be telling the truth. However, it isn’t until he opens his eyes and she stares into them, that her face falls, he speaks and she confirms, through exasperated disappointment, that he is in fact not Yoon-jae. She isn’t at all happy about it, but she believes because she can tell the person she’s looking at; whose eyes are staring back her or rather, the person that fills them, isn’t the man she knows and loves. She asks because she’s hopeful, not necessarily because she’s confused.
That’s why in episode 14, when she touches Kyung-joon’s face and he opens his eyes, I was convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Da-ran recognized who was looking at back her. For she’s always known, somewhere deep inside, which man was which. Though Gong Yoo is stellar and tried to syke us all out and Kyung-joon is a big faker, Da-ran is the person in that scene that deserves the benefit of belief. Gone are the days, where she’s emotionally confused by the body walking and talking back to her, nor is she speaking out of hope that Kyung-joon is still inside Yoon-jae, but rather, an innate sense without one speck of hesitation that she recognizes the man that she loves.
Furthermore, considering each of these moments, I don’t actually believe Da-ran was ever “looking” for Yoon-jae at all. In episode one, she hoped she was wrong (about the soul-body crazy) but knew she wasn’t. For her reaction wasn’t surprise but disappointment. Though body switching isn’t something that is readily believed, she was quite sure that something wasn’t right with her fiancé and didn’t believe she was being mislead. Each moment, when Kyung-joon opens his eyes, her reaction varies, whether, disappointment, relief or concern, but her inner conviction never alters. Her initial stance is always a mental awareness that she’s with Kyung-joon, never, Yoon-jae. I’d love to say that this is because she knows both men and can tell the difference, grounded in an intimate understanding of the man she was marrying, but I think it’s quite the opposite. And then, more so, based on the fact that who she knows and has always known, from the beginning, is Kang Kyung-joon. She can recognize him because she knows what he looks like, inside, which is very contrary to any memories anyone has of his big brother. From episode one until the present, Da-ran has interacted more with Kyung-joon than she ever did with Yoon-jae. Not that she didn’t spend time with her own fiancé but rather that inhibitions, insecurities and walls were never an issue with Kyung-joon and Da-ran, from the bus (ep1) to Yoon-jae’s office (ep14), making it much easier to be transparent with one another, almost immediately.
In this way, these moments are a substantial progression for Da-ran as a character, for all she’s ever had to do is be a woman confident in herself and her own rational thinking (no matter how far-fetched). Undoubtedly, the most irritating thing about Da-ran is her insecurity and incessant waffling. She never trusts her own mind and every move she makes is steeped in such enormous trepidation, I would find it difficult to trust her to open a pack of gum. Gil Da-ran is a woman it’s been very hard to like wholeheartedly, for she backpedals at least twice per episode, confusing everyone around her, especially herself. She isn’t a strong woman, but I definitely think she’s getting there, though rather reluctantly. I’d be hard pressed to believe that is the goal of the Hong Sisters but I do believe it’s the buy product of having placed Da-ran in a situation as life altering, as this one.
With the penultimate episode airing in a few hours, shuffling the events of Da-ran’s growth, I won’t be surprised if it’s this strength, she’s acquired throughout the series, this conviction and assurance, she’s built through her journey with Kyung-joon, that will bring them together in the end. We were left last week, with the impression that Kyung-joon will fake or pretend to have forgotten his relationship with Da-ran and though it seems like a unrealistic road for him to take, it’s relatable given his circumstances. Even if, we hadn’t been given hints or blatant referrals, throughout the last few weeks, Kyung-joon is emotionally weak, physically drained and all around confused, therefore, his retreat into denial and isolation isn’t surprising or unwarranted, at this stage. All I hope is, that Da-ran gathers all her notes from the past 14 episodes and stands firm in her love for him, for all Kyung-joon has ever needed is unconditional, unselfish support and a consistent place to lay his troubled head. Then, who knows, perhaps it’s that one fact, that single solace that will be the catalyst in his return back home (his body).