On a whim of insanity and obsession, I decided to recap this episode. Whether it is the only one I recap, I’m not sure. This series has everything that I think a good drama should have – heart, moments of comedy, moments of gripping sadness, developed characters, and a well conceived plot. This episode was no shorter on tears than previous ones, nor any less dramatic and captivating.
Continuing from last week, Joon Ha calls out Grandmother (Soon Geum) to confirm what he already suspected (and now knows): that Shin-ae is his mother and Choi Jin Chul is his father. The tension, the anger, the bitterness – it is palpable from Joon Ha who demands the information in desperation. Grandmother is hesitant to divulge but at Joon Ha’s insistent forcefulness, she admits that Shin-ae is his mom, but she also implores him not to hold a grudge toward her. Then she also admits the news about his father’s identity, although she insists he is not a “father” because he wanted Shin-ae to abort the moment he knew she was pregnant.
The seething hatred that Joon Ha felt before is only amplified by this. His bitterness turns toward the parents who abandoned him and his Grandmother who deceived him. All the years he spent with Dong Joo and Hyun Sook, he felt guilty over abandoning his family – the father that he hated, the grandmother he resented, the step-sister he never wanted – only to find out that they weren’t really his family after all. (In Joon Ha’s mind, at least.) In short, he was never able to experience true happiness.
After abandoning Grandmother in the street, Joon Ha leaves. Woo Ri encounters Dong Joo, exclaiming that Grandmother is missing. The two split up and run through the streets searching for her, eventually finding her collapsed where Joon Ha had left her. Dong Joo phones 119 (basically the Korean version of the U.S.’s 911) but, unable to hear, passes the cell over to Woo Ri.
In the ensuing scenes, Woo Ri is too busy fretting over the condition of Grandmother that she pretty much defers the responsibility of explaining Grandmother’s medical condition and taking care of sign in, to Dong Joo. Since there is so much chaos in the ward, the doctor has his mouth half-covered by a facial mask, and the nurse has her head turned away, he has trouble keeping up. And as soon as Seung Chul arrives, he takes over, chiding Dong Joo for his inability to take care of the situation.
Seung Chul phones home after the results come in, and Grandmother is awake, to say that she will be able to return soon. Then he returns to Woo Ri’s side, where Dong Joo has been waiting. Using the excuse that the company’s products are coming through customs today, Dong Joo leaves a little reluctantly and downcast. (Aww, he looks like a kicked puppy. Broke my heart watching him.) Woo Ri, unable to think of a way to console him and preoccupied with Grandmother’s condition, can only watch as he goes.
In the morning, doing his usual duties at the garden, Young Gyu comes across a parked car with its headlights on. He rushes toward it, knocking on the window and telling the person inside that he shouldn’t sleep here and should go home. Joon Ha, of course, is the person inside, and is startled to realize who it is knocking at the window. He hurriedly leaves.
At work, Dong Joo nods off after pulling an all-nighter. Min Soo walks in. She leans in to get a picture of the two of them when Dong Joo’s phone starts vibrating. Startled by it, she bumps into him and wakes him up. To cover up the fact that she was watching him as he slept, she quickly hands him his phone, wondering who Pianoist is.
Dong Joo and Woo Ri have a video conversation where Dong Joo cutely tells her that she can’t sleep because she has the responsibility of calling him every hour. She insists it will disrupt work, but he tells her that he is so tired that she needs to call just to make sure he is awake.
In his office, Choi Jin Chul is chagrined to read the newspaper which reads of Energy Cell’s success. Shin-ae is in there with him, complaining about Hyun Sook. They are both surprised to discover, from Ma Roo’s picture frame which had been let upside down (not the position it was in before) and speculate that Hyun Sook already knows about him.
Shin-ae heads in and disrupts Min Sook who is overseeing her team. Shin-ae tells them she has to leave early at the President’s behest, but that she wants them to report to her the sales performance for the day after work. Overruling her, Min Sook tells her team members to go ahead and leave. In the ensuing conversation, Min Sook ends up grabbing Shin-ae. Shin-ae says her husband must have thrown her away, to which Min Sook agrees – and says that’s why she killed her husband and his mistress (in her heart). I LOVE these two together, they are laugh out loud hilarious.
Min Sook heads over to visit Woo Ri and Grandmother. She ends up eavesdropping on Woo Ri trying to comfort Grandmother because Grandmother refuses to eat. Repeating to herself Woo Ri’s words, “It’s no one’s fault,” she turns to leave upon hearing Young Gyu’s noisy arrival. But Young Gyu stops her when he sees her with tears in her eyes, and he offers her a flower pot. She accepts it then starts crying on his shoulder.
Outside the two share a bit of a moment as Min Sook tells him to go (because she is worried over her makeup) and Young Gyu insists on staying so she isn’t alone. Then, at the mention of “together,” where she dislikes the word, he starts crying because he says watching other people cry makes him cry too. Once he quiets down a bit, Min Sook insists he keep the whole crying on his shoulder thing a secret.
At the hospital, Shin-ae oversees some personnel putting up Ma Roo’s montage, which reads a monetary reward at the bottom. Hyun Sook gets a call about the ordeal and is incredulous about it, but her conversation is cut short when Dong Joo appears. The two talk about Joon Ha, as Hyun Sook relays Joon Ha’s strange behavior as of late. The two are interrupted when Dr. Jang comes in with Joon Ha.
They end up drinking wine outside that night, having a hearty conversation. Joon Ha seems all laughter although his behavior feels a bit odd, and I think the others at the table notice, although they dismiss it initially. When Jin Chul shows up, Joon Ha invites him to sit with them, but in the process Joon Ha also takes several cheap shots at him.
Joon Ha and Jin Chul leave to go to get more wine, which is really just an excuse for a private conversation. Jin Chul confronts him about his hostile manner of speaking, which Joon Ha’s “father” (Jang) had attributed to the alcohol. But Jin Chul knows better than that. Joon Ha then muses the idea of Dong Joo taking over Wookyoung which effectively elicits an angry response from Jin Chul who says, “Just try it.”
While everyone else is gone from the table, Dong Joo chats on the phone with Woo Ri, commending her for having called him every hour. With the interference of Dr. Jang, their conversation is rather short. And afterward, Joon Ha ends up phoning Woo Ri. He tells her that he wants to meet, but not as her “oppa.” But Woo Ri says that she has one last thing to say to “Ma Roo oppa.” In return he tells her not to hit him for having lied – and effectively, everything is out in the open between them now.
Then the cutest scene EVER in the history of bromances… And Dong Joo humorously tells Joon Ha, “You really love me, don’t you? Hyung, you can’t – we’re brothers. Don’t be like this.” The two wrestle together and I am just a bundle of fan girl squeals because the relationship between these two is just the most adorable thing since… Ever?
Young Gyu is busily working in the garden when he spots someone on a blanket with an umbrella. When he approaches, he sees that it is Grandmother, who seems rather taken aback by his presence. He leaves, assuring her that he will return to play with her when he finishes his work. Once he is gone, she wonders when her Young Gyu will get out of kindergarten. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t understand this scene inasmuch as I don’t know how she got there, considering how bad her legs are and how surprised Young Gyu seemed to be that she was even there. (Meaning he did not take her there himself.)
In the morning, Joon Ha encounters Jin Chul and Dong Joo… and he makes his declaration of war: starting now, he will be an employee at energy cell. Jin Chul confronts him privately afterward, emphasizing that he won’t sit by and allow Joon Ha to have his way. But Joon Ha deflects the threats by saying that, if he is going to go down, he’ll take Jin Chul with him.
When asked why he’s doing this, Joon Ha tells him, “As long as I’m alive, no matter where you are, I’m going to drag you down.” (This is where I am in awe at how well Nam Goong Min manages to capture Joon Ha’s anger, bitterness, and despair.)
Back at the hospital, Ma Roo’s montage is taken down on Hyun Sook’s orders. Shin-ae is livid but the hospital insists that the pictures make the patients there feel uneasy and that they will not allow the pictures to be put up again. Then Hyun Sook gets a call – Jin Chul has arranged a meeting with the investors to pull back the money from Joon Ha. To reimburse the losses because he won’t get the full amount, Jin Chul is going to sell some of his shares, which Hyun Sook orders to be bought up immediately.
Dong Joo intercepts Joon Ha as Joon Ha heads to meet Woo Ri. He demands to know why Joon Ha is messing with Jin Chul. All of Joon Ha’s answers are vague and evasive. Through Dong Joo’s frustration, Joon Ha tells him, “This time, watch over me. From today, you are Jang Joon Ha’s guardian angel.” But Dong Joo punches him and says that, if Joon Ha is going to be like this, then he’s not Dong Joo’s hyung anymore.
Wow, what a powerful episode. In comparison to all these other easy going, trendy dramas where nothing seems to happen within an hour, this one was packed. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. There are so many things to love about Can You Hear My Heart, and it is criminally underrated. The first few episodes people complained were a bit of a drag, and although it was neither awe inspiring or fun, it set up the premise for the rest of series. And the tension has just been building.
I love all the characters in this series, because no one is outright evil – they are all driven by motives. Although you may disagree with Joon Ha’s mindset and bitterness, you can understand it. To be abandoned and unwanted by the very people who conceived you is heartbreaking. The only reason they want him now is for their own selfish desires.
Another thing I loved is how easily Dong Joo bounced back from feeling depressed about how he couldn’t be there for Woo Ri in the hospital. Rather than moping and angsting about it, he came back happy and smiling, still calling her and wiggling his way into her day with his cute antics. And I can understand his frustration toward Joon Ha – because he knows that Joon Ha is throwing himself away to achieve revenge, and that was never what Dong Joo wanted.
Grandmother’s health condition can feel a bit of a drag sometime, because terminal illness seems to be a popular trope in dramas, but it is written in well. No one is constantly moping over her condition, life moves on as other problems crop up for people to deal with.