[Spoilers to high heavens starting now]
You know, when I asked a last week what Joong Won was willing to sacrifice to be with Gong Shil, I didn’t mean for him to GIVE UP HIS DAMN LIFE!
Joong Won, you are NOT Boong Do!
Was this White Knight stuff really necessary? I took a while to pick up the pieces of my broken heart after that doozy of a cliffhanger. My fangirl heart had been thumping along swimmingly before it got the rug well pulled out under me. Because there was so much good stuff in these two episodes. So much! The confession–blurted out in the most confused and frustrated outburst of feelings ever:
And best of all, character growth! Joong Won shows a willingness to the be wrong about his father, and steps up to face his fears about his past. And Gong Shil grows a spine. I hope she’ll pretend to be possessed more often if it helps her to be more forthright about her anger and hurt to Joong Won. So hurrah for Joong Won and Gong Shil made huge strides as people and as a pair, and were darn cute doing it too.
But then, the shock stabbing, and the real fessing up of feelings we were all waiting for. No metaphor, no code, just pure unadorned “I love you”. Just you know, he was technically dead while saying it. But I’ve calmed down now enough to process that he’s cannot possibly dead. The truth is though, the mode of our pair’s push and pull was fast wearing thin. After all, what’s often the most frustrating in rom-coms are self-imposed obstacles between a pair of would-be lovers dithering about their neuroses. So the timing is ripe to change up the dynamic, and disembodiment is just about as big a change-up as you can get. But what does this mean for Gong Shil? Will she descend into guilt, turn into a noble idiot and decide to leave Joong Won to protect him like the good wolf she said she would be? Or will she figure out a way to save him right without turning martyr? At end of the day, we know this is a bit of devilish trickery on the part of the Hong sisters to get Gong Shil to ultimately expose her true feelings for our hero. How this gets resolved, the fallout, better be worth the pain my fangirl heart feels.
If not, if this ends up just being the crudest of manipulations, I will probably be side-eyeing this series the rest of the way. Because as much as I lub Joong Won, I root for Gong Shil and I want her to have her big hero moment. She’s been handed the reigns by Joong Won but not any power. He’s still dictating the rules of engagement as he has from the start. All he’s done is to make her responsible for his actions. Gong Shil isn’t happy about it (as her angry outburst reveals) but she has swallowed it as part of her I-will-endure mode. So I hope she gets a chance to shine.
On a little side note, there is something to be said about what Gong Shil’s vulnerability to being possessed signifies. Initially, in episode 4 it served as fodder for comedy. Then it turned downright icky–she was drugged and then possessed in events that are analogous to being roofied and violated. To top it off, this was a set-up for Joong Won to save her by a forced kiss–no wonder I didn’t swoon. That she has no control over her own body serves to exacerbate Gong Shil’s vulnerability and helplessness in a particularly gendered way.
But to end on a lighter note, I love how the Dramabeans recap of Ep 12 has become a gigantic internet group hug for commiserating fans. Witness the exploding comments section (850 comments and counting). Drama fans be sweet!