Ji An: Dong Hoon’s ‘Angel’

By @miracle525 from Soompi

I have this belief that Dong-hoon subconsciously perceives Ji-an as an angel of sorts. (Crap, I don’t know how to put this across more appropriately, but hear me out!) This perception stems from the sheer number of times that Ji-an has appeared in front of Dong-hoon’s very eyes – like some divine vision – in the moments when thoughts of her lie at the back of his mind. This is exemplified in the following:

  • EP 7: Ji-an runs into the friendly restaurant (you know what I mean), notably with the aid of her earphones/wiretap, just as a disappointed Dong-hoon is about to leave;
“She’s here. The pretty one.”
  • EP 9 (later): Dong-hoon is smoking with a friend outside Jung Hee’s bar when Ji-an walks by. He calls out to her, only to be ignored;
Dong Hoon gets royally ignored.
  • EP 10 (earlier): Dong-hoon is walking home alone when he chances upon Ji-an, who had been waiting for him, and is presented with a pair of slippers, and;
Ji An presents Dong Hoon with slippers.
  • EP 12 (earlier): As Dong-hoon is reeling from the shock the morning after the disintegration of his marriage to Yoon-hee, his soccer friend drives by and he and Ji-an spot each other.

Somewhere along the way, Dong-hoon begins to look out for Ji-an, possibly wondering if these moments of coincidence can be replicated. This may be observed in the following:

  • EP 9 (earlier): When Ji-an misses her stop, Dong-hoon dawdles on the street and waits. Soon enough, he sees Ji-an running out of the train station and putting her earphones, before she sees him herself and takes these earphones off;
Ji An listens for Dong Hoon’s presence.
  • EP 10 (later): While Dong-hoon is in the friendly restaurant speaking with the divorced owner, he looks out at the street, seemingly to no avail. This parallels that moment in EP 7 with a twist: Ji-an does not appear in the restaurant but on the street, and Dong-hoon’s wish to see Ji-an that evening is technically fulfilled. However, this meeting does not go well as Ji-an ignores him a second time, he confronts her about that, and he is subsequently forced to hit her against his will (all while Joon-young’s PI was watching), and;
Dong Hoon looks for a certain someone with a “pretty face”.
  • EP 11 / EP 12 (later): Dong-hoon stands outside Jung-hee’s bar (alone in EP 11, then with his friends in EP 12) and looks around, only for his hopes of seeing Ji-an walk by like she’d done in EP 9 to be dashed.
Ahjussi’s nightly landscaping surveys.

Now, it is all too easy for any illusions of destiny, fate etc to be shattered by the revelation that Ji-an has been wiretapping him all the time. I will note that Ji-an did not use her earphones/wiretap to find Dong-hoon in majority of the above sequences. However, the significance of certain moments, such as that in EP 7, would be undercut by the involvement of this wiretap; Dong-hoon would doubt that these special moments when Ji-an appeared in front of him, right where he wanted her, were purely coincidental. In a way, this is similar to the earlier conflict of Ji-an stealing the bribe money – Dong-hoon had almost believed in the possibility that Ji-an discarded the money to ‘save’ him until he found out that she had meant to protect herself, albeit with good reason.

Of course, we have established that Ji-an’s wiretapping of Dong-hoon is in no way moral and/or ethical. She had taken advantage of his proximity to her in EP 3 to plant this wiretap on him, and she had initially intended to bring harm upon him with this. In addition, she had inadvertently become witness to the humiliation of both Dong-hoon himself and his family (see: Sang-hoon’s humiliation in EP 4). We understand that the subsequent development of her relationship with him does not negate this initial breach of trust and privacy. In an alternate timeline, Ji-an would not have been Dong-hoon’s ‘angel’ but a harbinger of doom.

A similar conflict is expressed in a confrontation between the main leads in The Great Seducer:

Kwon Shi-hyun: Tae-hee, I came to like you so much. That’s why this happened. […]

Eun Tae-hee: Sure. I’m sure it wasn’t in your plan to actually come to like me. What [you] planned was to see me suffer after I get abandoned.

We cannot be certain of Dong-hoon’s immediate reaction to the impending revelation of Ji-an’s plans at this time. Perhaps he’d tell Ji-an, “If I’d known you were going to be like this, maybe I should’ve just let Joon-young fire me over the bribe money instead of suffering at your hands!!” Or perhaps he’d think differently. Who knows? Still, all is not lost; he will ultimately forgive her for the wrongs that she had done by him. (This has to be the case, right? You can’t tell me otherwise!) Herein lies the beauty of My Ajusshi; it presents us with realistic conflicts between individuals and demonstrates the power of empathy and forgiveness.

P.S.: This song has a calmness and sensitivity that reminds me of My Ajusshi sometimes, and its lyrics may resemble Ji-an’s thoughts towards Dong-hoon (even as not all of it may be applicable; I’ve put the lines which stand out to me in bold below):

BANKS – Crowded Places

I wanna get you in my spaces
I wanna take you different places

I know the touring is romantic
I know you see me as a frantic girl
But I can give you what you want
I know you like the way I held my temper
When I gave you to the world
I can be your heart to let go

‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home
‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home

I know I messed with your head
It was just when I left you

When I was just blowing up, when I said
Remember when I loved you right before that tour?
You said you didn’t want to see me anymore
And when I got home when I played that show in LA
All your s**t was gone
It was the only time I thought I’d made a mistake
And when I only want to hold you
I thought I wanted you to hold me

It falls to death so talk with me
This life, what if it’s you and me?
Don’t know, oh no
Maybe that means we’ll fall from grace
It’d be okay, I’d have your face with me

You’ll see…

‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
I’ve been scared of crowded places

(NOTE: This post was originally written before Ep 13 aired.)

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