Dong Hoon’s Breakdown Scene: How it Ties Back to External vs. Internal Forces


DH let it all go while watching TV. I think the scene he was watching had something to do with structure… internal force vs external force reference?


Yes, you are absolutely right. I too think that DH was reminded of the external-vs-internal-forces conversation when he broke down in Ep 16.


(Isn’t it cute that he’s watching tvN on tvN? I used Naver’s Papago translator to help me understand the subtitle on the right-hand-side, and it says something about “temporary framework” – which, in DH’s case, is perhaps his marriage to Yoon Hee?)

DH’s breakdown scene is so meaningful if you bring together:

(1) DH’s conversation with JA in ep 8, and
(2) KH’s reflections about the film Nobody Knows (2004).


DH: Every building is like a struggle between external and internal forces.

Wind, weight, tremors…

We have to take into account all external factors that may affect the building so the design has to be able to withstand all that. We usually design apartments to be able to withstand 300 kilograms. And as for places like lecture halls or schools, where many people gather we design the buildings to be able to withstand much more weight. If it’s just one floor, or a food court we have to take into account the areas where people will sit as well as where more of the weight will be centered when we’re planning them out.
We always have to make sure… that the internal forces can withstand the external forces.

And life, in a way… is a struggle between internal and external forces, too.
No matter what happens… you’ll be able to withstand anything if you have sufficient internal forces.

JA: So, what are the “internal forces” when it comes to life?

DH: I don’t know.

JA: You said that I seemed to have strong “internal forces.”

DH: One of my friends was a really smart guy. I thought we’d have a really successful guy come out of our neighborhood.
But not long after that guy graduated from college… he shaved his head and became a monk. At the time, his parents were bedridden and sick… and the entire neighborhood was in shock.

And there was something that he said as he left.

He said he wanted to try becoming a person who had nothing.

Everyone struggles for their whole life, trying to have things. So they live their entire lives trying to prove themselves to everyone but nobody truly knows what they are gaining by doing that.

And, even if you do end up getting what you want, if the things that made you feel safe…and the things that made you “you” start getting fractured… it’s impossible to withstand it.
And you crumble.


(That’s when we see DH’s flashbacks to YH, and the family they’ve built together.)


All right, let’s go! Let’s see this through until the end!

And, when the things that you thought made you who you are… and the people you thought were pillars in your life… don’t actually seem to provide you with any inner strength… and that nothing… is what it seems

I guess that I subconsciously agreed with him.
And maybe that’s why I gravitated toward a resume that just said “running…” instead of the other resumes that were decked out. That’s why I thought that it was better than the others.

JA: I hate winter.

DH: It’ll be spring soon.

JA: I hate spring, too.
I hate all of the four seasons.
I’m so tired of them.
It’s always the same four seasons, over and over again.

DH: I don’t think that’s something that a 21-year-old should be saying.

JA:  But that isn’t all there is to me, though.
I doubt that I was only born once. Let’s say that I lived to see the day I was born 60 times.
And was reincarnated like 500 times. Then I’d be around 3,000 years old, maybe.

DH: 30,000.

JA: Yeah, 30,000.
I wonder why I keep getting born.



KH: So, how’s she doing? Is she doing well?

DH: How would I know?

KH: She doesn’t call you?

DH: Why would she call me?

KH: There’s a little girl nobody knows. The mother abandoned all of her kids and left so the kids have to fend for themselves throughout the entire movie.
But I shut it off after just five minutes.
The eldest kid, who was 12 years old, would smile and would beg adults for money, and that’s when I turned it off.
I couldn’t bear to watch that movie, because it broke my heart too much.
I wanted to break the TV open, drag the kids out of there, and raise them myself.
I’m a movie director, and yet I can’t even watch a movie. So how am I supposed to direct one?
So I watched it, the next day.
I was glad that I watched it after all.
It turned out that the kids… had some inner strength of their own.
All human beings have some sort of power within them.


My comments:

– Even if you do end up getting what you want (a stable, well-paying job; a family of his own; respect from society), if the things that made you feel safe…and the things that made you “you” start getting fractured (wife; family; job)… it’s impossible to withstand it. And you crumble.

So Dong Hoon loses what he considered were “pillars” in his life, ends up with “nothing”, and crumbles. Thankfully, through his own inner strength (that SW, JA, then KH taught him about) he is able to make a fresh start in his second spring.


– Two things I loved:

  • KH asks DH how JA is doing, not YH. And then he immediately talks about a hypothetical scenario that happens to be eerily similar to JA’s case. Little girl who is abandoned by her mother and is forced to start working as young as 12 y/o… resorts even to begging… possesses an innate inner strength. Reminds me an awful lot about JA.
  • I love that JA doesn’t let herself be defined by her age (21 y/o). And I bet she doesn’t hate spring anymore now.

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