Park Dong Hoon: Built in 1974, Renovated in 2018. Part 3/3: His Reconstruction

Soompi members discuss how the drama’s structural engineering jargon (cracked concrete, structural reinforcement, pillars, emergency escape routes) mirrors Dong Hoon’s state of life / marriage. What causes these cracks to form, and how can they be reinforced?  Is there an escape route?  Part 3/3: Dong Hoon finally hugs himself and starts making changes to his life.

Before Dong Hoon’s breakdown, we saw Ki Hoon and his mom re-pot this particular indoor plant.  The plant’s name is India rubber plant / Rubber fig (인도고무나무).    source


According to this site, the meaning of this plant is unchanging love and eternal happiness.

Screenshot (205)

The act of moving a plant to a better pot symbolizes how Dong Hoon (who in episode 4 thought that he was born in the wrong place and couldn’t be reconstructed) will have a new beginning in all aspects of his life, by starting his own business, facing the failures in his marriage, and becoming an individual who prioritizes his own happiness.


Actually the same potted rubber tree was in Dong Hoon’s house in the next scene (camera panned to it before he sat and cried). I remember thinking he took it home!


The Last Ship. I Swear from Tumblr:

This infuriating man, even after everything he has gone through – they ALL have gone through – he refuses to give in, to accept, to process. he’s still trying to keep up the sturdy facade. All those pent up emotions are LITERALLY breaking out, so desperate to be free that they twist his facial muscles and shock his lips into twitching, and he knows it.  He feels another one coming and he blinks, he sets his jaw, he chews, he swallows – no no no this is not happening, I won’t let it as long as it all remains inside.  As long as it’s not out in the open it’s not real. Let it choke me, let it burn me. I’m not letting it out because once it’s out and in front of me, I will have no choice but to look at it and I don’t want to look at it.  I’m not going to like what i’ll see
He blinks.
He sets his jaw.
He chews.
He swallows.
He wipes off a tear and rushes to the bathroom.
But it’s too late, much too late, my boy.  You can’t hide from this in the bathroom, you can’t wash it off with a splash of cold water. You are way past the point of no return. Even without her, you can’t go back to pretending. Everything that has happened can’t be for nothing. Everything you have learned to feel needs room and you are just going to have to make it.


Yes, he was broken down because the marriage is all over.. And finally he can break down over it now unlike before. He was buying all instant food from the grocery story alone (aka divorcee food) and not calling Yoon Hee.


I agree that that crying scene has more to do with his broken marriage (not missing her) than with Ji An, although I think that she has her share in it. I read that scene as his finally accepting his projected life doesn’t exist anymore. Even if one isn’t in love, it is very painful to let go of a marriage that represents what one thought it will be his perfect life.


Coming from his mom’s home after little bro asks if Ji An has called him after all this time.  He was visibly upset.   He shops then goes to his apartment and tries to eat but can’t.  He can’t hold it in any longer…he misses her so much that it hurts.  He allows himself a good deep cry.  (His divorce was a while ago because the photos show his ex-wife with their son in the U.S.)


Dong Hoon’s breakdown really broke my heart. We don’t need word to understand his feelings. Dong Hoonlaid bare his soul and his deepest inner feelings with that tears. When Yoon Hee cheated on him, his tears was more on his own personal pain of being considered worthless by his wife, but his tears for Ji An came from the fact that someone who means so much to him, his other half, his soulmate is no longer by his side.


For me, the breakdown was not only about his realisation of the sham he had thought was the perfect life — the directorship, the marriage — but also because he remembered his promise to Ji An that he would be happy. But he’s right back to where he was when they first met.  I promised her I will be happy. And look at me. What am I now if not pathetic? Has anything changed? NO! So change it must!

That was probably the most pivotal scene for me. Dong Hoon’s grand realisation of his pitiful, pathetic life. THE EPIPHANY.


마음껏 우는 이선균, ‘한 번도 안아본 적 없는 나를. 끌어안고 울었다.’ 나의 아저씨 16화 (the title of the tvN clip below)

That’s that line he said in the preview that we thought he was saying to Ji-An. We thought he was saying, “You’ve never hugged me.” But he was actually saying, “I have never hugged me.

And with that single act of kindness towards himself, a painful chapter in Dong Hoon’s life ends, and a new one begins.

Related posts:

Part 1: His Structural Cracks

Part 2: His Reinforcement and Emergency Exit 

His breakdown and how it ties back to internal vs. external forces


4 thoughts on “Park Dong Hoon: Built in 1974, Renovated in 2018. Part 3/3: His Reconstruction”

  1. Although I’ve rewatched MA numerous times, it’s still difficult to watch that PDH crying scene, and yes I’m guilty of fastforwading that particular scene when I rewatched ep 16…
    Because it feels too raw and too personal…
    I mean, cmiiw, this is the first time viewers see emotional display from PDH without another character present. There’s Yoon Hee, the brothers, or other characters… and of course there’s LJA always listening and accompanying the viewers. But this time it’s just us, the viewers, and PDH. And stoic PDH is crying his heart out! I feel a bit ashamed of myself for breaching his private moment…
    Sorry if I’m not making any sense 😂
    Even just the gif brought so many feels 😭

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally understand what you’re saying. He’s shed a few tears here and there, mostly out of anger and hurt at being betrayed. But here, he is just feeling sad and lonely, and the flood of emotions is overwhelming, especially to a man as enduring as he is. And that makes the breakdown very very uncomfortable to watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m curious since I have the Netflix version and I don’t know Korean, but is this line “I have never hugged me,” in ep 16 somewhere or is it just in the episode preview? In my re-watches I haven’t seen it show up in the subtitles for ep 16, but it seems like such a poignant line so I’d love to see it :).


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