This is a lovely character study on Lee Ji An at the end of the journey with My (Her) Ahjussi. She’s no longer “alone in this big world, a foreigner among laughing people, or just running forward mindlessly.”
by @miracle525 from Soompi
I thought that the scene when Dong-hoon meets Ji-an at Choon-dae’s house was especially stunning. As Ji-an shies away from Dong-hoon, her hair conceals her face and emotions as she speaks those cutting words: “You’re so nice to just anyone, like an idiot. That’s why you’re always suffering.” Yet, instead of staying put, Dong-hoon moves to be right in front of Ji-an, thus forcing her to expose her true vulnerability and giving her no room to hide from him any longer. To me, this scene stood out in its execution and in showing the progression of Ji-an’s emotions throughout her exchange with Dong-hoon.
Of course Ji-an had to one-up Dong-hoon with her response later at the hospital: “I liked all the sounds you made; all of your words and thoughts and the sound of your footsteps, all of it. It felt as if I saw what a human being was, for the first time.” Even as the wiretap was illegal and a gratuitous breach of privacy, it was the key contributor towards the development of Ji-an’s journey with Dong-hoon. Through this wiretap, Ji-an learnt how Dong-hoon would fight for his loved ones like his family, and later, someone like herself; through this wiretap, Ji-an learnt about Dong-hoon’s struggles, all through his voice alone. Wiretapping aside, the fact remains that Dong-hoon and Ji-an connected not on a physical level, but an emotional one. Ji-an’s removal of the wiretap did hurt when it finally happened, even as it was inevitable and necessary. It felt very much as if Ji-an was cutting off a lifeline, and Yoon-hee’s remark earlier in the episode that “she was only hanging in there by listening to [Dong-hoon’s] voice” only amplifies this feeling . The phone eventually going quiet is a painful reminder that Dong-hoon now ceased to exist in that private dimension where Ji-an had first developed her emotional connection with him.
EPISODE 16 (before time lapse):
Oh, Ji-an’s feelings towards Grandma Bong-ae at the mortuary were so palpable! The way she struggled to approach Grandma, the way she looked so much like the lost child that she really is deep down, beneath her hardened exterior were expressed so well. And I could feel her immense regret masked beneath her words: I’m sorry that I could not be there for you more. I’m sorry that you had to suffer too! This was too heartbreaking for me; I’d personally hoped that no character would die in this drama…
I think Sang-hoon was driven to help Ji-an (and achieve some form of redemption from his otherwise passive life in turn) by his sympathy for her. The focus on him and his downturned mouth expressed his thoughts so clearly: How could a young girl like her go through so much? This sentiment is also echoed in the faces of all the other older men (particularly Jae-chul). I’m so grateful that the Park brothers and the larger neighbourhood ultimately came through for Ji-an. No, Dong-hoon, Ji-an never needed thirty men to beat up Kwang-il on her behalf, but she needed at least a few more people to send off Grandma (who truly deserved all the love in the world), and this neighbourhood definitely has succeeded in this regard. I also appreciated the close-ups on Ki-bum and Choon-dae during the funeral service; they were two other people who understood how much Grandma meant to Ji-an.
These poignant lines marked my favourite part of this episode:
Dong-hoon: “You must have come to this neighbourhood in order to save me. I was on the verge of dying but you were the one who saved me.”
Ji-an: “I really lived my life for the very first time because I met you.”
Now, I swear I’ve come across something similar elsewhere, especially for Dong-hoon’s lines. Even so, one cannot deny how much Dong-hoon and Ji-an mean to each other, partly because they met each other at this point in their lives, too. And Dong-hoon’s subsequent call to happiness (“Let’s truly be happy now.”) – harkens back to that first instance in winter, but it does not ring hollow this time; both Dong-hoon and Ji-an have resolved their problems both between themselves and with the people around them, and they can only look forward now.
Wow, that hug was an absolutely beautiful way to cap off Ji-an’s final meeting with Dong-hoon before she left the neighbourhood – I was speechless then, and I still am about this now. I would like to remark, though, that Jung-hee’s presence does not necessarily take away from the impact of this scene; after all, she is the only other person who truly understands why Ji-an would consider herself 30,000 years old. This may be a reach, but I feel that Jung-hee represents the viewers of this drama as a witness to the proof that Ji-an would now be able to return to her home in the stars. (Sure, Ji-an may have liked the neighbourhood mainly because of Dong-hoon, but obviously Dong-hoon himself does not make up the whole neighbourhood).
EPISODE 16 (after time lapse):
Grandma’s last words to Ji-an are so very important: “What a wonderful relationship you have with him, and so precious, too! If you take the time to think about it, each and every interpersonal relationship is quite fascinating and precious. You must repay them. Live a happy life. That is how you can repay the people in your life.” It was so fulfilling to see that Ji-an has taken these words to heart and that she is now able to live life to the fullest unlike before. She has not only repaid the Park brothers and the larger neighbourhood with this new life, but also Grandma through her teaching sign language to others. Grandma definitely lives on in her heart!
About Ji-an not showing her face initially: In light of this drama’s title being “My Mister”, I took this part to mean that we would be following Ji-an’s perspective in this final scene; it is only when she finally finds Dong-hoon that we are able to take on his perspective and see Ji-an for the happier person whom she has become. In a way, this highlights how Ji-an is not truly fulfilled until she is with Dong-hoon, and it also serves as a confirmation for both Dong-hoon and the viewers that Ji-an is indeed living well.
I love how this open ending was done!! It struck a nice balance between establishing that the two leads are now reunited, and leaving room for viewers to wonder how they would progress. And I wasn’t grasping for more as much as I was contented here, because I knew that Dong-hoon and Ji-an would have at least one dinner date lined up for them.
To me, Adult by Sondia (OST Part 2) is pretty much the character theme for Ji-an – by extension, it would be the theme song of this drama itself – and it was the best song to cap off this final episode, and the end of this drama. “On what day, at which time, at which place / Will my small world smile at me?” Oh, Ji-an, your world is smiling at you right now, and we know that things can only get so much better from this point on.
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