…, make that self-realization, that he has fallen for her! A hilarious recap of the moments Dong Hoon is forced to deal with his emotions. This was written before episode 13 aired.
by @morninginsp from tumblr
I’ve gone back through and decided to narrow it down to 5 moments (really you could say any time they shared air in episode 12, and that would be accurate) plus one that was completely unconsciously done before he started to grasp the situation he found himself in, and I’ll explain the rationale behind each.
Pre-realization: When he goes to buy out her debt and ends up beating Kwang Il to a pulp (and in turn getting pummeled himself). This one I would argue was when he was mostly unconsciously doing it because he had growing feelings for her. I don’t think at this point he had any idea of the breadth of his feelings for her. However, he did know that Ji An getting beat up by this jackass was completely unacceptable. And although I believe this could be completely platonic and more family oriented if the future moments hadn’t happened, there were some elements of him having complex feelings that led to this moment.
Moment One: When Ji An’s grandmother tells him how grateful and at peace having him in Ji An’s life makes her feel. This was definitely the first oh, shit! moment he had. Dong Hoon is not a dumb man. He has known from the beginning how this relationship might be perceived from the outside, which is why he told her that he shouldn’t keep eating meals with her. But I don’t think he had to come to terms with his own feelings on these perceptions until now. Beyond the communication gap, I do believe he was momentarily stunned by this perception. How it didn’t completely fall outside his own feelings for her led to him just accept it instead of trying to refute what was being said. (Yes there’s also an argument that he just didn’t want to break her grandmother’s heart, but he was a little too struck by the statement at the time, in my opinion, for that to be the main factor which keeps him quiet.)
Moment Two: The entire engineered scene by Ji An where she baits him into hitting her because she confesses her feelings for him. I rewatched this scene earlier this week, and oh man, it is really really uncomfortable to watch. There are a lot of emotions at the surface and the violence in this show is always so realistic that I was highly disturbed on the rewatch. YET, if he didn’t feel anything, he would not have reacted like that. She struck the nerve that had been exposed by her grandmother earlier in the episode and played him to a tee. But if you watch his face when he realizes what is going on, it is clear he wants to run as far away as possible from these emotions. Oh, she does like me! I was planning on dealing with my emotions here by burying them so deep they never see the light of day, like I always do. DONG HOON, DEAL WITH YOUR EMOTIONS IN A HEALTHY MANNER THAT DOES NOT FALL FOR THE MECHANISMS SHE WANTS YOU TO! Especially since it involves violence. Anyway, if he didn’t reciprocate (her feelings), I could see him being very gentle with the let down here. As he’s not, I would say there’s something going on under the surface.
Moment Three: (God this is getting long; I have a lot of feelings clearly.) Oh hey, that scene where he tells her that he won’t fire her even though she wants him to. I’m just saying, he gets really worked up over some slippers, you guys. I mean, I too would get very worked up over the slippers that my totally platonic friend took back after a nasty conversation where I didn’t handle myself very well, and then demand she re-gift me some. And really, this scene is just an extension of that moment when he realizes they are gone, and it clearly upsets him. Which is to say, he doesn’t want her out of his life, and he desperately needs her to realize that. When he demands she buys him new slippers, I was like O-KAY THEN. You are in no way telling her that you don’t want to throw away your relationship and that it might mean something more than you’re willing to actually say at this moment as you’ve realized she means a lot to you? Ji An, being the champion that she is totally, falls even more for him because of this.
Moment Four: When after reliving the events of his wife’s confession in his mind and his subsequent emotional breakdown, he physically reacts to her presence on the street corner. If at any moment his response to her should be at its most muted, it would be here after thinking about how much he is hurt by his wife, and yet he follows her with his eyes, (I’m not getting into the scene on the train, but THE WAY HE LOOKS AT HER that she then calls out, oh my god, Ji An, my darling, how are you still standing??) and actually sits up to maintain eye contact. The yearning; it was so real. Their connection is so palpable in that scene, and he plays such a huge role in it. Even as he leans back, it’s like oh wow, I am IN THIS. This girl is living under my skin. Yes, Dong Hoon, have emotions. They are not evil.
Moment Five: It’s actually much smaller than the other moments. When he’s scanning the area for her outside Jung Hee’s bar, when he’s chatting with the neighborhood boys, , hoping she’ll turn up. That was when I was like, you’re not even trying any more, sweetie. You’ve accepted your fate. He so wanted her to appear, and that aching feeling is so delicious. And again, if it were strictly a platonic relationship, his face wouldn’t have been quite as hopeful and distracted as it was. Concerned, sure, but that mixture of longing and hope, not so much. (Props to Lee Sun Kyun’s face which gives so much away in minute expressions totally in line with his reserved character.)
Excerpt from Ajusshi’s Longing Looks:
Ahjussi looks for someone he finds pretty… not-so-subtly
Ahjussi’s nightly landscaping surveys
Bonus: WHEN HE F***ING SMILES AT HER WHEN SHE CALLS HIM A GOOD PERSON AND LOOKS BASHFUL. Sorry that was unacceptable, DONG HOON! You know she’s fallen for you. Her heart eyes alone squeeze my heart painfully (also let’s not discount the heavy lifting IU does in her micro expressions in this drama because they SLAY me), and yet you think it’s acceptable to blush like a school boy over her sweet compliment while you’re eating and drinking together? Do you want me to fall for this nonsense? DO YOU???
Anyway, those would be the main moments that I think suggest he’s probably fallen/falling for one Lee Ji An, and he has no idea what to do about it.
Other worthy moments: When he says that she knows him and it makes him sad, when he calls her a good person for caring for her grandmother, when he refuses to fire her after the incident with the assistant manager, all the moments he refuses to say anything about their relationship while being prepped for his interview, when he realizes she stayed in the office without him to help the team finish the report, and then when they have their conversation that includes intense eye contact before she runs off due to photographer dude, and then he F***ING CHASES OFF THAT PHOTOGRAPHER DUDE AND HOVERS PROTECTIVELY OVER HER LIKE A BAMF and then walks her home despite her protests she’d be fine. And the actual concern that plays across his face in the split second we see it after he finds out she got called in for the interview. To like name a few more.
Final thought: these moments are building now more quickly. I don’t think that’s just a coincidence.
More moments post episode 12 here. And pretty much all of episodes 13 to 16 are about these moments, don’t you agree?