Yu Ra: Spokesperson for Ji An

Throughout the show we see close-ups of the other characters’ hands. But I noticed the show hardly ever shows Yu Ra and Ki Hoon’s hands — and I do think this is because the show wants us to listen carefully to what they’re actually saying.

There were some key moments when what Yu Ra says out loud mirrors Ji An and Dong Hoon’s situation. Either it’s a Ji An and Dong Hoon situation that the show has already shown us, or it’s a future conversation between Ji An and Dong Hoon and Yu Ra says something that foreshadows it.

In Episode 5, Ji An sees Dong Hoon humiliated by Director Yoon, first at work and then at the company dinner. Right after the dinner, Ji An watches over Dong Hoon as he lies down by the train tracks.

At Jung Hee’s bar the next day, Yu Ra tells Ki Hoon, “Thank you. For failing. I think I can live now. Now that you are a failure, I think you are very loveable.” (She is nothing if not honest!)

This early speech parallels Ji An saying later, “I saw what a human was for the first time…. I liked everything about you,” and, “I lived for the first time because I met you.” For Ji An, like for Yu Ra, being human was failing and getting back up. Watching Ki Hoon fail made Yu Ra feel she could live. And watching Dong Hoon be humiliated and rebound from his failures made Ji An feel that she could live.

In Episode 6, Dong Hoon says he’ll feign ignorance if he hears something about Ji An, and Ji An wishes everyone could just know about her past. A tenuous friendship continues to grow between them. Immediately after this scene, Yu Ra goes to the cleaning office and says, “In the winter I just wanted to crawl into a hole.”

But now, “My heart feels like spring.”

It’s so interesting that Yu Ra says these things right after Dong Hoon extends confidentiality and a listening ear to Ji An. You can see that Ji An’s heart is beginning to open and that their new friendship is giving her hope that she’s not so alone in the world. So this monologue of Yu Ra’s foreshadows what Ji An and Dong Hoon talk about later as they walk home together in Episode 8:

Also in Episode 8, Yu Ra has her disastrous movie audition. But notice what she says!

She recites lines that are so uncannily accurate to Ji An and her situation. This is the first episode in which we hear that Ji An likes Dong Hoon — when Kwang Il asks her if she likes Dong Hoon and she says yes – and Yu Ra has already said it during her audition.

We also see Yu Ra ask Ki Hoon for a hug in this episode. We all know what that’s foreshadowing.

After Dong Hoon hits Ji An in the head, their relationship fractures outright and they both keenly feel the loss of connection. Yu Ra has been going through her own hardship on the movie set since the director is constantly scolding her. Ki Hoon visits her at home and she says:

Yu Ra almost perfectly reflects Ji An’s feelings at this point. Ji An is embarrassed after confessing to Dong Hoon and being on the receiving end of Dong Hoon’s violent response. Yu Ra wants to disappear altogether — and Ji An wants to disappear from Saman by having Dong Hoon fire her. The one difference is that Yu Ra wants everyone to be destroyed together, but Ji An wants to sacrifice her job so that DH can get promoted.
 
After Episode 11, Yu Ra’s storyline changes and is more focused on her new relationship with Ki Hoon.
 
Moreover, perhaps because Ji An is more vocal about her feelings starting from Episode 12 and beyond, Yu Ra no longer needs to be her spokesperson.
 
I have to admit Yu Ra grew on me a lot. In the beginning she was annoying and insufferable, just like Ki Hoon felt about her. She was always showing up unwanted and she never took a hint. However, over time I realized she was deeper and more thoughtful than she appeared. Now when I rewatch the show, I’m fascinated by the things coming out of her mouth. Especially knowing how the story between Ji An and Dong Hoon develops, it’s hilarious how unabashedly and accurately Yu Ra gives voice to Ji An’s feelings.

EPILOGUE:

@actionscript from Soompi Forum writes:

We see Ji An in a number of scenes working on the office copier, for example in Episode 2 when Dong Hoon warned Ji An about telling on her about his suspicions that she stole the bribe money:

And in Episode 6 when Kim Dae Ri asked her for paper and she used her foot to open the cabinet:

Then in Episode 16 post time skip, Ki Hoon was watching Yu Ra’s movie and her character was shown working on a copier:

Yu Ra’s character is styled like Ji An (with her hair tied which she doesn’t usually do as Yu Ra), is pounding hard on the copier just as Ji An would, and is wearing a coat similar in color tone to what Ji An would wear in the final scene.

Also here she seemed to have broken the 4th wall and was made to look like she’s glancing at and addressing the movie audience:

This movie scene of Yu Ra in front of the copier seemed deliberately made for Yu Ra to represent Ji An, as it would be too much of a coincidence if it was not. 

Yu Ra is a spokesperson for Ji An, and the audition lines she recited in Episode 8 accurately portrayed Ji An’s situation! So it seemed Yu Ra’s character in her movie was a meta representation for Ji An. Her words in that copier scene, addressed to us the audience, point to what we are to expect coming in the final coffee shop scene that came shortly after — of love surging up between Dong Hoon and Ji An. 

4 thoughts on “Yu Ra: Spokesperson for Ji An”

  1. Names in the phone book:
    Let’s start with a minor parallel:
    -PKH: “PD PKH” in YR’s phone
    -PDH: “Department Head PDH” in LJA’s phone (initially only PDH, and a change after PDH tells her to address him as dept head, although she still calls him “ahjussi” when they speak)

    Oh well, a follow up question:
    while KYH always shown as “wife” in PDH’s phone,
    PDH in her phone…? For sure not “husband”. is it PDH or DH-sshi? …And a further question: DJY in her phone? (JY?)
    Hopefully Korean readers can provide more color.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice parallel!

      And good question – in Ep 10, when YH has just met with DJY and is crying in the car, Dong Hoon calls her. He shows up as “Dong Hoon ssi” in her phone (38:26).

      I can’t tell regarding DJY though…(in Ep 10 after DH comes home beaten up, YH considers calling DJY….but I can’t read her contact list). So yes, hopefully a Korean reader can tell us :).

      Like

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