Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Miss You

I Miss You a.k.a. Missing You
Warning: This will be a long blog & will probably contain spoilers...I can't help myself
This is a post I've been itching to write for a long time but kept putting off in the hopes that my emotional turmoil attachment would finally cease but even after more than six months, I'm still as emotional distraught attached to the Kdrama as I was on the day it ended. This is one of those Kdramas that define other Kdramas--the kind that you rewatch in the hopes that somehow magically the script and the characters will change to make everything as perfect as you know it should have been.

But it never never does...*cries quietly in the dark*

Despite the less than perfect ending, this Kdrama was...utterly amazing. I have never been so emotionally attached to a complete story line than this one; the characters, the script, and the different twists and plots. This is the kind of Kdrama that makes you stop and does Jung Yi, Goddess of Fire have 30 episodes and I Miss You only 21? Actually, it was originally suppose to only have 20 episodes but was extended by a single episode (Mwo? Wae? WAE??), I ask--as if my favorite character would have ended up less crazy than he did if the story had remained one episode shorter...he probably would have died, to be honest so in hindsight I'll take the single extra episode and him alive yet tragically mentally unstable. Ok...I'll start by discussing the characters and THEN delve into what made this KDrama so great.

One more thing...I will once again give you two warnings:
  1. Like I stated above, unlike my other Recommended Kdrama pages, this page WILL contain if that worries you in anyway, let me just simply this Kdrama, it's good...and you can go on your merry way...
  2. Also,there was a sensitive scene in this KDrama that...quite honestly...I'm shocked the writers even wrote into the script. This scene will also be discussed in this blog.
Ok, so without further ado...I'm going to discuss our 3 leads in 2 separate ways: their younger & older selves: 

Kim So Hyun as Lee Soo Yeon
Normally I discuss my favorite character of the Kdrama first but since I know his section will be the longest, I'll start small. That brings us to Lee Soo Yeon a.k.a. Zoey. (FYI, depending on where you watch the KDrama the name changes to Joy).  Soo Yeon is first played by Kim So Hyun, who is an amazing young actress. Soo Yeon is a quiet and abused fifteen year old with a mother we'd all like to shoot--in the beginning. We never actually meet her father but we know he's a murderer and eventually dies via the death penalty. She meets a fifteen year old boy named Han Jung Woo, who immediately takes interest in her because she looks so downtrodden all the time. Eventually these two become best friends or boyfriend/girlfriend depending on your interpretation, and they're basically inseparable. Unfortunately, Han Jung Woo's father a**hole and inadvertently causes Soo Yeon to get kidnapped alongside Jung Woo by some hired thugs of his enemy. One such hired thug  decides that he's just not quite scummy enough so he [sensitive issue coming up] rapes Soo Yeon in front of Jung Woo, who is completely helpless to stop it. Let me tell you, that scene is hard to watch--not that you see any of the actual rape, thank God, but watching Jung Woo's face who IS 'witnessing', tears were unavoidable. Some time later, Jung Woo is able to break his bonds and is faced with the difficult decision...does he risk getting caught  trying to save Soo Yeon (who is, understandably, completely shell shocked) or leave her there in an attempt to be quick in finding help?  I'm going to stop here because, well I've basically given you a run down of the first 5 episodes of Soo Yeon's character and because if you plan on watching the KDrama, I don't want to ruin it by telling you what decision Jung Woo makes. 

Han Jung Woo is first played by another amazing young actor named Yeo Jin Goo.  Jung Woo, who has spent an undisclosed amount of time studying abroad in America, is the black sheep of the family. According to his terrible father, he's too compassionate, too unmaterialistic--just basically, everything his father isn't and we are grateful! He ends up coming back to Korea after finding out his father has had some health problems and meets Soo Yeon. He's drawn to her because she looks so utterly alone and befriends her even though she is reluctant at first. He has a moment of indecision when he finds out her father is a murderer but after seeing her being shunned by almost everyone in her life because of it, he decides to say 'the hell with it' and their friendship blossoms into something beautiful. At least until tragically, he's forced to make a decision that fateful night...
[Side note: It's been great watching these two young actor's career soar after this Kdrama.]

After that night, completely emotionally and physically damaged, Soo Yeon disappears....

Unbeknownst to them...there has been a side plot going on the whole time! Jung Woo's grandfather remarried (at some point) and his new wife bore a son, Kang Hyung Joon. Hyung Joon, having unknowingly garnered all of his father's love, is to inherit everything upon his father's death. Well Jung Woo's father--Hyung Joon's much older brother--is none too pleased with this turn of events. Well, guess what happened in the beginning of the Kdrama. Yuppers! And everything goes to the much, much younger (13 years old) son. So Jung Woo's father, power hungry monger that he is, decides to effectively get rid of the mother AND the son so that he alone, inherits all the goods. Having separated mother and son, he orders the death of this poor child but Hyung Joon's mother, having anticipated this situation, already planned Hyung Joon's escape. While escaping his impending death though, Hyung Joon is injured and his leg is forever crippled. However, he is able to make a successful escape and is semi-rescued again later on by Soo Yeon and Jung Woo--who have no idea who he actually is. In the meantime, it's actually Hyung Joon's mother who, for revenge, sets up the kidnapping of Jung Woo. As it turns out, she is the one to blame for what happens to Soo Yeon. Now, Hyung Joon is our third lead, and although he doesn't play MUCH of a role when he's young, when this little fella grows up...just..just damn... Through some complicated happenstance that I won't be discussed in this blog, it is actually Hyung Joon who convinces Soo Yeon to run away from what happened and they leave Korea together.
14 Years Later...

Zoey has become a highly successful fashion designer with an attitude. She's tough, ambitious and takes crap from no one...unless they walk with a cane. She's spent the last 14 with our very handsome, sweet and charming but crippled Harry Borrison a.k.a. Hyung Joon. This older version is played by Yoon Eun Hye and it was probably her best role so far. Zoey trusts no one but Harry, and for good reason too. She's developed a loving but chaste relationship with Harry while they've been estranged in France. She states at one point that she just assumed that one day her and Harry would get married but it's just never come up. 

For the most part, her past has been forgotten and she's living a stable life. That is, until she returns to Korea.  

Han Jung Woo, having spent the last 14 years searching for Soo Yeon, has become an eccentric homicide detective who lives to skirt around the edges of the law. Park YooChun plays the older Jung Woo and at first...well actually, his opening scene is him beating the hell out of a criminial, but besides that--he seems very carefree, fun-loving-normal mid-20's guy. However he still carries the horrors of his past and almost everyone knows about his obsession with trying to find his long lost first love. Although he is ostracized from his real family, he's created a new family with Soo Yeon's mother and Soo Yeon's "step-sister". His relationship with Soo Yeon's mother is the best pseudo-mother/son relationship I've ever seen in a Kdrama. He refers to this Eomeo-nim (mother) as his girlfriend and quite often actually treats her as such. It's really, very sweet and one of the very few rays of sunshine in this otherwise depressingly dark Kdrama. 

Although his life is steady as the beating drum, most of him is still living in the past wondering what happened to Soo Yeon and feeling guilty.

And that...*massive sigh*...brings us to Harry Borrison. Harry..Harry..Harry..His character breaks my heart. I've talked about being Emotionally Invested in characters before--i.e. Dream High, I Hear Your Voice, etc--but none more so than Harry Borrison. I don't even know where to begin...Kang Hyung Joon has become Harry Borrison during his stay in France, we'll just go from there. Just like Zoey, he trusts no one but her and he's completely content to run his business (stocks or something...)--to which he is particularly successful--and live the rest of his life by Zoey's side. He walks with a cane but *phew* Yoo Seung Ho (actor) makes it look sexy as hell. Although he does have a job, his main concern is providing for Zoey...or so it seems until the story progresses and you realize that he's been planning his revenge while he's been exiled...unbeknownst to Zoey. His position in Zoey's life has never been tested and always seemed certain until circumstances require Harry to return to Korea and Zoey, unfortunately, follows. 

[Spoilers to Follow]

Harry must return to Korea to take care of his "aunt's" estate but it's just not that simple! The aunt died under suspicious circumstances so two homicide detectives have been assigned to the case and this opens the doorway for Jung Woo to enter the picture. Zoey was suppose to stay in France--effectively staying away from her past--but she decides to follow Harry so that he doesn't have to be alone. It surprises him and sort of throws a wrench in his revenge plan but thinking he'll still be able to do what he came to Korea to do, he doesn't think much of it until the sh*t hits the fan. Harry, having met Detective Han, doesn't recognize him as Jung Woo but Jung Woo certainly recognizes Zoey and the proverbial "Oh sh*t" moment catches them all by surprise. Zoey, somewhat belatedly, deflects his questions but Jung Woo knows it's her. 

There is a specific scene I get sincere enjoyment out of because it happens right after Jung Woo recognizes her. Jung Woo can't stop looking at her and basically stares a hole into the back of her head while Harry stares at Jung Woo--all the while, Jung Woo's partner is attempting to explain the awkward situation but neither party pays attention:
(it's my 'paint' .jpeg so forgive the disheveled pixilation)

This is one of my favorite scenes because:
  1. It's the first time they're all in the same room together in 10+ years;
  2. Harry stakes his claim by announcing to Jung Woo that Zoey is his fiancee, taking them all by surprise
  3. Jung Woo, obsession aside, finally gets taken down a peg and has to face the fact that his "I'll find her and all will be well in the world again" mindset is severely flawed. 
In the beginning of the adult-version episodes, the connection between Harry and Zoey is strong: 
Zoey: Are you mad? Because I came without giving you any notice?
 I came because I was worried about you. *silence* Come on, just this once?
Harry: Don't ever--surprise me like this again. Promise me that.
Zoey: *nods and attempts to look chastised*
 Harry: I'm not falling for that. You're laughing right now, aren't you?
Zoey: *smirks* How did you know? That's why you shouldn't
have had your phone off. Watch yourself. 

Between the scenes where he can't even stay mad at her and the next two scenes, it isn't any wonder why the audience falls in love with these two people:
Zoey: When we were little, I always told myself that if you ever left me behind 
and ran away by yourself, I'll come find you because of your mole.
Harry: How can I run away with this bum leg?
You're the one I should be telling not go to anywhere.
Because I won't be able to come after you.


Zoey has her first emotional break after she sees her rapist again..*tears*
Coincidentally all of these scenes come from Episode 6, but the writers make sure that we fall thoroughly in love with this couple before ripping them apart. Harry is everything Zoey ever needed, his only flaw...he wasn't her first love. It drives me crazy rewatching it because, had I been Zoey, there's no way I would have walked away from Mr. Harry Borrison. He's perfect for her! Harry would have been completely content to just stay next to Zoey without actually being in a relationship with her. He just wanted to take care of her, love her and support her no matter what--all he needed was to be loved back as sincerely as he loved her. 

In this scene she turns her back on Jung Woo in favor of Harry

As much as I'd like to blame Zoey's betrayal on Zoey alone...I can't because Jung Woo is truly a great guy. At first I hated him; forgive me fellow Park Yoochun fans, I thought he was ugly, not charming, not anything he actually is in this Kdrama. I mean, the Kdrama is about Soo Yeon and Jung Woo falling in love, so of course going into it you know those two are going to end up together but I hadn't expected to fall for Hyung Joon so damn much! That aside, Jung Woo is amazingly sweet, incredibly handsome and wants to protect Zoey as much as Harry does, he's just better equipped to do it because of his job--and doesn't have a vengeful chip on his shoulder, that kind of helps, I guess. 
Jung Woo: First love? No. I never got the chance to love her. 
That's why I searched for her, so that I can love her for real this time.


Jung Woo: Let's go home. *silence* Soo Yeon-ah--
Zoey: Lee Soo Yeon & Zoey, I told you, I don't want to be either.
 So stop it. *takes off jacket*
Jung Woo: Stop what? What have I done that I need to stop? 
I told you that I would come get you if you cry one more time, didn't I? 
So let's go home.


Soo Yeon's Mom: I missed you a lot today.
Jung Woo: *hugs her* I thought about my girlfriend all day.
But you should prepare yourself, there's another woman.
And she's younger and prettier.
Soo Yeon's Mom: You need to start thinking about yourself now
and stop worry about us here, okay?
Jung Woo: Are you saying I'm yesterday's news,
now that Soo Yeon is home? 
Soo Yeon's Mom: But I still love you the most.
Jung Woo: Coming on strong now that you've got a rival, huh?
*Soo Yeon comes out of bedroom*
Oh, we've been caught!
*hugs them both* 
Is Han Jung Woo finally getting to be with two women? (lol)

So as much as I scream sing Harry Borrison's praises, I am forced to acknowledge that Jung also a good match for Zoey...
But let's move onto the unraveling portion of this Kdrama...

1) The unraveling actually begins with Harry himself: He's cocky and self-assured that he doesn't need to worry about Zoey; slowly but surely he stops loving her the right way and starts to manipulate her into continuing to acknowledge him as her current love. It's his way of showing up Jung Woo--which further pisses Jung Woo off but Jung Woo has spent the last 14 years without her--he doesn't mind fighting for her and waiting patiently which Harry has had no experience with. 
Zoey bursts out "I can't do this" and leaves quickly via the elevator
 while Harry struggles to catch up to her
2) Then his plan for revenge: After what happened to him, I can totally understand WHY he chose to exact revenge. In his position, not gonna lie, I'd probably do the same thing. But what started as a quest to avenge his [spoiler] assumingly dead mother, turns into "Oh My God, my mother is alive but I'm still going to go full steam ahead in my plan" despite Zoey's warning to stop while he still can.
She's warning him after seeing his mother for the first time
3) Then, the unthinkable happens: After Harry finds out how mother is still alive, it turns out she doesn't remember him, at all! 14 years of brainwashing and torture at the hands of Jung Woo's father has caused her to forget her son entirely and this is the proverbial 'last straw'. Harry just loses it. Between losing Zoey's love, constantly having to evade Jung Woo's sharp detective skills and then finally finding his long lost mother and losing her within minutes of their reunion, Harry just snaps. 
The last two episodes of the KDrama are gripping and full of anxiety. Harry Borrison fans all over the world were screaming at him to stop--I know this because we were all tweeting about it! To say I am the only Harry Borrison supporter is laughable, people all over the world fell in love with this character and we all had to sit back helplessly as Harry Borrison went down in was tragic. 

Needless to say, Jung Woo get's the girl and Harry--who I was half-convinced was going to die in the final episode--suffers a complete mental breakdown and becomes a recluse. In fact, what happens to him is infinitely worse. He winds up at a mental hospital where, in his post-complete mental breakdown state--can barely function as a human being. His final scenes are so tragically sad that, you almost want to skip past them so you don't have to see him in such a pathetic state. But it's really his last-last scene that is the clincher. It leaves the audience wondering if he hasn't retained some of his memory.

Secret hand signal that indicates the person is taking away another person's bad memories,
we see this throughout the entire Kdrama.

I didn't discuss the supporting cast because I fear this blog is too long to begin with, but the supporting cast is just as amazing as the lead actors and they help contribute to this rather complicated story line...

To finish up, I wanna discuss the actors/actresses in this Kdrama:

First off, huge applause to Yoo Seung Ho!! *figuratively claps*
Despite having all of his Kdramas in my "plan-to-watch" list, I had only watched Operation Proposal where he played this goofy, cutesy-type person so watching him take on this character and flourish in it was very good to see. I was disappointed to find out he didn't even get nominated for any of the 2013 Korean Awards. I think he fully deserved at least a nomination if not a win and that's me being OBJECTIVE about this character. The interwebs were all spouting about how amazing his acting skills were for this Kdrama so..yeah..anyway, I was disappointed. The other thing that was disappointing--in a "I completely support you" kind of way is, Yoo Seung Ho, immediately after filming was wrapped, joined the military. I don't even think he did any post-drama interviews. He announced he was going to join after filming finished and then extremely quietly joined the military without so much as a goodbye to fans. I give him kudos to his mentality concerning people in the military but damn boy...think you could have at least TALKED about your role before leaving?!?! Although, if he wanted to take a leave of absence with a bang, this was the way to do it...

Word on the web is he has been very successful in the Army as well as moving up the ranks and getting medals so, if I could actually pass on a message to our young soldier, I'd say:

 Yoo Seung Ho-ssi, we will wait patiently for you to return but until then, Fighting! Stay healthy, don't skip meals and work hard and come back more cool than you already were going in. Saranghae, Yoo Seung Ho-ssi. Bogoshipeo! 
*sigh* Moving on...
Park Yoochun...This is the first role I ever saw Yoochun in but I've since seen Rooftop Prince and you know, for a Kpop hallyu star, he is an amazing actor--as most of them are. Rooftop Prince displays more range as far as acting goes, but still..this role definitely impressed me--as well as plenty of others, I'm sure. Having witnessed him cry in this Kdrama and in Rooftop Prince, he's made my list of "Top Best Fake Cryers", the sincerity he displays with all of his characters makes him a great actor to watch. I'll be looking for more from him! 

And Yoon Eun Hye!
I've actually seen several of her KDramas at this point and she never ceases to impress me. Whether she is playing a woman living as a man (Coffee Prince), a wealthy yet snobby heiress (My Fair Lady) or Zoey/Soo Yeon, this woman is great! She molds herself into whoever she's pretending to be and owns that role and her range is incredible and she'll only get better with time. Yay! 

So I know I kind of took you all for a ride--if you even made it to the end of my description which I wouldn't blame you if you didn't given all the spoilers riddled throughout but if it helps...despite everything I've written about here, I've barely scratched the surface of the plot line? There is still so much I haven't spoken about and maybe that'll peak your interest enough to watch the show anyway. It's not called a 'melodrama' for nothing. It's worth the investment. Please, please, please, check it out. 

Just remember, with any Kdrama you watch, keep an open mind and give it a try. 
Feel free to leave comments in the comment section below and let me know you felt about the Kdrama! Kamsahamnida! (Thank you!)

1 comment:

  1. I first watched Yoo Seung Ho in Arang and the Magistrate playing the part of King Jade. He did an amazing job at portraying an immortal being of wisdom and mercy and I was utterly stunned to discover that that amazing job was done by such a young actor. I have since watched him in other things and he never fails to impress with his acting skills. I look forward to seeing the roles he takes on when he returns from the military. Hearing that he is doing well even in that shows he is a person of passion and meticulous skill.