“Pride and Prejudice” Ep. 13

“Pride and Prejudice” episode 13 yields a few of the gut-wrenching emotional moments we’ve been dreading.

As Koo Dong-Chi spends his last night on the job putting together the puzzle pieces, he finally knows as much as we do: Moon Hee-Man and Jang Chang-Gi were at the hit-and-run accident that killed Kang Soo’s mother. Kang Soo was kidnapped to cover it up, and Han Byul died because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The original title of this series was “Lawless World,” a more fitting title than “Pride and Prejudice.” This show is dark, in tone and style as well as plot. The director (Kim Jin-Min) seems to be deliberately avoiding prettiness. K-dramas in recent years have standardized a glossy, colorful jewel box vision of Seoul as romance capital. But here, the muted colors and harsh lighting give us a different kind of Seoul, where everything is as washed out and bleak as a November sky—Seoul as a setting for tragedy. (Update: my brain failed me here: the setting is, of course, Seoul’s grittier neighbor, Incheon. Perhaps the show’s visual style reflects Incheon’s less glamorous image. I’d love to learn more about how Koreans perceive Incheon, because this is a subtlety that gets lost watching from 7000 miles away.)

pride and prejudice episode 13 baek jin hee choi jin hyuk find evidenceEpisode 13 gives everyone one or two tragic moments. It’s tough to watch characters we care about suffer like this, but they keep moving forward, hopefully towards healing—if they can stay alive long enough. Key developments:

  • Moon Hee-Man asks Board Game Guy if he himself can take responsibility for killing Koo Dong-Chi. (Yes, this had me screaming at the screen. More analysis below.)
  • Koo Dong-Chi confronts Jang Chang-Gi, who tells him about the 1999 hit-and-run. Dong-Chi, always thinking the best of his friends, had assumed Chief Moon was driving the car. He’s shocked to hear that Jang Chang-Gi caused the accident. The former attorney has been so remorseful that hasn’t practiced law since.
  • Dong-Chi spends the night piecing together evidence. The next morning he wakes up Kang Soo and Yeol-Moo at the boarding house in a bad mood. But he’s reached a decision regarding his new job that starts today: he’s going to take vacation days. (He must have weeks saved up. Can you imagine Dong-Chi taking time for an actual vacation?)
  • Yeol-Moo takes a day off, too, and together the two visit the factory where Han Byul died. The buildings are about to be torn down for redevelopment. They don’t expect to find anything, but this is their last chance to look at the scene—Yeol-Moo is seeing the place for the first time in 15 years. Decades of rubbish are piled up around the site and they find one of Han Byul’s shoes wrapped up in a trunk liner. Dong-Chi glimpses and chases off someone else who is snooping around as well—the kidnapper from 1999. This strikes me as the most unlikely coincidence in this series so far, the first time I’ve caught myself reflexively rolling my eyes. And I even suspended disbelief when all these tiny shoes started turning up. There better be a good explanation.

pride and prejudice episode 13 chang son min

  • Kang Soo has a nerve-wracking day at the office. Chief Moon discovers his file about Han Byul and offers to “help,” an offer Kang Soo accepts at face value. Park Soon-Bae stops by and seeing him flusters Kang Soo. Then when Kang Soo calls the records office to get the files on his 1999 case, he discovers that Dong-Chi already has them. This is his first hint that Dong-Chi is holding out on him. How did Dong-Chi know his real name before he did? Dong-Chi refuses to explain when Kang Soo asks him—trying to shield Kang Soo from the truth that his friend Jang Chang-Gi killed his mother.
  • In the final sequence, Kang Soo, Yeol-Moo and Dong-Chi figure out the two kidnappings. The truth sinks in for Yeol-Moo and Kang Soo: Han Byul was killed in place of Kang Soo, simply because they resembled each other. Her friend Kang Soo is alive only because her brother is dead. The realization is painful. When Yeol-Moo leaves the office in tears, Kang Soo follows her. Left behind, Dong-Chi realizes that by pursuing this case, he’s caused pain to the people he cares about the most.
  • The episode concludes with Chief Moon meeting up with a face from the past: the ax-faced fellow who kidnapped Han Byul and Kang Soo fifteen years ago. What’s he up to now?

There is no outside crime to solve in this episode, no police procedure, just the investigation into the past and a sense of how heavily it weighs on the characters. The episode also slowly magnifies our sense of dread for what comes next.

For several episodes Chief Moon has been eerily unfathomable, but in the opening scene of episode 13 we have the suggestion that someone even scarier is manipulating things. When Moon Hee-Man asks Board Game Guy how he plans to kill Koo Dong-Chi, the chief acts uncharacteristically intimidated. He immediately agrees to do whatever he’s asked in order to save his own life—even kill Dong-Chi.

It’s a weird, creepy scene. Moon only acts this way in scenes with Board Game Guy. Most of the time, Moon Hee-Man may be a jerk, but he isn’t a coward. In the last episode, we saw him dare Dong-Chi to investigate the 1999 hit-and-run, for example. His odd behavior suggests he’s putting on an act for Board Game Guy. I don’t think he’s as meek as he’s pretending. But he goes all out to convince Board Game Guy of his loyalty. It’s bizarre to see him formally kneel down—a dramatic gesture of sincerity and humility.

pride and prejudice episode 13 choi min soo kneelsWhat could motivate this monumental egotist to act this way? The dialogue suggests that someone powerful is behind the order to kill Dong-Chi, and that Moon Hee-Man takes this shadowy figure very seriously. Though I don’t think Chief Moon is as desperate to save himself as he pretends, he does have a healthy sense of self-preservation. Something about the situation scares him enough that he wants Board Game Guy to think he’s a harmless yes-man.

I don’t think Chief Moon intends to kill Dong-Chi to further his career. He’s clever enough to advance his career without getting blood on his hands. Saying he’ll kill Dong-Chi presumably buys Dong-Chi some time while Moon can figure out the identity of the man who wants him dead. Moon’s own life is at stake if this person is willing to kill to hide the events of 1999. If Moon follows orders and kills Dong-Chi, he’s likely to end up dead at the hands of his allies too. Look at what happened to Jae-Shik in the last episode.

Later in episode 13, Chief Moon asks Park Soon-Bae who the mysterious head conspirator is. Park Soon-Bae won’t tell because of the danger. But the roundabout conversation gives hints. It’s implied that the Big Bad is a highly placed prosecutor, perhaps someone who Chief Moon failed to catch in his 1999 corruption investigation.

pride and prejudice episode 13 choi jin hyuk cogitates

We’ve had the suggestion before now that Chief Moon was cherry-picking cases for his team, choosing cases connected to powerful individuals. But this episode gives the first concrete suggestion that someone cherry-picked the team members themselves. Moon Hee-Man comments on it himself, saying to Kang Soo, “Fate is a peculiar thing. Sometimes it seems like people have set it up this way on purpose, right?”

More than ever, I have the feeling he’s right: someone created this team in order to cause trouble. If you wanted to dig up the truth about 1999 in order to harm someone in the present, these are the people you would put together to do it.

It’s possible the writer simply wants us to believe this is entirely a coincidence. But it’s equally possible that someone took advantage of the fact that Dong-Chi and Yeol-Moo became prosecutors, by putting them in Chief Moon’s office and then recommending that Dong-Chi rent a room from Kang Soo’s grandmother. It would be poetic justice if someone put this team together to uncover Chief Moon’s secrets while at the same time Chief Moon used their cases to uncover his rivals’ secrets.

pride and prejudice episode 13 baek jin hee choi jin hyuk factoryAs for our central romance, Dong-Chi is already breaking down and finding it hard to act indifferent to Yeol-Moo. The visit to the factory brings back difficult memories and they take turns supporting each other. Their most interesting scene together is also one of those times when I have the feeling the subtitles are failing to convey the full meaning. Even watching two different versions of the subtitles doesn’t make it totally clear:

After Dong-Chi chases away the erstwhile kidnapper, Yeol-Moo says she’s never seen his face like that. “Like what?” he asks. “Afraid,” she answers. He admits that fifteen years ago he was “scared to death.”

They discuss the case for a couple minutes and then Yeol-Moo says she’d like this day to continue. Dong-Chi’s response could be aimed at her entire dilemma about being happy. “Yeol-Moo, just because you feel happy doesn’t mean the sadness goes away,” he says.

“I know,” she says, “but I still feel sorry.” Is she saying she can’t help feeling weighed down by guilt?

Dong-Chi replies, “Even if you feel sorry, you have to do what you have to do”—is he saying you have to keep moving forward anyway? He pulls her close. “Just for ten seconds,” he says, “Feel sorry for yourself for ten seconds.” As if to reassure her that she can go back to feeling guilty soon, he counts down from ten out loud while he holds her. Yeol-Moo looks up at him and for a moment, it looks as if they might kiss. She turns away, but only after looking at him for a few long seconds. Surely she’ll find a way to move forward soon, right?

pride and prejudice episode 13 site of the crimeEven though the director is avoiding glossy, stylish visuals, the factory scenes are beautiful in their own way. A fortuitous snowfall has dusted the machines and rubbish with white, highlighting the strange shapes of twisted metal. In a show that delights in shadows and backlighting, the soft light off the snow is a welcome change. Cutting back and forth between the office and the factory, the editing contrasts the melancholy, tender mood at the factory with the tension at the office where Chief Moon is planning his next moves.

Almost an entire episode passes with Chief Moon and Dong-Chi in these separate worlds. Only at the very end do they accidentally encounter each other at the office. In a scene without dialogue, Moon contemptuously pushes Dong-Chi out of the way with the folder containing Han Byul’s file, a kind of slow-motion slap. Make no mistake: if Chief Moon decides to keep Dong-Chi alive, it won’t be out of affection.

Is Chief Moon serious about taking out Dong-Chi?

pride and prejudice episode 13 choi min soo choi jin hyuk

14 thoughts on ““Pride and Prejudice” Ep. 13

  1. Some tidbits while watching raw for 13

    Choi Jin Hyuk is absolutely fantastic in this role.What I am talking about is how well he blended into his character,and his face,eyes is expressive, not like some actors who only has one freaking look for an entire drama.To me he’s not Choi Jin Hyuk when he’s on screen.He’s Gu Dong Chi, a smart prosecutor but idealistic(or not willing to sacrifice his morals to save himself).And yet we are being shown that DC can be “scared to death” (what a performance and great cinematography on that scene – it looks like a dream btw).To me he portrayed DC with nuance,and it could become flat if it’s potrayed by lesser ability actorr. In addition I think the writer is not given a lot of credit for writing such a complex character.He could be a Gary Sue if it’s written by another writer. I must admit I am very prejudiced when I first thought he was only a pretty boy before.

    I agree with you the scenery in factory.It’s fantastic. – and oh this is Incheon not Seoul 🙂 .I wondered whether Incheon Games is held nearby the police station?

    I was on fence on CMS portrayal of Moon .At first I think him too theatrical , but he starts to strike me as someone who is in stress.
    But his character is intensely scary.The scene where he pushes DC face with the file just hella scary for me.

    I think Moon is one of those people that may be sacrificing “For the Greater Good”.

    DC must have a busy life.I have a similar life myself and found myself having tons of leave at en of the year.

    I guess the chronology may be KS follow police in car –> Kidnapper notified KS is in police car–>KS left car for pee –> HB wandered around wanting to ask police when come back –> Kidnapper comes–> HB Kidnapped
    Guess it’s time I watch the sub.
    So now the reason why HB (excluding the unlikely possibility KS actually is HB) body is burned to ashes is to avoid his body being examined by a neutral pathologist I think.

    Excellent recap btw.There’s not too much sites recapping in detail btw.

  2. Incheon! I’m smacking my forehead. Don’t know how I forgot that. I wonder if maybe this is what people in Seoul imagine life is like next door in Incheon–the colors neutral, the lighting darker?

    Amen about CJH. I think he’s got this gravitas that makes him seem older than he is, in a good way. Have you seen him in Heirs? He did a great job. The writer didn’t really give him a whole lot to work with–he’s bad, he’s bad, now suddenly he’s not quite as bad and he saves the day. But CJH had me convinced me that his character was not only somehow weirdly plausible, but the true hero of the whole series. That part was a bit like this one, in that he didn’t have a lot of big speeches and he spent a lot of time just thinking. Somehow CJH makes thinking look really interesting. I wonder how he does that?

    That scene with the file folder! Who knew a file could be that scary! It’s giving me chills just thinking about it. Whew. Guess the director knows what he’s doing because they keep finding totally new ways to create tension. I can’t believe this show’s not getting more recaps in English! But thank goodness it’s getting good ratings in Korea.

  3. Thank you Odessa Jones for the recaps ♥ I love reading your recaps because they’re always so insightful!

    neovd’s comment about Choi Jin Hyuk’s portrayal of Dong Chi, reminds me of the other time I’ve felt this way about a CJH character: Wol Ryung in Gu Family Book. Even when he became Dark Wol Ryung and his storyline wasn’t developed as well, he still managed to invest himself fully into the character’s despair of becoming a 1000 yr old demon, giving such a layered performance for a character that could have easily been turned into a hammy evil demon villain. Instead, I understood what WR was trying to do every time he goaded Kang Chi, he wanted Kang Chi to kill him to prevent himself from killing more innocent people and losing his memories. And every time he was reminded me of his past and his memories, it was heartbreaking because you could see how he was still in love with the woman who betrayed him. His performance for WR was so nuanced and detailed, I just loved how differently he carried himself as Dark Wol Ryung versus Wol Ryung. You could tell he put a lot of thought in how to portray a pure divine creature that had become a soul-sucking demon.

    Which lead me to – yes, I completely agree with you re: CJH in Heirs. On a superficial level, Won seems like this douchebag maximus, but you could see CJH trying to give the character a grounded sadness and hurt behind the cold front of a kid who grew up in an unloving household who only knew how to mimic his father in order to protect himself from getting hurt. In the end, he really was the hero of the series. I roll my eyes every time someone says “oh look how selfless Tan was being by choosing love” or “Won only loved the crown and gave up love for it” and I laugh because Tan did not give up ANYTHING to be with mopey girl. Even when he gave her up, he still wanted to live the chaebol lifestyle, just in California. It wasn’t like banishing him to California meant he had to live in Bakersfield or be a pauper.

    Anyway, I digress, back to CJH, it’s amazing what he can do with so little material. Even though Heirs criminally underused his talents, you can tell he immerses himself completely into a role by giving his characters a lot of thought and he portrayed Won perfectly. There was never a moment where I believed he was truly bad. Even for evil henchmen (The Divine Move – He made a completely evil henchmen charismatic and memorable just with a smirk or flick of the eye despite having like less than 20 minutes of screen time). He’s improved a lot since his days on Pasta. One of my favorite shots in P&P is that contemplation shot of Dong Chi from like ep 1 or 2 where he’s playing with Han Byul’s toy car. I love how he expressed a mixture of emotions without needing to say anything.

    OMG how I am in an agreement with you and neovd! I couldn’t stop raving about the cinematography at the factory, the muted pastels, it was such a welcome change of scenery from the darker, bleaker office setting. But I really liked how they shot that sequence when DC thinks the kidnapper is just a figment of his imagination only for it to be real (I too scoffed at the coincidence – either kidnapper guy also heard about the factory being demolished and wanted to check it out or he was ordered by somebody to follow DC – either way, they better have a good explanation for this).

    And that scene with the slow-mo file slap! It had me completely indignant and at the same time, scared for Dong Chi. It was fantastic acting from both CJH and CMS. I could feel DC’s indignation turn to despair and Moon’s contempt.

    I also agree that I love the complexity and details of how the writer has written both Dong Chi and Chief Moon. Dong Chi could have been easily that annoying idealistic prosecutor who whines and blindly accuses Moon of corruption every time they meet, but instead, he says nothing, stares down his boss, only to challenge him when he feels its appropriate. And then there’s Chief Moon! what a character. I completely agree with you Chief Moon trying to buy time to figure out who is the real person pulling the strings. I completely love your theory about how poetic it’d be if this team of “loser prosecutors” was assembled for the purpose of trying to reveal dirt on Moon, but then became Moon’s launching pad to dig dirt on them.

    I am so happy that CJH is getting this opportunity to act across CMS. When the supporting cast was announced, I was afraid that CJH wouldn’t be able to match CMS’s intensity, especially since CMS is a great actor who can be very theatrical and intimidating in his performance, but seeing their scenes together has shown me that both actors are very capable and I don’t think many actors would have done the character of DC right. In the early pre-production stages of P&P, the initial casting of Dong Chi was supposed to be Daniel Choi. If CMS had been cast opposite of Daniel Choi, I don’t know if Daniel would have been able to hold his own against CMS.

    I’d say the only character that I’ve felt hasn’t been developed quite as nicely as both DC and Chief Moon is Yeol Moo.

    About the subs, I too feel like P&P is a show that subs just don’t do enough justice for it. I watched both SoompiTV and Viki for their subs and I still feel a lot of the hidden insults and language/puns/deeper meaning, etc are lost in translation. It’s dramas like this one that make me wish I understood Korean to fully appreciate the drama more.

  4. Thank you so much, PBS! I love all your comments. I so glad someone understands about CJH in Heirs. It’s painfully clear at the end that the reason things turn out okay for Tan is because Won takes pity on him. In the final showdown over the company, Won is the one who has to give up the woman he loves (and loves in a far more grown-up way than Tan). I couldn’t stop thinking about how he wouldn’t have had to sacrifice so much if he had been able to remain angry at Tan. Helping Tan was humane when the kid was a hot mess, but it undermined his position and made it necessary for him to accept the marriage of convenience in the end.

    Won was a convincingly nasty cold-hearted chaebol so-and-so, but you could see he had understandable motivations. He was trying to keep some dignity and happiness for himself in a terrible family. And by taking pity on his brother, in the end, Won is the one who loses what matters. It’s pure tragedy, and Won is the emotional lynchpin of the whole thing.

    Tan is so spoiled! He’s cute and pathetic and very human, but there’s nothing heroic about him, unless we count a total inability to accept socioeconomic reality. And I’m not nuts about socioeconomic reality myself…. Tan’s reaction to their messed-up family is like yet another logical way of dealing with dysfunction. It’s fascinating that his secret weapon against Won turns out to be his total vulnerability, his ability to completely fall apart. Like Won says at one point, Tan “keeps running into things.” Contrast that with the stoic way Won handles their father’s malevolence!

    For me, even though Heirs was a boring romance, it was an awesome look at men’s relationships with each other. Not just Tan and his hyung, but Tan and the other not-really-friends like Kim Woo Bin’s character and Kang Ha-Neul’s character (I wanted so much more of that guy). The same writer also did Gentleman’s Dignity, where the male friendships and rivalries are the emotional heart of the thing. I wish they’d pair her with a director who would just play to her strengths and not try to turn her scripts into glossy romances, which they aren’t.

    CJH strikes me as an actor who has put in a lot of hard work. I like natural charisma and good looks as much as the next fangirl, but I love the actors and actresses who put in the hard work to keep improving, and CJH strikes me that way. I’m so glad he was able to put off the army until he really got somewhere with these meaty roles last year and this year. If he can go head-to-head with Choi Min Soo now, what will he be like when he gets back from the army? Whenever I remember that Daniel Choi almost did this part, I can’t even imagine it.

    I agree about Yeol Moo’s character, it’s not quite as rich. But every time she starts getting one-note, the writer gives her something new to do, so I’m not going to give up hope for her to grow more interesting over the rest of the series. I have a feeling the subtitle problem will continue to puzzle me, since so much of the dialogue here is about what people don’t say. I’m watching DramaFever’s subs, with soompi and viki for extra help, so at least between us we’re getting most of it!

  5. @Odessa @PBS

    Hmm I guess I’l give a try.From what I heard in Heirs Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho character) and PSH is whinny.I did watch 1st ep and PSH character strikes me as self entitled.Not that I abhor main character with flaws but it doesn’t seems the main charac improve herself from the recaps I read.I did read some recaps on Heirs and wondered was that a character everyone should fall in love with?It seems like he did not have any ambitions,and on top of that obsessive (in an unhealthy way)

    But I am fascinated what CJH could do with an evil/grey character.Now you said it CJH is good at acting silent emotions.One thing I have been impressed is that with all those confrontational scenes with Moon he could have screamed on top of his lungs but he acts like a reasonable,intelligent man would do when he’s angry.

    Yep,I like it too that actor/actresses put it a lot of hard work on their role.It seems like he’s killing time before army but I am glad he revised that prejudiced opinion I have on him. I really like it when he face to face with CMS.

    CMS scares me as Moon.Remember he forces YM to drink?When she got a really legit excuse not to come?(And btw this is the first time in KDrama I did not see the female character drunk).

    Well and for Hongki and Lee Chang Min sake I will watch it too 😀 .

    @PBS

    I heard it was a mess after the initial episodes for GFB?I am somewhat vary to pick this up – not a fan of Lee Seung Gi. Any good things about the show ?

    Was Daniel Choi good? I heard people are indignant that CJH replaced Daniel (must be the perceived acting skills are higher) but after 10 eps,people are saying not sure Daniel could held himself that well against CMS. So I never watch his drama before – care to elaborate?

    @Odessa @PBS

    Talking about the writer I think the current writer is more adept at male characters and relationship than female(may be she grown up with more male relatives than female?) , maybe that’s why Yeol Moo was less rounded than other characters (but comparatively still more rounded than others, but may be take a leaf out of Misaeng’s main character Geu Rae will do )- but I think she did very well than the other writers tbh .I’ve watched some other Korean crime procedures and while the stories has lots of twists in it ,I never felt much empathy for those characters.But still like I said I prefer her compared to a lot other writers.

    Or may be she’s not sure how this type of character will react in reality?

    @Odessa

    It seems like PDnim wants to make it some sort of Gotham – where dark things lure , wasn’t it?The factory is a place of despair for DC,YM,KS,YM’s mom.Funny that place is a thing of beauty despite of all those memories and rubbish piling.And I wondered where DC’s dad is 15 years ago.

    The subtitles! my Korean is very poor ,so I am not sure what are those things that are not adeptly translated?

  6. @neovd LOL I would not watch Heirs unless you have a lot of time on your hands and the patience of a saint. I had to skip through all the slow-mos and mopey staredowns that plagued Heirs, not to mention all the first-world problems each character was dealing with. The only people who felt “real” were probably Choi Jin Hyuk’s Won and Kim Woo Bin’s Young-Do and a couple of other side characters that didn’t get enough screen time. Honestly, Heirs would have been a lot more watchable if they had cut out half of Tan and mopey girl’s screen time and storyline. They were dull. Tan and mopey girl never have any character development. They remain the same. They only get what they want because the people around them, especially Won, take pity on them. Tan is unmotivated, lazy and obsessive. I can understand that everything he did was to maintain the good graces of Won, even though he hated the circumstances he was born in, but it wasn’t like he was trying to get out of the chaebol lifestyle either. He was just a rich, spoiled little brat who threw one tantrum and got what he wanted because his brother took pity on him. And yes, he was unhealthily obsessive and stalker-ish over mopey girl, who irritated me because she was okay with being an object two boys fought over.

    And yes, Gu Family Book is a hot mess, but it’s still more watchable than Heirs. Episodes 1 and 2 are especially worth watching for Choi Jin Hyuk. He’s Gumihot Daddy! The first male gumiho and he is divine 😀 Even though Lee Seung-Gi is the main character, episodes 1-2 are devoted entirely to the backstory for his parents, so he doesn’t appear. CJH is playing his father even though he and LSG are only a year apart. The parents’ arc is probably the best thing in GFB and if you extract their story out, it can totally be a stand-alone movie. I think someone on tudou did do that, so if you can read chinese subs or understand Korean, I’d recommend checking this out: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/TXLv_fMu83A/

    Episode 2 will royally piss you off for “reasons,” but Choi Jin Hyuk’s acting is stellar in it. After that, skip around episode 13 through 22 for his parts and you’ll see why his Wol Ryung steals the show. There’s a reason why Choi Jin Hyuk has been getting roles nonstop since Gu Family Book: Wol Ryung Fever. People who finished watching episode 2 demanded that he returned to the show, so they brought him back for episode 13-22 (and trust me, even though he appears sporadically in them, when he appears, be prepared lol because he is THAT scene-stealing). Episode 21 is mostly devoted to wrapping up the parents’ arc, with a special bonus of CJH singing the OST and ep 22 is when they completely wrap it up their story in the first 30 minutes. CJH exploded to fame after episode 2 and it’s one of the reasons why he got the role of Kim Won in Heirs. He impressed the writer-nim of Heirs and she immediately called him the next day after ep 2 aired to secure him for Heirs. Of course, she completely failed to capitalize on giving him more screentime, along with Kang Ha Neul, both of them were criminally under-used in Heirs.

    IDK, I’ve watched Secret Garden, Gentleman’s Diginty and Heirs by the same writer-nim and all three dramas I could not finish. She writes a good bromance, but when it comes to the OTP, it always seems to bog the story down. I could not get past Secret Garden’s first 10 episodes. I only finished Heirs for Choi Jin Hyuk and because the last three episodes finally got more interesting.

    Regarding Daniel Choi, he’s a good actor, I’ve liked him in the projects he’s been in (like Ghost/Phantom), but he’s got a different delivery and approach to his characters. He’s got his share of fans, so the people who were indignant about CJH replacing Daniel, were his fans, because they had been looking forward to seeing Daniel in a drama. They weren’t mad because they thought Daniel’s acting skills were better, but because CJH was taking a role from Daniel. TBH, I don’t think that’s fair since Daniel never confirmed he wanted to be in the drama and it looked like he backed out so the casting directors turned to CJH last minute and CJH accepted. But even if Daniel had taken on this role, idk if he’d been able to carry the necessary gravitas across Choi Min Soo. CJH has the advantage of that voice of his and how he can convey so much silently without needing to speak or over-act. But it is true that people weren’t sure if CJH could play a prosecutor since he hadn’t played one before, but I had no worries since he never played a chaebol businessman or a doctor before but killed it in Heirs and Emergency Couple respectively.

    There was also a bit of CJH fatigue / backlash going on since CJH has been working nonstop all of 2014 taking on four dramas (technically 3) in a row (not to mention his movie, The Divine Move, was also released this year), plus he played the 2nd male lead in Fated to Love You that was breaking up the OTP of Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk, so there was still 2nd male lead resentment projected on him.

    Then there was the fact that a lot of people thought he was supposed to go to the military, but he kept getting drama roles instead. Truth be told, idk why people thought he was going to the military so soon when he’s an 86-er and most of Super Junior’s 85 and 86 line (Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Donghae) have yet to go to military service either. Heck, Lee Sungmin also had the time to get married when he is also supposed to go to the army the same time around CJH. CJH also changed from being in the celebrity service to being in the actual army, but I think it’s the fact that he looks older than his real age, plus the media wasn’t helping him by bringing it up every time there was a news article about him. So people just kept expecting him to be in the military, but then a new news article would pop up saying he got a new acting project lol

  7. @ PBS and neovd. Great comments. LOL. I agree Heirs isn’t particularly worth the trouble–it has some good moments but it also has some ridiculously overwrought stuff. I didn’t realize it until now, but I think the reason it reeled me in was because the first scene is CJH’s character telling Tan to scram and not come back. That left me wanting to know what would happen with the brothers, and that’s why I watched even though the OTP were total drips. A few of the CJH scenes are online–here’s a good scene of the cold chaebol with the woman he’s supposed to give up to make his father happy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7GhAh19bi0.

    And a very short scene of CJH as LMH’s scary older half-brother. I like that they’re just similar enough you can actually imagine them as brothers. This writer does one thing well, which is snappy dialogue–I love LMH’s response to CJH’s look at the end of the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfzvmxmT_Lo. It’s frustrating that this writer-nim is good at smart dialogue but not good at depicting emotion or building complex characters. I wish she’d expand her range!

    I didn’t know Gu Family Book was the big turning point for CJH–great story about getting the call for Heirs the day after ep 2!–but it makes sense, because from what I hear it’s a meatier role than the stuff he’d had previously. It’s been on my list to watch for awhile now and you’ve convinced me to give it a try soon, at least for the CJH bits! (Who’s your gumiho daddy?)

    I heard one rumor somewhere that a few years ago he was considering doing the army early because he was feeling discouraged about his career, but I don’t know if I ascribe any truth to it. His career has had a steady upward trajectory, even if it took a few years to get to first lead. He’s in a strong position now to take off for the army. The only other actor I can think of who’s been this busy in 2014 is Shin Sung-Rok, who takes the cake for doing two dramas at one time in the final weeks of Liar’s Game. I still don’t know how that’s even possible. Perhaps SSR is secretly twin brothers?

  8. @odessa and @neovd Yeah, Heirs really should have been about Kim Won and Kim Tan’s relationship. Why make a drama about chaebols and not actually show us the corporate side? Instead we get it all in the last three episodes while suffering through the worst nighschool OTP in the history of OTP. I dunno who I dislike more them or the two in Twilight. Just punt them all beyond pluto.

    But yes, just skip around on youtube for all the clips DramaFever uploaded of CJH’s Kim Won. And YES, it was inspiring casting because they do look like they could really be brothers. Heirs’ writer reminds me of another writer Choi Jin Hyuk has worked for twice. That writer was also really good at the bromance and the quips, but awful at the pacing and building of complex characters. The two dramas I’m talking about are Choi Jin Hyuk’s “It’s Okay Daddy’s Girl” (2010) and “Panda and Hedgehog” (2012).

    Unfortunately for CJH, he’s actually been acting for awhile and had been the lead in a couple of his dramas prior to breaking out in Gu Family Book (2013), but these dramas were so middling, it was a waste of his talent.

    It’s Okay Daddy’s Girl was actually his first lead role in a drama, opposite Moon Chae Won. The drama itself was mediocre at best, the plot was just meh, but the bromance was written super well, especially between Choi Jin Hyuk’s character and his brother (played by Super Junior’s Donghae). They get along super well in real life too, so the camaraderie portrayed really well in the drama as well, CJH’s always mentioning their friendship and how he’s grateful for knowing DH. Apparently they even went to the same middle school back in mokpo (without realizing it).Anyhoo, CJH was super manly in the drama, but the ratings were middling (around 7% or below) so he never got much attention from it. He does wear army garb in it (and rocks it btw) if you’re curious to see how he would look if he went to the army.

    After that, he was cast as the male lead in a daily drama called “My Daughter, the Flower,” (2011), while also appearing as the 2nd male lead in the drama “I Need Romance” but didn’t get much attention for either drama. Although the people who did watch him in INR swooned over him. LOTS of romance lol if you can bear through the drama (which I thought was really boring) for his scenes, he’s a smex god in them, but you’ll toss your computer out on the last episode (cuz well, he’s the 2nd lead). I know I almost did. This is the only good thing to come out of it: http://31.media.tumblr.com/80e8818721cd419d5d2026d1c00653c5/tumblr_mf5gyeDBFf1rxlshdo1_r1_400.gif

    Then came 2012, which unfortunately for him was a complete lull period where I don’t think he had many offers, so I think because Donghae was the male lead in Panda and Hedgehog and CJH had no other projects lined up, Donghae probably suggested to CJH to be in the drama with him. CJH was the 2nd lead again in this drama, so if you can stomach watching his character’s heart get broken (I can’t, it’s why I couldn’t finish Fated to Love You), then I’d suggest watching this for the bromance between him and Donghae. He does look good in this drama, in a cute way, but the story is so convoluted, it’s a hot mess just like IODG and Heirs.

    I think that’s why CJH said he wanted to give up on acting if Gu Family Book wasn’t successful. He had been in so many strings of flops and wasn’t getting anywhere in terms of landing big projects, so when GFB came along, I think he was pretty much all in or nothing. The drama was highly publicized yet also gossiped about a lot because people weren’t sure if a fantasy sageuk drama would work. As well, the first two episodes were entirely devoted to the parents storyline, so the main characters/actors wouldn’t show up until ep 3, and many people doubted whether CJH (who was pretty much an unknown at the time to most people) and Lee Yeon Hee (who has been criticized for her acting) could carry the drama’s first two episodes. I know he’s mentioned before how he felt a lot of pressure to do well in those two episodes and I think he was completely surprised by the overwhelming feedback he got from playing Wol Ryung in those first two episodes.

    Indeed I too, who had been following his career loosely, was blown away by his acting (and his awesome character) in GFB. I had liked him in all his roles previously, but this was the role that made me go WHOA, I totally got why he finally made it big, and was really happy for him because I always wondered why he wasn’t more well known in Korea. He’s an underdog, when he really shouldn’t be, because he has all the qualifications to be a star (good looks, height, great acting skills, THAT VOICE), but it took him till 2013 to make it big. I think back on how I had been introduced to CJH through IODG when I initially watched it for Donghae, but I became more impressed with CJH’s acting as the drama progressed lol I also sat through the hot mess that was Panda/Hedgehog for the two of them too >.< but I kept wondering why CJH wasn't making it big?

    Then Wol Ryung came along. I heard he was getting rave reviews for it and finally checked it out. CJH was really fortunate to land Wol Ryung, because it's that type of role that comes once or twice in an actor's career, a role so memorable that it not only allows you to shine in it, but also will make the audience pine for the character. It's very difficult to get those awesome combinations of great writing, acting, and even directing for a character. Because without a doubt, the director for any scene involving Wol Ryung, did a fantastic job in the lighting, CG effects, makeup, etc. Every time WR appeared on the screen, he was always badass and perfectly lit. Again, esp in the later episodes.

    CJH will always be my gumiho daddy (lol oh dramabeans) there's a reason why so many people love his character. It's a lot of fun watching the drama on viki for his parts because the comments start spazzing when he shows up. Especially in the later episodes. But yes! Do let me know what you think when you watch his parts. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. You can always post your thoughts on his soompi thread or your site and I'll catch it 😀

    I have bittersweet feels for him as he takes off to the army after Pride and Prejudice ends. Happy for him that he's finally found success, but sad because WHY?! Just when he's found success he's off to the army. Still, it's good for him to at least go off to the army with success and have fans pining for him when he gets back. I'm glad he'll have a movie lined up while he's in the army, which he finished filming, but probably won't be released until next year, so that should tide us a bit over. If not, we can always watch him in My Daughter The Flower. That drama has over 130 episodes because it was a daily drama. Idk if I can watch that many episodes *_* even if it's for Choi Jin Hyuk.

    But yeah, both SSR and Lee Jong Suk have been uber busy like CJH and I'm all completely for it. Being busy is a luxury. It's better to be busy that not be busy because busy means success and in a fickle and ever-changing Korean entertainment industry.

  9. LOL, thanks so much for the details! You’ll definitely hear my thoughts on GFB when I watch.

    When you describe his career that way, I can see why it would be discouraging. I didn’t realize he was first lead in IODG. Does that make it more funny or tragic that SBS gave him the “new star” award for Heirs in 2013–after he was first lead in one of their dramas in 2010? Talk about a fickle biz. Ay caramba.

    And 130 episodes is a lot of CJH in the bank for emergencies! Maybe we’ll survive the army years after all! I don’t know how anyone can have the stamina to watch that many episodes, much less film that many.

  10. @OdessaJones,

    Can’t wait to read your new recaps for 14-15!

    It is ironic and tragic whenever he got nominated for “Best New Actor” awards for Gu Family Book and/or Heirs. He’s been acting since 2006, the awards really should be called “Breakout Star” or something. “New Star” or “Best New Actor” just seems so conciliatory. Like “oh you’ve been acting for 8 years and we just noticed you? Oops. Here’s an award, hope that makes you feel better.” The most tragic was SBS giving him the “new star” award after he had headlined two dramas for them.

    But that’s nature of showbiz I guess. One minute nobody cares about you and the next everybody wants you and the day after you’re yesterday’s news. It’s difficult to sustain a long career. I hope he can. He has the talent, but I wonder how long he’ll be able to withstand the showbiz as he been disillusioned by it for most of his career.

  11. @yeekrfan2: Thanks for the link! I know, I was so sad at how their story ended up. Hyun Joo was so sweet and tragic. I definitely need to read the version with the Alternate Ending!

  12. “It would be poetic justice if someone put this team together to uncover Chief Moon’s secrets while at the same time Chief Moon used their cases to uncover his rivals’ secrets.” Woohoo!! Way cool insight!! Can’t wait to see if that actually happens. BTW, from that brief upward glance from the kneeling Moon, I don’t believe for a minute that he’s serious about being humble or crushing DC.

    You have no idea how ecstatic I am that your recaps exist. Yes, the lighting in the factory – at one point, there are upshots of each of the prosecutors against a halo of light beaming through a hole in the roof. For some reason, it gave me so much hope for the investigation.

    I also felt something was missing from that dialogue before the hug. But I guess the gist was conveyed. Anyway, I’m more invested in the investigation(s) than in the romance/bromance aspect of the show.

    Thanks again!

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying! The visuals in this show are so unusual, and this episode is just gorgeous–but in a totally different way than K-dramas are usually gorgeous. Nothing is candy-colored or polished. But it’s still beautiful and evocative, especially here at the factory–one of my favorite sequences in the show!

      I did watch a second translation of the hug scene to get a better idea–it was one of those scenes where Korean grammar just doesn’t translate well. But Yeol-Moo was saying that she feels too guilty over Byul’s death to allow herself to be happy, and Dong-Chi’s saying you could let yourself be happy without giving up that guilt and sadness.

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