For a drama that I’d seen before, I got wrapped up once again in the story and the acting. It was particularly gratifying to see that it held up to a second screening, because frankly some do not, but should I really have been surprised with Gong Hyo-jin and Jang Hyuk in it? In fact, I got so involved once again that I started staying up late to watch “just one more (and more)” episode!
One of the things that I appreciate once again was how Jang Hyuk’s angry and bitter (and often downright mean and rude) Dr. Min Ki-seo changed and opened up his heart. Watching the expression on his face as he cradles a baby he’s just treated at the clinic, or picks up Bom to comfort her when she’s had her feelings hurt, or protects her from the ignorant villagers afraid of AIDS is a beautiful, beautiful thing. He is exceptionally good with children – I don’t know why he doesn’t try a drama where he’s a family man, perhaps taking care of his kids… a widower, maybe? The way his face just goes from burning with resentment to calm and contented as he listens to Gong Hyo-jin singing her daughter to sleep is perfect. I also loved the final episodes, in which he shows how much this little family has become his refuge by doing things like shaving and bathing the senile grandfather.
Gong Hyo-jin is, of course, the little heartbreaker we know her to be – bravely trying to create as normal a life as she can for her daughter and grandfather in that narrow minded little community. When Ki-seo first lets her know he’s interested in her, she makes it so clear that Shin-young cannot even fathom what this can mean. How hurt she was by her betrayal – she’s willing to run away rather than try and work things out. I would want a thousand answers about why he spent so much time at her house and didn’t tell her about his dead girlfriend’s mission, and I’d want to listen to his answers if I loved him (as she thinks she might). But I am not 26 years old, the mother of a 7 year old who is HIV positive, I didn’t get pregnant when the boy I loved all my life made love to me for a bet (ostensibly), and I didn’t live 8 years being gossiped about as a result after said boy doesn’t even have the courage to stick around to see if there are consequences AND appears to have known about it but conveniently put it out of his mind for those 8 years. Yeah, maybe she has a right to be leery.
Shin Sung-rok’s character, btw, was someone I felt sorry for (a little bit) on the first viewing, but I’m not so sure I did on the second time around. Yes, he loved her, but in order to make a point to an absent father and pushy mother, he completely forgets about his love for the girl (and lets his decent fiancée walk away too). When he first almost runs over Bom and is shocked to see her it’s as if he’s forgotten all about his night with Shin-young. When he asks Ki-seo to step aside because it’s taken him so long to come back to Shin-young and Bom, well let’s just say that I cheered when Ki-seo tells him “Shiro.” (I won’t.)
And of course, I can’t forget the little actress who plays Bom – Seo Shin-ae was so cute and heartbreaking in this – spot on. And man, could she cry like the world was ending! There was one scene where she was crying and I swear it made Gong Hyo-jin start crying too. The scene in the bath with her grandmother was just wonderful; one of many wonderful scenes.