No, this pic is not from the final episode of I’m Sorry, I Love You, but I just could not resist.
So Ji Sub‘s last drama before he was called for military service, I’m Sorry, I Love You (KBS2, 2004) was the drama that made me a loony fan, loony enough to start an international fan forum, Jisub Addicts. I posted many thoughts while watching the drama, including episode recaps. Here are my ponderings on the drama’s ending.
[Note: Pics are random; a couple are from the final episode. ]
First musings on the ending
I was really afraid to watch this episode because I was afraid I would be a weepy wreck the way I was after finishing Damo. But perhaps because MiSa was so sad from the early episodes and I had already cried my fill, this last episode was not too bad. I didn’t collapse in a heap although in the last few minutes of the drama I had to control myself and not break out in heaving sobs. Yes, the last part was the most heartbreaking for me, but I’ll come back to that later.
I’ve read comments that this episode felt rushed. I didn’t think it was. I felt there was closure and this was done at a pace that was consistent with the entire drama. The first important closure was resolving the strained relationship between the two brothers, Moo-hyuk and Yoon. What a beautiful scene as they sat and talked in the darkness of Galchi’s bedroom. I love how Yoon took the initiative to come to the house and how Moo-hyuk so thoughtfully emptied the soju bottles of soju and filled them with water. That very simple act alone spoke volumes of the fact that he really did not hate this brother who owned all of his oma’s love.
The brothers’ conversation that night was so important because it revealed the truth about Yoon and their oma. And that truth, although it stunned Moo-hyuk, also set him free. He thought his mother had abandoned him. Now he knew it was not the case.
I’ve read so much (too much perhaps) about the heart-wrenching ramen-eating scene so when I finally came to it I was fully prepared to cry a heap. And yes I did cry because Moo-hyuk’s pain was so acute it just broke my heart. But I had really mixed feelings about this scene too. Yes, she cooked the ramen for him and it was the first time he ate anything she cooked. But she also did it most grudgingly and that fact was really painful. It was like crumbs under the table, figuratively speaking, and he wept out of gratitude for those crumbs. Even as she cooked for him, her heart was in the hospital with Yoon. And as Moo-hyuk cried, I just cried with him for the unfairness of it all, for the life of dregs that he had lived. In the end he never did receive what he had longed for all his life – the love of his oma.
More heart-wrenching than the ramen scene for me was the scene in the hospital when the oma fainted and Moo-hyuk hugged her. The first and last time he hugged his oma and called out to her and she was not conscious. That scene was so, so painful to watch. And afterwards when Eun-chae’s father revealed the truth surrounding Moo-hyuk’s abandonment and the latter shouted at him with such anguish, that too was sooo sad. One man’s cowardice leading to such misery for Moo-hyuk and his sister!!
The scene in the subway where Eun-chae cried out repeatedly to Moo-hyuk, “Sarang-haeyo!” (I love you!”) is surely one of the most unforgettable scenes in kdrama for me. And as he stood there looking at her and not saying a word, his eyes filling with tears and the lump in his throat moving so agitatedly, I wanted to cry and scream along with Eun-chae, “Hold her! Hug her!” And afterwards when he handed her over to her dad and said it would be the last time he would appear before Eun-chae, my broken heart broke again at those words. Words of such finality! And indeed that was the last time they saw each other.
Much later when he called her on the phone and his first word was a very soft and very gentle and very loving “Rockhead…” and when he whispered, “Sorry… I love you…” and later when he was riding the motor-bike and remembering his Rockhead… and the blood started flowing from his nose… and his eyes began to close from the sheer pain… Words cannot describe how I felt watching all those scenes.
Eun-chae going to Australia one year later and revisiting and remembering all the places where she had gone with her Ajussi – that stranger with the mop hairdo who had saved her repeatedly… It was totally heartbreaking to see her tears, to see her pain, to revisit Episode 1 with her where we see a healthy Moo-hyuk, a living Moo-hyuk… a Moo-hyuk who was now gone…
What Eun-chae did at the end was totally understandable. Her family and society would not condone it… and neither would Moo-hyuk himself… She knew it was wrong… but he was lonely and she wanted to go to him. It was the only thing she could do.
I felt Ji-young’s sudden reappearance was significant although it filled me with much uneasiness at first. It was as if things had come full circle for here was the woman Moo-hyuk had called “wife” – the one he had loved so much and for whom he was willing to risk his life. For 14 episodes we had been immersed in Moo-hyuk’s life in Korea, but Ji-young’s reappearance reminded us again that the bulk of Moo-hyuk’s life (25 years) had been spent in this foreign land called Australia.
I thought it was really touching when Moo-hyuk gently wiped the tears from Ji-young’s face. MiSa is full of such small fleeting moments which are not verbalized yet reach out to grab your heart. This was the tender Moo-hyuk we had come to love. Yet minutes later, how cruel was he when he came down the steps with Ji-young, saw Eun-chae, and reacted to her as if she was a most unwelcome sight. “Go home.” But even if he could send Eun-chae physically away, he could never send her away from his heart. As he laid on Ji-young’s lap in the hotel room listening to her sing an old familiar song, he thought of Eun-chae singing the same song and suddenly his tired weary eyes jerked open and he ran and ran and ran to get back to where he had left his Rockhead on the steps.
Was it seven years that he had loved Ji-young? All that didn’t matter now. It was nothing compared to the past few weeks and months that he had loved Eun-chae. He loved this Rockhead so much. He never thought he would fall in love again, but she came into his life like a gentle breeze, and he felt a happiness he had never experienced before, and the deepest, deepest sadness. It made him so indescribably angry to know he was going to die. He was going to die and leave this girl. Oh God, how can I bear to leave this girl!
“I have things to say… and things to listen to…”
Moo-hyuk, listen. Eun-chae wants to be by your side. She wants to be with you in your final days, to hold you, to love you. She needs you and you need her. Don’t break her heart before you go. You’ve not given her anything tangible to hold on to. You erased the pictures she took of you. Even that one flower you bought for her was never given to her. Don’t leave her, don’t leave her, Cha Moo-hyuk!
“Wherever you go I will follow.”
I love the collage of freezed frames at the end of the drama. The Moo-hyuk that we know and the Moo-hyuk that we didn’t… Seeing all the pics of him just made me cry so hard. Abandoned not once but twice… Almost dying yet revived to pursue a hope that turned into such hurt and despair… Jilted yet discovering a new love with so little time left to love…
“We will meet again in the next life. And when I see you again, I will hold you tight and not let you go.”