02 April, 2014

Bride of the Century Episodes 11 & 12

[Photo Credit: TV Chosun]
While I spent the better half of episode 11 wondering why in the world I had started this crazy, melo, murder fest, I realized why I love the show in episode 12. It managed to redeem itself, mostly. Can I also say that noble idiocy is probably my least favourite K-drama trope, and it's like the Bride of the Century writers felt like they had to reach some sort of noble idiocy quota. That and sometimes I wonder if there is a book on K-drama logic and how to use it for K-drama writers - because it most certainly is not like real life logic. Oh well. I still love the show. And I'm still watching, right?! Oh, and funny moment from episode 11 - I totally didn't recognize Kang Joo's brother because he died his hair.

Episode 11 managed to get the big reveal in about how Kang Joo's dad's first love and how his grandmother killed her in a fit of rage. I am not sure how I feel about that. The whole chaebol storyline in K-drama generally is really interesting to me because I am pretty sure that this is most definitely not real life unless you're in the mafia. Then again, I am sure there are rich people who kill for power and position, but Korea doesn't strike me as that sort of country. At least from what I know about it.

That final journal page entry was so tragically sad because we know that the grandma is about to kill her, but she is happy and looking forward to her happily ever after. And that decision had consequences for everyone's happiness. Kang Joo's father is left with this deep and abiding sadness, and his mother lives in a very unhappy and unfulfilled marriage. I am glad at least that she didn't know that her mother had killed the first wife. It redeems her ever so slightly. I really loved the scene where Kang Joo comes back from marrying Doo Rim, and he and his father stand at the window, and his dad is so happy because Kang Joo has found out that the curse wasn't real and his dad is so happy for him to know it. It broke my heart that scene though, it really did - but in a beautiful way. And then commenced the noble idiocy that made me want to grit my teeth. Can I just say that I find it fascinating that the villains in this story are those that believe in curses and make sure they become self-fulfilling prophecy and I think that the noble idiocy will play a role in that as well.

I think that what makes noble idiocy so hard to watch is because we as viewers have a good chunk of the cards in front of us, but each of our characters aren't in on the game completely. We know that the curse isn't real, and Doo Rim and Kang Joo know it as well. What only Doo Rim and the first wife know though is that it was all a test to find true love. So we know that Doo Rim's love is true (and Roo Mi knows too) and to some extent some of the other characters as well. And that's what makes Kang Joo's hurtful words to Doo Rim all the more hurtful. It makes me want to shake both of them to pieces. It also makes me wonder when and why the ghost will show up again. What is her backstory and why does she care so much about finding true love/creating this test for true love?

I am also rather annoyed at Doo Rim who while she claims that she doesn't want Kang Joo to find out because she doesn't want him to be hurt, but the she doesn't seem to think that making him live with someone who doesn't love him is going to be all fluffy puppies and kittens and a bed of roses. Um...surely the idea of someone else sharing a life with him on totally false pretenses is not a good thing. Also, the show seems to have a complete absence of the reality of marriage...like consummating it or whatever. It's like only the marriage ceremony means anything...but hey, let's not ask K-drama to try and be logical or anything. And if it's really true love, and there's the whole "the love is proved in the letting go" spiel that's going on, is her true love really true when she's so intent on leaving him behind? Oh the writing of this show drives me crazy! So why do I love all of this despite the apparent craziness? I am not really sure. It is probably one of those questions of the universe that I'll have to try and figure out sometime. (I know that there was "spoilerage" in the form of the cast members holding a cute toddler and speculations about Doo Rim having Kang Joo's baby...but I believe it's really just a baby Kang Joo. So cute though! But I could be wrong, she could be pregnant. I guess we'll just have to see in the coming episodes).

[Photos collected from A Koalas Playground]
And the whole relationship/fall out with Oppa lying in hospital is another one that I have mixed feelings about. I am guessing he's not going to die, though we have had murdering grandmothers, so who knows, but yeah...it's hard to articulate the relationship between Doo Rim and Oppa. She obviously cares for him, but it's definitely in a sisterly way...I think. And I get that she wants to protect those she cares about from being hurt, but where are the restraining orders and recourse to the law? Ack! Who knows, I probably shouldn't think about it too much.

And surprise, surprise! I am so glad though that Roo Mi has turned into a character I like. Wow! I never thought I would say that. I love how she is not willing to be used by Kang Joo as an instrument to hurt others, and while she didn't keep her promise to Doo Rim that she wouldn't tell Kang Joo about their conversation, it is obviously moving the plot along nicely to reconcile the lovers. I really liked that whole rooftop conversation, and how Roo Mi is able to answer at least partially the question that Kang Joo poses about how much of his time with Doo Rim was truth and how much of it was a lie. And I also really loved his realization that saying hurtful things to Doo Rim did not in fact make him feel better, but made it hurt even more.

I am glad that episode more or less handed us some sort of cute with Kang Joo following Doo Rim around and being rather petty - they do bicker rather cutely, don't they?! Oh that restaurant reservation and cancellation ㅋㅋㅋ (and that adorable little smile after halmeoni throws salt at him ^^). I am glad that he didn't believe Yi Kyung's lying and conniving ways, but I can still see why he might be a little jealous/wary of wondering if Doo Rim really does love Oppa more than him. I can see why he might feel inclined to give into his fears that he's not worth loving as Kang Joo. It's as if the test to find true love is not quite over and they really have to prove that they do love each other, and he hasn't fully overcome his fear that no-one can just love Kang Joo without all his money.

While the episode did end on a noble idiocy sort of note with Doo Rim refusing to go in and tell Kang Joo's dad, which would actually be a good idea because Kang Joo is 100% right that his dad would be on their side, I think that the final quarter of the episode was okay because Kang Joo and Doo Rim are still together in a way. Kang Joo hasn't taken off his couple ring, they wear matching outfits (all red and black in that hospital scene), he is actually spending time with her - though he can be rather adorable and petty while following her around, and they're still actually talking to each other! I also thought it was hilarious that she keeps on calling him ajhussi. I can deal with bickering cuteness amid the noble idiocy because it keeps them onscreen and together. I also really appreciated and liked Kang Joo's appreciation to Oppa for protecting Doo Rim. I think Kang Joo and Oppa need to band together and fight the injustice of all the crazy people - yes for some bromance!

A big secret though that Kang Joo and Doo Rim both need to find out that Kang Joo's grandma killed the first wife (that one is going to be devastating). And Doo Rim needs to be able to trust Kang Joo that together they can protect their love and the ones they love. Otherwise I think I am just going to be disappointed with their "true love". What's the point of finding it if you're not going to fight for it?

[Pictures collected from OneHallyu]
First Look at Bride of the Century
Bride of the Century Episode 9-10

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