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I finally got to watch KBS’s drama, Big, which aired in summer of 2012. This drama was Gong Yoo’s comeback vehicle. Despite the fact that he had done multiple movies, this was the first time I was going to see him since I saw Coffee Prince in 2007. The Hong sisters were penning the series. I have always liked their dramas, even if some of those dramas haven’t been my favorites. Therefore, I was justifiably excited when I heard that the Hong sisters were going to write a drama, with Gong Yoo as the main lead.
I finally came across a Hong Sisters series that I actively dislike.
The drama starred Gong Yoo as Seo Yoon Jae, who works in a hospital taking care of sick children. He is engaged to Lee Min Jung’s character, Gil Da Ran, a woman who is trying to get her teaching license. Lee Se Young, played by Jang Hee Jin, is also in the picture and in Yoon Jae’s life. Yoon Jae may or may not have been interested in this woman. Kang Kyung Joon, played by Shin Won Ho, comes back to Korea from America, after his mother has died. He connects with Da Ran, as a student with a teacher, and maybe something more. Suzy’s character, Jang Ma Ri, follows Kyung Joon from America, and is his crazy, obsessed stalker, who does not know the meaning of boundaries. Da Ran has a younger brother, Choong Shik, who has fallen in love with Ma Ri. Additionally, Da Ran’s parents had a scandalous love story, where her mother was her father’s student and fell in love with him. The two married after Da Ran’s father stopped fighting his feelings. Yoon Jae’s parents do not live in the country, and we don’t get to see much of them in the beginning of the drama.
At the beginning of the drama we see that Da Ran is busily planning her wedding. Alone. Yoon Jae doesn’t seem to have any time for her, and we are shown that Yoon Jae might not even love her. When she finally breaks down and demands to know his feelings, Yoon Jae agrees to meet up with her and tell her the truth. On his way to see Da Ran, there is an accident. Kyung Joon and Yoon Jae both land in the water, and Yoon Jae saves Kyung Joon’s life. Upon arriving at the hospital, Yoon Jae is declared dead. When Da Ran reaches the hospital, she finds Yoon Jae awake but confused. It takes a while for the two to figure out that Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon have switched bodies. Yoon Jae is currently in a coma in Kyung Joon’s bodies. The two decide to stick it out and wait for Yoon Jae to wake up and switch back with Kyung Joon. As they wait, Da Ran discovers that Yoon Jae might have been having an affair with Se Young, his coworker. While we discover later on that there might not have been an affair, Da Ran decides to break it off with Yoon Jae because she believes that he did not love her.
Kyung Joon goes off with Yoon Jae’s mother, who has shown up when she heard about the accident. One year later, Kyung Joon returns and tells Da Ran to take responsibility for him until Yoon Jae wakes up. He shows her the ring he found and tells her that she needs to protect Yoon Jae’s body and Kyung Joon from all the women that Yoon Jae’s mother is throwing his way. Through some convoluted reasoning, the two get married and Da Ran begins to wear Yoon Jae’s ring. As she spends more and more time with Kyung Joon, Da Ran begins to fall in love with the 19-year old and freaks out. She tries to run away from her feelings, but eventually gives in. The two kiss and have a moment of happiness before we find out that Yoon Jae’s body has leukemia, a disease that he also had as a child.
We then go on to discover the connection between the two. Yoon Jae’s parents had multiple eggs fertilized to have children. Because the mother could only carry one to term with her body, they chose one fertilized egg, which turned out to be Yoon Jae. When Yoon Jae was a child, he was diagnosed with leukemia. To cure their child, the parents then asked Kang Hee Soo, the woman that Kyung Joon had always thought of as his mother, to give birth to him. Hee Soo agreed to be implanted with the fertilized egg. She gave birth to and then raised Kyung Joon, and never told him the truth of his origins. Kyung Joon feels betrayed by these revelations, and by Da Ran’s behavior, as she begins to pull away from him. She tells him that Yoon Jae takes priority, and he must step up and take care of that body.
Kyung Joon decides to run away, taking Yoon Jae’s body with him. He plans on dying in that body, and hurting those that loved Yoon Jae with that death. Da Ran learns of his plan and goes racing after him. She tells him that she truly does love him, but needs for him to save Yoon Jae. She will take their separation as her punishment. This part made no sense to me at all.
But we continue on. Kyung Joon begins the blood transfusion from his own body, and there is a moment of connection between Kyung Joon’s and Yoon Jae’s souls. The two speak in some other world and Kyung Joon asks for more time. He has come to realize that Yoon Jae is setting all of this up to give Kyung Joon a family. He has also realized that once they switch back, he will remember nothing that happened between him and Da Ran. Therefore, he asks for some time to go back and pull away from Da Ran. When he awakens from this communication, he pretends that he has remembered nothing. Da Ran is hurt and bewildered by his behavior. She then comes to value him even more, and tells him that she will remember for the both of them. Kyung Joon is touched by her words and tells her to follow him when he comes back into her life. She tells him that she will.
One year later or some time later, we see Da Ran and Kyung Joon reconnect.
This ending and this drama made no sense at all. I still find myself confused and wondering about certain aspects of the drama, and I keep on asking myself what the heck went wrong? What the heck were the Hong sisters thinking?!! I feel cheated and I feel that I have wasted 16 hours of my life watching only half a story. And I wonder how dumb these writers think their viewers are, that we would let Gong Yoo’s presence distract us from that fact?
Throughout this drama, we get mysterious revelations of Yoon Jae. We hear certain stories from different people, and we attempt to make this complete picture of a man that we hardly get to meet and someone we never get to know. For a third part of a triangle, this person was conspicuously absent from the screen. And none of my questions regarding him were answered. I know that Yoon Jae knew about Kyung Joon. I know that Yoon Jae felt guilty about him, and would have done anything to bring him into the fold. I can guess that he was going to America to find Kyung Joon. But … there are a lot more questions. Did Yoon Jae really love Da Ran? If yes, how would he have handled the revelation that Da Ran now loved his brother? Did Yoon Jae have feelings for Se Young? I know the two weren’t having an affair, but Se Young was sure that Yoon Jae had some sort of feelings for her. And the way her character ended up, I tend to believe her a bit. Even if she did initially lie in the drama. Would Se Young and Yoon Jae end up together in the future?
Also, more importantly, how did Kyung Joon get his memory back? Did he get his memory back? How did he recover from being in a coma for so long? How did the brothers interact face to face in this reality? How did Kyung Joon get there on that last day and meet Da Ran once more? Why didn’t he look like Kang Kyung Joon?
And as to the details of what happened before we met these characters: What kind of relationship did Kyung Joon and Ma Ri have before their parents got together and Hee Soo died? Were they dating? What kind of relationship did Yoon Jae’s father have with Hee Soo? If he loved her, why the hell didn’t he leave his viper of a wife and go be with Hee Soo?
There were no answers! The Hong sisters really dropped the ball on this drama, and I have no idea what they thought they were doing by giving us half a story.
In addition to those holes in the story, the characters were unimpressive, as well. I have no problem with the actors. I like Gong Yoo. Lee Min Jung and Suzy were fine in their roles. I have a soft corner for Baek Sung Hyun, who has played another great sibling character. I feel sorry for Shin Won Ho. The poor guy barely got to do anything, and even the ending was stolen from him. But the characters themselves, their behaviors, and their morals really got on my nerves. Besides the character of Kyung Joon, whom we got to really know and love, everyone else was just blah.
Gil Da Ran was too wishy washy and easily manipulated. How could she let a 18-year-old girl play her like that? How could she she so easily pull away from Kyung Joon when the boy just found out that the body he is in has leukemia? In what universe is that okay? She cried too much. She leaned too heavily on a young boy. She blinded herself to reality. She let go too easily. And she didn’t study hard enough for her teacher’s exam!
Jang Ma Ri was Kyung Joon’s obsessed stalker, who followed him from America. She was selfish and manipulative, and her endgame was always to get Kyung Joon for herself. She knew no boundaries. Before she knew that Kyung Joon was in Yoon Jae’s body, she treated him horribly, and even kicked him in the groin. In what universe is it okay to treat a stranger like that? She played with both Kyung Joon and Da Ran, to the point that she almost caused Kyung Joon to run away and let himself die. She kidnapped his body. She remained unapologetic until the end, and, yet, all is forgiven in the end?
Yoon Jae’s parents had a woman, who loved his father, have their child. They then abandoned the child without a second glance? And we’re supposed to feel sorry for the man who walked away from those two because he loved Hee Soo? And the mother was the worst. Not only had she thrown away Kyung Joon, she was rude to Da Ran. And you knew that if Yoon Jae had gone through with marrying Da Ran, she would have made Da Ran’s life hell. And we’re supposed to be all touched that she is now being touched by the son she abandoned and whose blood she almost stole?
Kyung Joon’s uncle and aunt sold his house and took the money. And Da Ran’s brother was just so dumb! How could it be okay that at the end of this drama, after being around Ma Ri so much, he was still in love with her? Yoon Jae’s coworker, Se Young, broke the Hippocratic oath and almost stole a patient’s blood. How the heck was she still a doctor at the end of this drama?
Big was a complete disappointment. What kind of story leaves its viewers with so many questions? More than anything, I regret all the potential lost. I just hope that Gong Yoo will not stay away too long from the small screen, because I seriously need to see him in something good. I give the drama a 2.5 out of 10, and that is solely for Gong Yoo and Kyung Joon.