What happens when a person makes a life changing decision and all of South Korea seems to be against that decision? Je Hyuk finds out when he reveals that “The Phoenix” wants to call it quits.
There are several story arcs that we focus on in episode 5. While the big one was Je Hyuk’s retirement reveal, I want to start first with the relationship between Jean Valjean and Min Cheol.
Often referring to Min Cheol as dad, the younger man seemed to be very close with the older mentor. To the point, where I almost thought they really were related back when the characters were first introduced.
Jean Valjean is all set to be released when he is caught up in a room raid. And because he had modified his watch (put a picture of one of the Twice idol girls inside) he is taken and threatened with a longer sentence. In order to get out of trouble, he lies and claims the watch was actually Min Cheol’s and he was innocent of the infraction. Wow. Talk about being disloyal.
Everyone in the room is furious over the obvious disloyalty. Everyone except Min Cheol. We see that the younger man actually reminds Min Cheol of a friend he had pre-prison. His friend had joined the gang because of him and it was protecting Min Cheol that the friend murdered someone. Since he had committed murder, his friend has received a death sentence while Min Cheol was sentenced to life in prison. Because of this guilt, Min Cheol is able to look past Jean Valjean’s actions and forgive the younger man.
I thought it was a very poignant moment when Min Cheol watches (along with Prison Officer Paeng) the younger man leave the prison. Prison Officer Paeng comments that Jean Valjean is sure to be thankful for Min Cheol and come to visit. Min Cheol simply replies that he won’t since Mean Valjean is a criminal and they have no loyalty. Just with that sad statement, we are reminded that no matter how much we like the various characters, they are in prison for a reason.
Now that we have discussed the tragic son/father (of a sort) story let us turn our attention towards Je Hyuk.
We left off last episode with Je Hyuk declaring his retirement from Baseball. The only problem, no one actually believes that he means it. His whole professional career was based on the fact that he never quit. Not when his father died or when he was in an accident that forced him to have surgery on his shoulder. Not through years of physical therapy. Not even after surviving stomach cancer which required 12 bouts of chemo. Not to mention the whole prison problem. Je Hyuk is literally the person that best personifies the phoenix which arises from its ashes all the stronger.
While Je Hyuk has called it quits and is trying to figure out what else he wants to do with his life, the rest of the world (or at least everyone in the prison) is trying to confirm that this retirement is all a passing phase. I died laughing when the loud-voiced meal deliverer shouted his support of Je Hyuk.
Only Joon Ho seems to realize Je Hyuk’s commitment. Sadly, he doesn’t have the ability to protect his bestie from everyone else. Especially when they are not supposed to be bromantic soul mates. Joon Ho’s gaze is so soulful and heart-wrenching whenever he looks at Je Hyuk. It gets me in the feelz every time.
Events culminate when the warden, guards, and his cellmates throw Je Hyuk a birthday party …….. right after he finds out that the person he attacked succumbed to his injuries and passed away………. and they throw it in the prison’s greenhouse which they had turned into a baseball training ground. There was even power point film which was projected onto a pitching bull’s eye complete with Je Hyuk’s theme music. I cringed at how horrible this whole situation ended up being.
It was the stone that broke the camel’s back. Je Hyuk screamed that he was done. That he was not a phoenix and that he deserved to just stop trying. He also releases the unknown fact about his past cancer. By the end of his tantrum, I just wanted to rap him in a blanket and keep all the big meanies from hurting him anymore.
While things were a little tense post bday, I want to take a minute and end the recap on a happier note. First, can we just discuss how awesome Joon Ho is? I feel that so many of the points we discuss focus on Je Hyuk and we ignore Joon Ho’s strong silent support from behind. So just to give him his time to shine, let’s point out all of Joon Ho’s awesome attributes.
#1 He is a very patient brother. I am not sure if I would be as understanding as he is with his brother’s obsession with his best friend.
#2 He knows how to bring the bromance. I can’t get enough of his soulful gaze and true blue bestie personality. His ability to try and mother hen Je Hyuk is adorkable.
#3 He has the angstiest eyes that have ever angsted. I love an actor that can truly emote.
#4 Joon Ho even knows how to comfort distraught sisters. Am I the only one who kind of hopes he hooks up with sister and becomes Je Hyuk’s brother in reality?
The other highlight of the drama was finally getting to see Jung Hae In also known as the Demon Captain. I have a feeling that he is going to bring some great tension to the prison room. Not to mention, some lovely eye candy for us fangirls to appreciate.
Until the next roll call,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi