Episode 8 of Move to Heaven picks up where we left off, as Sang-Koo struggles to hold back his rage-filled tears. With a box of Soo-Cheol’s belongings, he hands it over to Soo-Jin and heads outside.
Speaking to the promoter, he promises to pay off his debt and refuses to fight for her anymore. In fact, he messages Geu-Roo and tells him he’s not coming back either.
Na-Moo charges over to check on the boy, as Geu-Roo decides to try and find his Uncle. He’s doing manual labour, as it turns out, but that doesn’t stop Geu-Roo putting up posters all around town. However, he’s grabbed by a bunch of men while he’s pinning the posters up and taken away.
This is just the collateral damage that this madam needs to force Sang-Koo back into the ring again. Before that, he charges straight into the arena and checks on his nephew, making sure he’s okay. Geu-Roo is clearly his Achille’s heel and despite Sang-Koo’s best intentions to hide it, she can see straight through his façade.
Geu-Roo however, is not so easy to persuade. He can’t read the situation well and is absolutely devastated when Sang-Koo tells him not to come looking for him when they head home.
Sang-Koo is rock bottom and the next day wakes up hungover and close to vomiting again. Geu-Roo is heading out on his own, ready to go on his annual picnic with his father. Now that Jeong-U isn’t around anymore, that falls on Geu-Roo to keep to the tradition alone.
Na-Moo convinces Sang-Koo to tag along, reminding him of his guardian duties. As Geu-Roo arrives at a theme park all alone, Sang-Koo follows from afar. Geu-Roo watches each of the rides and then heads to the bathroom, where a group of minors start bullying him.
Thankfully Sang-Koo is there and plays some police siren noises on his phone outside. This is enough to spook the kids, as they head out and find themselves at Sang-Ku’s mercy.
Eventually though Sang-Koo gets involved and rides with Geu-Roo. He’s terrified to begin with but eventually his Uncle convinces him to feel the wind on his face and enjoy the adrenaline rush. The final ride is the merry go round but as the ride turns, Sang-Koo notices his brother sitting on the horse next to Geu-Roo.
It’s a beautifully cathartic moment but one that eventually ends with Geu-Roo going off alone and telling his Uncle not to follow. Sang-Koo obviously does just that, watching Geu-Roo from afar as he heads to various different food joints before arriving at the station.
This, as it turns out, is the same station that Sang-Koo visited in 1994 where he snuck in the back with Jeong-U to celebrate the former’s birthday. It turns out this all links to Sang-Koo’s original birthday wishes, which included going to different food joints and riding every ride in the amusement park.
A year passes and as we skip ahead to 1995, Dang-Koo’s abusive Dad passes away. Sang-Koo is due to go into an orphanage but Jeong-U vows to make his birthday wish come true every year. Unfortunately he doesn’t show. This upsets Sang-Koo who finds himself alone and feeling betrayed. 3 days passed and still he didn’t show.
Back in the present, Sang-Koo arrives and finds Geu-Roo making rock cairns and praying for health and happiness for someone Jeong-U loves. This is, of course, for Sang-Koo. Sang-Koo is angry and all of this stems from the betrayal he felt at being left on his birthday.
When Geu-Roo catches up to him, he confirms that Jeong-U had a nasty accident the time he was supposed to meet the boy. Sang-Koo didn’t know this but he did see the news reports about the Sampoong Department Store collapse. Jeong-U was trapped for three days and hospitalized because of the pain.
Back home, Sang-Koo goes searching through Jeong-U’s things and finds boxes of Nike shoes. This stems back to Sang-Koo’s birthday wish, which also explains why he was at the department store when it collapsed.
Trapped all that time, Jeong-U clutched the Nike box and could only think of his friend. He apologized and wept while being left under the rubble. He even left a label with “From your brother” on the side. These presents go back every year, with Jeong-U doing his best to make up for the year he never showed up.
As the episode closes out, Sang-Koo finds an adoption certificate to confirm that Geu-Roo isn’t actually Jeong-U’s child.
The Episode Review
What an emotionally moving episode. This healing drama has done an amazing job so far at bringing tearful moments to the small screen. In true K-drama fashion, this chapter does not disappoint.
Ultimately, the entire drama revolves around Sang-Koo and Jeong-U’s doomed and ill-fated relationship in the past, with the latter trying so hard to make up for the one year he couldn’t show thanks to the department store collapse.
This hits Sang-Koo like a ton of bricks and the realization that he’s been hating this man for absolutely no reason is clearly a tough pill to swallow. That makes for quite the dramatic showing and the upcoming last two episodes look set to up the ante with this one too.
That is especially true when it comes to Geu-Roo who – as we find out here – was actually adopted by Geu-Roo. Quite what will happen next remains to be seen, but this has been an incredibly moving and beautifully written drama so far.
Despite a few slow chapters, Move to Heaven is absolutely firing on all cylinders now.