Ok-Dong and Dong-Seok 1
Episode 18 of Our Blues starts with Dong-Seok again. This time though, we see him washing and drying his clothes, polishing his shoes and messaging Seon-A. She admits that she’d be happy if he just showed up out the blue, so Dong-Seok sets his alarm and prepares to leave.
Ok-Dong rings him though, repeatedly, as she’s supposed to be taken to her father’s memorial service. This was, of course, loosely agreed during episode 17. Anyway, Dong-Seok refuses to pick up her calls, much to Eun-Hui’s annoyance when she finds out.
Eun-Hui rings Dong-Seok and tells him outright that Ok-Dong has terminal cancer. There’s a long pause. “So?” Dong-Seok says. Eun-Hui continues on, pointing out that she doesn’t have long left and she needs to do this for closure.
Dong-Seok shows up to surprise Seon-A but notices her with Tae-Hun and Yeol, about to go out for dinner. Dong-Seok decides to drive off, honking his horn repeatedly in frustration, believing that they’re together again. His heart is shattered and he heads back on the ferry to Jeju Island. Ah, the misunderstanding trope strikes back!
A small glimmer of light here comes from Eun-Gi, who happens to be across with Man-Su while he’s recovering. Despite being in a critical state last episode, it actually looks like her prayers have worked and he’s pulling through!
It’s still not great but Ok-Dong does get to see a video of her granddaughter excitedly chirping and singing to her about how her father is okay.
In-Gwon and Ho-Sik double-up on Dong-Seok, demanding he follow them so they can discus what’s happening to Ok-Dong.
Eun-Hui fronts this brigade, demanding he drive Ok-Dong up to Mokpo. After winding up In-Gwon, who starts taking his clothes off and preparing to fight, Eun-Hui calms everything down. She brings up the past and admits that she used to cry for Dong-Seok and what happened.
After Dong-Seok’s sister passed away, Ok-Dong remarrying and moving in with someone else less than a month after, upset a lot of people – Eun-Hui included. She felt sorry for Dong-Seok and cried for him.
The thing is, Dong-Seok actually witnessed his mum and his friend’s father (the one she remarried) sleeping together, and that’s what tarnished their relationship. There is more, but we’ll get to that in several paragraphs’ time.
With Ok-Dong throwing up blood and on borrowed time, Eun-Hui urges Dong-Seok to give in and reconcile things with his mother. He’s stubborn though and Dong-Seok refuses. Jeong-Jun has a very different tact, and he drives out to the coast, stopping so they can watch the absolutely breath-taking sunset.
The sky is lit up orange and red, blushing through the clouds. Honestly, I cannot put into words how beautiful this vista is.
Anyway, this gives Dong-Seok some perspective as he admits to himself that he feels weird following the news about Ok-Dong. When he shows up at Seon-A’s house, she rings him and Ok-Dong has a neutral venue to vent his feelings to.
For Dong-Seok, he sees this journey to Mokpo as a way of her picking a fight with Him and rubbing his nose in the past.
These wounds with Ok-Dong run deep, stemming from how he was basically shunned and abandoned by his mum in the past. After losing his father and his sister, Ok-Dong told him “I’m no longer your mother. I’ll be your aunt. Jong-U and Jong-Cheol wilL be your parents.”
Despite objecting, she slapped him over a dozen times, beating him down until he bled. So obediently, he no longer looks at her as a mum, she sees her as an aunt. But then Jong-U and Jong-Cheol used to beat him too, sometimes in view of Ok-Dong who did nothing to stop it.
Seon-A listens to all of this and tells him to do whatever his heart thinks is right. She also believes he should confront her and ask Ok-Dong these difficult questions about her not being a good parent. Not only that, Seon-A admits that she doesn’t have feelings for Tae-Hun anymore… she has feelings for him.
The next day, while eating Sundae Soup, he finds out when the memorial service is and agrees to see her at 4am. Everyone, including Eun-Hui, are really happy and Ok-Dong even decides to eat more broth. It would seem like this is what she wished for with the 100 moons at the end of the last episode.
In the middle of this, Yeong-Ju is rushed to hospital despite being a month early. Jung-Hyeon is a mess, and the group head in to the clinic. Ho-Sik and In-Hwon are outside holding hands as they admit to Eun-Hui that she’s been having contractions for over 10 hours now.
Yeong-Ju is called into the delivery room, as Eun-Hui, In-Gwon and Ho-Sik all cross their fingers and hope for the best.
Meanwhile, Ok-Dong is unable to sleep all night and counts down the hours for Dong-Seok showing up to take her to Mokpo.
Ok-Dong tests his patience the whole time, constantly riling him up and encouraging him to do a number of different chores. Because of all these delays, they miss the morning ferry. “Let’s have breakfast first.” Ok-Dong says, as Dong-Seok looks at his mother incredulously.
The Episode Review
This show has been such a rollercoaster ride of emotion over the weeks and episode 18 is no exception. While I was under the assumption that Man-Su had passed away at the end of episode 17, it’s a relief to find he’s pulled through.
It also brings the focus of Eun-Gi and the others praying into a lot more context, showing that they’ve had their prayers answered, in one way or another.
There’s a lot of baggage to unpack between Ok-Dong and Dong-Seok but finally we learn why Dong-Seok isn’t happy with his mother. It’s a really heart-breaking story and it works wonders to reframe their relationship and why he’s had such animosity toward him.
I can’t even imagine laying a finger on my children but seeing Ok-Dong repeatedly slapping Dong-Seok was a tough watch.
The moments of levity in this episode work really well break up some of this heavy drama too. Seeing Yeong-Ju about to give birth and In-Gwon and Ho-Sik now together in their worry and angst, is a really nice touch, although I have to say I thought Yeong-Ju might have miscarried, given the tone of this show over the previous chapters.
We’re onto the final week now though and this wonderful anthological drama looks set to close out with a bang.