I had no idea that Angel Eyes would be more interesting than I had expected. In fact, my expectation was close to none as I did not think this would be a good melodrama at all. I was in for a very pleasant surprise, and I’m happy to say that I’m so hooked on this feeling. So I thought maybe I’ll try wee-capping again.
The first five minutes of of episode 1 is the most tragic way to start any drama but it throws you right into the world. We are quickly introduced to Yoon Soo Wan (the youngest version played by someone less known, the middle version played by Nam Ji Hyun, and adult version played by Gu Hye Sun) and her mother as they head off on a trip to see the stars, per Soo Wan’s begging. Dr. Yoon Jae Bum (Jung Jin Young), is seen as a loving and playful father to Soo Wan who unfortunately must work long hours in the OR. Then we meet Park Dong Joo (the youngest version played by some kid, the middle version played by Kang Ha Neul, and the adult version played by Lee Sang Yoon) and his equally loving family with firefighter Park Hyung Shik at the head of the family.
A collapsed tunnel brings the two families together as Soo Wan and her mother are trapped under their overturned car and Hyung Shik comes in to help save the day, even though he was technically off-duty that day. The tunnel threatens to collapse again, and Hyung Shik hears Soo Wan’s cries. He has his partner carry Soo Wan off to safety while he cuts Soo Wan’s mother loose from the car. Just as they hobble to the exit of the tunnel, more rubble collapses on the both of them, killing them instantly.
UGH. If only the father had not been so comforting and spoken about finishing his pork belly dinner with his family, I might not have felt like my heart got wrenched out of my chest.
We fast forward a few years and Soo Wan is still scarred by the accident both mentally and physically, as the crash has caused her to become blind. Her father can no longer return home because he’s still haunted by memories of his wife, but he swears to find a donor for his daughter’s eyes. As for Dong Joo, he works hard for his mother’s porridge delivery service, waking up early in the morning to deliver to her customers, one of which is Soo Wan. Dong Joo harbors a bit of a crush on her as every morning he happens to catch Soo Wan staring off into the distance on her balcony, reciting a lecture about the constellations. He has visited so often that he’s practically memorized her entire lecture. It helps that he’s also the smartest guy in school, with grades that could get him to medical school even though he wants to be a firefighter like his father.
One day Dong Joo’s class goes on a trip to the observatory, and there he sees Soo Wan for the first time outside of her home. He tries to subtly get her attention by standing in front of her but she misses him completely. It still doesn’t hit him that she’s blind. Soo Wan begins her lecture, but because she forgets to change the slides for the presentation what she says doesn’t match the constellations that are projected on the ceiling. Realizing what’s going on, Dong Joo crawls up to the podium in the darkness and helps her regain her place in the lecture. Heh.
After the presentation the other boys tease Dong Joo in the bathroom for trying to flirt with Soo Wan by helping her with her presentation. Once left alone to finish his ‘business’, he suddenly gets interrupted by the presence of Soo Wan! She bursts in and faces the mirror on top of the sink. It doesn’t seem like she notices him, and Dong Joo’s too frozen to do or say anything. It’s only after she gives herself a little pat on the back and leaves that Dong Joo realizes his fly has been unzipped the entire time. HEHEHEHEHE!
Dong Joo isn’t an idiot about Soo Wan’s condition for long. After he saves her life from an oncoming truck, he realizes that she’s blind and still feels guilty for her mother’s death. All this only makes Dong Joo like her even more and he tells her that he plans to meddle in her life more often now. She thinks it’s out of pity, but it’s not. It’s LOOOOVEEEE. And it knows no age boundaries, as Soo Wan is two years older than him (20 to his 18).
The following day he visits Soo Wan at the observatory again and notices a few boys trying to get her attention. Dong Joo manages to save her just in time before the immature boys start picking on her for being blind. Instead of being grateful Soo Wan tells him to stop butting in just because he can see. She’s worked hard to relearn things that are second nature to others who can see, and so she is more than capable of handling herself. I get her dislike for feeling inferior, but a simple thanks could also suffice.
Chagrined, he decides to walk around the streets blindfolded to see what it’s like being blind. It’s a painful and scary process, and he realizes that Soo Wan has a difficult life. He returns to the observatory in time to see her leaving and ties her undone shoelaces as a way of apologizing. It’s not that he really pities her because his own sister now has a terminal illness, but he does want to be in her life. And from then on he becomes her new best friend.
One of the things he does is teach her how to ride a bike, which is not something a blind person would usually do. She manages to successfully bike in a school yard (with training wheels) and lets go of the handlebars to feel as though she’s flying. But then she goes off balance and Dong Joo catches her just in time so that she falls on top of him. She immediately connects to his heart beating and remembers the warm feeling of being on his chest. Another time, she invites him over to watch a movie together since she’s always alone in her house. Thankfully for him she cannot see him freaking out silently out of excitement. She will pick the movie, and he will pick up the food… Which just so happens to be pumpkin porridge.
Dong Joo begs his mom to make some pumpkin porridge to “listen to the needs of her customers.” HAH. Excuses. He brings it over to Soo Wan and as they watch the movie together he wipes a little bit of the porridge from her mouth. Ooh la la. Seeing all the DVDs in her house gives him an idea, and he starts taking Soo Wan to the movie theater where he holds a part time job at the concession stand.
At one point, a careless moviegoer discards his still-smoking cigarette in the trash can, and it lights the other trash on fire. The fire alarm rings and everyone begins to evacuate the theater. Dong Joo immediately runs for the theater where Soo Wan is watching the movie but she’s already gone. She’s taken the wrong turn and finds herself in the smoky corridor where the fire is ablaze. Soo Wan is choking on the smoke when finally the sprinklers turn on and douse out the fire. Dong Joo finds her relatively unharmed and carries her to his home.
Dong Joo’s mother Jung Hwa (Kim Yeo Jin) and his sister Hae Joo are surprised to find him with another girl. A simple explanation of the movie theater fire suffices, and Jung Hwa discerns that Soo Wan is blind. She helps Soo Wan get cleaned up and then have her join for dinner.
Hae Joo is absolutely freaking adorable as the younger sister who thanks Soo Wan for liking her “humble-looking brother” and hopes that Soo Wan can take care of him instead. Jung Hwa helps Soo Wan with her dishes and quickly puts two and two together that she is the so-called customer who likes pumpkin porridge! And the teasing may now commence! I love that Dong Joo’s family is tight-knit and humble and happy. They compliment and diss Dong Joo in the same breath, which also makes Soo Wan feel more comfortable in their home.
From then on, Soo Wan spends most of her days with Dong Joo and his family, where she is always welcome and can even learn how to cook. One evening when Soo Wan and Dong Joo are at a park, his mother calls to check up on him. He refuses to let his mom talk to Soo Wan because all she wants to say is to have Soo Wan stop being her son’s girlfriend, and just become her daughter. Aww. And then suddenly Soo Wan agrees. She will be his girlfriend. In exchange he will have to share his family with her.
Dong Joo is all, “Do you even like me then!?” And Soo Wan replies with a quick peck on the lips. And then Dong Joo runs up the stairs and pumps his fist in the air out of schoolboy excitement, and yells “YAYYYYYYYY SHE’S MY GIRLFRIEND!!!” Dork.
The happiness continues with the two of them sharing an iPod (a 2002 model no less! Yay for anachronisms!) that has their favorite songs and recordings of random things about each other. At one point, Soo Wan’s best friend Min Soo (Shin Hye Sun, later played by Jyuni), an aspiring cop, reminds Dong Joo that it’s Soo Wan’s birthday in two days. So for her birthday Dong Joo invites her home and his mother cooks her favorite dish: omelette rice. Hae Joo gifts a purple bunny hair clip as a present (because purple is Soo Wan’s favorite color), and Jung Hwa gives her box of recorded tapes of all her recipes (marked out in Braille) so that Soo Wan could be more independent and provide for herself. As for Dong Joo’s gift? He takes her to a lake where they can go bungee jumping, which is on her list of things she wishes she could do.
Soo Wan also hears from her father that she might be able to get an eye donor soon, as she is at the top of the list. However at the very last minute the donor backs away. She tries to not be so disappointed, but for the first time she really wishes she could see so that she can see Dong Joo and his family. Jung Hwa comforts her and reassures that she’ll be able to see one day, and wishes that she could gift her eyes to Soo Wan. Uh oh. Foreboding.
After the bungee jump, Dong Joo gives her his father’s whistle, which he acquired after his father’s death. She is also asks for him to never leave her side without permission, cementing that they are going to be one bittersweet couple in the future.
That evening Dong Joo catches a fever and so his mother goes out on delivery in his stead. She leaves pumpkin porridge for Soo Wan and then crosses the street when she has the right of way. A truck totally runs the red light and is inches away from hitting her. Crazy driver! Jung Hwa takes a deep breath and then continues crossing the street, only to get hit by a dark car coming in the opposite direction. WHAT THE HECK. People – she had the right of way! Unfortunately it’s a hit and run.
Jung Hwa is rushed to the hospital where she is put in stable condition but needs surgery. She manages to regain consciousness enough though to tell her son that if the worst case scenario happens she wants her son to do two things: 1) Take care of Hae Joo and bring her to the States for treatment; and 2) Give her eyes to Soo Wan. She even registers for organ donation and specifies Soo Wan as her beneficiary. The doctor on Jung Hwa’s case immediately brings it to Jae Bum; It seems like everyone knows about his quest to give his daughter eyes. Jae Bum is torn, and it’s almost likely that he’ll willingly forgo surgery just so she could die and he could get her eyes. But thankfully he chooses to save the patient first.
Once again Soo Wan hears from Min Soo that she might receive eyes, but she doesn’t know who the donor is. She keeps trying to call Dong Joo but he doesn’t pick up, not realizing that he’s in the hospital. Relationships 101: ALWAYS KEEP UP COMMUNICATION. Gah.
Jae Bum performs the surgery on Jung Hwa and at one point she enters cardiac arrest. However, he manages to save her and Jung Hwa survives the surgery. Thank God he saves her. Dong Joo thanks and bows to Jae Bum profusely, not realizing that the man who saved his mother’s life is Soo Wan’s father. I wonder if Jae Bum knows that the man who tried to save his wife was Dong Joo’s father, as this could be a nice guilt trip point for someone sometime in the future. In any case, he gives Jung Hwa the nicest room in the hospital, and takes care of the bill.
But there’s a mysterious suited fellow who’s also been watching Jung Hwa’s condition unfold. When he hears that she might make it through and still remembers the hit and run, he disguises himself as a doctor and injects a serum into her IV that causes her blood pressure to drop. She starts crashing, and Jae Bum immediately rushes in to save her. Except… he remembers that she’s donating her eyes to Soo Wan, and he stops…
When the other doctors and nurses come in they see Jae Bum performing CPR. However it’s too late, and Dong Joo himself stops Jae Bum from trying to save his mother. He thanks the doctor for doing everything he could to save his mother, but it’s questionable whether Jae Bum really did do everything he could.
And then Dong Joo and his sister must prepare for a funeral once again. A detective investigating his mother’s case, Kim Woo Chul (Kwon Hae Hyo), comes by with bad news. It’s going to be very difficult to identify the car as there were no fingerprints, no witnesses, and no way to identify a “blue-ish nice car” that could mean any car. But Detective Kim does feel a little guilty and resolves to find Jung Hwa’s killer as a way of repaying the woman who fed him porridge every morning.
Meanwhile Soo Wan still cannot reach Dong Joo but there’s not much time to go see him. She must hurry to the hospital and receive her new eyes! When he finally checks the messages on his phone he rushes back to the hospital. This might be his last chance in seeing Soo Wan before he has to fly to America to live with his aunt and get his sister well. He barely catches a glimpse of her before she goes into the OR, and Jae Bum overhears him calling for Soo Wan. He then puts two and two together, and realizes that his daughter is in love with Dong Joo, whose mother he could not save and gave her eyes to Soo Wan.
Post-surgery, Dong Joo sits by Soo Wan’s bedside and apologizes for coming so late. Jae Bum waits outside, listening to the boy. Dong Joo tells her that he’ll have to leave for a while and is sorry that when she wakes up she won’t be able to see him. He asks her to never forget him, and to wait for him. It’s a good thing he leaves a letter too, since she’d be able to see soon and probably didn’t hear a single word he said, but it’s a bad thing that Jae Bum sees it and takes the letter and her phone away. Poor Soo Wan.
Years pass, and Dong Joo returns (with the handsome face of Lee Sang Yoon). He’s excited and happy, and makes his first stop in front of Soo Wan’s home. He’s back, and he can’t wait to see her.
I really liked the set up of the first two episodes and the child actors gave such strong performances that it gives the adult actors a hard act to follow. I’m willing to go along with all the melodrama that will predictably ensure mainly because I like the acting and the dialogue. It’s really ridiculous how Jae Bum must be so horrid even though he has no reason to. I feel like I’m being forced to dislike him just so that there’d be an antagonist in this show.
Aside from the whole “return of the first love” plot and the melodrama surrounding the origin of Soo Wan’s eyes, I am hoping that there will be more drama coming from the mysterious hit and run perpetrators. Clearly there must be powerful people involved who want the accident buried. I can’t imagine who would be an enemy to Dong Joo’s family, so unless it was the president’s son who accidentally killed another woman I don’t know why there’d be so much work to cover up the crime. I’m really sad that Kim Yeo Jin appeared for only two episodes, as she’s such an awesome actress.
Weecaps for episodes 3-4 to follow soon!