While I was watching eps7/8 of Heart, this random thought juz kinda popped into my head: “Heart is really kinda colourful”. And I’m not referring to Hong-do’s epithets of Yi-seok’s character, but colours as in real colours. Which is weird really, cos the scenes have this dreamy feel about them, which render them a little washed out and colourless.
Despite that, these are the colors which stand out while I was watching Heart:
Hong-do’s cheeks, the red shawl Doo-soo gifts Hong-do, and the romance. Which has progressed from its tentative roots to a full blown declaration of love on three sides. Doo-soo realises his “fondness” for Hong-do means more than juz sympathy for this shy girl whom he has helped in the past, or even gratitude for her 7-year supply of delicious banchans. Once he admits to himself that he likes Hong-do, he doesn’t beat about the bush to say so. I think he has declared his love for her at least thrice in ep7 — twice at his friend’s sushi place, and once on the phone. And not to forget, his regretful self-beration later for taking such a long time to figure out his feelings, assuming Hong-do will only look at him and no one else.
Hong-do, surprisingly, moves faster than I’d give her credit for. She knows for sure Doo-soo is finally reciprocating her feelings, but she speedily self analyses that she doesn’t love him that much — or any more. She is very spot on in her self-diagnosis of her lacklustre excitement over Doo-soo’s love declarations and her sudden fever chills — it’s not a winter cold, but lovesickness. Stemming from being ordered by her Prince Charming (Doo-soo) not to contact her Wayward Dark Knight (Yi-seok). The thought of not calling Yi-seok for juz ONE night makes her so uncomfortable that she physically comes down with a fever. And when she hecks all and rushes over to see Yi-seok the next morning, she miraculously recovers. And as a bonus, she spits it out to Yi-seok that she wants to hug him and wants him to hug her back — she doesn’t spell out she LOVES him, but her giddy teenagey actions speak otherwise.
And Yi-seok: yes, he is still a little flippant, but we see that he is stumped by his overwhelming interest and affection towards Hong-do. He admits to his professor, and to Hong-do herself, that he has no idea why he has fallen so hard this time like a teenage boy in love (when Hong-do doesn’t even meet his “qualifications” for a girlfriend). But, he doesn’t appear to care about the logical aspects that much. Physically, and instinctively, he knows he’s a pair with Hong-do. And he isn’t such a jerk really. He can be quite sweet too — he takes care of sick Hong-do, and does this really lovey squeamy thing of running over to hug her suddenly on her way home.
That is the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head — between Doo-soo/ Yi-seok (which already started weeks ago), and soon-to-come, Hong-do and Yi-seok’s ex. Unsurprising. The more you like someone, the likelier you are going to breed your own pet Monster Jealous. Amusing to watch, as long as you are not one of the parties.
But besides the lovers’ rivalries, there’s an older and deeper rivalry embedded in Heart. That of sibling rivalry, which is placed upfront as one of the case-of-the-day (Eun-ho and her twin sister Jin-ho) with its link to Yi-seok and his (dead) twin hyung, Il-seok. Both Yi-seok and Eun-ho regard themselves as the “weaker” younger twin — young Yi-seok is physically weaker, more shy than Il-seok, and Eun-ho sees herself as less talented than her unni, Jin-ho. And because of their perceived “lacks”, they try to over-compensate. When Il-seok passes away, Yi-seok attempts to step into his shoes to fill them, becoming someone else, and losing his own identity in the process. We saw in ep1’s snapshots that he started training himself furiously after his hyung’s death to be stronger and bigger, and develops a glib tongue trying to mimic his charismatic elder brother whom everyone loved. Eun-ho does the opposite: she resents her unni getting more parental attention, and gets into trouble in order for her mum to look at her.
While it’s too late for Yi-seok to undo the emotional scarring the death of his brother has done to him, he manages to arrest the vicious spiral of hate between Eun-ho and her mum (and by extension her unni, Jin-ho).
The color of depression. Personified by Yi-seok’s bipolar mum, who finally does what everyone feared — attempting suicide in ep7. But what I find more depressing is how Yi-seok seem to have taken full responsibility for something which is beyond his control and isn’t even his to assume — the aftermath following the death of Il-seok. Somehow, he feels the need to become Il-seok, to care for his mother, to prevent the whole family from coming apart, to become both a brother and a surrogate parent to his sister, Se-ro…and shouldering so much needless responsibilites doesn’t leave him with much bandwidth for himself.
No wonder he has issues — which are becoming more apparent to us, when Hong-do enters his life and starts challenging him to reflect on himself. His careless attitude is a defense mechanism, which Hong-do perpetually calls him out on. It’s not that he doesn’t care. I think he is afraid to care cos he can’t commit more time on another person, with his plate so full with his rather dysfunctional family.
And it is quite sad despite Yi-seok’s best efforts, he doesn’t seem to have bridged the gaping wound left by his hyung, Il-seok. His mum and grandpa still continue to favour the long gone favoured son/grandson, yet at the same time, unconsciously leaning on Yi-seok for support and comfort. Se-ro, who appears cool and aloof over the death of Il-seok, is like their father. She avoids the topic, tries to run away from home (metaphorically speaking — Se-ro is always harping on being “independent”) but when told to role play a dongsaeng who has lost her oppa, she cracks and goes on a drinking binge.