Praise of Death: Episode 2 Recap

How do you bid farewell with someone who you still love and desperately want to be with? Sim-deok and Woo-jin explore this devastating question as they attempt to come to terms with their widely different realities and circumstances.

Praise of Death: Episode 2 Recap

Woo-jin and Sim-deok walk home together after he is released from prison. Once they arrive at Sim-deok’s house, Woo-jin is invited inside so that Sim-deok can treat the scratches on his face. Sim-deok’s siblings and parents are curious about their relationship, but they eventually leave Sim-deok and Woo-jin alone. While Sim-deok treats Woo-jin’s scratches, the two take note of each other’s financial status. It seems like the both of them aren’t well off. Sim-deok shares that she wants to visit a place with Woo-jin in the future once he fully recovers.

So Woo-jin and Sim-deok set out on a small date. They have a talk about hats, their pen names, and even shortly stop in front of a music shop to talk about the latest music releases. Afterwards, Sim-deok takes Woo-jin to the grand theatre she hopes to be able to perform at one day. Performing for the play has ignited her dreams of becoming a singer and she hopes to be able to continue singing with Woo-jin there to support her. The two then decide to grab dinner together.

During dinner, Woo-jin shares with Sim-deok what his dreams are. He feels the happiest when he writes and hopes to be able to continue writing for the rest of his life. The duo continue their adventures by visiting the same prison where Woo-jin was arrested just a few days before. They cause some trouble by throwing a huge rock into the window and causing it to shatter. The two escape from the police officers chasing after them and manage to successfully hide in an alleyway. Once the chaos dies down, Woo-jin leans in to Sim-deok to give her a kiss, but he stops halfway and suggests they leave for home.

While waiting for the train, Sim-deok expresses in excitement that she has something she wants to tell Woo-jin. However, she’ll wait until they arrive in Tokyo to tell him. Woo-jin isn’t as excited as Sim-deok; with a stern and firm voice, he invites Sim-deok to his house in Mokpo like how he did with the rest of the play members. Sim-deok is excited at the thought of visiting Woo-jin’s house, but Woo-jin leaves feeling dejected and down.

The next day, the troupe and Woo-jin all wait for Sim-deok to arrive at the train station. Sim-deok finally appears and sports the same exact hat that Woo-jin expressed a liking for. Throughout the train ride, Woo-jin watches as Sim-deok interacts with the other play members, but he doesn’t exchange any words with her. When they finally arrive at Woo-jin’s house in Mokpo, Sim-deok notices just how huge and beautiful his house is. It’s there where Sim-deok learns that Woo-jin is the son of the wealthiest family in Mokpo.

Furthermore, the troupe is introduced to Woo-jin’s wife upon arriving at the house. As she takes the rest of the members inside the house to rest, Sim-deok stays behind in shock and pain; she wasn’t aware that Woo-jin was married all along. Upon learning the news, Sim-deok is only able to stand across from Woo-jin in complete silence and uncertainty.

Our troupe celebrates the success of their tour one last time with a small ceremony. They invite Sim-deok to perform for the group, but she uses her voice as an excuse to not perform. It’s clear her heart-break is the reason as to why she’s not in the mood to sing or to celebrate. Nan-pa is invited to perform after Sim-deok to lighten up the mood. However, neither Woo-jin or Sim-deok are excited or happy like the rest of the members are. Sim-deok leaves to take a walk by herself. She leaves behind the hat that she wore only to impress Woo-jin and a note she’s written for him.

The next morning, our troupe bids farewell with Woo-jin at his house. Woo-jin then has a meeting with his dad afterwards to discuss about his activities with the troupe. Dad is disappointed in Woo-jin for participating in the play and for writing literature; he hopes Woo-jin will think about the family and eventually take over the family business one day. During a short encounter that evening, Woo-jin’s wife gives him the same suggestion as Dad and advises Woo-jin to not engage in any activities that Dad will disprove of. Woo-jin wonders if life is difficult for his wife, but she claims that it isn’t.

Four months later, Sim-deok reunites with Woo-jin to inform him of her leave. She’ll be returning to Joseon in two days so she wanted to take the time to bid farewell with him since they were acquainted with each other. As they exit the coffee shop together, they overhear news of a man who committed suicide with his lover. Sim-deok can’t seem to fathom why they would commit suicide when they can just end their forbidden relationship, but Woo-jin assumes it must be because the loneliness would be too painful for them. With that, Sim-deok and Woo-jin shake hands to end their own forbidden relationship.

Five years pass and our characters are now doing their own things. While in his office, Woo-jin reads the newspapers and identifies a report with details regarding Sim-deok’s performance at the grand theater she dreamed of performing at. Woo-jin still recalls the special moment she showed him the theater five years ago and how she had hoped he would be there to watch her perform.

Sim-deok hasn’t forgotten about the special memory either. Just minutes before her performance, she hallucinates Woo-jin’s voice calling her name. But as she will learn, it was just her imagination. Sim-deok eventually makes it onto the stage and is welcomed by a loud applause. As she performs, Sim-deok can’t help but think about the hard times she faced when she was trying to get over Woo-jin. It wasn’t the easiest for her and still isn’t. As Sim-deok performs, she also takes a look around the audience. Her dreams of performing at the grand theatre with Woo-jin there to support her comes true as she catches him watching her perform from the balcony.

Upon seeing Woo-jin, Sim-deok suddenly ends her performance and runs out the theatre to catch up to Woo-jin. She eventually finds him walking out on the streets so she calls out his name and asks to have a brief talk with him. Just like old times, the two take a walk together and catch up on what they’ve been doing the past five years. Just like how Woo-jin’s dad wanted, Woo-jin has now taken over the family business and is signing documents and papers instead of writing literature. Woo-jin compliments Sim-deok on her performance; she didn’t seem nervous and definitely didn’t seem like she needed Woo-jin’s support.

But Sim-deok did. She realizes after seeing Woo-jin watch her perform that she hasn’t forgotten about him. Her feelings for him are still the same now as they were five years ago. Woo-jin gives Sim-deok a hug and encourages her to just leave things as they did five years ago. Sim-deok sheds a few tears upon hearing his response. Before bidding farewell again, Sim-deok relays to Woo-jin that she’ll write him letters. She also encourages him to keep writing since she enjoys his work and because writing is his passion. Sim-deok then boards the train to go back home.

While cleaning up Woo-jin’s desk, Woo-jin’s wife finds Sim-deok’s hat still hidden inside one of his desk drawers and grows suspicious. Meanwhile, Sim-deok gets paid for her performance at the theatre. The owner hopes that Sim-deok will sing songs and tunes that people are more familiar with which Sim-deok hesitantly agrees to. Though Sim-deok doesn’t make a lot of money based off of her performances, she’s happy enough just being able to sing in her native tongue.

As she will share in a letter to Woo-jin, Sim-deok is just happy she’s getting to sing. What makes her happier though is getting to spend time with Woo-jin. Whether it’s reading books together or holding hands while riding a horse carriage around town, Sim-deok is happy as long as she is with Woo-jin. Woo-jin pens a letter back to Sim-deok and updates her about his wellbeing as well. Woo-jin writes that he always finds himself missing Sim-deok and thinking about her. He can’t help but miss her all the time.

While reading Woo-jin’s letter, Sim-deok is interrupted by her brother. Sim-deok has a meeting with Mom and Dad to discuss about their financial situation. There’s a wealthy man interested in marrying Sim-deok; if Sim-deok wants her family and her siblings to be successful and well off, Sim-deok should consider marrying the man. His family will support both her and the family. Plus, Sim-deok’s income alone won’t be enough to support the family anyways.

Sim-deok faces a dilemma and travels to Woo-jin’s hometown to meet with him. While walking on the beach together, Sim-deok informs Woo-jin on the news about potentially getting married to a man she doesn’t love. However, she doesn’t want that. She wants to be with Woo-jin. She cries and wishes for Woo-jin to just hold onto her and to suggest that they run away from everything. Sim-deok clings onto him and wishes for Woo-jin to tell her that they can escape from any commitments or priorities in life just so they can be together. However, Woo-jin can’t bring himself to say anything and rather stands still in response to Sim-deok’s desperate needs.

That evening, Woo-jin has another meeting with his dad to discuss about Woo-jin’s random disappearances at work. Dad assumes Woo-jin must be spending time with the troupe again, but Woo-jin claims that he will no longer be traveling anywhere. After the meeting, Woo-jin re-reads a letter from Sim-deok and breaks down into tears upon reading it. Why is it that reading her letters makes him cry? There’s nothing Woo-jin can do but just hopefully wait for Sim-deok in the afterlife. Sim-deok herself has also accepted her fate. She meets with her potential husband (played by Lee Sang-yeob! AHHHHH!) at a coffee shop.

Dad receives news that a mail for a person named ‘Soosan’ has arrived at the house. Dad opens the letter. Meanwhile, Woo-jin has trouble focusing at work as it seems like he’s waiting anxiously for the letter. Sim-deok’s future husband – Kim Hong-ki – exits from Sim-deok’s house after spending some time with her family. As Sim-deok walks Hong-ki out, he attempts to hold her hand. However, she flinches and responds that she doesn’t feel quite ready and comfortable with him yet. Hong-ki accepts the reality and heads back home. Sim-deok stays behind and can’t help but imagine holding hands with Woo-jin. It’s obvious her heart still yearns for Woo-jin.

Later on that evening, Woo-jin is confronted by Dad in regards to the literary pieces he’s been writing for magazines. Dad reiterates that he doesn’t approve of Woo-jin writing and participating in political movements, but Woo-jin finally snaps and breaks down. He is Dad’s son, but he too is a human being. Woo-jin wishes to just be able to breathe and to do what he wants to do. He loves to write; writing is his passion. For once, he’s going to do what he wants to do. Woo-jin ends the conversation by asking his father a brutal and harsh question: does he want his son to live or to die?

Dad reacts in shock to Woo-jin’s sudden outburst and assumes it must just be because of the alcohol. After Dad exits from the room, Woo-jin repeats the question he asked Dad seconds earlier: does he want his son to live or to die?

My Thoughts:

My goodness, this episode felt SO long which is ironic and odd considering that this episode was supposed to be the most climatic and intense out of the 3 episodes. It felt weird watching this episode because it seemed like everything and nothing happened all at once. Lol.

If you read the synopsis or premise of the drama prior to watching the show, it was no secret that Woo-jin was actually married but chose to continue his affair with Sim-deok. That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise to me that his marriage was revealed in this episode because I already knew that he was married and that he was eventually going to come clean with Sim-deok about it. Therefore, the primary aspect that I was anticipating the most was how exactly the drama was going to execute this detail about Woo-jin’s marriage to Sim-deok and the aftermath of it all. As beautiful as the drama is (which makes the drama better than it actually is), the episode fell flat after Sim-deok learned the truth about Woo-jin which was a little shameful. I absolutely loved their immediate reactions to the news with Sim-deok being in total disbelief and shock that the man she loved was already married while Woo-jin felt hopeless, suffocated, and disappointed in assuming that he and Sim-deok could have something when he clearly knew that they couldn’t. The scene where they stood across from each other in the courtyard of his house was absolutely beautiful and charming and it made me excited to see how Sim-deok and Woo-jin were going to act afterwards.

However, as the episode progressed, I found my excitement wavering and slowly fading as the minutes went on. The episode felt a little long and the all the scenes of the two yearning for each other felt like it was being dragged on for a little longer than was necessary. I liked that their only form of communication with each other was through letters since Woo-jin loves to write and he could use his passion of writing to express his feelings to the woman he secretly yearns for in his heart. However, at one point in the drama, I just couldn’t help but think to myself, “Okay, we get it. You both still love each other!” We know that Woo-jin and Sim-deok’s ending isn’t so bright and happy because they chose to be with each other to the very end so of course, they were going to long for each other’s love and presence. However, the drama made this too obvious and too explicit and too frequent in this episode that I just got tired of it before the episode even ended.

I guess I should be angry at Woo-jin for starting an affair with Sim-deok because 1) he didn’t tell her about his marriage and 2) he knew fully well that they wouldn’t be able to actually have a relationship but he still chose to go through with the affair. However, despite all this, I could also understand where Woo-jin was  coming from and why he wanted to continue his forbidden relationship with Sim-deok. He did eventually reveal the truth to her and attempted to end things with her multiple times. However, their love transcended any attempts they made to end their relationship and it was clear that they both still loved each other so dearly even many years of bidding farewell. As we saw in the very beginning of the first episode and as we will see in the conclusion of the final episode (and as happened in real life), the two decided to spend the last few remaining moments of their life with each other.

I know some people were disappointed with Shin Hye-sun’s portrayal of Sim-deok based off of the first episode. While her acting doesn’t irritate or distract me, I admit that I’m paying a lot more attention to Lee Jong-suk who I find a bit more charming in his role as Woo-jin. Since this drama is primarily filled with angst, pain, and tears, I wasn’t too sure how Lee Jong-suk or Shin Hye-sun were going to express these kind of emotions. While Shin Hye-sun is doing a decent job at it, I find Lee Jong-suk excelling in this angsty kind of drama and I’m loving it. I’m enjoying his acting in here and find that the few moments of silence where he’s staring at Sim-deok with the most lovey-dovey eyes or the moments he’s standing across from her in silence because he can’t bring himself to say what’s on his mind is absolutely beautiful. Lee Jong-suk is doing a fine job in here (as is Shin Hye-sun) and I would actually love to see him play more serious, melancholy, and angsty characters like he did in this drama.

It was Sim-deok and Woo-jin’s fate to be in a forbidden relationship with each other. Their only wish to be together is prohibited with Woo-jin’s marriage and Sim-deok’s financial status that required her to get married to someone else (okay, but I would totally be fine with leaving Lee Jong-suk behind for Lee Sang-yeob. LOL. Lee Sang-yeob as a potential husband? Fine with me!). Woo-jin and Sim-deok obviously shouldn’t be together, but they also can’t do anything about their undying love for each other. Maybe it is this undying love as well as their daring acts of courage that will bring our couple together once and for all. 

Bonus: Extra screenshots from the gorgeous drama~

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