Here is Mi Rae’s review of episode 2 of “Love Letter”. Sorry for the delay in posting the review, I have been busy with family matters.
Episode 2 begins with the high school graduation ceremony of Andrea and Eun Ha. Andrea gives a speech to the graduates because he is the class valedictorian (best student in his class). In his speech Andrea focuses on love, urging his peers to love one another. At the end of his speech Andrea surprises everyone present (including Father Peter and the other adults from the orphanage) when he announces his decision to enter the priesthood.
Andrea’s speech: “Let us love each other. Let us love one another without regrets. Love is our main purpose. Everything we have learned, getting into college, joining society, revolves around loving one another. To love and accept my life. To love and understand others like myself. That’s the reason we are living. Even if our basic needs differ, for success or profit, in the end we are only truly mature when we learn how to love. I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do from the time I was young. I have decided to live my life loving other people. I want to become a priest. I want to love others and be a saviour of other people’s souls. Like it or not, we will all be entering society soon. Which is why I chose to share my decision with you today. I want to confess to everyone. When you choose your path in life, choose a path where you can love other people. Let us truly love one another. Let us live our lives loving.”
After the ceremony a female classmate who is also in love with Andrea asks him to give her a button from his uniform as a graduation gift. It is customary among Koreans to give the buttons on their uniform to a friend or a special someone upon graduation with the hope of never being separated. This girl tells Andrea that she hopes he will fall in love before he becomes a priest.
Andrea seeks Eun Ha so they could return to the orphanage together. He finds her in the auditorium, alone and crying. She gets up and leaves without talking to him.
Back at the orphanage, Andrea talks to Father Peter, he apologizes for surprising Father Peter about his decision to enter the priesthood. Andrea reveals that he started to think of becoming a priest the first time he met Father Peter. Father Peter tells Andrea that his mom would likely not approve of Andrea becoming a priest, since she also disapproved of Father Peter’s decision to enter the priesthood. Andrea counters that he believes that his mom would have understood and would have been proud of him. Father Peter suggests to Andrea to give flowers to Eun Ha, adding that Andrea’s dad would give his mom flowers whenever she is upset.
Father Peter calls Andrea’s mom, but was told that Dr. Yim is out with the family celebrating the graduation of her son.
Andrea plays the harmonica outside the orphanage. Eun Ha, who is sulking in her bedroom, steps out of her room when she hears him. Outside her bedroom door she sees a bouquet of flowers and the last button from Andrea’s uniform. She accepts the gifts and goes out to where Andrea is playing his harmonica. She rests her head on his chest and asks him if she is her best friend. He says yes, of course. Eun Ha consoles herself that all is well for now, because there is still plenty of time before Andrea becomes a priest.
Andrea and Eun Ha move to a small apartment near the university. Both get jobs, Andrea at a plant shop and Eun Ha at a fast food restaurant.
One day Andrea escorts Eun Ha to a place where she is to meet a friend. It turns out that the friend is Dr. Yim who is taking Eun Ha out for a meal. This is the second time Andrea and Dr. Yim see each other. Andrea and Dr. Yim seem drawn to each other, just like the first time they saw each other a few years ago at the orphanage.
During lunch Dr. Yim admits to Eun Ha that she helps Eun Ha in place of someone else (Editor: The someone else Dr. Yim is referring to is her son, Andrea, whom she abandoned.) After lunch Dr. Yim takes Eun Ha shopping as a graduation gift. Dr. Yim also buys a sweater for Eun Ha’s friend (Andrea).
Back at home Eun Ha gives the sweater to Andrea; Andrea wears it right away. Andrea asks Eun Ha about Dr. Yim; Eun Ha replies that she is a doctor who graduated from the university where they are currently studying, and that she is a friend of her mom’s. During this conversation Eun Ha tells Andrea that she has no plans of getting married.
Andrea notices the crucifix Eun Ha is wearing. Eun Ha reveals that it was given to her by Dr. Yim. Andrea takes out his own crucifix and compares the 2, they are the same. Andrea reveals that his crucifix belonged to his mom. Andrea says that it is as if he and Eun Ha were really meant to meet. Hearing Andrea’s words makes Eun Ha happy.
On the first day of school Andrea is involved in a fight when he helps a classmate, Jung Woo Jin, who is being chased by a group of men. Because of the fight Andrea and Woo Jin are late for Dr. Jung Myung Woo’s class.
Dr. Jung is the top surgeon in the country and has a reputation for being a very strict professor in the university; no one has gotten an A in his subject. Dr. Jung has a policy that students who arrive late or miss a class are kicked out from his class. So when Andrea and Woo Jin arrive late for Dr. Jung’s class they were summarily kicked out.
Andrea and Woo Jin parted on a good note even if they got kicked out of Dr. Jung’s class. Dr. Jung decides to reinstate Woo Jin but not Andrea. When Woo Jin finds out about this he confronts Dr. Jung. We find out that Dr. Jung is Woo Jin’s father. Dr. Jung says that if Woo Jin returns home then he will reinstate both Andrea and Woo Jin to his class.
Eun Ha decides to cook dinner that night. She also bought a bottle of soju. She finds out that Andrea has never drank soju before. So Andrea tells her that she will have to teach him how to drink soju. This makes Eun Ha happy.
While Eun Ha is cooking dinner Woo Jin calls and asks Andrea to meet him outside. Woo Jin reveals that the reason why only Andrea got kicked out of Dr. Jung’s class is because he is Dr. Jung’s son. Woo Jin apologizes for what happened.
Eun Ha finishes cooking dinner and sets the table, she waits for Andrea to return home. However, Andrea goes drinking with Woo Jin, who reveals details of his family life to Andrea.
We find out that Dr. Jung was in love with Woo Jin’s stepmom even while he is married to Woo Jin’s birth mom. When Woo Jin’s stepmom becomes widowed, Dr. Jung forced a divorce on Woo Jin’s birth mom so he could marry the woman he really loves. Woo Jin reveals further that he was more hurt that his stepmom wasn’t his real mom than by what his father did. Woo Jin admits that he almost jumped over the roof of a building when he found out the truth but stopped when he saw a girl (Eun Ha) in mourning clothes singing very sadly. He has been painting the girl since then.
At first Andrea didn’t drink soju but after hearing Woo Jin’s life story, he decides to drink soju. Andrea says that he wanted to drink soju with a friend. Andrea invites Woo Jin to his place. During their walk Andrea reveals that he lives with a friend who is a girl who was in the orphanage with him, that both of them are orphans. When they reach home, Woo Jin meets Andrea’s housemate – Eun Ha, the girl in his paintings.
Back inside the apartment, Eun Ha begins to question Andrea about Woo Jin. She is obviously upset that Andrea made friends so fast with someone whom he met just that day. It upsets Eun Ha even more when Andrea tells her that he had his first drink of soju with Woo Jin.
Very early the next day, Woo Jin arrives at Andrea and Eun Ha’s apartment. He invites them to go to the public bathhouse with him. After bathing, the 3 eat at a restaurant. Eun Ha ends up leaving the 2 men after she loses her temper with Woo Jin. She tells Woo Jin that he can go ahead be friends with Andrea, but she is not interested in becoming friends with him.
Eun Ha waits outside for Andrea to return home. When Andrea arrives, he fusses over Eun Ha because she is out standing in the cold. Eun Ha asks Andrea if he is mad at her for being snooty with Woo Jin. Andrea replies that he is not angry at her, then fusses over her some more. (Editor: Aww, Andrea is so sweet. Can he fuss over me too? 😀 )
Eun Ha badmouths Woo Jin to Andrea. Andrea says that he doesn’t like hearing her badmouth anyone. Andrea tells her that she should look at the good side of a person. Eun Ha answers back that she is not the one who is planning to become a priest so why should she try to see the good in another person.
Andrea and Woo Jin become close friends for the sake of having the same name. This friendship grows without them imagining that the three of them are closely related. On the other hand, Eun Ha hates Woo Jin because she sees him as rival for Andrea’s affection and attention. However, Woo Jin is attracted to Eun Ha.
On Woo Jin’s birthday, he invites Andrea and Eun Ha to his house, Eun Ha arrives first and sees Woo Jin’s painting of her. Woo Jin begins to tell her how she saved his life. Dr. Yim arrives while they are talking, Woo Jin finds out that Eun Ha knows his mom; Eun Ha finds out that Dr. Yim is Woo Jin’s mom.
MI RAE’S THOUGHTS
The episode begins with a speech about love (based on the words of Jesus at the Last Supper) given by Andrea at his high school graduation ceremony. Since he is the class valedictorian, he was given the privilege to address a few words of farewell to his fellow graduates. This speech about love is almost identical to the speech he will give at the end of the drama when he receives a prize, when he is already a priest. Not all of his fellow graduates listened attentively to the speech, some mocked, a few paid attention. Very different from when he gives the same speech many years later. Eun Ha is greatly saddened by Andrea’s decision to enter the priesthood.
The button symbolizes the union of Andrea and Eun Ha. In the same way that a well-sewn button is never detached from the fabric, the same way Eun Ha and Andrea form a bond that will unite them forever, no matter the circumstances. Andrea says that only death will separate them. Here it is implied that the premonition of the girl classmate who tells Andrea that she hopes Andrea will fall in love before he becomes a priest will be accomplished.
The button is also a key to understanding the end of the drama, which apparently is “open” (meaning there are several possible endings, one of which is marriage between Andrea and Eun Ha.) Implicitly, Andrea leaves everything because of Eun Ha at the end of the drama. But we’ll discuss this in the last episode. With this button, Eun Ha consoles herself with Andrea’s decision, and from here, she defends her relationship with him.
Jung Woo Jin
Jung Woo Jin is the stepbrother of Andrea, who has the same birth name as Andrea. They also share the same destiny: to love the same woman. Woo Jin was raised by Dr. Yim, which ironically gives Woo Jin everything Dr. Yim denied her own son Andrea.
Andrea got to know him in a fight where he defended Woo Jin. Andrea, as a good Christian, defended his brother without regard for his own safety. Thus, Woo Jin began to feel sympathy for Andrea. Andrea and Woo Jin behave as if they were real brothers, without knowing they really are. These scenes of the beginning of the friendship of Woo Jin and Andrea are beautiful and nice:
1. The fight (Andrea follows Woo Jin to defend him, meeting his family, without knowing it.)
2. Woo Jin fixes Andrea’s necktie (people who saw this were laughing, because this is not common among men)
3. Andrea takes his first shot of soju. (Start of the jealousy of Eun Ha)
4. The public bath scene. (The friendship of Andrea and Woo Jin begins with a public bath scene and the last scene of Andrea and Woo Jin together is another public bath scene, when Andrea is already a priest.)
Jealousy of Eun Ha
Eun Ha is jealous of anything or anyone that separates her from Andrea, because her time with him before he leaves for the seminary is short, hence very precious to her. For this reason, she hates Jung Woo Jin, and she does not hide it. She is also jealous of the Church. She reveals this when Andrea tells her that he doesn’t like hearing her badmouth people. She answers back that she is not the one who plans on becoming a priest so she doesn’t need to be kind-hearted like Andrea.
Even before we knew that Andrea wants to be a priest, Andrea was already putting a barrier between himself and girls. When a girl confessed her romantic feelings for him, Andrea said that he cannot return her feelings for him.
Note: I edited my thoughts on 03.24.2015 upon the request of a relative.
Father Peter’s reaction to Andrea’s decision to enter the priesthood
When I first watched this drama I was surprised that Father Peter doesn’t seem to approve of Andrea’s decision to become a priest. I can understand that Father Peter is surprised because Andrea didn’t consult him about the decision. He is, after all, the best person to confide and consult on this matter. But more than being surprised, I also got the impression that Father Peter is not happy with Andrea’s decision and even tried to dissuade Andrea by telling him that Andrea’s mom would not have approved of Andrea’s decision. Could it be that Father Peter feels that Andrea didn’t really have the “calling” to become a priest? (Note: Father Peter’s ambivalence about Andrea’s decision to become a priest will be revealed in a future episode.)
Andrea gives the last button to Eun Ha
Andrea gave the last button from his uniform to Eun Ha without her asking him for it as opposed to the other girl who asked Andrea for a button earlier in the day. To me this means that it is Andrea’s conscious choice that no matter what happens in the future he wants Eun Ha to be part of his life. Of course, at this point in the story, Andrea believes that what he wants from Eun Ha is friendship.
Eun Ha accepts button from Andrea
When Eun Ha accepted the button from Andrea I think she has finally accepted Andrea’s decision to enter the priesthood and has decided to just settle for friendship between them. But of course Eun Ha wants to be Andrea’s BEST friend; meaning Eun Ha wants to be the friend who is closest to Andrea. That is why she resented Woo Jin when he became Andrea’s friend. She sees Woo Jin as her rival for being Andrea’s BEST friend. Woo Jin also takes away what precious little time Eun Ha has with Andrea before he enters the seminary.
The lullaby that Andrea plays on his harmonica
“A Sailor Went To Sea” (aka “Island House Baby” or “Island Baby”) is the title of the lullaby that Andrea plays on his harmonica whenever he is upset ever since he was a child living with his tyrannical paternal aunt. Since getting to know Eun Ha, he also plays the lullaby on his harmonica whenever he knows Eun Ha is upset and he wants to comfort her. I share the English translation of the lullaby below, but you can read more details about it at this link.
A Sailor Went to Sea
When Mama goes to the mudflats to pick oysters
Baby remains alone in the house
The ebb and flow of the waves sound like a lullaby
With his arms as a pillow, baby falls asleep.
While baby is sleeping soundly
Seagulls’ cries make Mama’s heart anxious.
Carrying the half-empty oyster basket on her head,
Up the gravel road, Mama goes running home.
Up the gravel road, Mama goes running home.
This song was not chosen randomly. It was chosen as the song Andrea plays whenever he is upset because it talks about a mother’s love and concern for her child. Andrea grew up hearing his paternal aunt badmouthing his mom. At that time, while playing this lullaby, Andrea must have consoled himself with the thought that surely his mom was not a bad woman as his aunt says. He must have felt comforted thinking that all moms (like the mom in the lullaby) love and care for their children.
Andrea and Woo Jin friendship
I think Woo Jin genuinely likes Andrea. Woo Jin went to see his father to confront him when he found out that Andrea will not be reinstated together with him, and Woo Jin also opened his heart out to Andrea. You don’t do these things for someone you don’t genuinely like.
However, I get the impression that Woo Jin sees Andrea as a country bumpkin, likable and very friendly, however, not cool enough to hang around with on a regular basis. Woo Jin looks on Andrea as someone he can use when the need arises, and drop when he has no need for him.
But, once Woo Jin found out that Andrea and Eun Ha are very close he decides to pursue a relationship with Andrea only to get close to Eun Ha. This is made clear when Woo Jin told one of his old friends that he will not go back to Dr. Jung’s class because he has to maintain his loyalty. But when he said this he was looking at his painting of Eun Ha. This means that the loyalty he feels is for his feelings for Eun Ha, and not for his affection for the poor orphan country bumpkin Andrea.
I think on the night Woo Jin found out that Andrea and Eun Ha are very close he already decided to separate the 2 by fair means or foul. This is borne out by Woo Jin’s actions the next day when he deliberately angered Eun Ha, already starting to put a wedge in the friendship of the 2 orphans.
Of course it goes without saying that Andrea’s feelings of friendship for Woo Jin are genuine.
Why Andrea doesn’t like Eun Ha badmouthing another person
When Andrea told Eun Ha that he doesn’t like hearing her badmouth anyone, that she should see the positive in everyone, Eun Ha fires back that she is not the one planning to become a priest so she doesn’t need to be nice as Andrea.
Actually, Andrea’s reasons are deeper than just wanting to be nice because he plans to be a priest. Andrea knows how hurtful it can be when a person says bad things about another person; especially if the person being badmouthed is someone you love.
Andrea spent the first 10 years of his life hearing only bad things about his birth mom from his paternal aunt. In addition, back in high school, their classmates badmouthed Eun Ha’s parents right to her face when they found out who Eun Ha’s parents were. I think Andrea is subtly reminding Eun Ha that both of them suffered a lot from people who only see the bad side in people. That is why Andrea is sad to see Eun Ha doing something that caused them to suffer in the past. But, of course, Eun Ha is blinded by her jealousy of her fiercest rival for Andrea’s love – the priesthood/the Church.
My favorite scene
The scene in this episode that left a very deep impression on me is when Andrea escorted Eun Ha to her meeting with a friend who turned out to be Dr. Yim.
There is Andrea left on the side of the road looking sad, maybe a longing in his heart for some motherly affection. Not knowing that had things been different he would have been the recipient of the loving attention of the older woman. I felt so sad for Andrea that I wanted to reach into my computer screen so I could give Andrea a hug.
Jo Hyun Jae has such an innocent aura and such sad eyes that lend themselves well to poignant scenes as this one.
Credit: Photos as labelled. Review by Mi Rae. Edited by prissymom.