Here is Mi Rae’s review of episode 3 of Jo Hyun Jae‘s 2003 drama “Love Letter”.
The episode begins with Andrea riding his bike to Woo Jin’s place to attend his birthday celebration. He has a pot of lily-of-the-valley in his bike. When Andrea is about to turn to Woo Jin’s street he nearly bumps into a little girl. The little girl is Yuri, Woo Jin’s younger sister. Yuri is deaf and mute, and also suffers from a severe heart disease. To avoid knocking the girl down, Andrea swerves the bike. He ends up falling down on the pavement. Yuri goes to check if Andrea is okay.
Back inside Woo Jin’s house, Eun Ha and Dr. Yim exchange pleasantries. Eun Ha mentions that her friend Andrea, the friend whom Dr. Yim saw before, is actually the one who is friends with Woo Jin, not her.
Dr. Yim reveals that Yuri is outside, in the car with the driver, waiting for her to return. She decided not to bring Yuri in to see Woo Jin because she didn’t want the little girl to suffer any shock. From this conversation Eun Ha finds out that Yuri has severe heart problems. Dr. Yim decides to leave; Eun Ha encourages Woo Jin to go see his sister.
Outside Woo Jin’s apartment, Dr. Yim and Woo Jin witness Andrea talking to Yuri about his potted plant. Woo Jin formally introduces Andrea to Dr. Yim, his mom, and to Yuri, his younger sister. Dr. Yim says that the lily-of-the-valley represents the tears of the Virgin Mary. Andrea gives the flowers to Yuri. Dr. Yim keeps looking at Andrea.
Editor: My heart hurts seeing the sadness in Andrea’s eyes while looking at Woo Jin’s family. I can feel the yearning in his heart for a family like Woo Jin’s.
Andrea, Eun Ha and Woo Jin take the bus to Andrea and Eun Ha’s house to celebrate Woo Jin’s birthday there. However, Eun Ha gets off the bus before they reach home, saying that she has to study.
At Andrea’s house Woo Jin looks around while Andrea is busy cooking. While checking out a book from Andrea’s bookshelf Woo Jin sees a carefully folded love letter hidden in the book. It is the letter Eun Ha wrote to Andrea when they took a train ride to a seaside town before their high school graduation; Eun Ha never gave the letter to Andrea because it was then that Andrea told her that he plans to become a priest. Woo Jin borrows the book with the letter together with some others.
At the Jung residence we find out that Dr. Jung is an alcoholic who needs to undergo an operation for a heart condition. Drs. Jung and Yim talk about the past. The mystery surrounding Dr. Yim’s relationship to Andrea and the Jungs unfolds (Editor: The details of the complex relationship of Dr. Yim to Andrea and the Jungs have been explained already in the previous episode so we will not repeat it here anymore.) Dr. Yim encourages Dr. Jung to talk to Woo Jin, who left their house when his birth mom reappeared in their life.
Dr. Yim says that she and Dr. Jung shouldn’t have gotten married after her husband died. Dr. Jung angrily asks if Dr. Yim is feeling guilty about Jin Soo (Andrea’s birth father) or about the son (Andrea) whom she abandoned. Dr. Yim could not answer Dr. Jung’s questions.
Back at Andrea’s house, Andrea and Woo Jin talk while they eat and drink. Andrea asks Woo Jin about Yuri, unaware that she is his half-sister. Woo Jin tells Andrea of Yuri’s various illnesses. Andrea says that he wishes he has a sister like Yuri. Andrea also expresses his surprise that the woman who took care of Eun Ha when her own parents died was Woo Jin’s mom, and that the “angel” who saved Woo Jin from his attempt at suicide was Eun Ha. Woo Jin counters that Eun Ha is more like an “ice princess” than an “angel”.
Woo Jin asks Andrea if he is not bothered that he and Eun Ha are connected in many ways. Andrea reassures Woo Jin that he and Eun Ha are just friends. Andrea asks Woo Jin if he is interested in Eun Ha, Woo Jin replies that he is not interested in “ice princesses.”
Eun Ha finally relents and decides to buy a birthday cake for Woo Jin on her way home. While walking home, she is pelted with snowballs, her attackers are Andrea and Woo Jin. The 3 end up having a snowball fight. Later, Andrea plays the birthday song on his harmonica, while Woo Jin blows the candles on his cake. Woo Jin’s birthday wish is for him and Eun Ha to become friends, Eun Ha finally agrees, but only because Woo Jin is Andrea’s friend.
Editor: Note that all this while, Eun Ha continues to address Andrea by his birth name “Woo Jin”, but I will continue to use Andrea to refer to JHJ’s character so as to differentiate the 2 men.
After Woo Jin left, Andrea thanks Eun Ha for joining them in celebrating Woo Jin’s birthday and for bringing a birthday cake. Eun Ha explains that she didn’t do it for Woo Jin. Andrea “found” Woo Jin. She could understand and relate to Woo Jin’s pain after she met Dr. Yim. She realizes that Woo Jin is hiding, just like Eun Ha was hiding before Andrea “found” her. Eun Ha finally realizes that Andrea saw that Woo Jin was hiding, just like Andrea saw that she was hiding all those years ago. Andrea jokes that he doesn’t understand what she is saying.
The next day at the university Woo Jin introduces Andrea and Eun Ha to his other friends. But despite being part of a larger group, Eun Ha continues to be a lot closer to Andrea. Whenever Woo Jin sees Andrea and Eun Ha together on their own, he would butt in and take Andrea away from Eun Ha, leaving Eun Ha on her own feeling like the odd one out.
One day some of the students plan a group blind date. At first Woo Jin doesn’t want to join the group, but when he notices that Eun Ha doesn’t like Andrea to go on the date, Woo Jin decides to join the group and strong-arms Andrea into joining them.
Eun Ha is in the library studying. She reserves a seat for Andrea thinking that he would join her as he indicated, but Andrea doesn’t show up. Outside, Eun Ha sees Andrea playing basketball with Woo Jin. Andrea sees her, apologizes for not going to the library as he said and tells Eun Ha to wait for him while he gets his things so they can go home together. Eun Ha is obviously upset but she didn’t say anything to Andrea.
While Andrea is off getting his stuff, Woo Jin taunts Eun Ha. He asks her if he is jealous of him. Woo Jin says that it is obvious to him that Eun Ha doesn’t like to see Andrea spending time with him. Woo Jin taunts her even more by asking if it would bother her if he takes Andrea to the group blind date. Eun Ha leaves without answering Woo Jin’s question and without waiting for Andrea.
Back at home, Eun Ha finally shows her jealousy when Andrea tells her that he is going to the group blind date. She criticizes Andrea’s hairstyle and his sweater, knowing that he actually looks fine. Later, Eun Ha goes with one of their friends to spy on the blind date, but she becomes upset when she sees that Andrea is enjoying the company of other girls. Woo Jin sees her, and follows Eun Ha when she abruptly leaves the place.
Woo Jin asks Eun Ha pointblank if she loves Andrea. Eun Ha replies that she cannot love Andrea because Andrea plans on becoming a priest. Woo Jin visits Andrea at his workplace. He tells Andrea that he has heard of his plan to enter the priesthood, then goes on to tell him that Eun Ha loves him. Andrea is dumbstruck at Woo Jin’s revelation.
Eun Ha is late coming home that night, Andrea waits up for her. Andrea is obviously affected by the knowledge that Eun Ha loves him because he is restless while waiting for Eun Ha.
Andrea receives a call from their friend to pick up Eun Ha from a bar because she is drunk. Andrea goes to the bar and picks up a drunk Eun Ha. Andrea gives Eun Ha a piggyback ride.
While drunk Eun Ha asks Andrea whom he likes more, Woo Jin or her. Mindful of Woo Jin’s revelation earlier about Eun Ha’s feelings for him, Andrea does not answer Eun Ha’s question.
Andrea takes Eun Ha to her room, and puts her to bed. He gently takes care of her but stops from touching her hair, obviously confused by his new knowledge of Eun Ha.
The next day, while eating breakfast Eun Ha tries to explain her behavior the night before but Andrea butts in before she could explain any further. Eun Ha changes the topic and tells Andrea that Sister Gemma called to inform them that Father Peter will be celebrating mass at a church in Seoul. Eun Ha suggests they go together to the church to help with the preparation. Andrea suggests inviting Woo Jin to go with them, Eun Ha agrees even if she is clearly not happy about it. By accident, Eun Ha touches Andrea’s hand. Andrea feels awkward about the physical contact.
The 3 friends arrive at the chapel where Father Peter will celebrate mass. They help clean the chapel to prepare it for the mass. Afterwards, Andrea and Woo Jin play with the orphan kids, while Eun Ha helps with the cooking.
While everyone is busy at the chapel, Father Peter goes to visit his sister at the hospital where she works to hand over a doll he bought for Yuri. During the conversation between the siblings we find out the reason why Andrea and Woo Jin have the same given name. The name Woo Jin is a combination of one character each from the names of the 2 bestfriends: Lee Jin Soo (Andrea’s late father) and Jung Myung Woo (Woo Jin’s father). Apparently, Father Peter heard the 2 men make a pact to give their sons the same name as a testament to their friendship.
Father Peter espies the pot of lily-of-the-valley on Dr. Yim’s table and remarks that his sister hasn’t changed at all over the years because the flower is still her favorite. Dr. Yim mentions the interesting coincidence that her son Woo Jin and Eun Ha are friends taking the same major in university. She adds that Eun Ha’s friend Andrea gave her the pot of lily-of-the-valley. She asks Father Peter if Andrea is also from the orphanage. Father Peter asks Dr. Yim if she has met Andrea already. Father Peter is about to reveal Andrea’s true identity but they were interrupted by someone telling Dr. Yim that her meeting is about to begin. Father Peter decides not to tell the truth then.
Back at the chapel, Eun Ha asks Andrea if something is wrong because he has been acting awkward since morning. Andrea replies that there is nothing wrong. Then Andrea requests Eun Ha to call him Andrea from then on, putting distance between them.
Andrea enters the chapel to prepare Father Peter’s cassock. Woo Jin sees Eun Ha crying, so he goes looking for Andrea. He goes inside the chapel and sees Andrea wearing Father Peter’s cassock.
Father Peter arrives and was told by Sister Gemma that Andrea and Eun Ha brought a friend with them, and that the friend is also called Woo Jin.
Meanwhile, Andrea and Woo Jin talk outside. Woo Jin tells Andrea that he saw Eun Ha crying. Andrea tells Woo Jin that he cannot accept a woman’s heart so he will just forget what Woo Jin told him about Eun Ha’s feelings for him. Woo Jin calls Andrea a coward, but Andrea fires back that Woo Jin is a coward too. Woo Jin admits that he loves Eun Ha. Father Peter calls out the name Woo Jin, both men turn in answer to the name.
MI RAE’S THOUGHTS
This is a popular saying: “Blood voice calls”. We see in this episode the cry of Andrea’s blood for his biological family. They are face to face for the first time: Andrea, his mother (Dr. Yim) and his half-sister (Yuri).
It is symbolic that Andrea has a predilection for the lily-of-the-valley just like his mom. Lily-of-the-valley symbolizes the tears the Virgin Mary shed for his son Jesus. (Editor: Lilies-of-the-valley appear in several Christian Bible stories. It is said that this flower grew from the spot where Mary’s tears hit the ground at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified.)
In this drama lilies-of-the-valley represent the tears that Dr. Yim shed for Andrea. More significant is the fact that Andrea is his mother’s saddest tear. So I was very impressed that he has this plant in his hands. The son has his mother’s tears in his hands. It is also significant that when he fell from the bike, the pot is not broken. Andrea cleans the pot gently. Andrea gently dries the tears of his mother and comforts her with his love.
Yuri is deaf, dumb and have a heart illness. She symbolizes, ironically, the personality of her father, Dr. Jung, and the consequences of his wrongdoings. That man is deaf to the pain of his family, being stunned in his own pain. He is dumb because he keeps a horrible secret that we will discuss a few chapters later. He is a man with a horrible heart pain, representation of his cruelty and repentance for his misdeeds.
Andrea does not realize that he is in love with Eun Ha until Woo Jin tells him that Eun Ha loves him (Andrea.) He tries to restrain himself and puts distance between himself and Eun Ha. These are evident when he asks Eun Ha to call him by his Christian name Andrea and when he wore Father Peter’s black cassock. For the first time we see Andrea’s priestly vocation waver due to the knowledge that Eun Ha loves him. That is why he wore the black cassock, he clings to it like it is a lifeline.
Note on black cassock
The black cassock symbolizes the priest’s death to the world and his birth to God. He wears a white collar, called “Roman collar.” The Roman collar symbolizes obedience to God, and also symbolizes that the priest is no longer a slave of the world. The Roman collar is inspired by the shackles that were put around the neck of Roman slaves.
The Holy See in Rome allows priests living in tropical countries to wear white cassock. This is due to the high temperatures in those countries; a white cassock will make it more comfortable for priests in those countries to wear a cassock. Only priests from tropical countries and the Pope wear white cassock.
History of the Pope’s White Cassock
The Popes wear white robes in honor of Blessed Pope Innocent V (1225-1276). He was the first Dominican pope, and he wanted to continue wearing the white habit of the Order of Preachers, from where he originated. Since then the Pope always wears white cassock.
I don’t have much to add to Mi Rae’s thoughts because she discussed everything very well. But I want to commend her for making me see some things that happened in the drama in a different light. Mi Rae’s analysis of the metaphors used in this episode is really awesome. I am referring to Mi Rae’s analysis of the significance of the lily-of-the-valley and the meaning of Andrea’s actions while holding the flower. It also never entered my mind that Yuri’s various illnesses are metaphors for Dr. Jung’s personality. I only thought that Yuri’s illnesses are punishment to Dr. Jung for his past misdeeds and to Dr. Yim for abandoning Andrea.
But this part of Mi Rae’s analysis is a bit unclear: “The son (Andrea) has his mother’s tears in his hands.”
I wonder what Mi Rae meant here. That it is up to Andrea whether his mom’s suffering (tears) will continue or end?
Why Andrea wore the cassock
From the time he was 10 years old, God and the Church (as represented by Father Peter) have been Andrea’s saviours from a miserable life. The Church has served as a safe haven for Andrea ever since Father Peter found (rescued) him. Outside of the Church, there is only misery, pain, loneliness, etc.
That is why Andrea wants to become a priest. Not just a way to thank God that he has been rescued from a miserable life, not just to help others who are in a similar situation that he was in, but so that he will continue to be under the Church’s protection for the rest of his life. That is why when his priestly vocation begins to waver because of his burgeoning love for Eun Ha Andrea clings to the priesthood (represented by the cassock). When he wore the cassock, he used it (more like wielded it) like a shield against anything that would take him away from the safe haven God has given him so far.
Credit: Photos as labelled. Review by Mi Rae. Edited by prissymom.