You know what’s a most magical moment for me in a kdrama? When an unexpected scene comes along and stuns me with its sheer power or poignancy. I’m blown away by the intensity of emotions, both on the screen and felt by me. I feel my hair standing (in a good way).
Two nights ago I experienced such a spine-tingling moment. It was Episode 3 of You’ve Fallen For Me. After the opening scene (which I replayed ad nauseam; watch it and you’ll know why), I could barely keep my eyes open. The episode felt plodding, shrill in parts and snail-paced in others. The jerky camerawork which had plagued Episode 1 was again making my head spin. Two female characters (both long-haired and self-absorbed) I wanted to slap silly. No, it didn’t bode well.
And then it happened.
He came. He sang. Oh, how he sang.
I first wrote about Lee Hyun-jin a year and the half ago in a brief character study that I did for Assorted Gems. That drama, incidentally, was also my first look at him. My second Lee Hyun-jin drama was Family Honor. Alas, both dramas did not leave me with a positive impression of him, the first because his character was barely more than a cameo (the writer remembered him only occasionally) and the second because he played a clingy and lovelorn student.
All those less-than-flattering impressions have been wiped clean, thanks to this scene:
This scene ranks up there with a certain scene in Can You Hear My Heart where a son, who had never acknowledged the slow-witted father who raised him, yelled for the first time in his life: “APPA!!” The chills. The goose pimples. The tears. Mine, mine, mine.
Why do I love this scene so much? It’s not simply the way Lee Hyun-jin sings, the emotions so raw and searing. It’s also because he sings THIS SONG from the Last Empress OST: “If I Leave.”
In 2003 I bought a CD compilation of kdrama OSTs. Among the dozens of tracks in that compilation, the one I loved the most was this same song (sung by Jo Sumi).
(warning: second half of MV is spoilery]
The empress in the drama (which aired 2001) is Empress Myeongseong. I wrote about this historical figure in my Jejoongwon (Part 1: The History) post.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to watch the Last Empress (aka Empress Myeongseong aka The Lost Empire). But I know I’ll be replaying Lee Hyun-jin’s spellbinding version of “If I Leave” many times over.