In the beginning of this recap series, I thought it would be interesting to consider the moral questions that are posed when facing an entity like Cyrano, via its manipulations of its clients, though I regretfully dismissed it at the time to focus on the actual, fast-moving, flufftastic story. For this last part of Cyrano, however, it seems as though we might be better off pondering the subtext than spending our time on the at times strange, somewhat boring, but ultimately satisfying last arch.
For most who have been watching the show, the last, unnecessarily long, official case with Mr. Fireman, Kim Chul-soo (Im Won-hee), and Ms.Nurse, Lee Hye-shim (Ye Ji-won), was clearly (“unnecessarily long” is a dead give-away) boring. There is little investment that we as viewers have towards the two; it’s quite difficult to establish any sympathy, or even empathy for the couple when there is little obvious development to see in their characters. The addition of cancer and the noble idiocy seems like a ruse for covering up a lack of ideas; but in this case, at least the cancer was handled in a way that is unique to K-dramaland. As loosely as possible.
The show doesn’t downplay the cancer, nor does it serve as some sort of plot changing element or the reason for which seas rise or the earth parts in this drama. Cancer is the means of expounding on the moral lesson of the last case: loving people when you can, because you never know when they will leave.
Both Chul-soo and Hye-shim were so caught up in how to spare themselves and others of eventual pain, that they give up on joys in life. They give up on love under the pretense that they’ll eventually hurt the other party when they die, without ever giving the chance for that love to actually form in the first place. It sounds stupid in retrospect, but when taking consideration of their feelings and circumstances (both witness death on a relatively constant basis) and the difficult times that their cupid is going through health-wise, it’s not hard to see the gravity of the message writer Shin Jae-won was pursuing and why our two main characters were so reserved in owning up to their feelings.
As for the last three episodes, it was a lot of spinning around in circles to get Byung-hoon to come to terms with his affection for Min-young as well as settle his emotional baggage (and, well, other people have emotional baggage to settle too). Episode 13 is a lot of talking and Byung-hoon revealing multiple reasons that he shouldn’t date Min-young, and in Episode 14 we see our favorite gangster totally sweep (or attempt to) our heroine off her feet, only to lead to an unexpected kidnapping that is actually totally within the plausible plotline for this show.
Surprising, I know, and even though I don’t like contrived plotlines at the end to just get “something exciting,” I think the “kidnapping” did some good. But before we get to that particular plot point, let’s rewind a bit to what lead to said kidnapping.
Min-young finds out that Byung-hoon and coerced Co. have been manipulating the relationship between herself and Master; she is hurt and distraught by the situation, and snaps at Byung-hoon for messing with her emotions. This may seem like a double standard for Min-young to both participate and believe in the Cyrano Dating Agency and its mission while finding the mission on herself appalling; however, it is not. Two rules have been broken by Byung-hoon in regards to Min-young: first and least important, Min-young is a member of Cyrano; second, Byung-hoon is fully aware that Min-young is in love with him. Every other case Cyrano has taken so far (that we’ve seen) involves people who are in love with the other party and an “uncommitted” person (Ray’s case is different because no one knew Se-kyung was interested in Ah-rang at the time).
What makes the kidnapping brouhaha (Episode 15) acceptable (besides having a Sherlock-esque episode) is that the whole scenario brought closure to all of Byung-hoon’s problems in regards to Cyrano and his guilt towards his friend’s death and subsequent destruction of two of his friends’ happy life together. It even opened his eyes to Min-young’s grievances in the last few episodes. When taking into consideration that Byung-hoon’s first “mission” was via his childhood friends, it makes sense that Byung-hoon is lost in his own “lie” and feels guilt for single-handedly creating and destroying the chances for love between his two friends. He questions whether his matchmaking schemes have really been in good faith, or if they truly are manipulations despite his own reasonings. Coming clean to so many people involved with Cyrano lets the viewers and Cyrano members alike reassess their moral grounds in such “manipulations.” Some relationships are seemingly unfazed by the turn of events, others possibly bite the dust (Dokko Mi-jin’s).
This ambiguity is key. Cyrano is not in any position to know or care—except when they themselves are the cause of the relationship falling apart. What Cyrano strives for, (and what makes them moral) is to nudge two people together by creating awareness for each other, not force them together and manufacture love. Each case is about revealing to one party (or two) the existence of the other person (or each other) as a romantic partner and setting up circumstances for them to interact. Whether or not they choose to stay together or not is a matter of what fate throws at them.
The same thing applies to Min-young and Byung-hoon when they finally get together in Episode 16 (like who didn’t see that coming), when Hyeri (who is partly responsible for the kidnapping) and Moo-jin make up, and when Arang’s cast-mate starts flirting with him. All of these scenarios imply a good beginning, possibly some rough patches being overcome for a true relationship, but no relationship in life automatically indicates a happily ever after, as evidenced by Min-young’s ending voiceover:
“Everyone shares the common dream in romance.Two people meeting to create a universe between them, and the moments they offer are sweet and happy. But sometimes it hurts and wounds you deeply…but you should never give up! Because when you gather those moments together, in the end they’ll bring you to your true mate.
And in Cyrano Agency, I had met my universe, my romance.”
—And that, is what Dating Agency: Cyrano is all about. The possibilities in romance.