Nice Guy (Innocent Man) Episodes 1-6 Meta-by-Pictures


Anyone who’s been on this site knows I tend to write a lot, usually too much. For this post I’m going to do something short and sweet by focusing on screencaps and letting them speak for themselves. But for those of you who don’t mind my rambling, don’t worry; there’ll be a reflection for this week’s episodes as well.

Ma Ru’s Home
I like the idea of Ma Ru’s home being like a refuge. When Jae Hee was being abused as a young girl, that’s where she went to find a hiding place and a person to patch her up. That’s where Ma Ru goes to now after a hard day at work. It’s where he let’s Choco stay since her mother abandoned and disowned her, and where Jae Gil stays since he’s left his father’s household. And it’s where Eun Ki goes after her father has kicked her out. It’s a place that always has a light on outside. (And of course, this recalls Jae Hee’s speech about Ma Ru being a home with the light on and a fire burning. She might have meant that literally.)


Eun Ki and Jae Hee Having Different Reactions to the Same Event
These two are worlds apart: one was born into the corporate upperclass and is getting kicked put, the other was born poor and has fought her way to get there; one is being screwed over by  Ma Ru while the other has already screwed him over; one is blunt and transparent while the other is deceitful and manipulative; one attracts loyalty while the other attracts romantic attachment. What’s really fascinating about them is how they experience the same events in totally different ways. When Eun Ki’s Dad is yelling at her Jae Hee is rejoicing, and when Eun Ki is delighted at saying “I love you” to Ma Ru and hearing those words back, Jae Hee is surprised and frightened.


We’ve focused on everyone’s hands at some point in this drama. Ma Ru’s hands are healing hands: they take a person’s pulse, help perform CPR, catch someone when they’re falling. Eun Ki’s hands show her strength and determination: she grabs Ma Ru’s arm, bangs on doors, rips up contracts, throws dolls to the ground, drives recklessly. Jae Hee hands I like the best: they show her emotional state, shaking when she’s frightened and clenched when she’s unsure of herself. They also show her alliances. I just love the way they do it: in episode 3 we are shown the Chairman laying a hand over hers after she’s put on the act of neglected but devoted wife, then in episode 4 when Ma Ru has come over for brunch her hands start shaking violently and Lawyer Ahn covers her hand with his, and finally in episode 5 Ma Ru resists the urge to hold her hand while she lies hooked up to an IV drip. (She also slaps Eun Ki, a big no no in my book.)


Jae Hee’s heels break and are left behind when she jumps off a bridge, willingly risking suicide to manipulate Ma Ru; Eun Ki’s shoes pause outside of hospital doors and houses as she questions where she stands with Ma Ru; Ma Ru’s shoes stop when he sees Jae Hee on the news, stumble after seeing her for the first time in years, and walk up to a sleeping Eun Ki and stop as he considers her.




Jae Hee meets Ma Ru off a bridge and then jumps off it in an attempt to keep him from meeting Eun Ki; Eun Ki waits for Ma Ru on a bridge and they kiss on it (with ducks in the background; I don’t know if their quacks were left in on purpose but I loved it!); Ma Ru returns Jae Gil’s money on a bridge (unknowingly right across from Jae Hee and Eun Ki). These bridges are connected to the color red and to the water motif. I want to say they have something to do with connection and communication, like Jae Hee was trying to stop and interaction between Eun Ki and Ma Ru and their bridge was white while Eun Ki and Ma Ru’s was red. Also, waiting. Jae Gil, Eun Ki, and Jae Hee have all waited for Ma Ru on a bridge. And Eun Ki said, “If you wait long enough for someone, they’re bound to come.” That sounds pretty ominous to me. Hmmm… (Also, remember natural vs artificial with the fish tank vs the rain and the running outdoors vs the treadmill? Well, that continues this week with the different locations of the bridges.)


Eun Ki and Ma Ru Sleeping
These two are just always exhausted. I think Eun Ki’s sleeping may have something to do with her illness (and how hard she works, of course) but Ma Ru’s is definitely because he’s running himself ragged trying to chase down Jae Hee. Did anyone else catch that he basically spent 2 days wearing the same clothes without showering? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but he was running around and jumping into oceans, and then he went on a date and kissed someone! Could you change out of you “saving Jae Hee” clothes before you make out with Eun Ki please? There’s also a recurrence of Ma Ru finding or watching Eun Ki while she sleeps (which is reciprocated in episode 6).


Watches & Clocks
Time is so important in this drama. It’s something that Ma Ru lost so much of, and I’m not just referring to the time he spent in jail. His entire future is empty, just a black abyss staring back at him. When Choco is no longer as childish as she is now and she has a full time job ad (maybe) a family, what will he do then? Not only that, but Ma Ru uses time as a tool of control. I’ll elaborate on this in the reflection, but I think it’s really important that he spends much of episode 5 glancing at his watch and the in episode 6 Choco takes his watch away, which is right when he starts showing some remorse for what he’s doing to Eun Ki and when his plans start to go awry with the reinsertion of Jae Hee’s older brother in their lives. And of course, the pocket watch of the shows opening credits.


Water in this drama makes me feel uneasy. With Jae Hee almost dying and Ma Ru dumping Eun Ki in a pond (which I hated and didn’t find at all romantic; if someone did that to me I’d have a heart attack) I’m getting Ophelia floating dead with flowers in her hair vibes. It’s probably me reaching, but with the King Lear-esque attitudes the Chairman has towards Eun Ki and her referring to putting flowers in her hair as a sign of insanity (and Jae Hee calling her insane), water really makes me worry about Eun Ki’s safety. I mean, Will It Snow For Christmas anyone? Water is dangerous.


Lights behind Ma Ru and Eun Ki
This is just pretty, especially with all the gifs and edits folks make on tumblr. But a possibly deeper understanding of it may be that  these two are in incredibly dark moments in their lives, and they serve as the bright spots for one another. I love the way they’re there for each other, even though it’s a tactical effort on Ma Ru’s part. This may just be my own romantic inclinations, though.


They’re tools for secretly transferring information; they’re how Eun Ki and Ma Ru team up against Jae Hee. (And fine, fine, I just can’t resist anything that reminds me of QIHM.) Eun Ki’s is white while Ma Ru’s is black; something about naivete vs degeneracy, perhaps?


Women Grabbing Ma Ru’s Arm
I know Lee Kyung Hee is known for her aggressively masculine male leads (something I’ve never been a fan of; give me a Lee Da Ren or a Park Chul Soo any day) but as  this blogger suggested, I think Song Joong Ki brings a vulnerability to Ma Ru that might not have been there if someone else were playing him. He’s always saving women and ordering Choco around and being paternal with Eun Ki and in episode 6 he assaults Jae Hee, and with another actor it would have come off much more confrontational.


Two Pictures of Jae Hee That Eun Ki Receives
Jae Hee is like this boogie man who just crops up out of nowhere to take control of the men in Eun Ki’s life. First her father, then Lawyer Ahn, and now Ma Ru.


And this one’s for rearwindow:
Ma Ru and Jae Hee Overlooking Their Opposing Dreams
I’ll just quote rearwindow (DB episode 3 Comment #

You know, there were two shots in this episode that really stood out to me visually and I wasn’t sure what to make of them, initially. There was one where Maru was standing on the roof garden of the hospital at dusk, watching the sun dip behind the mountains beyond the glass wall. Then, later in the episode, there was a startlingly similar shot of Jae Hee in Lawyer Ahn’s apartment at nighttime, gazing out beyond his floor-to-ceiling glass windows at the skyline. (Alas, neither are screencapped! But if you are total film nerds like me, Maru’s scene is around 17.5 minutes & Jae Hee’s scene is at 56.5 mins) Maru’s scene was silent, but in hers, Jae Hee has her monologue about how reaching the top feels like a dream, a fantasy to her. This might be a bit of a stretch, but I think the visual parallels reinforce that both have their fantasies, but these fantasies are at odds with each other. The sun is literally and figuratively setting on the simple, natural life that Maru desperately wanted with Jae Hee. Try as he might, he can’t ignore how far gone Jae Hee is from the idealized version he had built of her. Jae Hee’s fantasy of clawing her way to the top of the city has plunged her into darkness, but she’s so fixated on securing her place there that she doesn’t see (or care) what she is becoming.


Ma Ru’s Eyes
Song Joong Ki is really, really good at conveying emotions with his eyes. Tyra would be proud. I think the drama may be getting to the point of saturation, though, so I hope its starts using his dead stare vs. fake happiness vs. real happiness vs. hurt and confusion more economically. I was so disheartened at the beginning of episode 6 when he looked up from his kiss and hug with Eun Ki, but felt a twinge of hope when his eyes seemed uncertain when she kissed him.


And Finally…
I just loved Eun Ki in episode six. So cute, so cheeky, so giddy, so full of moxie, and so incredibly in love and open to admitting that she wants to be loved back. I officially adore her. I want her and Kim Nana and Choi Hee Jin to get together and throw a feelings party.


An Addition: Ma Ru and Jae Hee Reflected Upside Down



About ladida

lasagna enthusiast ♡✿


  1. Jillia

    I LOVE your way to see things in this drama and I love your thoughts about it. :D

    Agree with you. He didn’t expect EG kissing him… I’m wondering will we see how the scene ends!? Because this is what the drama is good at, right!? Keeping us on our toes because we never know how things are going to develop. :)

    • ladida

      Hi! thanks fro stopping by! I really really hope that he is changing. I think we saw the worst of Ma Ru so far in episode 6, but we also started seeing him showing some remorse. It doesn’t justify what he’s doing, of course, but it does add another dimension to it. I have to admit that I’m not sure how I want Eun Ki to proceed. On one hand I want her to start tricking Ma Ru and not let him know she knows he was involved with Jae Hee, and on the other I want her to confront him immediately. In the preview for episode 7 we hear her saying “Don’t touch him, not one hair on his head!” so I’m guessing she defends him from her father. I can’t wait for next week’s episodes!

      • Jillia

        Hi! :D Well I’m still a huge fan of Ma Ru (no matter what) because even though he is so bad at the moment he is still fragile inside. And it shines through in those moments with Eun Gi and also with JH (the moment she holds her back because it hurts).
        I’m really not sure though how Eun Gi will react next week. I’m sure it will be either confronting him immediately or just walking away in a state of shock. So yes, the anticipation is high!

  2. amymoon

    hi ladida…i love your writing on the connections between the characters and the scenes…i particularly love your thoughts on the watches and clocks, which i did get me thinking on episode 5 when maru was waiting for Eun Gi outside of her room in Aomori…and it annoyed me when he’s keep on looking at his watch…and also in episode 6…i did thought what’s so special about Maru’s watch that even Jae gil wants it….but then, i read your thoughts today, yes, maybe they want us to show that the watch is important and it connected Maru intentions to Eun Gi and Jae Hee…let’s see what the significant will the watch do in the coming episodes

    prior to reading this, while i was watching Nice Guy i don’t know why i rolled my eyes a few times…i can’t read Maru….and some scenes i do found a bit ridiculous (e.g the contract-signing ceremony)….maybe i’m shallow, therefore could not easily interpret the writing and the characters…particularly on Maru’s character

    so thanks to you…your writing makes me understand the story better and understand why the story been presented in such a way….i love it when you explained on the hands, shoes and about everything today…keep on writing…i’m officially your fan :)

    • ladida

      Hi amymoon! Don’t worry, I rolled my eyes a little during the contract signing, too. I think everyone did. That scene was hard to watch because of the bad acting from the foreign actors, and it was kind of over the top. And I’m fincing hard to read Ma Ru, too. But hopefully in the next few episodes Lee Kyung Hee will reveal him to us.

  3. lumiere

    Thank you! Your posts make me love/appreciate this drama even more!
    Am so happy that you mentioned that phones and Nice Guy reminds you of QIHM! (it means am not the only one thinking like this!)
    I’ll be waiting for your reflections

    • ladida

      Hi lumiere!


      (Love that name, btw.) Yeah, I think the best part of Nice Guy is that it’s so generous and gives us viewers something so good to look forward to. It’s not a perfect show by any stretch of the imagination, but it still shines. The acting and directing and music especially. Mmmm, I love it!


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