noun. A ring given to a woman by a man, signifying a promise to wed
The ring that Dokko buys for Ae-jung is Van Cleef & Arpels’ Frivole diamond ring. The 2-flower ring in 18kt white gold has 2.06 carats of round-cut, pavé diamonds. The ring symbolizes their relationship… it is extravagant, unconventional, and meaningful because it’s a tangible expression of their love that has finally blossomed. I see it as Dokko’s final flower confession to Ae-jung. (See: Flowers)
We first see the ring in episode 14. Ae-jung leaves Dokko’s house after they confess their love for each other, and make a promise to see each other at the hospital for Dokko’s upcoming surgery. Dokko stares at the ring by himself, sadly asking Ae-jung, “This future… will I be able to give it to you?”
He decides to entrust the ring to Ding Dong. Being the clever kid that he is, Ding Dong catches on fast and asks Dokko if he wants to propose and get married to his Aunt. Dokko replies with, “Ding Dong!” and tells him to put it with Ae-jung’s most valuable possession, just in case he doesn’t make it out of surgery. Ding Dong goes straight for her purple sneakers (See: Purple Sneakers) that she keeps in a special box, and leaves the ring box in it.
In episode 15, we see Ding Dong wondering where Dokko is, while looking at the ring box. His grandpa puts the ring box on a high shelf, after thinking that Ding Dong is tinkering with Ae-jung’s stuff. Ding Dong has no choice but to hide the ring in one of the sneakers. After recovering from surgery for 2 months, Dokko comes back to Korea, and goes to Ae-jung’s house to surprise her. Ding Dong proceeds to give Dokko the ring back, but he finds that the sneakers are gone. He informs Dokko, and rather than being upset that the ring is missing, Dokko is upset that Ae-jung may have thrown the precious sneakers away.
The two of them end up going to the clothing recycling bin to look for them, but after some hilarious misunderstandings with two ajummas, they realize that she didn’t throw it away (See: 나 독고진이야! – I am Dokko Jin!). Dokko ends up making a mess at Ae-jung’s house, while trying to find the ring within the sneakers. After an unexpected, and awkward reunion with Ae-jung (See: Red Bow), she invites him in to eat, and finds the mess. She reveals to him that the sneakers were in the shoe cupboard. Dokko grabs the shoes and finds the ring, which he quickly hides from Ae-jung. She wants to see what it is, but Dokko sees that it’s not the right time to propose, and tells her to look forward to it in the future and leaves.
Dokko goes home and hangs the ring on the potato plant for the time being. This is a lovely metaphor of their potato plant temporarily “flowering.” He really wants to propose and have their relationship fully blossom.
Dokko is brooding over the obstacles in proposing, when Ding Dong—who is doing homework next to him—asks Dokko why he is not giving the ring to his Aunt. Dokko tells him that it’s too complicated for Ding Dong, at the young age of 7, to understand. Ding Dong proceeds to tell him about how he and his classmate like each other, but he didn’t stick up for her and she went home crying, because he didn’t want to be mocked by his friends. He didn’t even give her the construction paper necklace he made for her due to his dilemma.
Dokko replies with, “The answer to a 7 year old’s problem and a 37 year old’s problem is the same… You tell your friends who that (necklace) belongs to. I will announce who this (ring) belongs to.”
After possibly the best confession that anyone could do in public by Dokko and the best reaction to that confession by Ae-jung… (See: 최고- Best) Ae-jung goes home to find Dokko waiting for her with the big red bow on his neck as her present. He talks about how he said all those things on live television, so he can’t take it back.
[Putting the ring on the tip of his finger and pointing at her accusingly]
DJ: “So, you take responsibility for it! This… is the future I can give you. Accept it.”
[In awe of the ring, she holds out her hand. He slides the ring onto her finger, and they hold each others’ hands tightly.]
AJ: “This time I’m really going to hold onto you.”
DJ: “You’ve finally been caught by me. No more talk about letting me go so I can run away.”
AJ: “Run away? Don’t even dream about it. I’m never going to let you go now.”
[She jumps into his arms and embraces him tightly. Both of them have huge smiles on their faces.]
Referencing back to the potato flower (See: Potato), the first thing Ae-jung does after the proposal and hug is show Dokko a photo of the potato flower field picture that she saw at the restaurant. They then talk about how they hope their potato will flower soon, and continue to gaze at the ring affectionately. Ae-jung goes on to show it proudly to her family and Jenny.
The ring went through a lot of setbacks and obstacles before finding its way to Ae-jung’s finger. Although the ring’s journey was a lot shorter, in a way, it mirrors the journey of Dokko and Ae-jung. This ring is definitely an object of affection that secures their future together.