(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Soulmate – “못난 남자” (literally, “Stupid man”) [ zShare download ]
Ahh, this is getting out of control! My QSS summaries are just getting longer and longer… I try to keep it to-the-point, but so much is conveyed through conversation, that I don’t want to leave things out. Aie. This is supposed to be a summary, not a transcript! (If you think this is long, you should see my versions before I cut them down.)
I’d wondered how the hell they were going to resume from last week’s ending in a way that would service everyone’s emotions believably, and they found an effective way to do it: Time.
EPISODE 10 SUMMARY
It doesn’t seem many days have elapsed since the end of the last episode, but enough time has passed for Eun Soo and Tae Joo to be happily ensconced in their romance. In another wonderful scene rivaling the spinning scene of Episode 4, Eun Soo watches Tae Joo sleep.
Tae Joo stirs in his sleep, and one arm starts feeling around on the empty side of the mattress, searching for Eun Soo, while she watches from the bedside. It’s a subconscious gesture, and Eun Soo watches with a smile as Tae Joo feels around restlessly, touching only empty space.
After playfully keeping out of reach to watch his reaction, Eun Soo takes Tae Joo’s hand, and he finally relaxes and smiles.
Eun Soo: “Aren’t you going to get up?”
Tae Joo: “I don’t want to. I just want to stay like this.”
(This scene is an example of what I think makes QSS so wonderful. Ever hear a perfectly worded phrase that resonated completely with you, and thought that there’s no way I would have thought up those words in that particular sequence of phrasing, and yet it’s like that person spoke exactly what I was thinking? QSS does that with little moments in life — captures the little beats and exchanges. It lets us find the truth in those captured moments, rather than trumping up a huge moment and blaring a signal, “Look! Big Meaningful Life Moment Here!” I appreciate when writers and directors give us audience members credit for being intelligent enough to figure certain things out for ourselves.)
Judging from their suitcases and surroundings, it looks like Tae Joo and Eun Soo have gone on vacation for a few days, perhaps en route from Singapore?
Tae Joo and Eun Soo always eat at comfortable, homey places, which I like because it suits them. It allows them to be comfortable — ever noticed how stiff and bored Tae Joo is when he’s in fancy restaurants with Hye Rin? It could be the company, of course, but the surroundings are surely mismatched, too.
Tae Joo and Eun Soo go for a walk on the beach, where Eun Soo draws an analogy using a type of salted cabbage kimchee as the metaphor. Once the cabbage has been soaked in salt water, even if it crumbles and rots, you can’t remove the saltiness from the cabbage.
Eun Soo: “That’s how much I like you. Even if I die and rot away, I don’t think my feelings for you will ever leave me.”
Normally I wouldn’t point out Tae Joo’s change of hairstyle, but I think it really fits the mood of his character. Contrary to the downward Caesar cut he’s sported thus far, now it’s upswept and windblown (and not just in this outdoor scene, but for the rest of the episode), making his face and demeanor seem more carefree, open. I don’t think it’s coincidental, either; I’d bet it’s an intentional choice. I also love how Tae Joo’s always looking at Eun Soo, happy to have her with him.
It has also been enough time for reality to sink in for both Joon Hyuk and Hye Rin, both awash in their loneliness — and bitterness?
When Tae Joo comes back to his apartment, Hye Rin’s there waiting. He’s packing his things to move out, and intends to resign from work immediately. He’s sorry, but he has no other choice — he loves Eun Soo, and wants to settle things with Hye Rin as quickly as possible. Hye Rin doesn’t take the news kindly, telling him he’s in no position to dictate when and how their relationship ends — that’s for her to decide.
She thought he’d bear some sense of responsibility. He’s put her in an incredibly humiliating situation: “Wait some more. If you have any shred of conscience, you’ll wait until I tell you we’re done.”
Despite her demanding behavior, it appears Hye Rin really is hurt by this turn of events. Perhaps thinking it’ll be easier than trying to manipulate Tae Joo, Hye Rin visits Eun Soo to lay down the law. Disguised as false concern, she tells Eun Soo that her relationship with Tae Joo can’t last — right now, he’s blinded by passion. In the end, Eun Soo will just be hurt. But Eun Soo’s not that dumb, and tells Hye Rin sarcastically, “Wow, the cat shows concern for the mouse.”
Hye Rin asks if Eun Soo even realizes what she’s gotten herself into, and Eun Soo tells her they’re genuinely in love: “He’s my man.” Unable to accept that, Hye Rin slaps Eun Soo—
—but Eun Soo slaps Hye Rin right back, without missing a beat. Eun Soo doesn’t back down an inch and drops from formal, polite speech to banmal (which can be used when you’re on familiar terms, or if you’re the older person in the relationship, or being rude, or when angry to give the words a harsher edge. Eun Soo’s using it for the last reason.). Hye Rin has been using banmal much more readily with Eun Soo, but Eun Soo’s a polite young girl and requires more prodding to drop her sense of manners.
Eun Soo: “You’re in no position to act like this with me. All I did was like him, and he chose me in the end. What have I done that was so wrong? If you need to argue, argue it with the Kang Tae Joo who’s left you. Following me here and acting like this only makes you look miserable.”
Hye Rin: “Do you think Kang Tae Joo loves you?”
Eun Soo: “I don’t have to think it. I can just feel it.”
Hye Rin figures out that there’s no point talking to Eun Soo (seeing that she can’t push her around), and leaves.
Tae Joo submits his resignation, as does Eun Soo. Eun Soo explains to Joon Hyuk: “That man says he loves me. The moment I heard those words, I lost all other thought. So I can’t accept your proposal.” She’ll be quitting her part-time work for him, and her job at the company too. Joon Hyuk bitterly wonders how she could end her feelings for him in one moment, and calls her irresponsible for quitting her job. Can she quit so easily? Is her job a joke?
Eun Soo says it’s uncomfortable seeing him around, and Joon Hyuk responds, with an edge: “Is it that painful to see my face? Then I’ll have to work to see you more often, to make it more painful. It’s cowardly of you to find ways to only make yourself feel better. I don’t want to see you around either, but I hate being influenced by my personal feelings more.” He goes on to tell her that no matter her personal affairs, she should work hard — she still has responsibilities. It’s not hard to see how Joon Hyuk has risen to his position and has been so successful in business with his work ethic.
He leaves her with the lovely sentiment: “I hope you’ll be unhappy. I hope you’ll fall to the ground, beating your own chest in regret.”
I don’t know if I like him more for being so baldly honest, or less for feeling that way. But he’s earned it, hasn’t he? I like that Joon Hyuk has asserted himself, even though in the end I think he’ll only bring himself suffering from being so cold and hard.
But those bitter Bettys aren’t enough to dampen the spirits of the happy couple, who are practically glowing, giddy over their intentions to marry. Naturally, Ji Soo and her mother are confused — not long ago, weren’t they barely speaking and such?
Tae Joo just smiles and says, “I love Eun Soo. I really love your daughter a lot.” They’re aware of how it must look, but they don’t care. Tae Joo assures them he’ll take good care of them and asks for permission to marry. Eun Soo says that if her mother doesn’t consent, she might just run off with him. Ji Soo says: “Mom, just accept it. They say they’re in love. Look at them! They’re crazy about each other. How can you stop that?”
Hye Rin confronts Tae Joo about his decision to move on and move out. Notice how Tae Joo consciously avoids Hye Rin’s gaze (in contrast to how he’s always looking at Eun Soo), as he tells her, “You and I were wrong from the start. Let’s at least come to our senses now, and return to our rightful places.” Hye Rin cries, asking if he doesn’t feel sorry for her at all, for making her a laughingstock and reducing her to this state. He tells her that she’s always thought of him as someone lower, someone who didn’t meet her status. So they should end things now, and she can meet a man she finds suitable, someone she won’t be embarrassed about.
Tae Joo and Eun Soo go shopping for furnishings like bedding and housewares — they really are moving fast, but it’s fitting, since they’re both decisive people. On their way home, Eun Soo asks about meeting with Hye Rin earlier that day, and Tae Joo says they had some things to settle. He assures her that he has a “clean” personality, meaning that he deals with things and ends them cleanly, with no lingering attachments. Eun Soo says that’s a good thing — “But don’t be that way with me. For some reason, that makes me feel sad, and I don’t like it.” So Tae Joo teases, “Fine, I’ll be messy with you. Happy?”
Tae Joo asks if she feels regretful of quitting her job (her intern status is over at the end of the week, and she’s not applying for full-time status), since she enjoyed the work. But Eun Soo doesn’t regret it at all.
Eun Soo: “If you try to have everything and do everything you want, you could lose the thing you like best, and that makes me uneasy.” Eun Soo touches Tae Joo on the arm, and continues: “I’ll be satisfied with this one thing.”
It’s Hye Rin’s turn to watch, pained, from a nearby car, as Tae Joo kisses Eun Soo, and the two walk into their apartment building together.
Tae Joo’s friend (who will be moving out by the weekend) is shocked to see the state of his relationship with Eun Soo, and asks if Tae Joo’s gone crazy.
Friend: “It’s just hard to believe.”
Tae Joo: “Do you know what love is? It’s a mental disease. It makes you crazy.”
Friend: “So are you crazy?”
Tae Joo: “Probably.”
Joon Hyuk’s unhappy to see Eun Soo hasn’t applied to be a full-time employee, and calls her in: “Love and romance is all good, but take care of yourself first. Nobody lives your life for you.”
Eun Soo tells him that she’s not ambitious about everything — she’s satisfied doing a good job with whatever work she comes upon. Even if others condemn her for it, she has nothing to say; it’s just the way she is. He tells her to stop being stubborn, and continue to work for the coompany. But Eun Soo admits it’s because of him that she can’t continue. Seeing him pains her, and it’s hard for her to endure.
Eun Soo: “Do you know what I hate the most? It’s you worrying about me. Please don’t. To me, that feels like torture.”
Hye Rin visits Tae Joo and asks him, rather directly, to marry her. Ignoring his disbelief, she lays it out calmly: “You wouldn’t just be playing around with a chaebol’s [corporation owner/tycoon] daughter, you’d become a real chaebol.” Her father has no intention of handing the company to Joon Hyuk; he’d hand it over to Hye Rin’s husband, and he doesn’t hate Tae Joo. “If you marry me, World Department Store becomes yours.”
Tae Joo turns her down, saying he’s got enough, but she challenges him — Wasn’t he the one who’s always traded his pride to enjoy luxury? He can’t last with such a lowly, unskilled person as Eun Soo. “I’m not kidding, and this isn’t a joke. This isn’t something that’ll change at any moment. I’m doing this because I really love you. You said you liked women with everything. I’ll give you everything.” (She’s referring to the conversation in an early episode when she asked if he’d fall for a woman who’d given up everything to be with him, and he glibly replied, “No. I like women who have everything, not those who throw away everything.”)
Hye Rin tells him to think it over carefully, and leaves him to ponder her proposal. And he is shaken by her carrot-dangling, because as happy as he is with Eun Soo, Hye Rin has just appealed to Tae Joo’s basest, most ingrained psychology. I see Eun Soo as bringing out the person Tae Joo wants to be, but with Hye Rin, Tae Joo’s often overwhelmed with his sense of inferiority — his belief that he himself is a bastard, someone who can’t aspire to the same happiness as others.
But despite Hye Rin’s confidence with Tae Joo, she’s really not very certain at all, and even begs for her father’s intervention. She announces her intention to marry Tae Joo, but honestly admits that he’s reluctant. So she asks her father to meet Tae Joo and talk to him. Her father doesn’t seem particularly inclined, especially after hearing her say that she likes him much more than he likes her, but Hye Rin drops to her knees and begs him, crying:
Hye Rin: “You’re right, I’m a fool. But what can I do? I like him so much. Dad, I don’t want to lose him, but I’m scared to death that I will.”
Dad: “So how do you think you’ll win his heart?”
Hye Rin: “Dad, meet with him, and give him assurance. Make him believe he’ll be your successor. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll get rid of my store and work for you. Isn’t that what you wanted?… Dad, I beg you. Please help me.”
Dad: “How did you become like this?”
Hye Rin: “I lost Joon Hyuk. I can’t lose him too. I feel like I’ll die without him. Please help me.”
I suppose there are two ways to look at Hye Rin’s behavior. One one hand, she’s being pretty pathetic, resorting to begging someone else to exert his power when hers is insufficient, to get what she wants. But on the other hand, when people find themselves sinking, they’ll do anything in their means to stay alive — whether that’s fighting dirty, pulling hair, using anything as leverage to stay afloat. And Hye Rin is sinking — who am I to judge her for the methods she employs? She was brought up a princess and a brat, so it’s only natural that she’s not very well-equipped for this kind of situation, and she’s doing anything and everything that occurs to her privileged, entitled mind. I don’t mean to equate losing love with losing life — but love is crippling, and to someone who’s just figured that out for the first time, the feeling’s a lot like drowning.
Ji Soo’s heart condition takes a turn for the worse, and she’s hospitalized, where the doctor confirms that she’s in a grave situation. Her heart is so damaged, it’s irreparable — their only hope now is for a heart transplant.
Aware of the tremendous costs and the difficulty of finding a donor, Eun Soo and her mother worry over what to do. And because Eun Soo’s mother is a silly, senseless woman, she goes to Tae Joo, wondering if he has any money saved up. She really hates to ask him (suuure, she does), and asks him to keep her request from Eun Soo, but she doesn’t know what they’ll do about Ji Soo’s medical bills. Tae Joo looks uncertain, but assures her he’ll do what he can.
Eun Soo has also come to the same realization about Ji Soo’s bills, but takes a far different approach, meeting with Joon Hyuk. She’s tried to look for other work, but can see that the department store is by far her best bet. She asks Joon Hyuk if he can help her get her job back, since she’s already lost the opportunity to apply for full-time status. Joon Hyuk asks if something’s happened to change her mind, seeing that she’s uncomfortable asking for the favor, and she admits that her sister’s very ill.
Over another quiet, homey dinner, and Eun Soo tells Tae Joo she’ll have to go back to the department store. Tae Joo, listening to Eun Soo describe her youth, having run her household from the time she was in grade school, asks, “Don’t you find your life difficult?” She responds, “No. Just as long as Ji Soo’s fine, I’m fine.”
Their cozy dinner is interrupted when Tae Joo’s summoned by Hye Rin’s father:
President Cha asks why Hye Rin said they’d marry when Tae Joo never gave that assurance, and why he has to get involved. What happened between the two of them? Did he find another woman? Has he fallen prey to passion? Her father doesn’t understand the situation, and tells Tae Joo, “All a man needs is power. If he has that, everything else follows, whether that’s pleasure, or love. You can make that happen according to your desires.”
When Tae Joo asks why he’s been summoned, President Cha answers that he doesn’t like him, “But my daughter’s hurting. I don’t want to see her ruining herself any further.” He tells Tae Joo to marry Hye Rin.
Going to see Hye Rin, she guesses he’s met with her father.
Tae Joo: “Can you forget? Can you forget everything that’s happened till now?”
Hye Rin: “If you want, I can. If you come back, I can do anything.”
Taking that as his assent, Hye Rin hugs him…
….and Tae Joo goes for a drive.
He drives to the same pier as before, and I particularly like this shot, because there’s a nice ironic imagery to his pose — the car’s stopped, but Tae Joo’s still locked in driving position, staring grimly at the end of the pier. He thinks back to Hye Rin telling him she can give him anything, and the President telling him a man can make his own happiness with power.
He returns that night to see Eun Soo asleep, but in decided contrast to their happy pose at the top of the episode, Tae Joo’s lost in his dilemma.
…And the moment I see him take her to a nice restaurant for dinner, I get a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Granted, the episode has been heading in this direction and this isn’t a surprise, but the imagery of them eating steak in a fancy place makes it that much more decided.
Tae Joo tells Eun Soo he hates seeing her suffer — taking care of her family, running the house. Eun Soo says it’s okay, she’s used to it, and Tae Joo cuts her off: “I hate that you’re used to it even more.” Furthermore, he doesn’t like living that way, either.
Tae Joo: “I suppose people can live life just going to work every day, figuring out how to manage their salary, living day by day. But living like that means you can’t see what’s in front of you.”
Eun Soo: “Why couldn’t you? Everyone lives like that.”
Tae Joo: “That’s what they do when they have no choice.”
Eun Soo (joking): “And you do?”
And, without needing his response, Eun Soo slowly loses her smile, realizing what this conversation is about.
Eun Soo: “Is this about Cha Hye Rin?”
Tae Joo: “I can’t take it, just standing by, not able to help you. I don’t have the confidence.”
Eun Soo: “Don’t play with words. Give me a straight answer.”
Tae Joo: “So instead of taking on something I can’t handle, I think it’s better to end here. I’m going to marry Hye Rin. I think I’ll have to marry Hye Rin.”