One month ago, when a slew of new dramas all premiered in the same week (Que Sera Sera, Hello! Miss, Witch Amusement, H.I.T., Devil / Mawang, Thank You), I had no idea that Que Sera Sera would become by far my favorite. Actually, I would have bet against it, considering the hype and star power of the others. QSS did have some anticipation of its own and famous names attached, but debuted relatively quietly, and has continued in a similar vein. But it’s just so good! It’s not the kind of cheerful, fun-loving romantic comedies I usually gravitate toward — it’s much more real, and understated — but I find it thoroughly captivating.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kang Hyun Min – “두손을” (Two hands). From the OST, and played in the last scene. [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 8 SUMMARY
Picking up from last week, having been provoked by Tae Joo, Eun Soo has just told him that yes, she’s decided to cling to the rich Joon Hyuk and become Cinderella, when they look up to see that their argument has been overheard.
While Hye Rin slaps Tae Joo, Joon Hyuk drives Eun Soo home. Eun Soo asks him to say something — he must be feeling pretty bad. He asks her if she really likes rich men that much, and Eun Soo says, “No, I dislike rich men. That was just something I said out of anger. I honestly didn’t mean it.”
Joon Hyuk: “That’s good to hear. Because I’m not actually a rich man. You had the wrong idea about me. That’s why I was angry — you said you liked rich men, but I’m not one.”
He goes on to tell her that Tae Joo isn’t good for her: “Even if he treats you well at first, in the end, Kang Tae Joo’s a guy who will cause you pain. So close your eyes, and forget him.”
I love the transition to this next shot, because immediately following the intimate quiet of their car ride, we see the vast expanse of space, both physical and emotional, between Tae Joo and Hye Rin. Tae Joo just stares blankly at the television eating a snack, and Hye Rin has a drink.
Hye Rin tells Tae Joo that she still needs him, and asks him to continue on as before. It’s true that there was something between her and Joon Hyuk, but that’s not why she brought Tae Joo into this. She asks him to keep going as planned.
At work, Joon Hyuk calls Tae Joo into his office for a talk. It’s nice to see Joon Hyuk giving Tae Joo credit where it’s due for coming up with a good idea (Tae Joo suggests in launching a new designer brand that they don’t advertise at all — thus feeding the interest in the exclusivity of the product among VIPs and designer shoppers).
Joon Hyuk also asks about Tae Joo’s interest in Eun Soo. Tae Joo tells him they briefly dated, and it’s natural for him to worry about her. But he cautions Joon Hyuk not to play around with Eun Soo and make her expect things of him when he’s not serious — innocent and inexperienced, she’s not your normal girl. Joon Hyuk tells him to stop worrying about Eun Soo and worry about himself instead.
Next, he calls in Eun Soo to ask how her job’s going. He tells her she’s creative and good with ideas, and suggests she consider being an MD — a merchandising director, or a buyer — recalling that in her interview, she was interested in working at their department store because she enjoyed the idea of picking out things that people would want to buy, which is what an MD does.
Eun Soo’s moved at this, telling him that it’s the first time she’s ever been praised for anything. He tells her, “Those people must’ve had something wrong with their eyes. From what I see, you’re a person brimming with talent.” He gives her an application for classes she can attend with his recommendation.
(I admire Joon Hyuk’s way of praising Eun Soo very matter-of-factly — he doesn’t say things with the intent of flattery, or in expectation of her gratitude. He speaks rationally, as though everything is obvious and true.)
Joon Hyuk also asks her to accompany him this weekend to a fashion industry-related business function.
Outside, Eun Soo runs into Tae Joo, who takes a look at her papers with curiosity. He takes off with them, prompting her to chase after as he teases her about it. “Wow, how impressive. An intern getting a recommendation? Shin Joon Hyuk really treats you well, you must be so thrilled.”
As Eun Soo jumps to try to reclaim her papers, her foot slips (and it looks like it really does slip — she could’ve fallen down the stairs), and Tae Joo catches her. He leans closer, asking why she’s so agitated. Does she still like him that much? “You asked why I showed so much interest in your affairs — it’s because of this. Because you like me so much. If you want me to stop worrying about you, then get over your feelings for me. Stop lingering in your feelings over one-sided love. Aren’t you tired of it? I am.” He walks off, leaving both of them frustrated.
At dinner, Hye Rin tells Tae Joo he seems to have attracted her father’s interest. He must be doing well — Hye Rin’s impressed. If he continues to do well, things might happen for him. Tae Joo tells her they’ll be breaking up soon, but she counters — reminding him of his own words — that people don’t have to become enemies upon a breakup. You never know what’ll happen, so Tae Joo should do a good job and see what happens.
Joon Hyuk takes Eun Soo shopping to buy a dress for the party. The store employee dresses Eun Soo in a loosely draped, drop-waisted, poofy dress, which Joon Hyuk dislikes. It makes her look like a child. The woman says she thought it suited Eun Soo well, because she’s the cute type, and Joon Hyuk tells her she’s got bad instincts — Eun Soo’s not cute, she’s sexy.
And so they arrive at the party in a completely different look:
I’ve been thinking they’ve been gradually making Jung Yoo Mi look prettier these days, but I was still amazed at her change in this scene. Really eye-catching and delicately pretty, but not done in such Extreme Makeover-ish excess to make her unnatural or fake-looking. She’s natural and lovely.
Understandably, Tae Joo can’t take his eyes off her, and follows her to say: “Congratulations, looks like your Cinderella dream came true.” He goes on to advise her against Joon Hyuk: “Think carefully — why would he like you? What’s a guy like him lacking that he’d pick you? He met you when you were working at the hostess bar, didn’t he? There’s no guy on earth who’d treat a girl he met at a place like that seriously. I guess he could be playing around. But don’t fall in too deep. You’ll be the only one ending up hurt.”
Eun Soo says she can play as well:
“You know, you were right. I used to think liking someone was a good thing. I thought, since it was a good thing, there was nothing to feel ashamed of, or to lose pride over. I thought it was something to be proud of. But I was wrong. Like you said, I’ve realized those are things people do when they have no pride. Liking you and chasing you around without any pride is something I truly regret. Don’t worry about me anymore, because I no longer have any feelings for you. And from here on, I’m going to have some fun with a new partner.”
He grabs her arm, but she casts it aside and walks straight up to Joon Hyuk, interrupting his conversation to kiss him.
At first, Eun Soo acts out of anger at Tae Joo, and I have to believe that Joon Hyuk is aware of it on some level — after her initial, light kiss, she turns to see Tae Joo’s reaction. But Joon Hyuk takes the initiative and kisses her again — it’s gentle and sweet, and Hye Rin and Tae Joo are both pained to see it.
Hye Rin wonders if they’re just putting on a show, and asks Tae Joo what it is about Eun Soo that men find attractive. She doesn’t see it, but there must be something. Tae Joo curtly tells her: “Whatever it is, she must be better than you.” Hye Rin balks at the way he talks, but he reminds her that she started it. If she’s so curious, she should go and ask her brother herself.
Later at a lunch between Hye Rin, Tae Joo and Joon Hyuk, Hye Rin needles her brother about Eun Soo, saying she doesn’t suit him. Joon Hyuk tosses Hye Rin’s words back at her — back when Joon Hyuk was the one opposing her relationship, she’d told him you don’t always fall in love with people you’re necessarily “suited” for. Hye Rin persists — doesn’t he care that Eun Soo chased Tae Joo around? Plus, she worked in a hostess bar — what’s wrong with him that he has to go for a girl like her?
Tae Joo cuts her off and tells her to stop it. Her brother’s not going to listen to her and it’s not her place to say that. She’d better stop meddling in other people’s business.
Tae Joo’s sent on an errand with Eun Soo to go take a look at some merchandise…
…and on their way back to the office, he takes a detour and stops by the Han River, because they have things to talk over. Eun Soo has nothing to say to him, though, and is about to leave to return to the office when he stops her with the appeal, “I know I’ve treated you badly. I want to apologize. So just give me some of your time.”
Tae Joo starts off by rattling off a litany of praise — she’s a good, pure person, who works hard, looks after her younger sibling, has talent… Eun Soo stops him, saying praise coming from him sounds unnatural and strange — it sounds false and makes her feel even worse.
Tae Joo gets to the point and says that she shouldn’t date Joon Hyuk — going out with someone she doesn’t care about because she’s angry at Tae Joo isn’t the right thing to do. It’ll end badly. Eun Soo: “Do you think I kissed a person I had no feelings for? You might be able to do that, but not me. I can’t.”
Tae Joo: “Don’t you think I know what you’re thinking? You’re doing this on purpose!”
Eun Soo: “Why would I do that?”
Tae Joo: “To… provoke my interest.”
Eun Soo: “You’ve really gone completely crazy.”
Tae Joo: “What?”
Eun Soo: “You should go to the hospital right away. Your delusions of grandeur are severe.”
Eun Soo insists that she doesn’t have any feelings for Tae Joo, which he scoffs at. He reminds her of her words — how she likes him so much, down to the ends of her fingertips. How could she get over him that quickly? He accuses her of doing all this on purpose, acting like a stalker and going overboard.
Eun Soo cuts him short with a swift kick, and tells him, “I’m the crazy one for liking someone like you.”
Tae Joo’s friend helps Ji Soo on a story she’s working on, which is a variation of Little Red Riding Hood where she falls in love with a wolf-like man, but he criticizes her story as being too dark. It’s for a kids’ publication — it should be pretty and peaceful, not full of murder. (Wolf guy kills the grandmother for opposing their relationship, and on top of that, illegally disposes of her dead body. I love Ji Soo.)
When Tae Joo drops by and wonders at Ji Soo being there (because she doesn’t have a computer at home), he takes the opportunity to ask, in a roundabout way, “So… is everyone at home?” Ji Soo gives him a look, and he clarifies, “Your mom. I meant your mom.” She’s not home yet, so Tae Joo asks, “And… your sister?” Ji Soo talks back saying it’s none of his business, and Tae Joo takes off, mocking his hyung for hanging out with little kids instead of people his own age.
Joon Hyuk finds out about the building in the pictures he’s been receiving. Apparently construction was halted in the middle of converting it to a shopping center due to an accident, concerning a World Dept. Store employee who fell to his death. The building was bought 17 years ago by department store President Cha — Hye Rin’s father.
Joon Hyuk drives to the location, recalling the conversation I’d completely forgotten about in the first episode, when Hye Rin’s mother insinuated there was something fishy about Joon Hyu’s father’s death.
Standing in the rain, Joon Hyuk recalls that as a boy, he saw someone falling from the roof of the building to his death, presumably his father. It’s dark and creepy and intriguing.
Adult Joon Hyuk’s reaction to remembering the sight is a nice touch — he draws his hands to his mouth in a childlike expression of horror, as though he’s flashed back to his young mind for an instant.
At home, lost in his disturbing memories, Joon Hyuk tells Eun Soo his father used to always blame him whenever something bad happened. His mother died of a long illness when he was young, and even when Joon Hyuk performed well in school, it was a source of stress for his father, who felt his own failings as a father in light of his competent son. So when his father passed away, Joon Hyuk felt relief — on top of that, he was taken in by a kind, rich man. Sometimes he’d wonder what would’ve happened had his father lived, but he ended up forgetting about him.
Eun Soo: “If you want to lean on me, lean on me. And make use of me if you want. I shouldn’t be the only one doing so. That’s what people do when they’re dating. If there’s something bothering you, tell me everything. I’ll listen to it all.”
Joon Hyuk talks with President Cha, and brings up the question of why he took him in — he was just one of his employees’ children. Pres. Cha says he’s not sure, either, but he felt for him, and wonders if it was fate. He remembers that the young Joon Hyuk didn’t even cry, and Joon Hyuk replies that it was probably because it was so sudden, he didn’t know how to feel sad. The president agrees, saying it must have been a shock, to have his father leaving for work in the morning like normal, only to get into a traffic accident. Joon Hyuk just looks on stoically, but we know from the creepy music to be suspicious of this explanation.
At dinner with the family, to which Tae Joo has been invited, Hye Rin’s parents bring up the issue of setting Joon Hyuk up with a woman. He replies that he’s seeing someone, and Hye Rin interjects to say that if he’s speaking of Han Eun Soo, she’s not even worth mentioning. She brings up all of Eun Soo’s deficiencies, which are enough for her father to agree and tell Joon Hyuk to stop seeing her, especially since she’s an employee. She’s not someone he should be dating seriously anyway.
Joon Hyuk: “Don’t judge the situation without knowing it fully, Father. She’s someone I’m thinking of marrying. So don’t speak of her like that.”
Tae Joo just looks on, unable to react. It’s lovely how the song lyrics (mp3 file posted above) fit the tone of his mood… As Tae Joo drives home…
And as Tae Joo once again finds himself pulling his car up to Eun Soo’s apartment, watching from his seat as she comes home…
“I’ve realized now I want you, with every breath…
Don’t go, don’t move farther away,
Don’t let go of these two hands that hold you,
Little by little, I feel myself moving toward you,
Hold onto my two hands…”