What can I say except for what I’ve already said? Last Scandal of My Life is fresh, funny, and super-addicting. I know the series ended today, and I hope to be all caught up soon. But I’m not (too) impatient to get to the end — how can I be, when all the episodes in between are such great fun?
SONG OF THE DAY
“Jealousy,” the theme song from 1992 drama Jealousy (질투 / Jiltu). This might seem like a random song to post, but Jealousy was a hugely popular drama and one of Choi Jin Shil’s early roles, and is the basis for one fleeting — but pretty awesome — joke in this episode of Last Scandal. [ Download ]
Here’s the song as remade by Fin.K.L. a decade later. [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Jae Bin watches sadly as Sun Hee, caught up in her excitement, races to her husband and throws her arms around him. He drives off too soon to see that Yoo Shik is NOT excited to see Sun Hee and nervously keeps her at arm’s length while trying to furiously dig himself out of yet another hole of his own making. (And just like before, despite being a pretty despicable character, he’s still a highly entertaining one — he’s SUCH a coward and a liar, but resourceful.)
Ever the concerned wife, Sun Hee’s only worried about Yoo Shik’s well-being, but he’s afraid of being caught by his sugar momma and whisks Sun Hee away in his car. She starts to wonder at his car, the apartment, his nice clothing — so Yoo Shik distracts her by faking a car chase, pretending that they have to stay hidden to avoid his debt collectors.
Yoo Shik lies that he cut off contact with her because he didn’t want to endanger his family from the debt collectors, and blames her for coming to see him and ruining his carefully laid (fake) plans. She asks if he’s having an affair; he acts outraged as if he weren’t, and explains that he’s living with a senior colleague who assumed his debt and got him out of jail.
He swears he’ll get everything back eventually, so just wait until then.
He then returns to Jung Sook and proposes. (Like I said, sorry excuse for a human being!)
But Jung Sook has a condition — he’s still legally another woman’s man. She can’t accept his proposal until he takes care of that complication.
Back home, Jae Bin stews in frustration — first because of Sun Hee’s continued devotion to her no-good husband, and second because Dong Hwa has told him he’s going to fire Sun Hee. His real change of heart has occurred after seeing Sun Hee and Jae Bin kiss at the end of Episode 5. But the excuse Dong Hwa gives Jae Bin is that he feels uncomfortable around her, and should let her go before Hoon gets too attached.
Jae Bin comes across Sun Hee in the kitchen, comfort-eating. He asks why her husband didn’t buy her dinner and why he didn’t contact her, pushing Sun Hee to make excuses for her husband’s poor behavior. She even goes off in a litany of praise for her husband, saying that things are hard now, but he’s actually a smart guy: “I’ll introduce you to him sometime — you’d make good friends. Hey, your faces even resemble each other slightly.” (He rejects that summarily: “How can you compare us? I’m the number 1 heartthrob in the country! And do you think I’m crazy, being friends with your husband? Don’t introduce us, I can’t stand the sight of him.”)
She eats too fast and gives herself heartburn. Jae Bin tends to her using the home remedy of pricking oneself with a needle, but as usual they bicker over it first, leading them to this:
Their joking tone returns just as Sun Hee gets a call from her husband. She agrees to meet him the next day at Everworld (the drama equivalent to Everland), where they had their first date. (Jae Bin childishly vents his irritation by pricking her finger extra hard. Heh.)
The next morning, Dong Hwa tells Sun Hee he’s going to let her go, but gives the reason that Jae Bin is about to start on a big movie and needs to focus. He tells her to prepare to leave by the end of the week. That throws her into anxiety, with no place to go.
Okay, this next scene might take a bit of background to explain why I find it so ridiculously funny:
Jae Bin shoots a scene, but a camera mishap cuts the day short, giving him the idea to check up on Sun Hee. The scene that’s shot is a climactic “Don’t leave me, stay” scene, and the camera crew runs in a circle around the reunited couple to give that whirling, panoramic sweeping shot.
The music that plays is the theme song to the 1992 trendy drama Jealousy (posted above), which was one of Choi Jin Shil’s early breakout roles. The story: Girl (Choi Jin Shil) loves her best (male) friend (Choi Su Jong, before he went and made his name in sageuk dramas). She decides to tell him just as he falls for another girl. The famous last scene has the two come together with the camera swirling in circles around the couple, and the shot moves back as the credits roll and we get to see the crew circling around to get that sweeping shot. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I think the names of the characters of Jae Bin and his costar might even be the ones from Jealousy.
Anyway, it’s a cheeky parody of Choi Jin Shil’s prior drama, poking fun at the scene by having one of the circling cameras tip over and break. I’ll bet a lot of the drama’s audience, being in a similar age range, were around to see Jealousy and appreciate the reference. I was just a kid when that drama aired, but I remember it was so popular that even the theme song rode its coattails and topped the pop-music “ga-yo” programs for weeks.
Knowing that Sun Hee’s going to meet her husband at 5pm, Jae Bin takes immature pleasure in ordering her to clean up his workout area before leaving. (Which I’ll bet he thoughtfully took pains to make extra messy today.)
At the amusement park, Sun Hee waits for Yoo Shik, but instead receives a letter from a stranger. (Yoo Shik keeps an eye on her nearby.) The letter from Yoo Shik says that he was on his way to meet her, but was caught and beat up by debt collectors. He’s afraid of putting her in danger and decided it was better not to meet.
Worried, she’s crying to herself when a big stuffed-animal character comes up to her, tries to comfort her, then steals the letter to read.
Jae Bin says he was filming in the area and decided to drop by, and badmouths her husband for standing her up. But now that he’s here and the costume provides a good disguise from the public, why not have some fun?
They spend the rest of the day on the rides, eating theme-park food, and enjoying themselves.
(This is another example of a close similarity to Full House, but since the plot is fairly different, I don’t mind it too much.)
On the way home, though, Sun Hee’s mood takes a turn — she feels guilty for having such fun when her husband is (allegedly) injured. Jae Bin again feels indignant on her behalf, and disappointed. She apologizes for crying, and he mutters, “If you’re sorry, you can think of me when you’re with your husband, then.”
Na Yoon takes advantage of Sun Hee’s absence by coming to the house to spend more bonding time with Hoon. Dong Hwa finds out and is none too pleased with her current interference. He snarls at her, “If you hurt my son, I won’t let you get away with it.”
Dong Hwa: “It’s too late for you to turn back.”
Na Yoon: “Then you can help me.”
Dong Hwa: “When my feelings have gone, I can’t move them back. How would I help you? Do you remember? Fifteen years ago when I asked you to change your mind, those are the words you said.”
Yoo Shik calls later that night, so Sun Hee meets him at a restaurant. He assumes the martyr role again, and proposes a “last resort” to keep his family safe: divorce.
Sun Hee is completely opposed — whatever the problem, spouses should work through it together — but he tells her this is only a temporary solution to throw the debt collectors off, a “divorce in name only,” so to speak. They’ll reunite once things get better. Tearfully, Sun Hee agrees to meet him at the court the next day.
Sun Hee incurs Dong Hwa’s censure by arriving home late. She asks for him to reconsider letting her go and explains that she’s in a difficult position and has nowhere to go, but Dong Hwa coolly responds, “I don’t understand why your personal circumstances concern me.”
He scolds her for being lax with her job, leaving the kids with a guest (Na Yoon) while going out on personal business: “You went out last night too, didn’t you? I don’t want to interfere with your personal life, but someone with a child should mind her work. Don’t you feel embarrassed in front of the kids?” Hurt and chastened, Sun Hee accepts this and agrees to leave.
Sun Hee: “I know I’ve made many mistakes during this time and been lacking. But in your words, as a woman with a child, I have done nothing I’m ashamed of. Because I’m human, I’ve lied and made mistakes involuntarily. But that was because I was so desperate, and didn’t know it was a crime. It’s not something I did with evil intent or purposely. Because you’re perfect, my words may sound like excuses, but hearing this from you is so unjust I couldn’t hold back. To you, my work may seem worthless, but in all my life, if there’s one job I’ve done well, it’s holding my family together. You might ask what’s so great about that since everyone does it, but sometimes something that seems so easy to one person can be, to another person, excruciatingly difficult. So, apologize.”
Dong Hwa sees her trembling, and his disapproval fades: “I’m sorry.”
Jae Bin has witnessed the entire scene, and goes to her quarters afterward. He hears her sobbing in the bathroom; she tells him to leave her alone.
The next day, Sun Hee meets Yoo Shik at the court to stamp the divorce papers. She has a hard time bringing herself to affix her stamp, but Yoo Shik carelessly forces her hand down, in a hurry to get it done. (They have to come back in three weeks for final confirmation, but the divorce is essentially done.) Sun Hee still thinks the divorce is only temporary so nothing’s changed in her mind, but Yoo Shik is impatient to get rid of her.
Jung Sook wastes no time making her own engagement ceremony public, and delivers an invitation to Dong Hwa — who recognizes the name of the fiancé. Dong Hwa informs Jung Sook that her fiancé is married with a child, and Jung Sook corrects him — he got divorced today.
Feeling worse for how he treated her, Dong Hwa calls Sun Hee. She thinks she’s in trouble for leaving the house again, but he merely asks her to meet him at his office. As Sun Hee arrives, Dong Hwa runs into Yoo Shik in the lobby and tells him ominously, “You’ve made a mistake” (she doesn’t see Yoo Shik, but Yoo Shik sees her leave with Dong Hwa).
Jae Bin has been preoccupied with Sun Hee’s troubles, and decides to do something about it. He has Won Tak and the assistant approach Sun Hee’s husband with a “business investment” offer. Jae Bin prepares himself to meet the no-good ex and waits in a hotel suite.
Thus Yoo Shik is brought to meet his prospective business partner, and as the door opens and brings both men face to face, they both realize they already know each other.
I previously mentioned Jung Jun Ho’s wonderfully complex portrayal of jealousy as one of Last Scandal‘s highlights, and it continues to be. A lot of times you see jealously portrayed as a lot of shouting and irritated bickering — which, I’ll give you, can be pretty entertaining. But Jae Bin’s emotions, which come through so expressively on his face, are all mixed up and complicated and wonderful to see. He’s alternately angry at Sun Hee for being so forgiving of her husband and angry on her behalf. He’d love nothing more than to be the one to treat her right, but she’s married and faithful. He has no claim on her, and that kills him. So he’s keeping a respectful (romantic) distance, even though he’s got no qualms about butting into her affairs to help her as a friend (although she perceives his “helping” as a nuisance most of the time).