Last Scandal is a great example of a successful romantic comedy in that despite what is a pretty familiar (and predictable) setup, the series manages to keep its entertaining energy going. I know a lot of people (particularly, ahem, of the male variety) look down on chick flicks and romance-centered storylines, but I think it’s just as much of an achievement to get this genre right as it is to do any other, not in spite of all the really bad, cheesetastic examples in the genre but because of them. Given the propensity for these kinds of romantic Cinderella stories to degenerate into tired cliches and embarrassing corniness, it’s a welcome find to see one example of the form done well when, admittedly, many others of its kind flop so spectacularly. But that’s true of any other genre as well — I’ve seen my fair share of horrible slashers, testosterone-fueled action crap, failed attempts at “serious art,” and so on.
SONG OF THE DAY
Spicy Soda – “My Love.” A newish four-piece rock band. [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Jae Bin asks his brother if Sun Hee knows he has feelings for her, and Dong Hwa answers, “I’ll have to work to let her know.” Jae Bin watches Sun Hee sleep, frustrated at this turn of events — it’s like he’s waited patiently for her husband to leave the picture, and just when he thinks it’s his turn, his brother swoops in. Poor Mr. Movie Star with the horrible timing.
His irrational jealousy leads to more nonsensical ranting as Jae Bin unceremoniously wakes Sun Hee up and proceeds to scold her for falling asleep instead of waiting up for him like he told her to: “If you fall asleep in a place like this again, you’re fired!”
Sun Hee returns to her room and finds the shoes Dong Hwa left as a gift. Wanting to thank Dong Hwa, she texts Jae Bin to ask if Dong Hwa is still up, which exacerbates Jae Bin’s frustration. In an immature fit, he texts back: “He’s pooping!”
In the morning, Sun Hee thanks Dong Hwa for the gift and asks for one more afternoon to go out on personal business — she has to tell Jimin about the truth of their family circumstances now that the divorce is final.
Overhearing the pleasant exchange, Jae Bin predictably overreacts, and attempts to convince Sun Hee that Dong Hwa’s not at all interested in her type. They bicker back and forth and are overheard by Won Tak, who notices the familiar way they talk to each other and puts the pieces together.
Won Tak realizes Sun Hee is Jae Bin’s first love, which also leads to the discovery of Jae Bin’s true age. Won Tak feels awkward, having thought he and Jae Bin were the same age all this while, as well as hurt that Jae Bin didn’t include him in the secret. Jae Bin warns Won Tak to keep the secret, which isn’t as easy as it seems because now that Won Tak knows the truth, he automatically reverts to formal speech when addressing his elder. He has to remember to act normal in front of Su Ho, who still doesn’t know.
Jae Bin charges Won Tak to keep a close eye on Sun Hee, so when Sun Hee leaves to meet Dong Hwa later that morning, Won Tak sneaks after her. Yoo Shik sees Sun Hee with Dong Hwa, and in a mixture of curiosity and irritation, also decides to follow. The two followers remain unbeknownst to Sun Hee and unbeknownst to each other as Dong Hwa accompanies her to the bank and sets up accounts for her (with direct-deposit pay).
On their way out of the bank, the employee gives them a free gift — two movie passes — which Dong Hwa offers to Sun Hee. She politely refuses, and he suggests they go together sometime. She accepts. Won Tak reports back to Jae Bin.
Jae Bin’s next move is both typical yet unexpected for its ridiculousness: He starts acting like his brother. He puts on Dong Hwa’s understated cardigan and adopts his brother’s mannered politeness, down to the crossing of the arms, the slow and deliberate movements, and the deep vocal tone. It’s freaking hilarious. Bewildered, Sun Hee wonders if he’s been drinking.
While cleaning, Sun Hee comes across the cake Jae Bin had bought for her the night before and left in the workout room. She smiles at the gesture.
However, Jae Bin is still playing Dong Hwa, and continues to confuse her with his overly polite act. Sun Hee thinks he’s playing another game and starts to retort, “Who do you think you are, your bro—?” and realizes what he’s doing. She tells him to cut it out, and that he’s doing it all wrong: “When your brother’s angry, he doesn’t express it in his face, and he’s so charismatic. But you — everything shows on your face. Look at you, furrowing your brows like that…”
Finally Jae Bin can’t take her criticism anymore and reverts to his old, hotheaded self, insisting she wait for him to finish work so he can accompany her to meet Jimin. He knows she won’t be able to say anything and intends to prod her along, but Sun Hee demands that he stay out of her family business. A bit stung by that, he steps aside and lets her leave.
Sun Hee takes Jimin out for a mother-daughter afternoon and tries to summon her nerve to talk to her. A call from Dong Hwa interrupts her first attempt, but he encourages her to pluck up the courage. Sun Hee also mentions something Jimin had told her, that Na Yoon had picked up Hoon from school to take him to eat. Dong Hwa, unaware of this development, goes to the restaurant to deal with the situation.
Na Yoon takes Hoon to a fancy dinner and asks him how he likes living with his father, as though looking for an chance to insert herself into his life more. But Hoon is perfectly happy with his family situation, which feels like it’s doubled with Sun Hee and Jimin living there too. She asks, “Have you ever wondered what it would be like living with a mother?” Hoon answers, “Till kindergarten, I’d look at my friends’ mothers and think, ‘I wish I had a mother too,’ but now I don’t. You know my father, don’t you? He’s the person I respect most in the world.”
It’s at this point that Dong Hwa arrives at the door to overhear his son’s statement, and smiles to hear it. Hoon’s happy to see his father; Na Yoon is disappointed to have her dinner interrupted.
Sun Hee makes another attempt to broach the subject of the divorce with Jimin over dinner at a local ddukkbokki restaurant, but is interrupted by the appearance of Jae Bin, which naturally throws the entire place into chaos. He’s really going all out in his attempts to tag along, even having his managers man cameras to give the event the look of a (fake) “guerrilla event.”
Jae Bin takes the mic and the role of DJ for the night, rankling Sun Hee and thrilling everyone else. Sun Hee suggests leaving, but Jimin is too enthralled of her idol to move.
(Sun Hee scrawls a message and sends it to Jae Bin, telling him to get lost. In response, Jae Bin announces his first “request” made by Hong Sun Hee and plays the song “Don’t Go.” Hehehe.)
Jae Bin — probably in another misguided attempt to “help” — encourages everyone to be forgiving of loved ones tonight: “If you all promise to do so, I’m buying all the ddukkbokki tonight!”
Sun Hee continues to be irritated at Jae Bin for forcing his way into her activities for the night when they get home for the night, where they are seen by Yoo Shik, who has arrived in a snit.
Yoo Shik has let his suspicion get the better of him (not that that’s hard for him), especially when Sun Hee ignores his call, and lurks at the house while Sun Hee arrives. To Sun Hee’s horror, Yoo Shik enters Sun Hee’s quarters and assumes the air of concerned father to Jimin. Sun Hee sends her daughter to bed before venting her displeasure.
Since Yoo Shik refuses to leave, Sun Hee runs out, and he chases her (both don’t see Jimin rise, overhearing their argument). Yoo Shik is angry that she continues to live in this house despite his demands that she move out (as though he had the right), and she’s so angry that she just runs away from him. Yoo Shik chases her across the property, attracting the attention of both brothers in turn: first Dong Hwa, then Jae Bin. Dong Hwa sees them while walking outside, and Jae Bin walkie-talkies Sun Hee and hears about Yoo Shik’s arrival from Jimin.
Yoo Shik: “Do you know how I feel? Sending my kid to you makes me uneasy as hell. A woman with a daughter runs around with Jang Dong Hwa in the day, Song Jae Bin at night! Just what is your relationship with the Jang brothers? Get your act together! Aren’t you even embarrassed in front of Jimin?”
Jae Bin gets there just as Yoo Shik is snidely telling Sun Hee that the brothers are just playing around with her because she’s so easy, and Jae Bin raises a fist to hit Yoo Shik — but Sun Hee shouts, “Don’t hit him! He’s Jimin’s father.” Jae Bin sees her protecting Yoo Shik and defeatedly lowers his fist, giving the cowardly Yoo Shik the opportunity to catch his opponent off-guard and strike him across the face.
This time Sun Hee rushes to Jae Bin in concern, as Yoo Shik makes a hasty retreat.
Now it’s time for the other Jang brother to step in: Dong Hwa chases Yoo Shik down the road, cuts him off, and forces him to stop.
Yoo Shik tries to act like he’s the one being wronged, but Dong Hwa’s too infuriated to bother to listen and punches him in the face: “You’ve made a mistake. If you touch my brother Jae Bin, you’re dead.” When Yoo Shik blusters that he’ll sue for assault, Dong Hwa sneers and accepts the challenge, telling him to come with Jung Sook to his office. That puts Yoo Shik back on the defensive, because if there’s one thing he can’t have, it’s Jung Sook knowing about this.
Back at the house, Sun Hee apologizes to Jae Bin for everything, and he answers: “Do you even know what you should be most sorry for? It’s that you were Jang Dong Chul’s first love and you went off and thoughtlessly married a jerk like him.”
He scoffs at her horrible choice in men, and tells her, “Don’t choose your men in the future. I’ll choose for you, got it?”
Sun Hee goes to Jae Bin’s room to tend to his bruised face, and he quietly envelops her in a hug. Dong Hwa returns home and steps into the room just as Jae Bin tells her, “I’m hurting. But when I’m here like this, it doesn’t hurt.”
Sun Hee: “Dong Chul, do you know? When I was 19, I could think solely of you, but now at 39, I can’t. I want to leave Jang Dong Chul as a friend, and Song Jae Bin as a dream. Can you let me do that?”
She works her way out of his embrace and leaves. Jae Bin shoves his brother aside to follow her out, but she exits quickly and Dong Hwa stops him, asking, “What the heck is wrong with you?” Jae Bin answers, “You said this was impossible for Song Jae Bin. But it’s not for Jang Dong Chul.”
Have they got the swoony dramatic endings down pat or what?
By the way, for those of you who are wondering about the resolution of the drama, I have seen the ending and found it a little over-the-top but still satisfying. And if you’re not watching this series yet — why not?? 😉 There are only so many things I can describe in a recap, and trust me, there’s a lot more good stuff in the drama itself. Jae Bin’s reactions and adorably immature behavior is worth watching just for itself. If you’re into that sort of thing, I mean. And who isn’t?