The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 12
I love that picture of Dong Hwa. He’s so reserved most of the time that it’s particularly notable when he’s smiling, or expressing an emotion stronger than mild approval or mild distaste. I guess now that Jae Bin has spent the past episode imitating his brother, now it’s Dong Hwa’s turn to display some Jae Bin-like behavior.
SONG OF THE DAY
Choi Jin Yi (of Rumble Fish) with Lee Su – “Requiem” [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Jae Bin declaraes that Jang Dong Chul can do what Song Jae Bin can’t (implying he’ll revoke his stardom and revert to being common ol’ Dong Chul in order to win Sun Hee), but Dong Hwa asks, “Do you really think you can live as Jang Dong Chul?” Dong Hwa cautions him to think carefully — he’s past the age where he can act purely on emotion.
And thus passes a fitful night for both Jae Bin and Sun Hee.
In the morning, the kids are up early and excited (ah, youth) at Dong Hwa’s suggestion that they spend the day at their vacation home by the beach. The kids invite Sun Hee along (to keep the pesky adults out of their hair) and rush off to pack. Dong Hwa seconds the invitation, adding that she can use the opportunity to break the news of her divorce to Jimin.
Jimin prods Sun hee to wear her pretty new white shoes, and Sun Hee considers it… but when she comes out to pack the car, Dong Hwa notes with disappointment that she’s wearing her normal sneakers.
The foursome go on their day trip, leaving Jae Bin to sulk at home. Already in a dark mood from the night before, he’s even more irritated at his desertion and fumes. Annoyed at filming schedule once again being postponed because of Jae Bin, Na Yoon arrives to check on his condition. She tries to tend to him solicitously, but he doesn’t want her around and grumbles at her to leave him alone.
But when Na Yoon tests Jae Bin, casually suggesting, “Should we follow them?” Jae Bin immediately springs up and insists, “It was your idea!”
On their way to the vacation home, Dong Hwa and the crew stop by the beach. The kids go off playing, and Dong Hwa reminds Sun Hee (who’s busy fretting about the kids’ clothes and lunch) that there’s something she needs to do first. He encourages her to talk to Jimin without being afraid, and helps by drawing Hoon away to give the ladies their space.
Sun Hee has a difficult time getting the words out, and all she can manage at first is “I’m sorry.” But kids have a knack for sensing these sorts of things, and Jimin says, “I’m okay with it.” She guesses, “You’re not living with Dad anymore, are you?” She tells her mother that she heard them talking about how it was all over.
Jimin: “Mom, you’re going to live with me, right?”
Sun Hee: “Of course!”
Jimin: “You’re not going to leave me, are you?”
Sun Hee: “Don’t be ridiculous! I can’t even let myself die because of you! How could I leave you?”
Jimin: “Then it’s okay. Promise me.”
Hoon and Dong Hwa witness the scene from a distance, and father and son have their own family moment.
Meanwhile, Jae Bin and Na Yoon have taken advantage of the foursome’s beach detour to arrive at the vacation house first. Jae Bin makes up the excuse that he and Na Yoon are there to rehearse for their movie, although neither Dong Hwa nor Sun Hee buy his explanation.
At Jae Bin’s suggestion, the family engages in a watermelon-seed-spitting contest, with the penalty being a two-fingered slap to the loser. They pair off in twos — the kids, the ladies, the brothers — and have a contest to see who spits their seed the farthest. The game quickly grows competitive.
For instance, when Na Yoon takes her win against Sun Hee out in a particularly stinging victory slap, Sun Hee exacts her revenge in the next round. Jae Bin is so vicious in his victory slaps to Dong Hwa that Sun Hee pulls Dong Hwa aside to give him pointers on technique. And when Dong Hwa finally manages to beat Jae Bin (on a foot-fault!), boy does he enjoy his reward.
This next scene in the bathroom isn’t one of those big moments, but I like it better for its understatedness; it’s a subtle turning point in their relationship. Jae Bin walks in as Sun Hee’s running her reddened arm under the faucet, and his immediate reaction is to awkwardly withdraw. But Sun Hee calls him back, then surprises him by closing the door and taking his hand to run under the water. Outside, both hear Dong Hwa and Na Yoon wondering where they are, but Sun Hee calmly ignores them and goes on washing his arm.
You can see in Jae Bin’s expression that he’s surprised that she isn’t pushing him away, and that she’s taking the initiative for once. He takes the opportunity to suggest an outing, and drives the two of them to the beach, where they walk and take in the air.
They don’t tell the others where they’ve gone — it’s uncharacteristically impulsive behavior for Sun Hee — and sit down for a while. Jae Bin broaches the topic again of what happened twenty years ago, why Sun Hee never met him on their date.
Sun Hee answers, “The reason I didn’t meet you that day… is because I failed the entrance exam.” They’d agreed to meet when they both passed, but she failed. Even now, Sun Hee’s a little embarrassed to admit it, but Jae Bin is astounded — because all this while, he’d thought it was something serious! “Do you know how long I waited for you?!?”
Still, she sighs, “I wish I could go back to those times.” Jae Bin agrees, but Sun Hee says his life now is better as a big star with fans and fame. Jae Bin answers, “What good is that when the one person I like doesn’t like me back?” She says that time will turn these feelings into nothing, and Jae Bin scoffs that she’s acting old again.
He tells her wryly that the 32-year-old Song Jae Bin doesn’t understand her aged wisdom, and Sun Hee agrees: “The 32-year-old star Song Jae Bin can’t understand Hong Sun Hee’s feelings.” Her words strike a chord in him, echoing Dong Hwa’s reminder that there are things that Movie Star Jae Bin can’t have. He asks, “Then should I return to being Jang Dong Chul?”
Sun Hee thinks he’s talking nonsense and dismisses the question, but as she walks off, he says (out of her earshot), “Hong Sun Hee, I’ve never once been Song Jae Bin when I’ve been with you.”
Na Yoon has been stewing in impatience and jealousy, so when Jae Bin finally gets back to the house with Sun Hee, she’s perhaps more careless with her words than she ought to be. At first, her words don’t faze Jae Bin, who’s just happy over being with Sun Hee. He doesn’t even care that she overheard their conversation, and outright admits that he likes Sun Hee — she doesn’t like him back (yet), but he’s working on it.
Itching to say something that’ll get under his skin, Na Yoon tells him that Dong Hwa was right in assuming that such a childish person as Jae Bin was incapable of being responsible. Jae Bin hears the innuendo in her statement and asks what she means; she tells him to think it over. She’s never been Dong Hwa’s woman: “All I did was entrust Hoon to his care.”
Shocked at the implication, Jae Bin mulls over Na Yoon’s words, wondering if it’s possible — all this time, he’d thought Hoon was his nephew, but perhaps he was wrong.
The next morning, Dong Hwa invites Sun Hee to the movies later that evening, using the excuse that their free passes expire today. They agree to meet at the movie theater, and in a cute gesture, Dong Hwa prepares for the date by buying casual clothing, including a baseball cap (remembering his conversation with Sun Hee where he mentioned looking like a little boy when wearing one).
Jae Bin fakes illness and wraps himself in a blanket. When Sun Hee checks on him, he asks about something she’d mentioned before: “Is it true when you said that at nineteen, you thought only of me?” She answers, “Back then, I suppose so.”
So Jae Bin jumps up, casts off the blanket to reveal a school uniform underneath, and says with a flourish: “Then I’ll change back into Jang Dong Chul!”
He takes her to the basement, which he’s decorated in paraphernalia from the ’80s, when they were seniors in high school. There are posters, old comics, fad toys. He’s even prepared lunchbox-style bibimbap — and plays a cassette tape of a mock school lesson, so they can pretend they’re eating during class, while hiding behind their lesson books and pretending to “study.”
He’s prepared a uniform for her too, so they can pretend together. Sun Hee tells Jae Bin she can’t, because she doesn’t have time — she’s supposed to meet Dong Hwa to redeem their free movie tickets that evening. Back to reality for her. Jae Bin takes the news in stride, telling her to go along, surprising Sun Hee because she expected him to get upset. Jae Bin answers ruefully (and it’s so sad, because you can tell it’s paining him), “Why would I get mad? I’m Jang Dong Chul, and Jang Dong Chul likes his brother. Go on.”
Before he lets her go, though, he has one request, which is to take a photo with both of them dressed in their uniforms: “Sun Hee, with every minute that passes, every day that passes, we grow farther from nineteen. This moment right now is our closest moment to being nineteen, don’t you know that?”
As Sun Hee leaves the house to catch the bus that evening, Jae Bin calls to her over the walkie-talkie. She’s in a cheerful mood, while he’s somber, thinking of her going on a date with his brother. She warns him that they’ll get cut off soon because the walkie-talkies will be out of range, and Jae Bin goes silent, as though preparing to cut their connection (figuratively as well as literally).
But at the last moment, as Sun Hee’s voice starts crackling into static, Jae Bin rushes outside the house, telling her that the walkie-talkies don’t ever lose connection.
Jae Bin continues talking to her while running along the road till he comes within sight of her (Sun Hee doesn’t see him and believes that he’s still in the house). He watches her walking away, and asks (with some meaning), “Sun Hee, are there any last words you want to say to Jang Dong Chul?”
Sun Hee thinks for a moment, but gets a call from Dong Hwa and tells Jae Bin to hold on. She’s running late, and starts walking more quickly toward the bus stop, as Jae Bin watches her sadly.
Dong Hwa is already outside the theater, wearing his sweatshirt and baseball cap, eagerly awaiting her arrival. Sun Hee tells him she’s on her way, then hangs up the call and resumes talking to Jae Bin over the walkie-talkie. But this time Jae Bin doesn’t respond, and instead turns back to return to the house.
Sun Hee starts to turn back, then stops in the road, looking at her two options: onward to meet Dong Hwa, or backward to meet Jae Bin.
Back at home, Jae Bin encounters Hoon. The meeting is an everyday occurrence, but now that Na Yoon has suggested that Hoon is his son, Jae Bin sees Hoon with different eyes. He struggles to deal with his newfound realization.
While Dong Hwa waits at the theater for Sun Hee, she comes back home and arrives at the basement room with a message to scrawl on the wall next to Jae Bin’s. She starts to write something, but only gets as far as her name when she hears Jae Bin’s troubled voice mumble, “Don’t turn on the light.”
He’s sitting alone in the dark, lost in his thoughts. He tells her to go, but Sun Hee senses something’s terribly wrong and goes to him.
He turns to her for comfort, crying as he tells her, “Sun Hee… I’m so scared.”
This marks a turning point in the story, taking us a little deeper into emotional seriousness as Jae Bin is finally confronted with issues of responsibility and parentage. Because Jae Bin is usually so impetuous and energetic, it’s a stark contrast to see him feeling vulnerable and scared for once. And this occurs just as Sun Hee is starting to show signs of coming around to him — usually he’s chasing after her like an eager puppy, and she’s swatting him away. Half the time she’s truly annoyed, and half the time she’s doing so in amusement, but now we actually see her approaching him of her own volition, such as the scene when she washes his arm, and here when she returns home instead of leaving to meet Dong Hwa. Which is about damn time, since this relationship has been unbalanced for too long! Bring on the drama.