The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 13
Episode 13 is probably the most serious episode of the series, and perhaps appropriately so given the subject of the current plot. It continues some of the relationship reversals begun in the previous episode and we have some more solid acting all around (although I think Byun Jung Soo as Na Yoon is a marked cut below the others). And thankfully, although the gravity of the situation is a necessary development, the drama doesn’t remain mired in gloom for too long.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Eun Mi – “사랑하다는 말” (Saying I love you) [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Sun Hee comes back and finds Jae Bin sitting alone, scared and worried. They embrace, and Sun Hee tells him, “I think I understand now why you hate seeing me cry.” It must be doubly worrying because Jae Bin is always the one who’s been upbeat and energetic, doing his best to joke or nag her out of her moments of depression; it’s a bit like seeing a parent cry and feeling that things must be really serious for the tables to turn so completely.
But Jae Bin pulls back and collects himself, telling her he feels better: “This is why friends are great. Hong Sun Hee, I’m really glad to have a friend like you.” I kind of really love this reversal because just as Sun Hee’s tilting toward Jae Bin, something comes between them, but it’s not a jealous lover, an ex-boyfriend, or some other kind of overt meddling. It’s something more fundamental to Jae Bin’s character, and he has to deal with his sense of responsibility and honor (about possible fatherhood) before he can start thinking of his love life. And really, isn’t putting oneself aside for the benefit of a child what parenting is all about? (Or so I hear.)
Sun Hee would have been fine staying with Jae Bin the rest of the night (and perhaps even prefer it), but he reminds her that Dong Hwa must be waiting and gives her a ride to the movie theater. In the car ride there, she asks if he’d like her to cancel the date — “If you want, I can stay with you” — but Jae Bin says he has an appointment of his own.
Amusingly, Sun Hee’s curious about his date and casually asks who he’s meeting. Jae Bin remains vague and distracted, and Sun Hee tries to rationalize her curiosity — it’s because she’s worried he’ll drink! Yeah, that’s it. If he drinks, he’ll probably eat, and if he eats, his clothes will get messy, and she’ll have to do his laundry…
Alas, Jae Bin doesn’t enlighten her, leaving her hanging as they arrive.
Sun Hee leaves the car slowly (like she’s waiting for him to stop her) and starts walking toward Dong Hwa, who sees her approaching. Dong Hwa readies to greet her as Jae Bin drives away; he watches Sun Hee making the snap decision to turn and hurriedly flag down a taxi to follow Jae Bin’s car. And then Dong Hwa gets a frantic call from Na Yoon, who wails that Jae Bin found out everything. Dun dun DUN!
Jae Bin arrives at Na Yoon’s hotel — close behind are Sun Hee in her taxi and Dong Hwa, who leaves the theater in a rush (but not so much of a rush that he doesn’t have time to change his clothes first). Na Yoon’s expecting Dong Hwa, but it’s Jae Bin at her door, simmering with anger. He wants her to confirm what she so boldly hinted before: “Is Hoon my son?”
Na Yoon tries to stall and change the subject, but that only angers him more, and he demands to know the truth.
Na Yoon tearfully nods. Jae Bin asks if she left him fifteen years ago because she wanted to, or if she was forced by his brother. Na Yoon tells him it was all her fault: “Can’t you give me just one chance?… How scared must I have been that I ran away? Can’t you consider how I felt?”
Jae Bin understands, but can’t take her back: “Fifteen years is too long. There’s no place for you anymore.” Na Yoon reminds him that they have a child together (as if he forgot, ha), but Jae Bin tells her not to mention Hoon’s name again. He opens the door to leave, and sees Dong Hwa there. He stalks off without a word.
Now it’s Dong Hwa’s turn to rail at Na Yoon, telling her she’s ruined what he’s built up his whole life.
As Jae Bin drives out of the hotel, he sees Sun Hee sitting outside — she’d followed him there but didn’t proceed inside, and has instead been sitting on the sidewalk all this while.
When they arrive home, Sun Hee’s intuition is sounding alarms; she knows something is going on despite Jae Bin’s casual demeanor. Tense, Sun Hee prepares to hear his story and takes his hand when he holds it out. But he doesn’t talk, and they sit in silence for a while.
Sun Hee ignores a phone call from Dong Hwa, but Jae Bin withdraws his hand from hers and tells her, “Let’s go inside.”
But when Sun Hee gets out of the car, Jae Bin starts the car and leaves again.
Dong Hwa’s waiting up when she walks in, and she apologizes for missing their date because something popped up at the last minute. Dong Hwa answers that he actually was too busy to make it too, and his lie relieves her.
The next morning, Jae Bin is still nowhere to be found and nobody knows why except for Dong Hwa, who remains quiet. Everyone senses that the issue is more serious than usual, but they don’t understand the reason.
So it’s with some surprise that the kids greet Jae Bin when he drives up to the bus stop where they’re waiting for the school bus. Jae Bin tells Hoon to get in, and informs Jimin that Hoon will be missing school for the day.
Jae Bin announces that they’ll be playing hooky, but Hoon’s a good boy and wants to go back to school. His dad’ll kill him if he finds out he skipped classes. Jae Bin sours at the mention of Dong Hwa and declares him an off-limits topic for the day.
The arrive at a lake, where Jae Bin attempts to impart some man-to-man advice but just annoys Hoon. When Jae Bin goes off looking for a bathroom, Hoon surreptitiously texts Jimin and sends his SOS. A while later, Dong Hwa drives Jimin and Sun Hee to the site, but tells them to go on without him, sensing that his presence will only make matters worse.
Now that Jimin’s there, Hoon’s mood lightens enough to enjoy his day off, and the kids go fishing with Jae Bin. Sun Hee, initially upset at Jae Bin for worrying her, watches as he goofs around with the kids, musing, “At times like this he seems like Dong Chul…”
Sun Hee joins in the fun, and from a distance, Dong Hwa watches the foursome ruefully.
Hoon asks Jae Bin to explain the day’s events nicely to his father, to which Jae Bin asks if he’s afraid of getting in trouble. Hoon answers no, he doesn’t fear his father’s anger but rather his disappointment — they’d made a promise not to disappoint each other.
Jae Bin: “You’ve never been disappointed in your father?”
Hoon: “I haven’t. That’s why I respect him.”
Jae Bin: “I guess I’m not one to win your respect then.”
Jae Bin: “You’re always calling me immature.”
Hoon: “But I do respect you.”
Jae Bin: “What?”
Hoon: “You do goof around a lot, but you’re a star. Dad said becoming the best in something is worthy of respect. I agree with him. I like that you’re Song Jae Bin. I brag about you all the time.”
Sun Hee has been watching Jae Bin closely all day in a mixture of curiosity, interest, and concern. She tells him he’s really acting strange, but Jae Bin remains distant, as he was the night before. When she says that he’s not acting like the Dong Chul she knows, he answers that she’s right: “I’m Song Jae Bin.”
Dong Hwa has been waiting at home all day, anxious and melancholy. When the others arrive, Dong Hwa tries to take the sleeping Hoon inside the house, but Jae Bin cuts in front and carries Hoon instead.
The brothers step outside to talk, and Jae Bin angrily asks what Dong Hwa wants to hear. Does he expect Jae Bin to thank him for sacrificing his life and raising his kid to make him a star? Dong Hwa answers, “That was the best I could do at the time,” prompting Jae Bin to punch him in the face.
Jae Bin: “You made my son call me ‘uncle’ for fifteen years and that was the best you could do? What a pitiful excuse. Am I an idiot? It’s my business — why was I kept in the dark?”
Dong Hwa: “If you’d known, could you have raised Hoon? When Na Yoon came to me, she’d already decided to leave you. I knew you couldn’t handle it alone. How could I tell you to raise a baby?”
Jae Bin: “So you pretended to be her boyfriend?”
Dong Hwa: “I had to make Hoon into my child.”
Jae Bin: “Don’t make excuses. I’m sure it wasn’t for my benefit, but for the benefit of your success. I did everything you told me, mindlessly, like a robot. My entire life was made into a fake, so even if I want to turn back now, I can’t.”
Jae Bin is still distant in the morning, which unnerves Sun Hee. She asks him why he’s treating her differently now, and he feigns ignorance. She continues to press, pointing out that he’s avoiding her and can’t even look her in the eyes. Jae Bin turns to her, stares straight into her eyes, then leaves for work, coolly dispassionate the whole while.
For all his outward indifference, Jae Bin misses Sun Hee while he spends the day filming; likewise, Sun Hee thinks back to all the times Jae Bin has cheered her up in recent days, missing his playful presence. She remembers the message she was about to write on the wall when she was interrupted, and finishes filling it in now.
She waits for him at the end of the day, stopping him as he walks up the path to the house. She echoes his previous actions when he’d cheered her up, drawing a line in the ground and blocking his way, telling him, “You can’t cross the line until you smile.”
Jae Bin doesn’t play along, telling her he’s tired.
Jae Bin: “Sun Hee, you said that your 39-year-old self couldn’t look solely at me. After casting off Jang Dong Chul, now I understand what you mean. To you, Song Jae Bin is just a dream, but to me he’s reality. So move aside.”
Sun Hee: “No. I can’t move until you smile in front of me.”
Jae Bin steps around her.
Sun Hee: “Dong Chul, I’m crying right now. Go in when my tears stop.”
Jae Bin: “Hong Sun Hee, I said you’d be fired if you cried. You’re fired.”
Starting in the previous episode, Jae Bin starts slowly pushing Sun Hee toward his brother, which kind of seems out of character at first since he’s spent so much time relentlessly pursuing her. What I read this as, though, is that he sees that Sun Hee is receptive to his brother’s initial advances. At the same time, Jae Bin is now in a situation where he can’t really place his own romance as a priority. If Sun Hee weren’t interested in Dong Hwa, he probably wouldn’t be prodding her in that direction, but I think he’s trying to be noble and secure their happiness, since he can’t ensure Sun Hee’s future himself. And, after all, he told her, “Jang Dong Chul likes his brother.”
As for the issue of parentage… This issue’s a little abstract for me since I’m not a parent, and I think this is just one of those things you feel differently about when you’ve raised a child. What Dong Hwa did was unequivocally wrong, and selfish, and presumptuous — no matter what the underlying reason, to assume a child as your own without alerting the true father is essentially like stealing the child from him. Jae Bin’s reaction is completely earned, and Dong Hwa would be lucky to ever be forgiven by either brother or nephew/son.
And yet, I do feel sorry for him — though it doesn’t excuse his actions — because given that he has lived happily alongside Jae Bin and Hoon for the last fifteen years, he has become a father to Hoon in the true sense of the word. At this point, he’s more of a father than the biological sperm donor (which is why Jae Bin’s sense of betrayal is all the more sharply felt), and if Jae Bin were to assume the position as Hoon’s rightful parent, what about the parent who raised the child? He can’t just stop being a dad because the boy’s parentage was revealed. It’s a tricky issue, ethically and emotionally, and probably not one that can be adequately addressed in a few episodes of a drama. But it’s interesting to think about nonetheless.
Na Yoon is likewise a terrible mother, but I don’t even feel the need to analyze her actions because she’s so clearly an idiot.
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 12
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 11
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 10
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 9
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 8
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 7
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episodes 5 & 6
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episodes 1-4