As I’ve said in practically every recap, I’ve really enjoyed Last Scandal. Now that we’re almost at the end, I don’t feel it would ruin anything to say that I found the ending satisfying and happy, which are the only two components (or, practically the only two) that I absolutely require in a romantic comedy.
However, that isn’t to say that the series is perfect, and every drama has its little blips here and there. There have been a few of those in Last Scandal that haven’t bothered me because the rest of the drama was so enjoyable, but Episode 15 is the first time I felt an actual sense of disappointment. I still found it very good, however, so without further ado…
SONG OF THE DAY
8eight – “I Love You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Jae Bin tells Sun Hee he’s going to throw away his identity as 32-year-old movie star Song Jae Bin, and asks her to come with him. He makes his way up to the rooftop and extends a hand, and waits for her answer.
Initially dumbstruck in indecision, the reality of the situation gradually dawns on Sun Hee. When she makes no move to accept his hand, Jae Bin takes that for rejection and turns away. But Sun Hee grabs his hand and nods.
Jae Bin swings into action, driving Sun Hee to the hotel where he’s prepared to hijack Na Yoon’s press conference. Sun Hee asks him if he’ll be okay with this decision. Jae Bin answers honestly that he’s nervous:
“So keep looking at me. If you do, I feel as if I can manage. Don’t look away from me.”
At the hotel, Jae Bin takes a moment with Hoon to prepare him for what’s about to happen:
“The disappointment I’ll make you feel in me today is so I won’t cause any more of that in the future. I’m going to talk about your mother today, and also the reason for my returning to Jang Dong Chul. That’s what I’ll have to do to be able to live as your father.”
Hoon isn’t quite sure what to expect, but he tells Jae Bin reassuringly to go on.
Jae Bin addresses the aggressively curious press and tells them that he’s there to talk about his past. He reveals his true name as Jang Dong Chul and his age as 39, but falters at that point. He has difficulty proceeding; seeing Sun Hee’s face in the crowd, offering her silent support, he musters up his courage and forges on to drop the bombshell: “And 39-year-old Jang Dong Chul has a son.”
Just at that point, Na Yoon stalks into the room, not realizing that Jae Bin has already started the press conference. She had rejected Dong Hwa’s earlier attempt to stop her from talking to the press, ignoring his plea that “grabbing hold of something doesn’t make it yours.” But that had only made Na Yoon angrier.
Amid the press’s whispers and surprised reaction, Jae Bin continues his story:
Jae Bin: “My child was born to me and Lee Na Yoon. More than feeling sorry to my fans, I worry for the pain my child will feel. I fear that my child will bear the brunt of the punishment for the lies I’ve told while living as Song Jae Bin. If I were an ordinary citizen, I wouldn’t need to explain my past in front of so many people, or give this kind of pain to my child. I’m feeling the weight of my situation for the first time. That’s why I cannot continue any longer. No, I don’t want to continue. Whatever condemnation I receive, I will live as Jang Dong Chul, not Song Jae Bin. I want to become a decent father to my son, and a good partner for the woman who changed me enough to bring me to this place today.”
All the while, Sun Hee watches from across the room (Na Yoon and Dong Hwa stand at the doorway, while Hoon watches on a television from a nearby room). Jae Bin concludes his statement by saying that despite being nervous at the public’s response to this news, he’s happy:
Jae Bin: “The Song Jae Bin who received so much affection was a fake. Now I’ll step out of the role of Song Jae Bin and return to Jang Dong Chul.”
As predicted, the public reaction is severe. Jae Bin’s movie falls through and Dong Hwa promises to return his fee to the investors. Sun Hee seems to take the fallout harder than Jae Bin does, feeling for him and his loss. But Jae Bin is happy and tells her not to worry — just have faith in him.
They take some time to relax and play a game of “I Never” (loser must drink if s/he has never done something that the other person has). Jae Bin naturally uses the game to his advantage, asking, “Have you ever kissed with your eyes open?” Sun Hee hasn’t, and takes the glass to drink in dismay — but he stops her, saying, “Why don’t you try it now? Then you don’t have to drink.”
But they’re interrupted at this inopportune moment when Sun Hee’s friend drops by and fawns some more over Jae Bin.
Meanwhile, Jimin hears about Jae Bin’s latest scandal and is crushed; adding to her surprise is Hoon’s revelation that he’s the long-lost son. Her fangirly disappointment quickly turns to something more serious, though, when she prods Hoon for the information about Jae Bin’s mystery woman, and hears who it is.
It may be irrational, but Jimin feels betrayed by her mother (angry that Sun Hee hid it from her) and sulks, rebuffing Sun Hee’s attempt to explain.
In one of my scenes this episode, Hoon takes a step toward restoring his relationship dynamic with Dong Hwa (Hoon’s initial shock has now completely faded, and he’s back to his usual good humor — definitely one of those old souls).
Dong Hwa credits Hoon for Jae Bin’s impressive turn: “I’ve tried to change him for 15 years and he wouldn’t, but because of you he changed immediately. You’ve got some skills.” They resume the familiar, teasing father-son relationship they had previously, and I’m glad to see it. I would’ve had a hard time if they had chosen to make Hoon treat Dong Hwa differently merely because a genetic twist was uncovered.
That night, Jae Bin and Dong Hwa share a drink together at home, starting tentatively but ending with upbeat brotherly affection. Jae Bin does take one serious moment to tell Dong Hwa, “Thank you,” after which point the mood lightens as they continue to drink and joke.
They discuss Sun Hee, and Jae Bin does the thing where he acts like he’s annoyed at Sun Hee’s faults but he’s obviously really proud of them — for instance, laughing at how she’d changed over the last twenty years. Their discussion about Sun Hee and first loves puts Dong Hwa into a thoughtful mood, and when he calls Sun Hee that night (while she’s still worrying about Jimin’s reaction) by accident, he takes the opportunity to ask her something.
Dong Hwa tells her he’d actually gone to the same high school as she did, which surprises her because she doesn’t remember him. He wonders the same thing, but she recalls that she’d transferred to the school for her last year, when he’d already graduated.
Dong Hwa doodles while he talks, writing the word “fate” absent-mindedly as he gets the answer to his unasked question — why Sun Hee met and fell for Jae Bin instead of him. Dong Hwa’s rueful but not crushed, accepting that some things just weren’t meant to be.
Sun Hee receives an unwelcome visit from Yoo Shik, who once again makes her out to be the bad one in their relationship. He sneers that she must have been itching to date around while they were married, and that she must have loved when he ran off with another woman because that gave her an excuse to do the same. (There’s just no use appealing to Yoo Shik’s logic, because his sense of reason is so twisted.)
Sun Hee kicks him and readies to hit him over the head, but Yoo Shik blurts the one thing that’ll stop her — Jae Bin’s name — and announces that he’s prepared to spill their relationship to the world if she’s not careful.
This is my favorite shot in the entire episode, because it’s so silly: The brothers awaken from their all-night bender to find that they’d fallen asleep on the pool table in the basement.
Jae Bin staggers upstairs, and discovers the note Sun Hee had written on the wall in response to his message, and he smiles to read it. Perversely, we have to wait a while to find out what it says.
Jae Bin gets a call from Yoo Shik demanding a meeting, and you know it’s going to be a serious encounter since it’s at the Han River.
(One of these days I want to see a ridiculous farce take place along the riverbanks instead of all this muted gravitas. Or a Bridget Jones-esque satire moment where the participants aim for severity and come off looking like absurd girly-men instead.)
Yoo Shik threatens to talk to reporters and suggests slyly that he’d be less upset at the situation if he were to have some extra cash in exchange for “giving over” Sun Hee to him.
Jae Bin is so disgusted he tells Yoo Shik, “Are you sure you’re a man?” He tells Yoo Shik that he would’ve had better luck just asking for the money as a favor, and dismisses him: “Don’t call me about something like this again.”
That pisses off Yoo Shik, who’s quick to get on the phone with the media. When Sun Hee tries to step outside of her apartment, she finds herself swarmed with persistent reporters, who have been tipped off that this is where Jae Bin’s woman lives. Panicking, Sun Hee locks herself inside while reporters pound on her doors and windows. She calls Jae Bin to warn him not to come by as he’s planning to do — but he’s busy picking out a ring for Sun Hee at the jeweler’s.
She calls Dong Hwa next and pleads with him to warn Jae Bin not to come by because of the reporters. Dong Hwa calls Jae Bin and alerts him to the situation; Jae Bin arrives in the neighborhood and finds a scared Jimin down the street. Jae Bin tells her to stay in his car, and assures her he’ll bring her mother out safely.
Outside Sun Hee’s apartment, Jae Bin ignores the frenzied paparazzi and shouts through the door for Sun Hee to come out. Sun Hee is holed up alone inside, frantic, and frets that he shouldn’t have come.
Jae Bin turns his ire toward the reporters, insisting that he’s not Song Jae Bin anymore, but they retort, “Do you think you can stop being him just because you say so?”
Angry, Jae Bin asks how the reporters would feel to put their loved ones in such a position: “What does it matter to you if this woman is divorced or a housekeeper? The woman inside is my first love, an irreplaceable person to me!” As Sun Hee hears his words from inside, Jae Bin resumes banging on the door, telling her to come outside:
Jae Bin: “Come out and help me. I don’t want to struggle somewhere in the middle — I’d rather crash to the ground with you, so we can get up together. I’ll wait, so don’t be afraid, and come outside. Sun Hee, you said you had faith in me. You fool, do you think I’d just leave you here alone?”
Slowly, Sun Hee manages to calm herself and opens the door, stepping outside where Jae Bin waits. The reporters rush to barrage them in a flurry of photo flashes and shouted questions, but the couple ignore them, looking only at each other.
His voiceover tells her, “Thank you for trusting in me.” Hers answers, “Thank you for waiting for me.”
First, what I liked: Dong Hwa’s conversation with Sun Hee on the phone. I’ve appreciated that Dong Hwa filled the second romantic lead role without actually being much of a threat to the main couple — the story didn’t need him to become jealous or possessive, and that was a refreshing change. While I do think he could have had a nice relationship with Sun Hee, it wouldn’t have been a life-changing, earth-shattering, extraordinary romance worthy of its own television series. I think they could have made it work, but only in the absence of something better for either, or both.
I think Dong Hwa recognized that as well, which is why he never pushed. As far as courtships go, Dong Hwa was pretty laissez-faire, as though he wanted Sun Hee to make the decision — he’d rather have her be happy with her choice than for him to get the girl. So when he heard Sun Hee’s explanation for why they’d never met in high school, he accepted that with equanimity. In contrast, while Dong Hwa could be fine letting go of a chance with Sun Hee, Jae Bin would not.
As for what I didn’t love: Yoo Shik’s manipulation of Jae Bin felt a little obvious, and the ending sequence is reminiscent of the big grand moment in Episode 8. The two scenes aren’t exactly the same, but they’re similar beats and produce similar effects. Furthermore, Episode 8’s ending had a nice dramatic flair, which I thought was balanced with the emotion of the moment. Here, however, it was SO serious about the emotion and angst that the scene felt over-the-top, and tipped over into cheesy territory. I didn’t understand Sun Hee’s sudden panic — sure, it’s a startling situation, but she’s safely inside and the reporters aren’t breaking windows or knocking down doors. They’re annoying, but neither her health nor welfare are in danger, so her fear seems like overreaction.
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 14
- The Last Scandal of My Life: Episode 13
- 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