Drama Recaps
Story of a Man: Episode 14
by | May 27, 2009 | 51 Comments

How does this drama keep getting better? Episode 14 was even better than Episode 13, and each scene kept me excited. Every time the music kicked in and the camera shifted just a bit in a meaningful way, signaling an Important Upcoming Moment, I’d sit up a little straighter, eager to find out what the next bend in the twisty road would reveal.

I can’t believe it took me so long to put it together, but it finally occurred to me that the vague feeling of familiarity I’d been getting from Story of a Man is that it’s the kdrama that makes me most think of Veronica Mars. You have the convoluted criminal(s), the sly undercover mini-missions, the camaraderie, the twisted family issues, the damaged boyfriends, the dark revenge. Fun, clever, and angsty. Yup. Totally Veronica Mars. (In Season 1 when the show was still good, that is.)


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With the mayor’s death reopened for investigation, the public prosecutor drops by to let Police Chief Lee know that he’s on the hook for being too quick to close the case. He may be facing disciplinary action.

Detective Kim sets up a situation room and gets to work, questioning Shin and Jae-myung again. The detective has managed to draw a good picture and sums up the lead-up to the mayor’s death fairly accurately: After the two guys (Shin and Jae-myung) who’d stuck close to the mayor’s side heard of his death, it’s curious that they immediately went to Chae Do-woo to kick some ass. One of those guys turns out to be the son of Mr. Do, who died in a car accident — whose crash site looks awfully similar to the mayor’s.

Even though the detective has the general idea, Shin and Jae-myung remain silent, keeping their revenge to themselves. So she warns them that Do-woo has officially pressed charges against the two of them, which means that they’re stuck under her watch, and if they don’t help her solve this murder case, she’ll turn them over to face their assault charges straightaway.

Shin offers up a deal: He can get that charge dropped if she gives him one day of freedom to make it happen. He’ll deliver the criminal to her, and promises to help her even once he’s free. She considers it.

All the while, Jae-myung has checked out of this conversation ever since the detective took out the pictures of his father’s crash, fixating on the photos grimly.

Do-woo returns Kyung-ah’s cell phone, and admits that he had hidden it because he’d read her text message from Shin. Feigning concern (as though he’s afraid Kyung-ah will leave him for her ex-boyfriend), Do-woo asks if she’s going to meet Shin. You can tell Do-woo’s tactic is working, because Kyung-ah seems mollified at the implication that he’s feeling insecure and worried over losing her (oh, vanity!).

Do-woo is so evilly brilliant, because he completely undermines Shin’s move by anticipating it and defusing the potential bomb before Shin gets a chance to drop it. He tells Kyung-ah that he’s pretty sure he knows what Shin wants to tell her, and admits that he has received therapy for a psychological disorder for the past ten years.

As he does so well, Do-woo tells his story in a detached voice, but in a way that gives the impression that he’s a wounded boy who harbors a lot of pain:

Do-woo: “My father was afraid of me. The day my mother died, I was with her, which made him think I killed her. He even thought of hospitalizing me in a psych ward. Because he wanted it, I went to therapy with a psychiatrist. The doctor acted as my father wanted, naming me with all sorts of diseases. I went through a lot.”

This wins Kyung-ah’s sympathy, and when Shin calls, she hesitates to answer. Do-woo continues pathetically, “Why does Kim Shin make things so difficult for me? If he continues, I’ll be forced to press charges against him.”

(OH POOR BABY. On one hand, Do-woo is so good at manipulation that you kinda admire him for it. On the other, at this point I really just want Shin to kick his ass six ways to Sunday.)

So when Kyung-ah picks up the phone, she’s determined to shake Shin off once and for all. She tells him, “You’re too nice,” because no matter how badly she treats him, he still worries about her. Shin doesn’t like being called nice (again), and replies, “These days, hearing those words just makes me mad.”

Kyung-ah asks if he’s calling about Do-woo’s psychological disorders, which surprises him. She makes it sound like she’s known about this all along, suggesting that she knew and still chose Do-woo over Shin. (Another strike against Kyung-ah: she still frames their conversations around the supposition that Shin is dangling after her. Lady, not everything’s about you!)

Kyung-ah advises that Shin go far away to avoid being hurt, but he replies that no matter their relationship now, “You were like family to me. … So no matter how much you hurt me, I still worry. I can’t not worry about you. Before it’s too late, find out more about him. Properly.”

She thanks him for worrying, but says she’d rather not talk to him again. I think she feels she’s acting out of kindness for Shin, but part of me thinks she’s being so overly harsh to him that the lady doth protest too much… When she hangs up, she tells Do-woo it’s over, and asks, “Don’t press charges. Leave it alone. He has no power to make things difficult for you anyway.”

Kyung-tae tracks down their biggest clue, the previous deputy mayor, whom the guys intercept at a golf course and whisk away in their van. They demand to know how much he was given to resign his post. Naturally the man protests his innocence, so Shin makes some threats of physical violence to speed things along.

We know he’s bluffing, but the man doesn’t and blubbers in terror when Shin instructs the car to pull over in a deserted field; Mun-ho advises that he beat the man without leaving external marks. He points at the stream nearby and suggests some good old-fashioned drowning, too.

Shin looks furious in this shot, but in reality he’s rather enjoying himself (this whole scene is a giggle), and tells the man that it’s actually quite okay if the man remains uncooperative. Shin’s feeling the need to relieve some stress, and he’d like an excuse to beat him up.

So when he winds up for a punch, the ex-deputy mayor blurts, “Land! I received land.”

Now they’re getting somewhere. Shin asks for details, and assures him that their real target is elsewhere, so if he cooperates, they’ll just be on their way.

Jae-myung gives his statement to an officer who treats him with derision; he insinuates that Jae-myung could have attacked the mayor himself. Det. Kim vouches for him, because she has already checked out his story with witnesses — the grandma in the street remembers him, and several bystanders attest to seeing Jae-myung running in the street after the car.

But a thought strikes Jae-myung — if the killer is who he thinks it is, there’s a good chance he’ll run.

He’s right about that, because Do-woo instructs K to head for the Philippines for the time being. He’s still angry at K for breaking rank and acting on his own, but he’s still his man and he tells him to lie low until Do-woo sends for him, despite K’s assurances that he left absolutely no trace of evidence linking him to the mayor’s death.

That’s true, you can count on K to have erased his tracks carefully, but that’s what makes this next part so satisfying. Detectives rush the hallway and detain a surprised K; Jae-myung points him out as the man who stabbed him and stole his gun.

Det. Kim arrests him on suspicion of attempted murder and robbery, and this! Is! Great! They know they don’t have enough evidence to pin K for the mayor’s murder, so they arrest him for assaulting Jae-myung instead to prevent him from fleeing the country. Smarty smart!

(I’d wondered if his name was K or Kei, and it looks like it really is “K” — short for Kang Chi-yong.)

For once, Do-woo and K are completely taken off-guard, and Do-woo fumes at being bested. Shin arrives with Director Oh in tow — they’d run into each other downstairs — and there’s a fun moment as he and Jae-myung clap hands, as though signifying a tag-team trade-off against the Evil Duo.

Shin faces Do-woo: “I came to do what the deceased mayor so enjoyed doing. You know what business transactions are — I give something, you give something, and we figure something out together.”

I love this reversal in atmosphere — Do-woo has just been shaken, while Shin strolls in confident and smirking. Do-woo scowls, saying, “I’m getting tired of running into you.”

Shin announces, “I’m thinking of taking down your new Mayor Oh for giving out bribes.” He presents the contract signed by the former deputy mayor and Director (now Mayor) Oh, and cites how a bribe of more than 100 million won will land a body in prison for at least 10 years. He states, “Chae Do-woo, you pulled all sorts of tricks to make this man the new mayor of Myungdoshi, didn’t you? I’m going to put away that mayor you worked so hard to make.”

Do-woo looks pissed but answers confidently that such documents won’t make any difference legally. Shin cuts him off: “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to call the reporters and they’ll talk.” Not only was the ex-deputy mayor bribed by the current mayor, the land used in the bribe is owned by Chae Dong.

Ah, Do-woo is stuck! (So. Satisfying.) He asks, “What do you want?” Shin: “Drop charges against me and Do Jae-myung.”

Do-woo laughs. Shin laughs back: “That’s too cheap, isn’t it? But I’ll be satisfied with that.”

(I love this. I love that Shin dug himself into a hole with his hotheadedness, and he pulled himself right back out using his brain. Go Shin!)

Game and set. (Match still pending.) Do-woo gets on the phone with his lawyer to drop the charges.

(As Do-woo calls, Shin looks idly at the city plan on the wall, recalling the mayor excitedly planning the future apartments. Something strikes him as important — it’s not immediately clear why, but will be significant shortly.)

Once Do-woo’s phone call is over, Shin marvels at his unflappable calm: Even as Do-woo backed down against his enemy, Shin notices, “There’s absolutely no hint of weakness. What do I do about that? How can I turn your insides out? The only thing I can do is force your self-destruction.”

Chairman Chae — or Grandpa Chae, now — has made himself at home at the café, and wanders upstairs to see what Kyung-tae is up to. Kyung-tae explains he is “waiting for Chae Dong stock” per Shin’s orders. Grandpa Chae confirms Kyung-tae’s speculations that Do-woo is low on cash flow, though he owns a huge percentage of the company — roughly 70%.

Shin is preparing another stock-related plan, but Chae doesn’t understand, because Team Shin doesn’t have any money to be playing with stocks anymore. Kyung-tae just repeats Shin’s order to wait.

There’s a short but very cute interlude at the café, which I LOVE. The girls come home from school, and Nuri immediately sits next to Grandpa. Yuri proudly announces a good grade she earned, to which Kyung-tae pats her on the head and Eun-soo hugs her congratulations.

When Jae-myung and Shin arrive, they both want to head upstairs for a shower, and race to use the bathroom first. It’s a little slice of happy home life with the Muse Café family, and it’s adorable.

Meanwhile, Do-woo wants K’s release negotiated immediately. K has been interrogated by the police and his belongings searched, but there has been no trace of the gun or knife. If evidence isn’t found in 48 hours, the police have to let him go; the best Detective Kim can do is prevent him from leaving the country.

Do-woo then turns to Mayor Oh and demands to know exactly what Shin asked him. Oh parrots back Shin’s question: “What areas of Myungdoshi has Chae Do-woo not acquired yet?” Mayor Oh (being overconfident and stupid as usual) doesn’t see any reason to be nervous, and had smugly told Shin, “He’s already got most of Myungdoshi.”

This includes a Myungdoshi agricultural venture group, which Mayor Oh figures is practically theirs already. But Do-woo is displeased that Shin mentioned it, and immediately calls meetings with his planning committee.

At the meeting, we see that Do-woo’s nervous about the agriculture venture group, which is their last holdout — he intends to buy the big plot of land situated right in the center of the city, and is very close to accomplishing it. However, the fact that Shin has picked up on this makes Do-woo uneasy, and he wants to secure it asap.

Team Shin is busy at work on the same thing (the venture group is the realization Shin had while looking at the map). Shin says that he “tossed some bait” toward Do-woo, and is pretty sure he’ll go for it. He predicts that Do-woo won’t buy the venture group at market price — he has no money. Kyung-tae makes his prediction: “Ruin the venture. If it’s ruined, all the people will leave. Then the land value plummets.”

We’ve seen Do-woo do that before with the mandoo factories, and sure enough, he orders his men to get going with the plan. (Kyung-ah looks a little surprised — I wonder if she’ll figure out that this is what Do-woo did to Shin’s brother.)

The issue with the agricultural venture group is that they’re currently being pressed to return investments they’d received three years ago, a total of 3 billion won. Kyung-ah tells him that they’ll need a little bit of time to raise enough to buy them out.

Therefore, they’ll have to block the venture until Do-woo and Kyung-ah are able to raise the money.

This means it’s back to the bar for more business-related drinking meetings with Do-woo’s friends. (We also find out that Kyung-ah has ditched the name “Jenny” and is now the owner/operator of the bar.)

Do-woo asks for investments, assuring the others that he can double or triple their returns. By now, the guys trust Do-woo to know what he’s doing and throw their hats into the ring. They don’t know what he’s doing, but they’re up for making some fast cash.

Anticipating this, the Dream Team are on alert for the first sign of Chae Dong stocks moving. Jae-myung remains skeptical, because they have no money to invest, so what’s the purpose in monitoring the stocks?

Shin’s answer?

It’s BUM-HWAN! Finally! (You don’t know how happy I was to see him appear at long last.)

Bum-hwan is happy to see them, but reminds Shin that he’d told him to prove himself first. Shin points to Kyung-tae: he’s the proof.

Kyung-tae explains that he can triple (possibly quadruple) Bum-hwan’s money if he puts up an initial investment. Shin’s only condition is that Bum-hwan invest the earnings where Shin directs him to.

(Smart! Love this. Shin has no money, and he knows Bum-hwan’s not going to give him charity — he’s gotta earn this. So by making Bum-hwan rich first, he can raise the capital he needs and give everyone a win-win situation.)

There’s a slight hiccup for Team Shin (though not a big one) because Bum-hwan is hesitant to obey Kyung-tae’s orders. Clearly he’s not comfortable with all the fancy stock-market stuff, and he waits so long that Kyung-tae presses him to hurry or they’ll lose their shot to make money.

Shin, exasperated, calls Bum-hwan cowardly. In the background, Chae chuckles and dispenses another pearl of wisdom: “A gangster makes money against another person. A businessman makes money against money. If you yell at a person, you can scare them into giving you money. You can’t do that with money.”

Finally, Bum-hwan gives in and agrees to buy.

Do-woo, not suspecting any of this, is hard at work manipulating stock prices according to his own complicated plan, ordering his people to buy and sell in carefully orchestrated patterns. It’s all proceeding according to plan… until he notices something happening that he hadn’t predicted.

Kyung-tae has dumped their stock (earning Bum-hwan a 200% return), which messes with Do-woo’s timing — because this time he hadn’t expected interference.

In a nice bit of symbolism, his jazz CD skips.

With no hard evidence linking him to Jae-myung’s assault, K is released from jail. Det. Kim warns him not to go too far, since he might be called back.

Jae-myung meets him at the steps in front of the police station, and warns, “Hide my gun well. I’ll go to find it.”

A guest is brought to meet with Shin: the agricultural venture’s union president. Shin gets right to the point: “Your agricultural venture needs money, doesn’t it?” The man is surprised that Shin knows that they are facing the loss of their land if they can’t return their investments by the end of the month.

Shin turns to Bum-hwan: “Invest 3 billion in this venture.”

Bum-hwan asks what the group produces, and it’s amusing to see the tough gangster muse over his new investment in roses and cacti.

While Bum-hwan hesitates, Kyung-tae takes the moment to say I told you so: “If you’d listened to me, you could have made 5 billion. You didn’t listen and let time keep slipping by so you only made 3 billion.”

It’s SO HILARIOUS how exasperated Bum-hwan is — here are these upstarts, mere underlings, running circles around him playing these huge games that he doesn’t understand, but he can’t walk away because they are persuasive enough to pique his interest. He’s not savvy enough to see the big picture so he’s afraid to trust them, but in the end, he has to just sigh and agree to whatever Shin says.

On the other side of the stock battle, Do-woo receives the bad news that the agricultural venture just acquired a new investor, meaning they aren’t likely to sell. Do-woo wants to know who the investor is, and tells his man to pay particular attention to the name Kim Shin or Chae Dong-soo.

Eun-soo clears up outside the café, and Shin is (again) exasperated to see how helpful she’s being. She’s been helping around all episode, and he doesn’t like it; he asks if she plans to keep staying here. Eun-soo answers that her father likes it here, because he keeps inventing excuses to stay.

Eun-soo: “It’s the first time that he hasn’t been caught up in making money, or that people are around to greet each other when they leave or come home, or that we all eat meals together, or a child falls asleep on his knee. It’s the first time for my father and for me.”

Eun-soo promises they’ll leave soon enough, but he’s not satisfied with that answer. All episode long, there’s been an interesting vibe between Shin and Eun-soo, although I’m still not sure what this is building up to. Is it romantic? Or is it merely as Shin explains to Eun-soo:

Shin: “Honestly, it’s because I’m uncomfortable. We’re going to be having meetings to discuss how to ruin your brother. I think of your brother as the man who killed my brother and the mayor, so I won’t be able to talk politely. But to be next to his sister and father — it’s awkward for me.”

She takes this well, but is a little deflated as she answers, “I know.”

Still, when she drops a pot, Shin immediately helps her pick it up… while the camera pans over to an observer… Do-woo. (EEK! That’s surprising.)

Although Shin had told Eun-soo he enjoyed flaunting their “friendship” in front of Do-woo, I’m sure even he couldn’t have devised better timing to stick it to Big Bro here.

Kyung-ah finds him in his empty, dark conference room. She notices his withdrawn mood but addresses business matters, saying it’ll take some time to raise the money to buy the venture — should she try dragging his friends in forcefully? He answers, “You know I don’t have friends.”

Her answer is philosophical, not pitying: “How many people in the world have real friends? Everyone just settles for calling people friends at a certain point.”

The tone takes a shift for the creepy(-er) as Do-woo asks softly, staring straight ahead though mesmerized:

Do-woo: “What do women mean when they like a man? What does that feel like? At what moment does she realize that she likes a certain man? When she finds out, what then? Does she throw away everything from before then, on behalf of the new man? Is that man all that remains?”
Kyung-ah: “What is it exactly you want to know?”
Do-woo: “Whether she truly cares. Whether she knows that answer. Which way she leans.”

Kyung-ah: “Give her a chance. The woman’s heart may be indecisive. There will be times when she doesn’t know which way she leans. So help her.”
Do-woo: “Is that it? Do I have to help?”
Kyung-ah: “Yes, so she doesn’t wander alone, so she can make the final decision.”

As much as Grandpa Chae has liked living at the café, he tells Eun-soo, “We should return home.” He’ll fire everyone who works at the house — and proposes that Myung-sun be his housekeeper.

Myung-sun is flustered and tries to refuse — it would be a great charity to her, but she can’t accept. Chae isn’t having it, and says, “I need a housekeeper, you need a house.”

To make it clear that he’s not being benevolent, he says, “I’m not bringing you in because I like you, I need to bring you in to bring in Kim Shin.” That surprises Eun-soo, as he continues gruffly: “Have you seen that guy at work? If it’s him, he can recover Chae Dong. I have to keep him with me. So come with me.”

Eun-soo loves the idea of bringing Myung-sun and the girls to the family, but her excitement turns into chaos later that night when Do-woo calls.

He’s getting married and plans to hold a small, closed ceremony. However, he needs a witness, and asks her to fill that position.

Shin comes across her and worries, thinking she may be ill, but Eun-soo grabs his shirt and blurts in a panic, “I think my brother’s doing something wrong.”

Shin doesn’t find that odd — “That guy doesn’t usually do much right, does he?” — but Eun-soo’s agitation grows:

Eun-soo: “He’s getting married to Kyung-ah. Should I stop it? How do I stop it? Is that the wrong idea? I hope it’s the wrong idea. My brother may really like her. Whatever the doctor says, I know my brother. He doesn’t know how to, but he wants to care for someone. He wants to learn.”

I’m not sure if Eun-soo actually believes this, but it strikes me as something she would say to convince herself it’s true more than actually believing it is, to try to find a spark of humanity in her brother.

The next day, Shin drives Eun-soo to the wedding, while Do-woo heads over in his car, wondering if Eun-soo will show.

Menawhile, lonely Kyung-ah opens her wedding box to find a gown inside — is it creepy that it’s an old-style bridal gown in the manner of Grace Kelly, replete with tiara?


Like I said, the family interludes are among my favorite parts of the drama, and make the icy isolation of Do-woo and Kyung-ah’s relationship stand out in stark relief.

I still really, really want Team Shin to prevail — and big-time — but it’s still heartwarming to see how much of a loving community he’s carved out for himself regardless. The cranky father/grandfather, the playful kids, the warm mother, the bickering brothers — all the dynamics are alive and healthy within the surrogate Muse Café family. (My favorite scene was when Jae-myung races Shin to use the shower first. LOL.)

The reason I’m irritated with Kyung-ah is that it’s like she’s willfully ignoring the truth now. At first it was understandable that she’d stick with her man because she was in the dark as to his true nature, but now it’s like she’s choosing the dark. The signs are all there, and she’s a smart woman (if an irritating one), and it’s not too much of a stretch for her to make the connections. Perhaps she’s already made the connections. But to proceed anyway — and toss back to Shin that she “chose” Do-woo over him, even knowing how psychologically damaged he is — strikes me as… foolish. Maybe even a little smug?

She’s being played by Do-woo, and although I’m starting to wonder if she’s trying to play him, too, I don’t know if she’ll be able to do that. But she’s still walking into the situation with her eyes wide open, or as open as they can be in the circumstances. More than being annoyed by her, I don’t quite understand her.

And yes, Do-woo actually vents his anger in a non-productive, totally emotional way! I love that his CD skips just as he realizes he’s lost the venture group (hammering in that he has just lost – lost – lost – lost) and that he takes out his anger at Shin on the innocuous little CD. Do-woo is a guy who moves with efficiency, who wastes no movement and conserves his energy (as Kim Kang-woo also explains in his 10 Asia interview), so for him to actually destroy something for no purpose other than venting his displeasure strikes me as a pretty significant moment.

Little by little, Shin is insinuating himself into Do-woo’s life, and it’s fricking great. For instance, when Do-woo snaps, “I’m getting awfully tired of running into you,” it’s so gratifying that Shin is able to ruin Do-woo’s day like that. Even Do-woo’s smile (above) is forced and unnatural, like he’s got to act like he’s got the upper hand instead of naturally having it.

When Shin maneuvers Do-woo into dropping the charges, Do-woo laughs because Shin’s demand is so paltry, but the more he confronts his adversary, the more he’s unnerved. He may sneer and laugh, but he’s no longer confident. The mere mention that Shin had said something about the venture group is enough to get Do-woo scrambling to convene a meeting, and I very much enjoy seeing Do-woo thrown off his game. It’s been a long time coming, and I think we still have a ways to go before it fully pays off, but it’s like Shin said — his best bet is to make Do-woo self-destruct.


51 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kay

    the creepiest conversation for this episode goes to kyung-ah and do-woo. although you can’t blame her for misunderstanding him, the audience knows that do-woo is referring to his sister when asking about how it feels when a woman loves a man. and then right after the conversation, the shot cuts to eun soo at the cafe… i love the entanglements in this show! i did get a vibe about shin and eun soo, if not romantically at least a friendship so that it might tip do-woo past the breaking point? can’t wait for your reviews for 15 & 16!

  2. G

    Thank you so much for the review…I love your site in general and your reviews in particular. Since subs for k-dramas often lag, your reviews help me catch on and your insights are super awesome bonuses.

    On a side note, do you think that when Do-woo was musing about when a woman finds a new man, how does one tell and what happens to the old one… he isn’t really talking about Kyung-ah but his sister. He just came fresh off of seeing his sister and Shin…his precious, clumsy sister who has now found a new protector in Shin. Its almost as if Shin and do-woo have exchanged lovers…yucky ducky…lol.

  3. lonelysoul

    OMG great cap i cant wait for the next one thanks javabeans

  4. Nom Kitteh

    I don’t understand why Chairman Chae is being presented as a good old guy now. Isn’t he the same guy who was openly sleeping with young girls while his wife was deathly ill? Isn’t this the same guy who also like his son would destroy families in pursuit of money, leading to his wife asking ES to apologize to the victims of his ruthless schemes? Why is he being allowed to redeem himself so completely? His son is bad, true, but Chae is no better. I find it annoying that Chae’s past cruelties are being ignored and he is being cast as this curmudgeon of an old man with a soft heart when he is not that at all, or at least he wasn’t during DW’s formative years. It’s frustrating because DW is being cast as mentally ill when events in his life very much resulted in his feeling left out and lost. Yes, he has psychotic tendencies but isolating him as the lone evil guy in this story is stripping him of all the qualities which made him so enticing a character. Now he is just a crazy freak instead of the complicated soul who cannot seem to feel for anyone other than ES.

    The writers have really messed up when it comes to KA. I don’t know if KA is just not a very good actress or if the writers have cut her role to that of a pretty face wanted (or used) by the two central leads. Either way, ES’s role seems much more of a central one than that of KA, which is confusing because ES doesn’t even have a place in the promotional posters or in interviews I have seen (it’s all Shin, DW and KA).

    Shin is really growing on me. Maybe it is the actor’s acting but his generally low key and mellow presence is beginning to win me over.

  5. javabeans

    You know, I do think he is talking about Eun-soo. I translated that conversation with Kyung-ah a couple different ways (the Korean habit of dropping pronouns made it potentially ambiguous) but I’ve settled now on the impersonal third-person.

  6. bd

    Yeah, Veronica Mars was a good show.

  7. magichouse


    awesome recap javabeans. looking forward to the next one!

  8. Jasmine

    i love this ep. & i’ve watched ep 15 & 16 too…without subs. so kinda don’t really understand the conversation. can’t wait for your reviews then. damn it, even without subs, ep 15 & 16 is intense.

    well. i do think that probably es and dw are not related…i dont know… in one of the earlier ep when dw was confronting his dad as he was having heart attack, he wanted to say something but was cut off by es who came running in. i’m really curious what he wanted to say. in ep15 when es came to their wedding, the scene was really heartbreaking.

  9. hbhjjb

    this drama seriously gets better and BETTER…i regret watching ep 15 and 16 without subs…the suspense is KILLING ME….


    what’s going to happen NOW? *bites fingernails*

    DW gets creepier and creepier…i really do not understand his “love” for his sister…i guess he cant tell the difference between romantic love and sibling love, which is really creepy. She’s basically the only attachment to humanity that he has…other than his care for her, he is a STONE COLD EVIL BASTARD without a conscience..yikes! >.>

  10. 10 cosmopolite


    I likey 🙂

  11. 11 fan

    Loving the series so far and BIG props to your detail RECAPs!. Currently watching ep 15. i can’t help noticing the one similar theme of this series and writer’s greatest hit, Sand Glass (모래시계). When asked about intention of wriring Sand Glass, its writer, Song Ji Na has public stated that she wanted to write about “brave men and women” fighting to survive in a world where money/power rule. Brave men/women can fight to survive. While this “big picture” theme can apply as a common in many other tv series, as Story of a Man series is nearing the end, its main characters’ struggle, motif, sacrifice all display so much in parallel to Sand Glass. Of course, all this is GOOD THING! Oh… what ending(s) this series will bring in a few weeks. One of the best series in 2009.

  12. 12 angryparsnip

    I to was a Veronica Mars fan.
    Thanks for the re-caps. . . can’t wait for the next one !

  13. 13 sippycup

    Thank you for the recap! I’m dying for the next one already.

  14. 14 Melvoyance

    Thank you for your recap.

    This drama is getting better and better!! I Agree.

  15. 15 MEIKO**** ^-^

    thanks JavaB!


  16. 16 Melvoyance

    Oh, I forget to ask you something sarah…can I translate Story of a man recap into my facebook blog? of course I’ll put your credit. I’m so addicted to this drama. thanks.

  17. 17 kitty

    I agree with Nom Kitteh’s post. I don’t see why Chairman Chae gets to redeem himself so completely – pseudo-grandfather to Myung-sun’s girls and all – while Do-woo ends up looking like a complete freak (characterisation going screwy, to boot). There’s little left of the complexity that made him so fascinating in the earlier half of the drama.

  18. 18 Artemis

    You say Veronica Mars, season 1 – I am definitely watching this show when all the subs are out!!! (^_^)

  19. 19 yuu

    I said “NICE!” out loud just now at the broken pot scene…wonder why I’m that satisfied over Do-woo having to see Shin and eun-soo helping each other out at the greatest timing possible! XD heheh..& bum-hwan :D! This man is really! XD real glad he’s back :))

    & Thank you JBeans for this re-cap :)) I’ve already watched 4 episodes from my cable, and your insights doubles the fun for me to enjoy SoAM ^^ besides that, since it airs late in my country and I get to see it with my oldest bro who came home late from work, i get to tell him the best part of each episodes..filling him with the suspense and whatnot XD..heheh..thanks to you, I successfully made him into this drama too 😛 (initially he’s the one who always teases me for my Kdrama fanaticism..right now when I looked at him enjoying the drama so much..I can’t help but lol sometimes :P…though after a day-in&day-out of work, I’m actually a little glad he can enjoy it as much as I do ^^ thanks to you of course! :DD)..can’t wait for episode 5 to air here on my KBSworld cable :))..I get to read the epi.5 recap again next week XD!

  20. 20 doris p NgPinas

    thanks again for the recaps….been waiting for your recaps before watching them….I can understand them better after reading your recaps and insights…. this show is really one the best and one of my fave this year though am sad to learn that its rating is not that good…..but anyways, love park yong ha always and he’s definitely one of the good reason why this show is a must watch….he interprets Shin’s character better than anyone….

  21. 21 nell123

    I am another Chairman Chae hater. Noh Kitten’s right. The only difference between him and his son is that Do Woo is mentally ill but they are equally bad. Who do you think taught Do Woo how to lie, cheat and break the law?And do you really think that if he had a chance to use Shin to win against Do Woo he wouldn’t stab him in the back ? Did you believe him when he said he would give the company to Shin? I didn’t. He is just as arrogant, cruel and ungrateful like his son. He is one of the most unpleasant characters in this drama (the other one is the police chief). All the bad things that are happening to him now are the punishment for all the bad things he did earlier in his life. He hasn’t shown any remorse for them. He would do them again if he could. So, why am I supposed to feel sorry for him?

    About Kyung Ah, I don’t really know what to say. I expected more from that character and her relationship with Do Woo.

    But anyway…. Thank you for the recaps Dramabeans. 🙂

  22. 22 Quags

    Thank you so much for recapping this series! I would have totally missed it thinking it would be too dark and depressing. Instead it’s at the top of my “Must Watch List”! (I like waiting until the entire series is finished and subbed before I start it.)

    I like that the show didn’t allow Kyung-ah off the hook just because her lover is a psychopath. Her behavior towards Shin was reprehensible before, in my opinion, but being unaware of her partner’s true nature negated something of that. Now that Kyung-ah knows (even if it’s only somewhat) and still chooses her path openly and defiantly, she looses those unearned sympathy points.

    On a different note, the family vibe just reinforces the Mayor’s early criticism that Shin was alone. You can’t say that now. I’m especially happy for Eun-soo’s sake. Just as Do-woo used Kyung-ah to replace Eun-soo, she too seems to have found a true big brother figure. The difference is that Eun-soo didn’t go looking for it or deliberately manipulated it. It just grew naturally. I just can’t tell if it’s Kyung-tae or Shin who has taken that role in her life. It could go either way, honestly.

    Right now, I’m leaning towards Kyung-tae as the brother. He knows when and WHY she’s upset, pushes her to do the right thing, understands when she needs him to be there and unconditionally supports her. That’s something my own brothers provided for me without thinking, but Eun-soo has never experienced with Do-woo as her brother. And the parallels of Kyung-tae and Do-woo both having something wrong with them mentally are pretty nice. Do-Woo may look perfectly normal and controlled on the outside, but inside we know something is very wrong. Kyung-tae, on the other hand, couldn’t pass for normal if he tried (and that’s one of the reasons we love him!), but there is nothing wrong with his heart or his reasoning.

    There are also some nice parallels in Shin as the romantic partner too, if only because Do-woo sees himself in that role (whether knowingly or not) and the thought of Shin taking his place would be a major blow. I’m not sure Do-woo would see the platonic love of a brother as a threat, mostly because I don’t think he could identify it as love. Romantic love is more… obvious, even if the two main participants are the last to know. (I can see that happening with Shin & Eun-soo.)

    Plus that shot of Eun-soo grabbing Shin’s shirt is awful cute.

    • 22.1 Gasenadi

      Thanks for those insights. Never thought of those striking parallels btwn KT and DW!

  23. 23 Mona

    This is my first time posting… long time reader. I had to post due to your shout out to Veronica Mars. I loved that show!

    Wow… now I have to stop reading your recaps. I don’t want to be spoiled anymore. I am gonna make my roommates watch this drama too.

    Thanks for this great site and your awesome recaps.

  24. 24 b020

    I’m glad someone else brought up their discomfort over Chairman Chae – I’ve been squirming too. Not sure what the writers have in store for us, but, in the previous episode where Chae and Myung-Sun talk – I thought he was let off waaay too easily.

    Yes, he’s been kicked down by the son he’s ‘created’ in his mold and it is sweet irony, but I think too he should face a little of Team Shin’s ire. He is the one that taught DW everything he knows. And in his way, he’s worse than DW. Because he knows its wrong, its callous, and he deliberately sought to destroy. DW – he can’t/doesn’t have a conscious, Chae does and that is what makes him worse.

    Does the time he spends at Cafe Muse put a face to the misery he’s helped to construct? I don’t get that feeling.

    Has he learned a “lesson”? I don’t get that feeling either.

    As of right now, I don’t know what to do with Chae. I think he should redeem himself, by himself. I think I’d feel better about Chae if he chooses to step in and either save Team Shin for the greater cause or gives something back to the community he helped destroy.

    And one last thing – Director Oh. He’s a slimey d-bag.

  25. 25 bbm

    why do i get the feeling eun soo is not just a sister to do woo?? his inclination toward eun soo is kinda creepy…
    great recap jb, as always…

  26. 26 Taohua

    Thanks for the awesome recap! Like others who posted earlier, I also am not sure how I feel about Chairman Chae. However, since the focus is on Team Shin’s revenge, I can see why that part of the story wasn’t developed as fully as it could have.

    Kyung-ah really, really gets on my nerves. I really do think both she and Shin changed so much that I don’t think they are as compatible as before—even after she finds out the truth about Do-woo and everything. Initially I thought she would be Do-woo’s downfall since that’s what was initially projected. But Eun-soo definitely has a more pivotal role and it’s always interesting to watch how Do-woo reacts to Shin & Eun-soo being together.
    There was definitely an “interesting vibe” between Shin and Eun-soo in this episode. It almost feels like the writer was entertaining a “romantic” relationship b/t Shin and Eun-soo, but decided not to do so. Oh and I agree with how in certain aspects Eun-soo’s relationship with Do-woo is paralleled to Eun-soo’s relationship to Kyung-tae (nice symbolism contrasting the two).

  27. 27 vis

    First of all thanks for the lovely detailed recap as asual ^^

    And it sure is fun to read everyone’s comments afterward~ XD

    I totatally agree with Nom Kitteh and kitty about Chairman Chae. It bugs me, too, but since he’s not essential in any way (apart from playing a role in ES’s decision to leave home) I think that’s why the writers have let him off the hook? Or rather let him have the easy way out. Because it’s just like what everyone says, he was just as ruthless about business and money as him son so he’s definitely no better. That’s why the whole Chairman Chae redemption feels far-fetched…

    Hehehe, I’d also say that there’s a vibe between KS and ES ^^ I do believe he feels awkward with her around because of the situation, but I don’t think it’s all 😉

    Interesting observation about the KT and ES relationship, I had rather thought of it as a strong friendship.

  28. 28 sophia

    yeah, JB i really wonder whether Kyung-ah’s choosing to cross over to the dark side, or if she’s secretly trying to help Shin now. I really don’t understand her. On the one hand, I really want to hate her for sticking to Do-Woo even after she’s found out about him, and it pisses me off that she thinks that Shin is still chasing after her. But i still feel this vibe that she cares greatly for Shin, which makes me think that she’s also secretly trying to help him T.T

    oh, and the veronica mars thing, the moment i read that i was like OHH YEAHHHHHHH i TOTALLY AGREE!!! i didn’t realize that until you said it 🙂 well, typed it T.T i hope they can extend it…but i don’t think they will, because of their low rating 🙁

  29. 29 snoopyvkd

    Whenever I see K close-ups, I keep thinking he can be the live version of Naruto’s Orochimaru. 🙂

  30. 30 Tammy

    I’ve seen episodes 15 and 16 (I won’t mention any spoilers on this site though so as to not ruin it for others who have not) and I cannot wait to read your take on them, JB! 🙂 Would never have become interested in Story of a Man without your awesome, awesome recaps and now I’m obsessed with the storyline between DW and ES… and ES and KS… I cannot wait to see what the writers ultimately have in store for those characters… As for KA, I feel like she is kind of a lost cause already… ^_^

    On the other hand, I love Veronica Mars and fell in love with Kristen Bell because of that show! She was the only reason I started watching Heroes in the first place so I was kind of perturbed that Elle was not given more significant screentime…

  31. 31 Mikimousey

    Reminds you of Veronica Mars? Well I might actually check this out!

  32. 32 loveydovey

    i just started watching episode 15 and it seems it just keeps getting better. and (SPOILER) do woo shows more of his adoration for his sister by being more excited about seeing his sister than his bride (END SPOILER). is it weird for me to wish they weren’t blood related? i don’t know but i feel like they have this chemistry going on on-screen and really if they weren’t brother and sister, she could guide him to the light. they would make an awesome couple. although everyone in this show has chemistry with each other i just can’t make up my mind who is best suited with who. the story is so great that i can’t even guess at how it will end!

  33. 33 yumi-chan

    Do woo is bone chilling, while reading this screen cap I’m flinching at every single one of his pictures, his eyes are so apathetic they make you want to shrivel up and die. I’m a bit unhappy with the Eun Soo and Shin connection, it’s probably because I’m cheering for Kyung Tae and Eun Soo love line. Other than that one little tid bit I’m still hoping that Kyung Ah’s demise is more of her fall from the superficial heaven she’s constructed for herself. I really want to see her back as Jenny, and being to put it simple a whore. Either that or something super degrading. As for the Team Shin dynamics, mna was I the only one that awwed throughout every family scene? Especially with Eun Soo and the little girl, you could tell she would be a good mother inspite of growing up in a cold home. Eun Soo is proof of something good can come out of something bad/creepy/awesomely horrific. For some reason I really like to compare Eun Soo and Kyung Ah, while both in a way are naive, Eun Soo doesn’t do it selfishly and or for shallow reasons, when it comes to Kyung Ah she wants to be so well off in the world that she’s willing to build fake dreams beside Creepy evil dude (had to use it), personally I think she already knows Do woo’s capacity and evil nature, but because she wants money and a name she’s willing to become part of his crazy world no matter who she hurts and how crazy it is. But back to Eun Soo she does it for the sake of seeing good in others, I don’t think it’s for greed, but more because she can’t cope with the harsh reality. I’ve noticed that she’s slowly slipping out of that habit and coming to terms wih her situation.

    Oh & I don’t want them to leave the cafe, it might break Kyung Tae’s heart :/

  34. 34 loveydovey

    i can’t decide…..=[ i want do woo to lose so bad but then i want him to turn good and fall in love ,. and then i want him with kyang ah cause they both piss me off ,but then i want her with shin. but then i hate kyung ah, but then i feel bad for shin. but then shin is good with eun soo too, but on the other hand what if eun soo and do woo end up not being blood related??

  35. 35 loveydovey

    ok and one more thing (sorry guys) first part of episode four made me cry! (how much do you love that song that plays whenever shin is sad about kyung ah?)

  36. 36 loveydovey

    i mean episode 16 =p

  37. 37 elaine

    psssh…V Mars was good all the way through 😛

    I miss my Logan.

  38. 38 izuyam

    Hi evryone! this is my 1st time posting here.. jb, I luv your recap btw…
    I’m definitely cheering for es – ks, but I’m also into dw and so rooting for him to turn good.. fat hope! I know… (sigh) ..
    one thing i dont quite get from this episode tho’ is how dw’s action to marry ka is supposed to ‘help’ es realise that she ‘likes’ him instead of ks….

  39. 39 ohnoes

    Are you going to finish the Return of Iljimae recaps?

  40. 40 langdon813

    I LOVE this show…I can’t even watch the episodes now if the recaps aren’t up. At first, I’d watch an episode and then read the recap for it, but now I find that watching a few minutes of the show, pausing, then reading the recap up to that point, helps tremendously. The version of the show I’ve been watching has been a bit choppy as far as having a few missing scenes, and sometimes the subs are missing or don’t make sense to me, so having the recap as a companion while viewing each episode has been fantastic.

    I am going to be bereft when it’s over…I can’t remember the last time I was so anxious for a resolution while simultaneously dreading the end!

  41. 41 linmmamie

    best drama~~ also best pair PARK YONG HA n HEO WOON~~

  42. 42 krndramasarang

    javabeans…Do you know the title of the song that starts playing when Kyung-ah receives her wedding dress? It continued to play as everyone heads toward the wedding ceremony. It was just perfect for that moment. And where can I find that song?

  43. 43 me

    thanks for ur recap i really love to read ur comments about this drama,
    am used to check ur site every morning to read each recap for this drama 😀
    me too i feel that Doo Woo’s relationship with his sister is more than a brother & sister’s one esp in ep 15, but what i like most in this drama is Doo Woo, Eun Soo, and Kim Shin and the whole dream team as for kyung ah i really don’t like her role here as she is the support actress or something and am fine with it cuz i don’t like her since the days of my girl lol ,
    anyway thanx and waiting for ur recap for ep 15 & 16 ^_^

  44. 44 Luv

    yay thanx for the recap i was waiting for it ^ ^
    at first i didn’t like this drama much cuz i wasn’t in a mood for action 😛
    but thanx to ur recaps i started to have interest in it and i begun to watch it and now it’s the top drama am watching i even like more than brilliant legacy 😛

    waiting for ep 15 and 16 recaps 🙂

  45. 45 krndramasarang

    thanks for the recaps!

  46. 46 mehreen

    I’m praying that the writers won’t let Shin and Kyung-ah get together at the end…she pisses me off too much. Woman, not everything revolves around you! I think Shin could do better for himself considering he was able to keep his humanity intact. So I hate to see Shin’s pull towards Kyung-ah when she treats him so harshly.

  47. 47 mehreen

    I hope DramaFever picks this up when it’s done airing. Or is it already done?

  48. 48 Guest

    I love your recaps! You’re a little behind and I find myself constantly checking your website to see if you have Ep. 15 and so on up. -sheepish grin- But I’m grateful that you’re doing recaps at all.

    There was a creepy feel about Do Woo and his behavior towards his sister, but I don’t think it’s romantic or incestuous in any way. In a later episode, Do Woo tells Eun Soo that she is his surrogate conscience. That with her by his side, he feels that he can stop himself before he goes too far. He knows there is something wrong with him and perhaps he is comforted knowing that Eun Soo is there to pick up after his messes.

    I haven’t seen a very strong romantic connection between Eun Soo and Shin, but they would make a nice couple. Although I fear that Eun Soo maybe too nice or too bland for Shin, but Shin is a caring guy (tough on the outside, a big softie on the inside), so who knows?

    As for the Grandpa Chae, I wouldn’t say he has redeemed himself. He’s probably not a totally “good” character. I would say… He’s neutral? Indifferent? He’ll do anything so long as Chae Dong goes to someone other than his deranged son.

  49. 49 goldlilys

    Ahh, small question … why is it everytime someone wants to hideaway from something, they always go to Philippines. This has been done in some Korean dramas that I’ve seen and I find it weird. Is it that easy to sneak to Philippines and get away from your problems there?

    Sorry, I am born in the Philippines so just wondering.

  50. 50 Gasenadi

    Raving, again, about your recaps, jb. Without them I would’ve been completely lost with the Grandpa Chae speech to BW and Jamie’s exchange w/K outside the station. (Actually, the translation in the subtitles had me noticing the similarities between the corporate world’s criminal activities and organized criminals’ illegal activities. Depicted sooo alike in kdramas.)

    re: Chae Sr. I’ve noticed that despite the cruelty and viciousness exhibited by villainous elders in kdramas, they get off relatively easy by having a stroke-then-wheelchair redemption or just by dying. And I, personally, find it infuriating. I can understand how other commentators feel, yet, comparing to other dramas, I am totally not surprised. As a matter of fact, I WOULD’VE been surprised if Chae got a more fitting comeuppance than a beat-down by his own son. That would’ve been refreshingly different.

    re: That DW/KA conversation about women’s feelings about a man was totally about ES. I think he’s “helping” his sister make a decision about who she will ultimately side with. It’s the only time I’ve felt the least bit “touched” by DW.

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