Drama Recaps
City Hall: Episode 2
by | July 11, 2009 | 58 Comments

(written by Samsooki, editing, layout, design and fierce debating by 0timelost, cleown, and mead33)

City Hall: Episode 2 – Oh, My Virgin Eyes!

The Miss Baendaengi Money Laundering Scheme is a go, and the Mayor orders newly appointed Vice-Mayor, Jo Gook, to take responsibility for the project. Jo Gook smells something fishy and immediately objects, pulling Mi Rae into the conversation and asking how he can take responsibility for the project when he doesn’t even know his way around town.  Mi Rae is mortified that her plan to win the prize money might be derailed if the pageant doesn’t happen and shames Jo Gook into accepting responsibility.

Jo Gook, the number one ranked political prodigy and the heir-apparent to BB’s secret machinations for national domination, has been outclassed and outmaneuvered by an idiot mayor and a Level 10 Civil Servant / coffee tea secretary.  Mi Rae is rather pleased with herself. Jo Gook is understandably nonplussed.

Lee Jung Do, the Director of the Culture and Tourism Bureau, is ordered to work with Jo Gook in making the plan a “success.” Smarting from being outfoxed by Mi Rae and the Mayor, Jo Gook is derisive of the whole project and tells Jung Do to do whatever he pleases and to leave him out of it. Jo Gook turns to go but is stopped when Jung Do politely but firmly requests that they work together, and not to treat him so dismissively. They have a short stare-down, in which Jung Do wins. Jo Gook is taken aback because it is suddenly apparent that he has misjudged Jung Do – the latter is not just a mindless hack but a thinking person with quiet dignity and intelligence.

Back in the Vice-Mayor’s office, Jo Gook discusses this turn of events with his personal assistant and only confidante / friend – Ha Soo In.  Soo In is a Jo Gook clone, right down to the expensive suits and the A point collars, and perhaps the only difference between them is age (10 years younger or so?) and experience.  Jo Gook and Soo In share a laugh about the plotting by the Mayor and his cronies, finding amusing the weak attempts by the locals to shift likely blame but take any potential credit.  Jo Gook is not worried, merely amused and bored by it all.

Jo Gook wonders what childish deeds he did while working at the provincial government level, to deserve being the target for such amateurish attempts by local politicians to bully him.

Mi Rae waltzes in with coffee and tries to hook the eye of Jo Gook, who simply won’t bite. She stands around, not leaving, trying her best to look alluring and cute. Jo Gook passes a note on the back of the Baendaengi presentation, giving a direct and immediate order to Soo In to kill this crazy girl.  Soo In is understandably alarmed…

…but not as alarmed as he is about to be, when Mi Rae announces that she would like to enter the Miss Baedaengi Beauty Contest, and tries to score some early points off of Jo Gook by showing off her “S-line” to the two of them.

Soo In is frozen like a young deer in headlights of an oncoming truck and is speechless; but Jo Gook is not. Mi Rae starts to recount how pretty she really is, and how people wonder at how doll-like she looks, but Jo Gook interrupts:

Jo Gook: Miss Shin Mi Rae!

Mi Rae (shyly): Yes?

Jo Gook: What kind of doll? Shrek? King Kong? Alien?

An uncomfortable silence. Mi Rae is shaken by Jo Gook’s harsh and rude reply. After an eternity in a second, Mi Rae swallows her pride, smiles politely and says, “As I mentioned before, refills of the coffee are free.”

But if Jo Gook thinks that would dissuade Mi Rae from bothering him further, then he is badly mistaken.   Mi Rae then goes to Plan B, literally shadowing Jo Gook around for days, and extolling the virtues of alternate views on beauty. Jo Gook has had enough and turns around swiftly, which causes Mi Rae to run straight into him.

Jo Gook is in no mood for these games, and Mi Rae’s attempts to sway Jo Gook is not working.  Jo Gook should have realized Mi Rae wasn’t about to quit, and should have elevated his threat level to orange, but it is unlikely he would have been prepared for Mi Rae’s own elevation of her game plan.  Mi Rae follows Jo Gook and Soo In to the local pool where they work out by swimming laps in wetsuits (this is a good idea, actually, the suit keeps you buoyant so you can swim longer).  Mi Rae decides to go with Plan C.

Actually, this is more like Plan Z.  Poor Soo In looks like he will collapse into the pool:

Why are you doing this?” Jo Gook cries out, blinded for a moment. Mi Rae sadly admits that there is an age limit on the pageant that prevents her from entering. She is years too old for the maximum age limit of 24 years, so she needs him to raise the age limit.  At that moment, Mi Rae’s cell phone rings and it is the credit card collection agency again, and Mi Rae unsuccessfully tries to cover up the call.

Aha.  Mi Rae’s recent bizarre behaviors are explained. While the youngster, Soo In, is totally bewildered by the atypical and completely fearless Mi Rae, the older Jo Gook seems to be changing his mind. He tells Soo In that he no longer thinks that she is that weird.

Jo Gook, at that moment, realizes that Mi Rae had been acting unashamedly, without any thought to her own pride or ego or what others would think of her, because she had a defined and attainable goal in mind. And THAT doesn’t make her crazy – that makes her completely sane.  The principle is “do whatever it takes” and that is a principal Jo Gook recognizes inherently. He is realizing that there is much more to Mi Rae than he previously thought, and even more than maybe Mi Rae herself realizes.

Still, Mi Rae knows that Jo Gook hasn’t agreed to the rule change to raise the age limitation, and so she brings in her own backup team of computer savvy netizens to cause the Inju government website to crash and create ruckus over the age limit, inherent sexism in beauty contests, wasteful spending, etc.

The uproar seems to be having the desired effect… when, in a bit of a non sequitur, the Governor of the State, comes calling for a visit to Inju City Hall. Quickly, the welcome wagon is drawn for the Governor.

In a blatant show of favoritism and giving a clear warning signal to the Mayor, the Governor ignores Mayor Go and walks away with Jo Gook, chatting. Mayor Go and his directors (except for Jung Do) are shocked at the development. Clearly, Jo Gook is not someone to be messed with.

Meeting in Jo Gook’s office, the Governor and Jo Gook discuss plans to unseat the current National Assembly member Boo Jung Han and/or the current Inju Mayor. Mi Rae is ordered by the Mayor to eavesdrop by serving tea. When Mi Rae enters the office, Jo Gook, curious and watching Mi Rae carefully, allows Mi Rae to continue to eavesdrop. Shortly thereafter, Mi Rae is questioned by the Mayor as to what she overheard.  Not wanting to be used by Jo Gook or the Mayor, Mi Rae feigns ignorance. But the Mayor realizes that Mi Rae is hiding the truth and punishes her by giving her manual labor tasks to do in the street, after returning stacks of books back to the library.

Jo Gook, dying to know if Mi Rae had revealed what she had overheard, waits for Mi Rae in the administrative library and then compliments her on the choice of tea.

Jo Gook: Can I get a refill on that tea?

Mi Rae (stares at JG)

Jo Gook: Anyone listening? Well, perhaps a place that does refills, do you want to go for some tea?

Mi Rae: No, not really.

Jo Gook: Why not?

Mi Rae: How can a poor King Kong be able to blend in and drink tea like humans? I’d rather just have bananas.

Busted!  Jo Gook, you are so busted!  It is apparent that Mi Rae’s feelings are still hurt.  Mi Rae won’t say whether she told the Mayor what she was allowed to overhear.  Jo Gook is now intrigued by Mi Rae.

Meanwhile, power plays are being held. First by the Mayor, who feels his position is precarious enough that he holds an open dinner for his supporters, and finds only a few people show up.

Embarrassingly, Council Member Min Joo Hwa’s husband does not show his face, and who might that be? After a few hints early on, everyone’s guess is correct. It is Jung Do! 

And, back at the unhappy household of Joo Hwa and Jung Do, the pain of a wife unsupported is evident in Joo Hwa’s face. (I feel for Joo Hwa here. Jung Do, dude, you never leave your wife hanging, right or wrong. It’s like Husbandry 101…)

So Jung Do is at fault here, right? Shouldn’t a husband always support his wife?

But Jung Do answers Joo Hwa right back, noting that she has never really tried to understand him or his position.  Where is her support for him?  Aha. The marital union is a mutual promise, and not just a unilateral effort. It is a worthy argument. (Okay, I’ll just shut up now. Grown-ups discussing grown-up things, okay, I’ll be in my room with my Nintendo DS listening to music really loudly.)

Even if Jung Do’s wife Joo Hwa never tried to understand him, it is apparent that Jung Do knows her.  He guesses it was her who suggested creating a Miss Baedaengi Contest to divert government tax dollars to shady places, laundering it through the Mayoral office. Joo Hwa responds with sincerity (first time!), questioning whether her husband has any ambition to get some place in life, and not just be a Director of Tourism at some third-rate City Hall.  Jung Do heads up to his bedroom – a separate room than Joo Hwa’s room.

Later, Mi Rae and her internet savvy friends are having dinner at a place called Mexico and the Chicken, with some seriously good-looking fried chicken and beer. Mi Rae is still not in the Miss Baendaengi Contest and time is running out to win over Jo Gook. And who might be passing by that very night?

It is Jo Gook!  But he is there for a very different reason altogether.  Getting out of his car, he stares at the restaurant sign, and starts to remember a moment long ago, on that very spot…

…when he was just a boy, holding onto his mother’s hand, as they were left on the side of the road, their only belonging – a wad of cash in an envelope.  It looks like they are being thrown away like trash and abandoned on the side of the road.

Wait, is that … BB?!!?  BB is Jo Gook’s dad who abandoned him and his mom?!?

Back in the present, Jo Gook heads inside the restaurant, reminiscing about his childhood, where he had to spend his playtime in this place when it was a seedy bar with hostesses, cheap perfume, red lights and vulgar calendars. He gets a table and out pops Mi Rae, part-timing as a restaurant bar waitress, yet another job for the tireless one.

They sit together, and Jo Gook notes Mi Rae’s ease at drinking. Mi Rae, trying to be demure, says she doesn’t drink much at all… beer is too bitter! Jo Gook doesn’t look convinced. So… maybe Jo Gook wasn’t born yesterday.

Jo Gook motions to Mi Rae to sit down with him, and asks “Why didn’t you tell the Mayor what you overheard?” Mi Rae responds by asking a question of her own, “Why are you so curious? Are you worried for me, or are you trying to be vigilant against me?” Jo Gook responds truthfully, that he just wants to get to know Mi Rae better, giving Mi Rae much to think about.

The next day, Mi Rae is invited to participate in a discussion about the theme of the Miss Baendaengi Contest. Jo Gook is bored and just wants to pick the prettiest girl.  Jung Do suggests making the judging categories more about the woman’s character rather than looks alone (including elements like speech, talent, special skills).  Jo Gook cannot believe that this much energy is being expended to run a beauty contest.  Jo Gook grabs Mi Rae, and uses her as an example of what would happen if the contest is to be run, not as a beauty contest, but as a contest for the best person.  In his impatience to prove his point, Jo Gook sarcastically says that Mi Rae should participate!  Jo Gook then storms out of the meeting, exasperated that a simple beauty contest is being made into something where he has to do actual work.

The consequence of Jo Gook’s sarcastic statement is not lost on Jung Do, who tells a stunned Mi Rae that she is now in the contest and for her to do her best!  Mi Rae is now a contestant in the Miss Baendaengi 2009 Contest!

So the whittling begins, chopping the 87 + 1 (Mi Rae) contestants down to 40. The talent and skills of the contestants are not so great, and judo expert Mi Rae makes the first cut! And with the second round being speech-giving, Mi Rae is a shoe-in to reach the finals! Shin Mi Rae, fighting!

Far from Inju, Jo Gook has gone back to BB to update him on how Jo Gook has taken care of Inju. A cryptic BB is still pushing Jo Gook to take charge of Inju, for reasons yet unknown to anyone but BB.

But Jo Gook is tired of being exiled to Inju.  Jo Gook is tired of being forced to take care of over-analyzed beauty pageants and dealing with silly plots by idiot Mayors, and Jo Gook for sure wants more than just to be in charge of Inju.  And more importantly, perhaps Jo Gook feels like BB owes him something maybe a tad bit more substantial than giving him a backwater city to govern as Mayor. 

Jo Gook: if you are going to give me something, I want something much bigger. What I want, is this whole country!

Well, what would YOU ask for from your dad, if he abandoned you on the side of the road with your mom?


Well, I think this was a little more enjoyable to watch than Episode 1, but I am still not yet feeling this drama – the switches from comedy to drama and back again seem a little forced and uneven.  And my opinion of Jo Gook (at least in this episode) is dropping a little bit even as we discover his painful childhood.  For a guy who appears to be so intelligent, so smart and instinctive, Jo Gook has made a number of rather large mistakes, misjudging both Mi Rae and Jung Do.  More than that, Jo Gook, for all his class, etiquette and skillful use of language, has also shown himself to be no better than anyone else with his mouth, when he seems to insult Mi Rae for no reason other than his impatience. I guess Jo Gook isn’t perfect, after all.

On the flip side, however, City Hall provides not only one, but several male characters who have far more positives than negatives in terms of appearance, personality and character. Aside from the unique and charming Jo Gook, Lee Jung Do is another solid male character – strong, intelligent, confident and full of compassion. And finally, even Jo Gook’s personal assistant, Ha Soo In, continues City Hall’s record-breaking streak of reasonable male characters who are smart, good looking, well dressed, successful, dignified, and confident…three in a row!



Jo Gook may have had the best lines, and Mi Rae may have had the funniest moments, but the scene stealers of this Episode 2 are the embattled husband and wife, Jung Do and Joo Hwa, and their emotional discussion about how each felt disappointed in the other.

It isn’t often that you get to see real real-life played out in dramas. The cause(s) of most conflicts in dramas tends to be so artificial and complex, so stratospheric, that there just is no relevance to the viewers at home.  But with this marital conflict, the reasons are the same as in every marriage that is going down the tubes:  expectations just aren’t being met, and there is blame enough to go around.  The feelings expressed by both are so real and so painful, I feel like I shouldn’t be watching something so personal.  I would have fast-forwarded, but I had to recap the episode.

City Hall has turned up the intensity meter a few notches, although apparently not quite yet for Shin Mi Rae and Jo Gook.

On To Episode 3!


58 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. sari

    @Samsooki LOL Its already 2.36 am here in my place,but i cant sleep before read your recap.Its a good recap to read before sleep,and cant wait for the next ep.Thank you so much.^^

  2. sera

    OMO OMO I am the first one to comment!
    Thanks again for your time and effort samsooki. When I first watched this episode I fast forwarded most of the time. I didn’t want to see KSA in bathing suit. But when I watched later I enjoyed it alot. And your recap made me understand why jo guk doesn’t find mi rae that weird!
    Fighting! 18 more recaps to go.

  3. MEIKO**** ^-^

    mmm…..earlier than i thought….somebody isnt sleeping……….^-^

    ^-^ this had more funny scenes….
    the scene where MiRae slammed straight into JoGook’s chest was hilarious and cute…aaawwwww…they do look so cute together….

    and yup! Soo In!!! He is, indeed, one goodlooking hottie too….a little itsy bitsy short but still, a hottie! I didnt realize until later, that he is the surgeon/ex bf in the series The World They Live In (he looked different, seemed taller)….

    the JungDo and JungHwa scenes….mmmm….kinda missed it…..^-^

    next recap…!!


  4. sera

    Sorry I am second to comment. 🙁

  5. mememomo

    Samsooki,0timelost, cleown, and mead33 – Thanks again for the excellent recap. Actually picked up a few points here that I’ve missed the first time round. I really liked Epi 2, it has some really funny laughing out loud moments.

    @Meiko – I think Soo In is actually quite tall but next to Cha Seung Won, anyone would look short.

  6. B.B.

    Brilliant, Mr Samsooki and Team.

    Just got to love the dialogue, at times – razor blades for breakfast anyone. Most thankful for the pause button and rewind.

    By the end of this episode I was totally hooked on this drama. Characters, camera work and dialogue. The canvas primed, rough sketching in well under way…… Look forward to No. 3.

    Many Thanks JB, for the Guest ReCappers. Power to Mr Samsooki and Team. Please have some sleep and R&R time.

  7. Jolene

    I finished this drama about a week ago, but seeing you review episodes got me hyped up! Maybe I should rewatch it so I can follow along , haha . 🙂

    I love reading your comments, as well as the others .

  8. omo

    Another great recap from the CH recap team!

    Yet another episode with all things so apparently “mundane”. Sounds like Inju City is going no where. But isn’t that the whole point made by the writer?

    Yes, the intensity meter has gone up a few notches…Jo Gook and BB’s scenes always have me right at the edge of my seat!

    Thanks to JB for the generous use of this site! I think all the CHallers here will be forever grateful!

  9. moumounelabaleine

    i’d watched cityhall, really up-to-date with the eng-subs…so to say that i know how the story went along…and am quite surprise to find out that someone decides to recap this drama – days after the show ends…i find it nice ….reading it is my way of re-viewing the story….especially the developed feelings of JG to MR, their cute, romantic & funny moments together….so cant wait for the recaps to arrive at these parts….so thank you Samsooki for taking time out of doing this….its much appreciated.

  10. 10 ruthie

    soo in is hot!! i remember him in worlds within playing SHK md boyfriend!!

  11. 11 jusash

    THANKS again Seamsooki + team for another CH recap – so detailed a read it makes me itch to go back for a rewatch, pronto! ^ ^

    The interesting Soo In – wasn’t he also in STAR LOVER as CJW’s assistant – the one who was smitten with her and later became a star too?

    CSW steals the thunder from all the males for me … but ditto on the other interesting male characters in this drama.

  12. 12 kimmyunnie

    Thanks for the recap, reading this make want to watch episode 2 again, because there are some points I didn’t quite understand or underestimed at the moment…
    I like politics, and at this point, the first impresion is that Jo Guk is actually a “politic being”, even in his personal life, all his moves had an agenda, a purpose.. So I find interesting when Mi Rae cross his path, this girl with no hidden or ulter motive, so transparent…I think that’s the main reason he finds her “weird” 😉
    And another first impression in this episode, “politics are politics in my country, in your country and even in Mars”…I found huge similarities with the way some politicians act… the studied moves, the sometimes irritating “bootlickers”, and more.
    Love your recaps, keep them coming.

  13. 13 Linda

    Just wanted to say I’ve started watching this drama since your recap on the 1st episode was so interesting. :] When it first started, I watched the chinese-subbed version, and skimmed through it really fast… so I probably missed the political dialogue. The first two episodes have been pretty delightful, thanks for the summaries! :]

  14. 14 bspanda

    Samsooki and team

    Awesome recap! Seriously if I was not watching series 5 of Alias (yep catching up late, but hey waited till DVD bargain came along…saved me $$$ to spend on more kdramas LOL) I would be watching CH marathon! But these recaps are so far so awesome! Which is too be expected on this site!

    Thanks team CH!

  15. 15 gia

    i was watching this completed drama . i love ksa and this serie a lot.

  16. 16 Penn

    Have you were felt embarrassed by what you seen even though you weren’t involved in the situation? That scene with the bathing suit did it for me. I was totally LMAO! :+)

  17. 17 ockoala

    I second, triple, and quadruple the thought that CH has amazing male leads, and just well-written, well-thought out characters in general even down to the bit players. I keep thinking about why I love this drama so much (yes, rationally speaking, it’s hands down the best Asian drama I’ve ever watched in terms of writing, story, acting, and direction), but my love for CH has veered into the irrational. And I think I can only compare it to JG’s reaction to MR, she’s like nothing he’s every encountered before, fascinating, and ultimately, all-consuming. Seriously, it’s like falling in love, and always wanting to be around, be with your special someone. My hubby is again jealous, but he needn’t worry, CH love is very chaste. =-)

    Anyways, for folks who think up until ep 2. that Mirae is just some three-eight woman (Chinese slang for ditzy floozy), Samsookie captures her motivations, which gives her depth, in that she throws herself into everything she does. She has a reason, and she will be committed to everything she does until the very end. And she already renders JG speechless, off-kilter, and just not his typical self whenever he encounters her, bravo MR.

    Can’t wait for ep. 3, Samsooki. You guys are the best! CH withdrawal now has a support group for letting go and returning to the real, working world (yes, loads of work beckons for me, like a shining beacon on my desk) – recaps on Javabeans. Ms. Beans, hope you have perhaps resumed CH watching. And for everyone just reading the recaps, you are missing out on awesome acting and directing that words can’t capture, but most of all, you’re missing our on JG’s sexsi voice and awesome line readings, I don’t understand a word of Korean, but he has a very amazing way of speaking.

  18. 18 jastinel

    Thanks for making this recap possible!
    Addition to my collection, I wish to buy the DVD with good English sub.
    I hope they will include all the NG and BTS.

    I wish to see Cha and Suna again, but when?

  19. 19 all4movies


    You crack me up with your funny comments. I’d love to sit and watch this with you, but your wife might have a few words to say about that.

    Looking forward to the next recap.

  20. 20 langdon813

    Another great recap, Samsooki and CH recapping team! You definitely have a knack for pointing out the parts of these early episodes that will be SO important later on. Once City Hall grabs you, it never lets go…but getting there isn’t all that quick nor is it particularly easy. But it certainly is rewarding and absolutely worth it in the end.

    That’s the GOOD thing about these recaps. The BAD thing is…just like I was with each new episode, now I’m starting to get impatient for each new recap! Such is the life of a City Haller; you just can’t ever get enough of it.

    The scene where Shin Mi-rae comes in to ostensibly offer Jo Gook and Soo-in some of “her” coffee but really wants to show off her…ahem, physical attributes, is one of THE most fall-out-of-your-chair-screaming-with-laughter scenes in the whole drama for me. I don’t know if this is what the note that Jo Gook handed to Soo-in really said or not, but the subs I saw showed it as “SHES A RETARD. SHE NEEDS TO BE KILLED.” I still howl with laughter over that bit, especially at the look on Soo-in’s face after he reads it. Hee hee…I’m giggling right now. 🙂

    And I don’t disagree at all that Jo Gook looks at Mi-rae in a different light once he realizes that she’s really only entering the pageant to win the prize money, but part of me also wonders if, despite his “MY EYES! MY EYES!” reaction, he wasn’t also pleasantly surprised at how great she actually looked in that swimsuit…for such an “old” crazy woman.

  21. 21 bjharm

    A word on how Mi Rae gets in the contest, anyone else think Jo Gook’s out burst at the meeting and his dragging Mi Rae into the argument was all designed to get her in to the contest, but without him having to say so..his is his father son after all and knows, or thinks he does, how to manipulate people.

  22. 22 Sueyip

    Thank you, Samsooki and team, for this well written recap of this beautiful and
    brilliant drama. Just love your comments. I’ve been watching and rewatching
    this drama – for the love of Suna but is now in love with CSW too. I do not
    particularly love the earlier episodes as I found the pace a little slow but after
    reading your awesome piece of work here, I’ll watch the first few episodes again.
    Thank you once again. Am looking forward to episode 3.

  23. 23 Annieee

    Samsooki and team fighting!!! I will be looking forward to these wonderful recaps every week! City hall is really one of a kind. I’ve been catching up with some other kdramas, and seriously, mirae and joguk’s love story is so much more beautiful and complex than all the others out there. Nothing compares to theirs in terms of depth and sacrifice.

  24. 24 mzpakipot

    LOL at the TITLE!
    Who are you referring to? Was it Soo-in or Jo-Guk? Or just both of them! haha!
    Thank you so much for episode 2 recap. I’m so glad for this recap, because you really put yourself into these characters and really understand their reasons or motivations, especially Mi-rae. So this is the episode where Jo Guk trying to understand Mi-rae and maybe he’s starting to LIKE her.

    I love love love the King Kong bit!

    Thank you Samsooki Team and Javabeans!

  25. 25 mzpakipot

    BTW, that guy inside the car (Jo Guk’s childhood flashback), that’s not BB? is it? It looks like Chairman Kang to me. I remember, we at soompi had a lot of discussions about BB, if he’s really Jo Guk’s father. I really thought that BB is not his father.

  26. 26 nycgrl

    I have to say your recaps are better than this actual episode but here are the scenes I enjoyed the most.

    1) all the JG and BB scenes
    2) Joo Hwa scenes. I think the actress who plays Joo Hwa is particularly talented in everything I’ve ever seen her in
    3) The scene when JG scribbles the note to Soo In ” She is crazy! Kill her!” CSW’s comedic timing is impeccable.
    4) When MR runs into JG in the hallway and he says “What base are we going on next” makes me laugh just thinking about it haha.
    5) The mayor shaking his head violently with his big bug eye as his toupe slowly starts sliding off when he is interrogating MR about what happened in JG’s room

    The scene I could have lived without
    1)the swimming scene and not just because it was suppose to be embarrassing for MR. It was just painful to me on many levels. I think it would have been more bearable if CSW and Soo In were bare chested so my mind could be diverted 🙂

  27. 27 ockoala

    @20 langdon813:

    When I saw the Viikii translation of that scene, and his note read “She’s a retard. She needs to be killed” I snarfed up my drink laughing. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff. And the king kong, alien, shrek comment was ridiculously snarky from him also, which goes to show that rather than ignoring MR like he does with anyone not useful to him, JG is already sparring with her. He’s unconsciously drawn to this weird girl, which only makes thie relationship development all the more believable because it just doesn’t come from thin air.

    The train has left the station so let’s sit back for the ascent and the roller coaster ride ahead. “Ne ga yo? Ye ga go?” “I did? He/she did?” Har har, inside jokes for us City Hallers.

  28. 28 Samsooki

    @20, langdon813 –

    The literal translation of the note (if you can read his scribbles) is “She a lunatic. Kill her.” The first time I saw that I read it literally and then I saw Soo In’s face and I thought what he probably thought, “OMG, does he mean right now?” LOL!!!

    I am not exactly certain, but I think the figurative translation is more like, “She’s a lunatic. Get rid of her” (as in, get her out of here). But looking at Soo In’s face, I think it is reasonable to assume that he also thought that Jo Gook was telling him to eliminate her.

    @25, mzpakipot –

    It is BB in the car. To keep his political career on the rise, BB could not waste the time to take care of a woman and child, and so he gave them a bit of cash and sent them packing. I’d say more, but you’ll have to wait for the recaps. 🙂

    @26, nycgrl –

    I also had a problem with the swimsuit scene (I get easily vicariously embarrassed), but I felt it was necessary to show it because it shows the lengths that Mi Rae will go to accomplish her objectives.

    @27, okcoala –

    All in good time. We got a lot of recaps in the pipeline. 🙂

    Patience is a virtue.

  29. 29 celestialorigin

    Awww, sooo soon! Thank you for the recap! Since I did fastforward most of Ep.2, this is just perfect, especially your witty commnets. Samsooki, 0timelost, cleown, and mead33, Fighting!

  30. 30 Chocolatetree

    Thanks for the fast and insightful recaps! I really wanted to watch this drama but didn’t have the time; so I’m extra grateful to be reading it here!!!

  31. 31 Raquel

    One more? OMG! Please help me! City Hall, Partner or Triple? Which one should I watch first?

  32. 32 ockoala

    @31 Raquel:

    I am super duper biased, so I shall say City Hall. But I am planning to watch Triple and Partner as well, cuz Javabeans likes them and I like the actors and theme. However, as a factual choice, City Hall is finished, whilst the other 2 are still mid-broadcast. So to avoid the annoying waiting between weeks, watch City Hall now so you’ll have more Triple and Partner lined up when you start watching those shows. If you can’t decide, read Samsooki’s wonderful City Hall recaps (2 and coming), plus Javabeans Triple and Partner recaps, and see which type of drama you are in the mood for. I still say City Hall in the end, because it is perfection, and has lightness, emotional depth, and a resounding conclusion to end it all. You won’t be left wanting when you finish CH.

    Samsooki: thank you for reminding me of the need for patience, I am sorely lacking in that department, but I sell myself by saying I am a very decisive person. =-) See, the glass can be seen as half full. Can’t hurt to say it one more time, thank you for a job well done recapping City Hall and the infusion of time and energy into the wonderful commentary and thought and love put into it.

  33. 33 Nom_Kitteh

    I think Ep 2 is actually very good, now that I have rewatched it. It is the episode where we see for the very first time JG realizing that Mirae is not the idiot he thinks she is. He assumed that she would convey the information she gathered at the meeting back to the mayor and was completely perplexed when she did not. He was trying to use her as a mule, basically, and she acted on her own and chose not to relay the very obviously planted messages.

    His questioning of her at the restaurant conveys his new interest in her. I think at this point he is still surveying her as a politician, trying to figure out what makes her tick so he can use her, but her refusal to be pinned down leaves him befuddled.

    Then at the library area, after the MR refuses to go to tea with him, after she leaves, JG asks himself something along the lines of, “Hmm, was Mirae offended by my comments? She is capable of being offended?”

    So, this is the episode where you start to see the faint change in their relationship. Instead of a joke, JG starts to see Mirae as a human being, as a woman, with feelings. It is a very faint recognition at this point, but one that is significant in explaining all that is to come.

    I absolutely adore how quietly the relationship is initiated! Considering what is coming, this gentle whisper of a beginning is just exquisite.

    Does anyone know when the official DVD will be released?? I WANT IT NOW!!!!

    SAMSOOKI, THANK YOU FOR THE RECAP!!!! Stylistically you are so diff from JBeans, and it is all GOOD. I LOVE IT.

    0timelost, cleown, and mead33: THANK YOU for your time, editing, and fierce debating.


  34. 34 Yuri

    God I love this series!
    Especially the last 4 episodes. So intense but very delightful.
    I lovethe litle twist at the end.
    Watch thru end and u wont be disappointed.

    Was surprised u havent said anything when it first aired.

  35. 35 Yuri

    can post link for recap city hall episode 2-20?

  36. 36 rambutan

    Samsooki, another brilliant recap and introduction to The City Hall!

    @Nom_Kitteh, I like how you expressed JG and MR’s burgeoning relationship: “I absolutely adore how quietly the relationship is initiated! Considering what is coming, this gentle whisper of a beginning is just exquisite”. I couldn’t have expressed it better!

    I thought when Jo Guk said he didn’t find Mi-Rae weird anymore, it was because he was getting used to her weird ways. Too much of a good thing can make the good thing a norm, and too much of the weird MR can also make the weird MR seem normal.

    @ 21 bjharm, My thinking is that he dragged Mi-Rae in to make his point that a beauty contest should be just that – focusing on physical beauty (preferably anorexic thin). Otherwise, they would have dinosaurs, Shrek-like, Alien-like masculine women – just like Mi-Rae – winning a beauty contest! Looks like this guy is prescient, too!

  37. 37 epyc

    Thanks to Samsooki and the Team for another great re-cap. The writing and screencaps are both so spot on! The trouble is it just makes me want more and more 😀

    As already said by many others, these early episodes are important in setting up all the characters and future plotlines. Episode 2 is the episode in which:

    * JG picking up the potential of MR – She is not a no-brainer, but rather a Plan A -Z person (love you categorisation, Samsooki) who will take whatever it takes to get her goal. In the latest re-watch of this episode, I come to appreciate the fact that MR DOES have a point of entering the Baendaegi contest. If she were ever to win any contest, this is the one and she is the most qualified – only if she is to be able to change the rules and parameters to build her case.

    * MR starting to intreque JG – It really surprises JG when she doesn’t bite the bait to pass on the JG-Governor conversation to the Mayor. Her refusing his tea invitation and telling him that King Kong can have only bananas but not having tea with human being is the first of many events MR outwitting the formidable JG. Later in the episode, she again refuses his invitation for a drink and tells him ‘It sounds fun. Drink as much as you can, alone.’ To a political beast like JG, everyone and everything serves a purpose. But here in this rusty town which he can ‘get well-versed of the insides of the mayor’s office within a week’, he meets this so out of kilter girl that he has difficulty to figure out what she is or how to handle her. I love re-watching these early episodes. The JG-MR dynamics in this episode is actually very watchable – there is more than said on the screen about how these two size each other up.

    * Introducing the JD and JW couple – Unlike other dramas where the second couple is to make up a love triangle or rectangle, I love how the JD-JW couple is to somehow mirror the JG-MR couple. In fact, it is not just mirroring as a couple. The JG-JD interactions and the MR-JW interactions are great to watch, and make this drama much richer in terms of character and story development.

    * Introducing the BB character and the BB-JG relationship. The bar-dumping scene is one of the best scenes in this episode. It is a quiet and poignant moment (and we’ll have more about this scene in future episodes….) Samsooki, what was the name of the bar/shop then and could you translate it please??

    And this is also the epidsode we are introduced to the lovely chicken bar mob, MR’s loyal friends and fans, as well as the three stooges! The ‘bit players’ who we will come to love.

    @ 21 bjharm – The scene you mentioned shows a very frustrated JG who pulls MR by the hand and places her in his seat to declare why don’t we make this a contestant. It doesn’t therefore – on the surface – imply his ‘planting’ her in the contest but you may be right. JG is not transparent like MR especially in the first half of the drama and so, anything is possible and up to our imagination 😀

    Likewise, @20 langdon813, I don’t dispell the suggestion of JG seeing MR in bathing suit has an impact on him AS A MAN. She does look alluring in that swimming suit, very womanly and much better than many stickthin girls 😀

    @ 26 nycgrl
    “What base are we going on next” – I love that line and how it plays out in future.

    About the swimming pool scene, I too felt embarassing – as a female – when first seeing it but it is now one of the memorable scenes for me. This scene happens shortly after JG calling MR a Mr. something in the library which is probably the most derogative thing a man would say to a woman. I guess MR is keen to show him her ‘real’ colour and this is consistent with her ‘whatever it takes’ approach! And the way KSA does it is brilliant with that ‘ooh’ and S swinging routine. Now, I love it and it cracks me up everytime!

    Looking forward to the third instalment!

  38. 38 epyc

    @ 33 Nom_Kitteh

    “Then at the library area, after the MR refuses to go to tea with him, after she leaves, JG asks himself something along the lines of, “Hmm, was Mirae offended by my comments? She is capable of being offended?”

    So, this is the episode where you start to see the faint change in their relationship. Instead of a joke, JG starts to see Mirae as a human being, as a woman, with feelings. It is a very faint recognition at this point, but one that is significant in explaining all that is to come.

    I absolutely adore how quietly the relationship is initiated! Considering what is coming, this gentle whisper of a beginning is just exquisite.”

    What a beautiful observation! As you said in last Friday’s Open Thread, this love story is developed so gradually in front of our eyes to make it believable yet magical – I think I can remember your words by heart!

    I re-watched this scene in Viikii and the JG’s line there is “Has she been less tainted or more tainted?” It is quite different from ““Hmm, was Mirae offended by my comments? She is capable of being offended?” Did you watch it with BON sub? The unfortunate thing is the Ep 1 – 12 BON subbed episodes are now no longer in YT (and I’m the type who can only watch through streaming or on DVD).

  39. 39 pongs

    contrary to what the others think of the swimsuit scene, i enjoyed it very much (not that i enjoy oogling at ksa) because what could have been cringe worthy was acted out really well by ksa and it was hilarious! only she could pull off that scene well (i cant think of anyone else who could outdo her for now)

  40. 40 rambutan

    @epyc, with regards to your question: “I re-watched this scene in Viikii and the JG’s line there is “Has she been less tainted or more tainted?” It is quite different from ““Hmm, was Mirae offended by my comments? She is capable of being offended?” Did you watch it with BON sub?”

    BON’s version is: “Has she been provoked or something?”

    I rewatched the swimming pool scene, and was ROFL. It’s true that the first time I watched, I did think, “what the…”, and felt a bit embarrassed. I would never do such a thing! But then, I am no MR, and there are no credit card sharks bugging me.

    So now, I can officially say that the swimming pool scene is a delight! The reaction of the two guys is priceless. Samsooki really caught the essence of Soo In nearly falling into the pool, making the scene even more hilarious. I didn’t see it in that light before. And lastly, it is a bonus to be able to ogle at two well-sculptured guys in their tight swimsuits!

  41. 41 epyc

    Thanks, rambutan, for the BON sub line. It does convey the sense of intrique!

    CSW does look HOT in the swimming pool scene and I wish he could have kept that hairstyle (which is more natural) throughout the drama…..

  42. 42 Nom_Kitteh


    Thanks for your lovely response to my comments! You always have the kindest words. It’s touching that you remember my comments from last Friday!

    Both you and rambutan have the exact wording right. I took his words to mean that he was asking himself if he had managed to offend her with his words and if her being offended was even a possibility. I shouldn’t have put my reading of his words into quotes.

    Am I right in reading his comment in this way? It seemed like it was the first time that he was acknowledging her as a person, and as someone who not only has feelings but also on whom he has some affect — someone he has the power to hurt. I was struck by that.

    OH NO, has that YT account been suspended? Is that why the BON sub ones are gone? I had downloaded a few episodes, but need to buy an external drive if i want to watch anymore. This is a bummer because I was looking forward to rewatching it all and now I cannot.

    “So Jung Do is at fault here, right? Shouldn’t a husband always support his wife?”

    Samsooki, are you trying to get brownie points from us girls here? 😉 j/k.

    To answer your question: Seriously, I don’t get why JD is even staying on in the marriage. Living in the same house with your estranged spouse seems like life worse than hell. Add to that, Joo Hwa has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I wish they had toned down Joo Hwa’s nastiness so as to make her a little bit more likable. And the fact that Mirae cannot stand her makes liking JW a billion times harder.

  43. 43 bjharm

    I guess I got the idea about him ‘wanting’ her to be in the contest but not wanting it to seem to be his idea is based on one..he never seem to do anything like blowing up unless there a reason behind it, it just felt wrong him blowing up like that, losing control..not his style at all, unless two, all her tricks and pleading was starting to have its effect on him..so he was doing her a favour but not wanting to show he was…well anyone who seen any k-drama the rich guy once he starts ‘turning’ from the dark side always is doing things for the ‘poor girl’ but never telling her he did so…if all that makes sence…:-)

    JD loves his wife, who is very good at her job, it is just that she sees it more as some sort of game really. I think he wants her to take more responsibility for want she is doing, and help the people rather than use them

  44. 44 stee

    You’re really good at recapping, Samsooki! Everyone keeps saying the first episodes suck big time but with quality recaps and constant insight I say this doesn’t seem as bad.
    Oh, but would you mind starting with the actual recaps after the cut? Wouldn’t want to be spoiled in the later episodes. Ty.

  45. 45 Sueyip

    Yes, do agree with you rambutan. Thought the swimming suit scene was very tastefully done and only Suna can pull off something like this. Well done, Suna.

  46. 46 dalisay

    thanks again for a great recap… when i started watching the series, i didn’t know what to make of it either… i felt like the switches between drama to comedy was a bit abrupt.. but later on, i realized, that’s what makes city hall different from anything i’ve ever seen before… it wasn’t that the technique was flawed, it was only cause i wasn’t used to their approach to dramas yet… i must say, i’m on ep 12 and it’s refreshing indeed… i feel like most kdramas have the same exact formula, it’s been proven so the networks are probably scared to come out with anything different… i like city hall since it puts the audience through a roller coaster ride of sort… hahaha…

    the scene at the pool… i was seriously cracking up so much that i had spasms right after watching the scene… ksa… i have no idea how she pulled this scene off so well… i saw screencaps on soompi before i watched it and it didn’t do the scene much justice… you really have to watch it… it makes you cringe and you can’t help but blush cause it seems so embarrassing, if that makes sense…

  47. 47 Raquel

    @ 32

    Great! I love the way Sun-Ah acts, and as you said, is already finished, so I can see how many episodes I want per day. I was reading the summaries and recaps and just needed that last push that you gave me! Thanks! ;]

  48. 48 doug

    Thank You-I had not realized that was BB in the car-that explains a lot.

    Who remembers “Boo Mi” as the slightly retarded girl in “Couple of Trouble”?

  49. 49 alodia

    I really commend your style – something I can’t do even if I try.
    It’s so concise making it easy to read (i usually end up skimping through some recaps because it’s too talky – and I end up missing a few points here and there) but somehow the way you wrote yours makes me read it over and over without being tired. YET, you never missed important points in the story (especially things that the casual viewer might have missed out). Kudos to Samsooki and 0timelost, cleown, and mead33.

    There are a lot of strong points on the first 3 episodes that can be easily underestimated upon the initial watch. I guess I was pre-occupied for something to spark on the first 3.5 episodes (plus the fact that I’m nervous as hell for KSA’s “second chance” coming from a not-so-successful Every Night) that’s why I also overlooked a lot of important things plotted. Definitely these episodes are worth a re-watch.

    Comedy to Drama switch
    Though not yet reflected on early episodes, since someone mentioned it, i’d like to say i like how the writer managed to be consistent this time. I watched her Lovers In Paris, I enjoyed it, but a bit disappointed because it was fun at the first half, and it turned awfully serious at the last half that it feels so bad, I completely forgot the fun it offered at the start. I was afraid same thing will happen in City Hall. But this time the writer did not falter. It became extremely sadder on later episodes, but she was still able to manage to add bits and pieces of comedy – something I enjoyed in mnikss as well.


    “I absolutely adore how quietly the relationship is initiated! Considering what is coming, this gentle whisper of a beginning is just exquisite”.
    like what rambutan said, I love how you described Guk and MiRae’s “blossoming” relationship.

    I love how you describe Guk!


    Me me me! I remember her from Couple of Fantasy! I like her since then! She’s amazing right? (and she sings well)

    Those waiting for the DVD, the production of the DVD started but they halted it when they found out an on-going petition for the Director’s Cut instead of just the regular DVD release. The production and the Korean fans are in the process of ”negotiation” and they will need our support as well. Stay tuned at soompi for more updates.

  50. 50 ockoala


    Glad to be of service. I didn’t want to be too pushy and insist you watch City Hall simply because I love it. Esepecially since I have not seen Triple or Partner myself. Still have to start those 2, but my sis got me intrigued by the t-drama Easy Fortune, Happy Life. One at a time for me, since I am still on the City Hall bandwagon.


    Seriously!! Boo Mi is the slighty slow girl from Couple or Trouble (Fantasy Couple)? I totally didn’t make the connection, and I watched Couple just a few months ago. She totally cracked me up as the high school friend, fortune teller of the lead actress, with her hooded eyes and ridiculous attachment to the CEO. She’s a very formidable character actress, she melts into the role, and here she actually makes Boo Mi memorable. This means she’s been in 2 dramas with Oh Ji Ho.

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