Drama Recaps
City Hall: Episode 5
by | July 15, 2009 | 40 Comments

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

City Hall: Episode 5 – The Buildup Before The Storm

As you may recall from the end of Episode 4, Mi Rae was telling her friends a whopper of a romantic story about what “really” happened between her and Jo Gook at the hotel, but then Jo Gook innocently showed up and Mi Rae had no choice but to slap Jo Gook to get him out of the restaurant, to save her embarrassment from revealing her “artistic license.” Outside the restaurant, Mi Rae pleads Jo Gook not to reveal that it was all made up, but when Mi Rae’s friends follow her outside, Mi Rae has to continue her charade.

It is all too much for Jo Gook. He is a man of action, after all. Jo Gook grabs Mi Rae and does what she claimed he did! Drama life imitating drama fiction! It’s time for revenge! In Jo Gook’s drama-worthy style, with Spanish trumpets and guitars playing a lively tune, Jo Gook “ravishes” Mi Rae, right in the middle of a street, right on the spot!

After Mi Rae’s harlequin romance story-telling, her friends are keyed up, and this spectacle has them going berserk. Even Boo Mi is jumping up and down, and seems unable to pull away from the rubber necking. It is bedlam on the quiet nighttime street!

But is this a real kiss?  Are they really locking lips? Are they sharing secrets of what they recently ate with each other?

Ohhh, so it is a fake kiss, after all! Getting revenge, Jo Gook-style, is making everyone else believe in your fairy-tale but you. In the cruelest cut of all, Mi Rae remains unkissed! Jo Gook chides Mi Rae for opening her mouth, but Mi Rae’s ears are probably not working at the moment. It is likely she only hears the pumping of blood in her wildly-beating heart.

Jo Gook nonchalantly walks away, and Mi Rae is catatonic. She needs a cold shower, oblivious to the jealous cries, the cheers of encouragement, and the accusations thrown by her friends after that scandalous spectacle.

With the Miss Baendaengi pageant over, Mi Rae is back at City Hall. Things are back to normal, including the attitude of her nasty co-workers. Her colleagues immediately try to squash any potential for her to think that she is better than what she was. But their gluttony prevents them from being too unhappy about her being back—after all nobody does coffee (or free refills) like Mi Rae.

Mi Rae is sent to the library to return books, and she finds Jo Gook also there. Asking him not to turn around, Mi Rae apologizes for humiliating him, punching him, grabbing him by the collar, etc. She offers lifetime free refills of coffee if he will accept her apology.

This is why you should never apologize to someone’s back.

With barely contained glee and just bursting at the seams with his freely-acquired knowledge, Soo In rushes back to tease Jo Gook, before being chased away by an embarrassed Jo Gook.

Well, the time has come for Mi Rae to get her prize money. Mi Rae goes to see Jung Do to get an update on when she will receive the Baendaengi prize money. Jung Do gives it to her straight. She isn’t going to get any. Jung Do passes Mi Rae documents that have her stamp of approval acknowledging that she has already received the money and has immediately donated it right after receiving it.

Mi Rae cannot believe what she is hearing from Jung Do. He tells her matter-of-factly all of them, including Mi Rae and him, are accomplices to the corruption scheme since they worked together on the project.

Mi Rae: How can this happen, if I am here as an upstanding witness?

Jung Do: It is simple. All that it is a matter of whether the upstanding witness is greater or weaker than the conspiracy. Do you have the courage to be that witness?

It is just too much for Mi Rae to handle, and she has no idea what to do. She calls up Jo Gook to get advice, and then heads to a hotel room where Jo Gook is staying. But Jo Gook is about to have a scheduled guest visit that evening, and Mi Rae isn’t the scheduled guest.

Jo Gook: Oh, you guys haven’t met? This is Go Go Hae. (He turns around to Go Hae and says:) And over here, this is just a secretary from the Mayor’s office.

Jo Gook then asks Mi Rae to leave, they can discuss this in the morning, but Mi Rae sits down anyway. Mi Rae asks Jo Gook directly, to please help her, to help look into the Baendaengi documents for her. Surprisingly, Jo Gook flatly and coldly refuses to help.

Further crushed by Jo Gook’s refusal and harsh attitude, Mi Rae is deflated. It is like her disqualification at the contest all over again, except this time it is in front of his fiancé rather than in front of a bunch of silly Baendaengis.

This is Jo Gook’s Lesson #2 on life that he is giving to Mi Rae. Realizing something is going on here (or perhaps as a poisonous “oops, did I say something I shouldn’t have said?”), Go Hae asks Jo Gook if THIS is the woman that he pulled strings with the Minister of Gender Equality to get back into the Baendaengi contest – this woman doesn’t look THAT pitiful.  Mi Rae is now beyond confused—did Jo Gook help her?! Does that mean that her victory was really tainted? What is going on? To avoid Mi Rae’s burning questions, Jo Gook drags her out of the room.

A mildly ruffled Go Hae wonders aloud why she is the one who feels like the intruder, when Mi Rae was the one who came late at night into her man’s hotel room. Holding Go Hae in his arms, Jo Gook apologizes half-heartedly, however his mind is back on Mi Rae’s plea for him to help.

Mi Rae, however, still needs answers. And if we have learned anything about Mi Rae, it is that she won’t back down without trying.

The next morning, she goes back to the hotel and speaks with Go Hae, and the latter has no problem telling Mi Rae the story about how Jo Gook generously helped a woman who was to be pitied and assisted.  Mi Rae’s response is near-reflex, as she just won’t let anyone look down on her.   As she stands up to leave, Mi Rae nonchalantly and innocently asks Go Hae whether Jo Gook is always a beat ahead when he dances (ooh, a bit daring for me, but good one!).   Apparently, Go Hae has never danced with Jo Gook. *chalk one* for Mi Rae, who shows sharp claws when she needs to.

Mi Rae pieces everything together— the Baendaengi dismissal, her reinstatement, the diversion of money and….wait, was Jo Gook involved in the diversion of money too?  She confronts Jo Gook, but while Jo Gook doesn’t know what she is talking about, he accepts responsibility anyway since he probably should have known. Jo Gook then passes along Lesson #3 on Life: Fight the battles that mean something, not the battles that mean nothing.

Mi Rae spends time thinking on what to do. She takes Jo Gook’s advice and decides to take the small payoff cash (about $800, 5% of what her prize would have been) and counts it in the bathroom, crying as she feels as dirty as the money in front of her.

Meanwhile, Go Hae puts her visit to Inju to good use and puts in face time with Jo Gook’s mom. Jo Gook’s son, Rang, comes home from school and addresses Go Hae as “big sister” and gives her a hug. Aha. So Go Hae is not Rang’s mother, after all. Jo Gook’s mom is not fooled for an instant by Go Hae’s warm smiles and kind words, as Go Hae won’t even hug Jo Rang without asking him to first wash his hands. Jo Gook’s mom also notes the striking similarity between Go Hae and Jo Gook – both with perfect behavior but lacking any sincerity.

With her cash payout in hand, Mi Rae continues her tasks as Miss Baendaengi and her job as secretary. But now she is finding it harder and harder to ignore the pain felt by other citizens coming from the actions of City Hall. She notices that the City Hall re-location matter is probably tainted with the same corrupt hands that touched the Baendaengi pageant. But she tries to forget it and just move on,
until she learns that Jung Do has resigned from his job.

“Why participate in the corruption if you are going to quit anyway?” Mi Rae confronts Jung Do, whom tells her that if he didn’t do it, then someone else, maybe Boo Mi, would have been forced to do it. It is a very telling answer, and one that shows how far the corruption has spread in City Hall.

Jo Gook watches the interaction, but at this point, it is extremely difficult to understand what might be going through his mind. Does he feel responsible for Jung Do’s resignation? Should he help Shin Mi Rae? Is it worth getting involved? Does he feel anything at all?

Caught unawares and off-guard by her husband’s resignation, Joo Hwa questions Jung Do. Joo Hwa is worried that her plans to run for a higher elected position in the future will be endangered, as her husband being an unemployed bum is sure to cost her percentage points. Jung Do asks her to stop, to just stop trying to climb ahead by using everyone around her. She can be a bad woman to him but please leave everyone else alone. But this makes Joo Hwa even more upset now. Jung Do won’t even lift a finger to help her to succeed. (Psst, Joo Hwa, it works both ways. Try behaving like a good wife first before you expect anything from your husband.)

Jung Do tries a different approach with Joo Hwa but really, really makes a huge mistake, asking her if she would consider going back to the hospital… As soon as the word “hospital” is mentioned, Joo Hwa freaks out and runs out of the house. Jung Do has said exactly the wrong thing.

A flash back now, back to when they were a newlywed couple… and we find out that Joo Hwa cannot have kids.  It is just devastating news to Joo Hwa.

Could this be the source of Joo Hwa’s sociopathy? Did Joo Hwa use this tragedy as justification to be the way that she is?  Certainly, the memories are too painful for Joo Hwa to bear.

Meanwhile, Jo Gook has gathered the documents needed to send the Mayor down in flames (all the land deals, the money laundering, the Inju City tax money that went to political cronies and elsewhere), and now awaits the right time (and the right person to take the documents) to set the events in motion that will bring down the Mayor. But who to give it to?

The next day, we see Mi Rae taking a seat on the visitor’s couch rather than her normal work station by the door, waiting to see the Mayor. Joo Hwa breezes by her to see the Mayor, but is held up by Mi Rae, who tells her to take a number and wait her turn. Being who they are, it is no surprise that the Mayor has to see both of them at the same time.

Mi Rae goes first. She asks to get her prize money, not knowing how far the corruption has gone and that Joo Hwa and the Mayor had planned this scheme from the beginning. And the biggest mistake of all, Mi Rae asks the Mayor to reinstate Jung Do in front of Joo Hwa!

Joo Hwa has had enough – even if Mi Rae apologizes for asking about the money which she was supposed to just forget about, Joo Hwa cannot forgive that Mi Rae has the guts to plead on the behalf of her husband in front of her. Joo Hwa demands Mi Rae’s dismissal, effective immediately!


This marks the end of the first segment of the City Hall series, with the end of the Miss Baendaengi story arc and the beginning of the fight between Joo Hwa and Mi Rae, and really, the awakening of Mi Rae to actually stand up and fight what what is right, not behind the scenes by asking other people to do a little bit of this or that, but to stand out in front, as a leader and as the lightning rod for all the counter-attacks that are surely to follow.

From an entertainment standpoint, Episode 5 might be a bit uneven, as it struggles a little to find its balance between drama and comedy. And while this is clearly a set-up episode, but I feel like they could have done better job in bringing story-lines together and introducing the rest of the series.

On the other hand, there are some really interesting battles to come. The Shin Mi Rae v. Min Joo Hwa battle is now beginning in earnest, and it is shaping up to be a real personal fight. Joo Hwa’s words are nasty, indicating that her issue with Mi Rae is personal. Mi Rae is strong in character even though she doesn’t have money, education, title, or family background, making Joo Hwa look weak by comparison. Mi Rae also has integrity and honesty, characteristics that Joo Hwa lacks completely. And finally, Mi Rae made Joo Hwa look like she didn’t even have a husband, since Mi Rae begs the Mayor for Jung Do’s job even before Joo Hwa gets a chance to do the same.

The Shin Mi Rae v. Go Go Hae battle is not yet on the horizon, if there is one to be had, but you get the feeling that it is coming.  This has the feel of an old-time western, where the hero has to battle the little guys before heading to the final showdown against the big guy. In this case, this is all about the strong, intelligent women protecting their turf, but is Shin Mi Rae really ready to fight these battles?

This is a bit random, but I am now confused by Jung Do‘s character’s reasoning.  He was a diligent, hardworking person who knowingly and understandably acted in a conspiracy of corruption, so that others wouldn’t have to get their hands dirty.  Then he quits, knowing that his duties will now be given to those same others.  He is smart enough and strong enough to make a stand, but doesn’t.  Instead, when he is faced directly with what he has done, he decides to resign rather than fight.  This puts Mi Rae on an island by herself (thanks, Jung Do).  Why can’t he be the upstanding co-witness that he asks if Mi Rae can be?  And if he is going to quit, why quit now?  If enough is enough, fine, but then Jung Do isn’t taking any responsibility for everything he did, and Mi Rae now has one less ally in City Hall.

And finally, I am going to get a lot of barks about this, but I really, really don’t understand why Jo Gook has to be so mean to Mi Rae all the time. Even if he had no interest in her at all, why would he be so cold to her, so many times? I feel like he is trying to discipline her, trying to train her, but I don’t have any direct evidence to support that theory. Jo Gook was really a jerk to Mi Rae at times during this episode, and I don’t think I can excuse that, because Jo Gook, of all the characters in this drama, is the one most able to be nice or not nice at the flip of a switch. Jo Gook CHOSE to be a jerk to Mi Rae, and that is just confusing.


The scenes with Joo Hwa crying over her pain at being unable to conceive are just heart-rending (whether they justify her turning into a sociopath is up to question, however), and normally I can stand when people cry, but when Joo Hwa cries, I sort of feel uncomfortable. Overall, just a wonderful, great job by the actress Choo Sang-mi (추상미), whom I really should have introduced properly in the beginning. Her perky evil-ness is just fun to watch (could that be a nickname? Mrs. Perky Evil?). Her scenes with Jung Do and Mi Rae are equally strong, and she is quickly becoming the person we love to loathe in this series.

On To Episode 6!


40 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Chocolatetree


    I really appreciate your recapping of this series, it seems so delightful to watch, unfortunately I don’t have the time, but fortunately you recap so… YAAAY!!

    I really can’t wait for the rest of the development. I’ve only heard tidbits of this show so I haven’t been spoiled yet, therefore each recap is like opening presents! Hehehe.

    Thank you Samsooki, Javabeans, 0timelost, cleown, mead33!! 😀

  2. Surf City chick

    Thank you Samsooki for your review of this episode. I have been watching ahead and was wondering who that cute little boy is – your review gave me the answer I needed – now I hope the writer(s) will tell us later who the Mom is.

    Again thank you for your review.

  3. Molly

    Great job; thank you so much! I haven’t had time to watch the whole of each episode so I’ve just been watching clips from the episodes, picked based on your recaps.

  4. Newbie

    Thanks so much for the brilliant reviews and frequent updates Samsooki, they really brighten my day ^^

    I’m thinking that Jung Do quit City Hall because he wasn’t ready to go head to head with Joo Hwa, and to deal with the reality of what their relationship has become.

    I think Jo Gook is still trying to find happiness and fulfillment through gaining BB’s approval, doing many dodgy things on the way. On the other hand, Mi Rae is just a happy person despite her ‘pitiful’ circumstance, Jo Gook might be slightly resentful that what is so elusive for him comes so easily to Mi Rae.

  5. angryparsnip

    Thank You to everyone for the recap of this Show. . . Samsooki, Olimelost, Cleown and Mead33. I love it !
    and to Javabeans Thank You for “Drama Fever” I am now watching shows that I have been wanting to see. . . Yea !

  6. Ariel

    Thanks very much for the recap. Episode 4 was hilarious, I kept laughing while reading it and the loop of Jo Gook being slapped by Mi Rae ha ha ha makes me forgive Jo Gook being mean to Mi Rae. That slap looks real painful… I can’t wait to get the DVD just hope the sub is okay well if not your recaps will help a lot.

  7. skelly

    I took a more romantic spin on Jo Gook’s nasty behavior; I think he is trying every way he can to put some emotional distance between himself and Mi Rae. He obviously is interested in her, he’s never met anyone like her, and he is probably attracted to her but he absolutely cannot get involved with her.

    Not only does Jo Gook already have a “perfect” fiancee, this fiancee is very powerful in her own right and isn’t going to take kindly to any intrusions in their relationship. Plus, Mi Rae is all wrong for him, in every way that matters politically. She’s too loud, too honest, too uncouth, has no power, no money, and no connections. To get involved with Mi Rae is political suicide, and I have the feeling that Jo Gook is trying frantically to deny the pull she has on him. He’s like a little spaceship being sucked in to the black hole, and he may be firing all his lasers and in full reverse but you know he is doomed, poor sod.

  8. mzpakipot

    “But is this a real kiss? Are they really locking lips? Are they sharing secrets of what they recently ate with each other?”

    omg, i haven’t finished reading your recap yet, and i’m already laughing my ass off! Nice touch! On to read the rest of the recap.

  9. ockoala

    Ep.5 recap! Yay, thank you Samsooki and team and Javabeans lovely blog. What a treat, Jo Gook being such a meanie to Mi Rae not withstanding. I loved how the plot is moving forward so quickly and so many different interactions happened in this episode to flesh out the characters even more. I think Jung Do’s personality really pops in this episode, his interaction with Mi Rae and Jung Hwa highlights his strength and limitations.

    So far, Mi Rae has only done things for other people, never to advance her own self-interest (even entering the Miss. Baendengi contest was to win prize money to pay off her stupid ex-BF’s debt that she guaranteed). And in this episode, she is willing to be a participant in the money laundering scheme (albeit unwillingly – the scene when she counted the money and cried in the bathroom is so frustrating to watch when our heroine seems so unhappy – again, flashback, almost expected Hyun Bin to be outside the stall to yell at her).

    Anyways, she stays true to character and only stands up to the mayor to get Jung Do reinstated, but we see an inkling that this lady is being pushed and pushed so far that she will not take it anymore. And I always thought that Mi Rae has been pushed a lot in earlier episodes, so it feels powerful to see her stand up to those in the wrong. Fighting, Mi Rae.

    This was not a Gookie episode for me, as his callousness (with good reason, or maybe none at all) was hard to stomach as well. But there was a cute scene between JG-MR, when they go to the festival and he gives her a ride back to City Hall, and he tells her to wear her tiara cuz how else would people know King Kong’s gender. His teasing of her reminds me of playground teasing between a boy who likes a girl. JG seems like he’s all play and no fun, and doesn’t actually know how to (or has never wanted to) woo a girl. Okay, on second thought, this is still a Gookie episode for me, I just love it everytime JG is on screen. His sarcastic banter with MR is always good for a hearty laugh.

  10. 10 bz body

    @7 Samsooki…. opps…. heheh… sorry…

  11. 11 javabeans

    Samsooki, I deleted the spoiler.

  12. 12 all4movies

    Thanks for keeping the City Hall fervor alive.

    I think now I’ll be able to survive until my local dvd supplier can dub/copy it into english. 🙂

  13. 13 simplesim

    I can understand and accept why Jo Guk is so nasty and mean to Mi Rae. He already has feelings for her and he was very hurt when Soo In teases him after the mistaken apology in the library scene. Soo In makes matters worse by teasing him instead of conveying the apology.

    Because of that JG did not know that MR has apologised but instead he thinks that MR has talked behind his back to Soo In. I feel this mistake was not cleared up but yet after some time JG still forgive MR and let it go. I feel he is such a gentleman…LOL

  14. 14 langdon813

    Psychoanalyzing fictional characters, what fun! Here’s my take:

    I think that Jo Gook believes that he’s helping Mi-rae by teaching her a few life lessons; life is tough, people are cruel, politics are dirty, nice guys finish last, etc., etc.

    Mi-rae is a person who is naturally honest, caring, playful, and above all, happy despite her “lesser” circumstances. Everywhere she goes, there are people who genuinely like her; she has true friendship in her life. Jo Gook is a man who was abandoned by his father, raised by a seemingly indifferent (almost cold) mother, and is engaged to a woman for political advancement. The only person that he seems to have a real relationship is with his assistant Soo-in, but Soo-in gets paid to be at his beck and call. Jo Gook wouldn’t recognize real affection if it…well, slapped him in the back of the head!

    So while he may think he’s doing Mi-rae a favor through his harsh behavior, what he’s really doing is acting like a 10-year-old boy who gets that “funny feeling” about a girl but decides to push her down because he has no clue what else to do!

    Or what ockoala said @ 9! 🙂

    Must learn to read first, then post!

  15. 15 Kender

    I’m already up to episode 16, but I enjoy reliving the earlier episodes through your recaps. And you’re right, this is definitely where the story begins to pick up.. The Miss Baendaengi arc was fun, but the Righteous Witness arc is even better.

    Totally random, but I absolutely adore Soo-in. Gookie may be The Perfect Man, but Soo-in is the Adorably Mysterious Sidekick. I want him to hook up with one of Mi-rae’s friends (can’t remember her name, but she’s one of the fried chicken Fantastic Four)..or with me. I’ll take either at this point. 😛

  16. 16 Samsooki

    I actually want Mi Rae to hook up with Soo In or Jung Do. Does that make me a bad person?


    I honestly think that Soo Inn and Mi Rae would make for one hot couple. JG is too uptight and all uppity. I think Soo In would be so much fun.

    “hey, Mi Rae and Soo In, what are you guys doing tonight, you wanna hang out?”

    “umm, no… we … uh… got plans… *blush*.”

    (that’s what the little “15” balloon with the bear is for, at the beginning of the each episode LOL!). Ok, I have to recant before Alodia comes and bonks me on the head. Recanted, recanted…

  17. 17 rambutan

    @ 7 skelly, I completely agree with your analysis on Jo Guk’s behavior at this point, from both the personal and political perspectivs. When JG was hugging his fiancee after sending MiRae off so coldly, he couldn’t help but continue thinking about MiRae. Jo Guk as a man is confused because this woman seems to be invading this thoughts. That’s why he made remarks about being tired of those rustic people – while hugging the fiancee, and after not having seen her for quite a while! I felt pulling the fiancee roughly towards him, than hugging her tightly, was like him clutching at straws. Maybe he sensed a typhoon coming!

    As a political animal, there’s no point joining the weaker side. His growing attraction to MR is still not strong enough for him to be not that. So he made the decision not to get involved if there’s no political points to be gained.

    Jung Do’s resignation: being a righteous man, he would not have been able to take this forever, anyway. There would be a day when he says: “Enough is enough!”.

  18. 18 ockoala


    Heresy, did thou voice the preference of a Mi Rae-Soo In pairing!!!! Ahhhhh……I think they would be a totally cute couple, too, albeit a total Noona-younger brother vibe. Shhh, I shant repeat again. GuMi forever!!!

    I referred to Soo In as a baby Jo Gook, but with more devilish charm and jokester quality. He’s a total catch for any lady. And the actor who plays Soo In, he was a standout for me in Star’s Lover, just a spark in that plodding drama. I think if this episode wasn’t a watch out for Joo Hwa, Soo In would be the next candidate to keep an eye out for. The way he ribbed Jo Gook about being slapped upside the head and grabbed by the collar just adds a cute vibe between his interactions with JG. I love how Soo In calls JG “Hyung”, it seems so meaningful that he would look up to JG.

    As for our second CH debate of the recaps (why is JG so mean to MR?), I think all theories are viable. I think JG doesn’t do anything without thinking it through, his words and actions are always purposeful. So, despite how reluctant it is for his to acknowledge that MR piques his interest, he still has a job to do in Inju for BB, get rid of the Mayor. Hence, everything he does is still to further that goal, and to be mean to MR, he is pushing her to the brink, knowing that she will be a tool to use once she stands up against the corruption. If he helps MR, then the embezzled money issue can be resolved without a public ruckus. So, but you can see how hard it is for JG to be mean to MR, his eyes reflect a sadness and reluctance to be mean contrary to the words coming out of his mouth.

  19. 19 epyc

    Team Samsooki, by 0timelost, cleown, and mead33, thanks for another brilliant recap! Samsooki – really enjoy your writing and the pointy filtering of events.

    Episode 5 is perhaps my least favorite episode of the whole drama, purely from the viewing pleasure perspective. It is very unsettling as things seem to go in all directions although you sense the storm is coming.

    On JG’s harshness on MR – I share the views of @ 7 skelly and @17 rambutan. JG is a ‘ulitarian’ person to whom everyone and everything serves a purpose. MR is that intruder who is NOT in his plan but is TROUBLING him to no end. In his JG politician mode, she is a person that he not mix up with. However, she stirs him somehow in the JG person mode (which is not switched on often). The scene he pulls MR out of the hotel room and hugs GH while thinking MR is telling. (The romantics in me like to think him as Darcy in stage one, ha ha :D)

  20. 20 Sueyip

    Thanks again for yet another well written and humourous recap, samsooki and
    team. You have brought the characters from City Hall alive and real to me. Yes,
    I do hate it that JoGuk was so mean to Mirae – just want to slap him for dragging
    Mirae out of the hotel room in such a rough manner but love to see him thinking
    of Mirae when his arms were around his fiancee.

  21. 21 asianromance

    @Samsooki. Mi Rae and Soo In would be hot too! Soo In is just hot period. I hope the actor manages to get an even larger role within the next few years! so hard to take my eyes off him!

    Actually, at some point, I wanted Jo Gook and Jung Do to hook up. They have awesome chemistry together- especially with their secret special night. I haven’t seen that much guy-chemistry since My Girl with Seol Gong Chan and Seo Jung Woo. Jo Gook and Jung Do totally out-coupled them!

  22. 22 Penn

    “Perky Evilness,” I like the sound of that. It suits Min Joo Hwa perfectly. I enjoy watching Choo Sang-mi. She is just funny and evil. I felt very bad for Jung Do. Poor guy must have been very torn watching the woman he loves be so evil. He couldn’t really stand by her side but at the same time, he could not betray her.

  23. 23 jusash

    Another enjoyable effort – appreciate your efforts!!!

    Am with @ 7 skelly, @17 rambutan and @19 epyc ….

    your analogy about Darcy at stage 1 – spot on!

  24. 24 Linor

    Love reading your City Hall recaps! and your so fast!!

    About “Go Hae’s warm smiles…” as you put it : I disagree. She is 100% fake and her “smiley” face reflects that

    About Jo Gook being mean to Mi Rae : I think he does it as a way to protect himself from her. He doesn’t think she is weird any more, he seeks opportunities to be with her which means he enjoys her company but on the other end, JG knows he must use MR in his mission to replace the mayor.
    I think JG is trying to find the balance between his goal and his own desires but at the end as we know he fails…..and thank God for it 🙂

  25. 25 budsdiana

    @`16 Samsooki

    “I actually want Mi Rae to hook up with Soo In or Jung Do. Does that make me a bad person?”

    OMG I am so glad to hear your comments, because it gave me the courage to say that I prefer MR and SI to hook up. He is a hottie!!!

    I was just so afraid to say it because of the probable onslaught of “bashing” I might receive from the City Hallers fans of JG and MR.

    “SIGH OF RELIEF” I am not the only ‘bad person”, Samsooki is, too.

  26. 26 cecee

    JG and MR. I like Soo In but JG and MG have such great chemistry as the episode progresses. Their love hate and I don’t knows are super CUTE to watch. I think JG is mean to MR because ,like everyone else, he wants to obtain his goal by any means but is confuse due to MR. MR is too honest, caring, thoughtful, open, and warm. He was always on a one track mind so he never got to experience any of that warmth.

    I love love your recaps!!!! Thank you very much everyone for your hard work. I know it is very hard trying to squeeze all the important details in. It would be nearly impossible for me to do it! So I thank you guys! Keep it up and I will look forward to your next recaps!

  27. 27 bjharm

    like all korean jerks [male lead] in kdramas Jo Gook has issues that shape how he acts, mainly his issues with his father. Jaded and I seen it all before but now he meets something outside anything he has experienced before, Mi Rae.
    He clearly interested in her and worst she starting to change/affect him, and he dost like it, thus the Jeckle and Hide act.
    Actually once I a knew who his father was, I thought..ow he sending him off the hicktown so he can learn to be a better person and not try to be a clone of him..ie doing everything he can to get his father notice and attention and in the end turning out just like him…but that idea didn’t last long.

  28. 28 alodia

    Since I’m on for the ride by fastening my seatbelt on episode 4. There’s no turning back for me on episode 5. It appears a bit boring to me when I watched it live and I think I prefer episode 4 since it’s livelier and funnier.
    But dang! After watching ep5 with subs, I like it more than ep4. I find this episode very clever.


    Again deepest thanks to Samsooki, 0timelost, cleown, and mead33
    You guys are extremely fast!

    @9 ockoala
    I won’t comment anymore on your every sentence. suffice to say, i always love reading you.
    apart from the recaps, i’m looking forward for the commnents as well. a lot are very insightful

    @14 langdon813
    I always look forward to your comments as well…
    but heck, i never thought you’d make me laugh so hard this time:

    “Or what ockoala said @ 9!
    Must learn to read first, then post!”
    @15 16 Kender and Samsooki and the rest

    I so love Soo In too. Of course it’s Mi Rae Jo Guk forever.

    But I like Soo In for Mi Rae once in a while. I even thought that the production deliberately did not show a close-up shot of Soo In and Mi Rae together on a later episode (the folk song episode) because they fear that fans might think they look good together and might divert the attention from Jo Guk – Mi Rae pairing.

    Sigh! Suna is such a chameleon when it comes to guys… She’s a perfect match to anyone… I hope she’ll find his right guy soon…

    yeah Kender, you are referring to Alba of the Anarchist. But I actually want Soo In to be with Boo Mi too they can look good together. But Boo Mi is soooo happy with her husband at night… hahaha

    @21 asianromance
    I’m not into cute actors (neither cute actresses). I never swoon over cute young actors. But I’m into the CSW type (too bad it seems I can’t find any actor like him). I prefer talent over looks. When City Hall’s posters were out, my officemates were all swooning over Soo In. I just pouted my lips saying he’s just one of the cute newbies. But nah! I was wrong. Apart from being cute, he is a good actor. That’s what makes him look even cuter to me. I’m sure he’ll get lead roles pretty soon. He deserves it.

    @24 Linor
    Haha! You despise Go Hae to bits! I do too. I think we all are.
    But technically, prior to her removing Rang’s hug and with all the character descriptions and future episodes aside, I could still call it a warm smile. She’s beautiful, dainty, all smiles. A perfect girlfriend. But after her cold treatment to Rang’s warm hug. Get lost b**ch!

  29. 29 ockoala

    Does anyone else think that Soo-In will go off and find his own Mi Rae? I like to imagine a happy future in this drama or thereafter with our cute patootie Soo-In and his very own lady.

    For me, Jo Gook and Mi Rae sparkle and mesmerize in every scene they are in due to the intensity and ability of KSA and CSW’s acting, that I tend to rant and rave about our leads and neglect the outstanding secondary characters.

    While I really dislike Joo Hwa, for some reason her “perky evilness” just seems so comical and toothless, like one of those villians who is all exposition and her plans just seem like it’s way too complicated and will eventually end in failure. So I can’t hate her, she’s like a Dr. Evil for me.

    Can someone explain the off-hand comment Go Hae made to JG when he held her in the hotel after MR left (ugh, hands off my JG ice queen), when she remarked that he changed his cologne? Is it just symbolism for JG’s transformation? And then she chucks his cologne and replaces it when she visits his room after visiting his mom (and totally getting called out for his fakeness by JG’s mom – great scene).

  30. 30 cestbon

    Just finished watching City Hall..great drama – very intertaining, great chemistry between MR and JG, can’t forget those three musketeers. OVerall, it’s a great romanctically, hiliariously, and enjoyable drama to watch. I don’t recall watching any drama recently that i have enjoyed so much and wouldn’t mind watching again. After her role in MLSS, Kim Sun-ah’s really great with her role as MR in City Hall. THanks for the recaps!

  31. 31 ockoala

    @28 alodia:

    Thank you for the lovely words of enjoyment of my CH postings, CH is the first drama to make me want to write down my thoughts for myself and to share. Your compliment is like getting a tap on the head from the Godfather (of CH, of course!).

    I got my CH OST yesterday in the mail, and combined with Samsooki and team recaps on Javabeans (and all the drama goodies on Java’s blog as always), I feel like I have this extra bounce in my step.

    As for my lovely Shin Mi Rae, I see her hitting rock bottom by encountering this corruption, and a k-drama heroine needs to hit rock bottom before she undertakes her metamorphosis and transforms.

    And for our k-drama hero, Jo Gook has encountered a force/person unlike anything else he has ever encountered is his journey to win BB’s approval, and all the early episode pratfalls and banter between JG-MR only serve to chip away at his purposeful and arrogant demeanor. As I said before, JG’s eyes are ALWAYS a dead giveaway for his true feelings (when he’s mean to MR or dismissive, his eyes always states the contrary). CSW should be a mute in his next movie/drama and just act with his eyes!

  32. 32 rambutan

    @29 ockoala: Can someone explain the off-hand comment Go Hae made to JG when he held her in the hotel after MR left, when she remarked that he changed his cologne? Is it just symbolism for JG’s transformation?

    Definitely. Jo Guk’s tastes are changing! But what struck me more are two people engaged to be married, who haven’t seen each other for days/weeks, hugging in a very private hotel room, with the guy thinking about another woman, and the woman bothering about the guy’s cologne. Shouldn’t they actually be all over each other if they are in love? That scene to me was very telling about their relationship, rather, non-relationship.

  33. 33 MinT

    @31 oh how did you buy your CH OST
    Can I get it here in the US?
    And when do you think the DVD will come out?
    I’m so looking forward to it so I can watch it in HD and complete translation.

    Thank You for the recaps again. Luv It….

  34. 34 doug

    I really enjoy reading these recaps. I just watched episode 9,but there are so many clues and hints that are easily missed in every episode-reading these is very helpful to a complete understanding of the show.

  35. 35 sera

    When you guys talk about Soo In, I remember the part where kim sam soon was thinking about daniel hanney. She was saying forget about benie and just go for daniel. may be in CH Mi Rae should just forget about Jo Guk and go for Soo In. Cute cauple indeed. I guess he is single in real life, isn’t he?

  36. 36 dae

    “Even if he had no interest in her at all, why would he be so cold to her, so many times? I feel like he is trying to discipline her, trying to train her, but I don’t have any direct evidence to support that theory.”

    I guess it’s probably the standard drama cliche – that you’re mean to the one that you kinda have feelings for, but shouldn’t. She probably evokes in him so hidden latent feelings that he doesn’t understand or want to accept, and he’s trying to push her away.

    Thanks for the blow by blow recaps – really great to read!

  37. 37 ockoala

    @33 MinT

    I bought my City Hall OST on ebay direct from Korea. But YesAsia is selling it as well, it’s been released since the end of May. The OST is lovely, a nice mixture of songs and instrumental selections, all evoking scenes and moments from the drama. Highly recommend.

    Waiting for Samsooki recaps is like waiting for new CH episodes during its initial run, the anticipation and conjecturing about what new nuggets and insightful commentary will be forthcoming is really a heightened way to enjoy CH the second time around.

    I finally got my sister to start watching, and unfortunately I may have hyped it up too much for her (bad, ockoala, bad girl!), so she’s liking it thus far, but I have not detected the insane addict vibe from her yet.

  38. 38 Anonymous

    I concur with the following regarding JG’s mean treatment of MR.

    @ 7 skelly
    @17 rambutan
    @19 epyc ….
    And several others thinking along the same line.

    Did anyone get the same feeling I got from Ep 1 about JG being a man attracted to “model-ish” type of woman? He was ogling at a couple of lanky and shapely women at the art gallery. Perhaps MR doesn’t fit into his ideal type, ie. the stylish type.

    JG seems to be a very confused man. He can’t quite figure out what’s causing his confusion and he is lashing out on that one person whom he thinks is contributing to his confusion. With his emotional baggage, I doubt he can even put a name on anything he is feeling.

    Oh. I don’t mind a MR-SooIn pair up either. Would love to see what kind of reaction we would get out of JG.

    You are right, recap team. I’m seeing a wishy-washy Jung-Do. In Ep 4, why did he insist on getting MR back into the pageant when he, of all people, knew this was a money laundering scam? MR was not going to win. Did he think MR’s chances of winning was zilch? Some colleague/friend eh? Nice going Jung-Do.

    And Go-Hae. That was a warm smile alright. A very FAKED warm smile. Boy, am I glad JG’s mom has sharp eyes. When she held off Jo Rang’s arms, this was the start of my instant dislike (being too kind with my word here) of her. I love Jo Rang…oops…that’s cradle-snatching.

    Thanks again for the awesome recaps. And now to Ep 6.

  39. 39 mtoenlob

    Again, your recap is always engaging. And the comments are all very informative.

    This is the episode where Mi Rae’s ordeal takes flight after the triumphant win. You aptly titled it – The Buildup Before The Storm. We now see the tempest is slowly brewing. There’s buildup in many levels – as the sacrificial lamb in the Min Joo Hwa-Mayor Go-the governor corrupt triumvirate leading to the heart-rending and life-changing consequence for Mi Rae; the developing ambivalent feeling of Jo Gook towards Mi Rae which he initially tries to brush off by being a “jerk” to Mi Rae because he knew that should he entertain this it would lead to his political downfall; the relationship of Jung Do and Joo Hwa which at this point hangs on a thread; and the many lives which will be directly affected by Mi Rae’s dismissal courtesy of Joo Hwa.

    We see more of Mi Rae’s qualities as her character is fleshed out in this episode. While she inadvertently allowed herself to be part of the money laundering scheme, but when it comes to the people around her, the people she cares for, she will definitely stand up for them as in the case of Jung Do to the consternation of Joo Hwa which eventually led to her abrupt dismissal.

    The scene between Soo In and Jo Gook is a refresher. Just love how Soo In teases Joo Goo and the latter’s embarrassed reaction.

    Episode 5 sets the incoming tone for the succeeding episodes.

  40. 40 shin mi rae

    wow, the soo-in fans are out. but like alodia, im a gumi forever fan. soo-in will find his one true love. dont you worry guys.. maybe its me!

    thanks samsooki and recap team.

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