Hi, I’m smallfish and I’ll be your friendly guide through the rest of Sons of Sol Pharmacy House. Thanks so much Javabeans, for giving me room to summarize, analyze and pontificate on your site!
To give some context for what I write about this series, Sons of Sol Pharmacy House is the first long family series K-drama I’ve watched. While I guess I’m technically an ajummah (having an ajuhssi to call my very own– not that I’ve been one for very long), I’ve always avoided the ajummah dramas and only ever really enjoyed trendy dramas, so stumbling on SSPH and enjoying it this much is a total shocker to me. What I appreciate about this drama is that although it includes a lot of the same K-drama cliches (love triangles, terminal illnesses, etc.), it doesn’t get mired in melodrama and still manages to stay light, funny and fresh, while incorporating a lot of the heart that I know and love about Korean families. I hope to do the series justice!
Episode 17 picks up with Su-jin sewing the button onto Jin-pung’s shirt. Far from grateful, Jin-pung is upset that Su-jin practically undressed him in public to sew the button on, and further berates her for doing a shoddy job. Su-jin, somewhat contrite, apologizes and promises to re-sew it on later.
Dad Song and Daddy-Oh meet up in the trash yard for their duel, but as soon as they really start getting into it, it starts to pour. They each take refuge, Daddy-Oh under a broken umbrella, and Dad Song in a cardboard box, and start trading barbs. Each dad accuses the other of being a traitor, and talks about what a good friend he was to the other. As they rehash their old grievances, they expose a fair amount of their past friendship, which sounds like it was actually very sweet– in the manliest way possible, of course. Both men go home battered, and refuse to answer their wives’ questions about what happened.
Meanwhile, Mi-pung also gets caught in the rain while studying in the park with Hana. He comes home soaking wet, having covered Hana with his clothes, and immediately gets sick. Against his protests, Dae-pung gives Mi-pung a shot in the butt to help him get better (he has to be held down by Mi-ran sitting on top of him, HA!). Mi-pung passes out from the sickness for the next couple of days, and isn’t unable to answer his phone despite the fact that Hana’s dad desperately tries to get in touch with him.
That night, Dae-pung gets kicked out of his room by Mi-ran, who takes over his room so that Mi-pung can sleep alone as he recovers. Dae-pung joins Jin-pung for the night, and before he goes to sleep, he texts Su-jin, explaining to Jin-pung that he’s dating her now. Jin-pung acts like he doesn’t care, but we know it’s all an act by the way he’s easily annoyed with Dae-pung afterwards. Dae-pung tries to call Su-jin, but when she doesn’t answer, he goes out to use the bathroom. While Dae-pung is out, Su-jin calls back, and Jin-pung, supposedly annoyed by the incessant ringing of the phone, picks up and snaps at Su-jin. He tells her she shouldn’t be calling so late, starts going off on an tangent, catches himself rambling, calls her a rabbit, tells her he has no carrots for her, and hangs up. The next morning, still upset by the phone call, Su-jin makes a rabbit face at Jin-pung as she passes his store.
The next day, Mom Song and Oh-Ma run into each other at the neighborhood store where Mom Song has gone to buy an industrial-sized jug of soy sauce and Oh-Ma has gone to buy a snooty bottle of balsamic. Surprisingly, Oh-Ma asks Mom Song to have a chat and proceeds to Mom Song up a huge hill so they can sit and talk. Mom Song begrudgingly follows, all the while lugging the huge jug of soy sauce. Once they sit, Oh-Ma starts asking Mom Song what her husband’s problem is, blaming Dad Song for the husbands’ fight and basically calling him a big bully. She’s also insulting to Mom Song, telling her she has no class. Mom Song, not one to take crap and fed up with Oh-Ma’s airs, gives back as good as she gets, and then goes even farther and hits Oh-Ma’s dog, Poppy, who has been yapping at her feet. Oh-Ma FREAKS OUT and Mom Song turns her back on Oh-Ma’s screaming, hoists the soy sauce on her head, and regally walks away.
Sun-pung works through the night after finding out that a story he had been working on for six months is about to get pulled. He has a confrontation with Daddy-Oh, who tells him that it’s too dangerous to run the story at that time (apparently, the story is about powerful people who won’t take kindly to negative news). Sun-pung, a true idealist, says he won’t be intimidated and won’t kowtow to someone just because they’re rich and powerful and runs off to get the story aired. Along the way, however, he gets waylaid by people who rough him up pretty badly. Sun-pung is brought home by a sun-bae (senior) with his arm in a sling and some serious cuts on his face. With the Song house in uproar from this latest crisis, a young girl appears, bursts into tears at the sight of Hana strapped on Mama Song’s back, and demands the return of her baby…
Hana’s mom, aka Choi Su-hee, demands that the family return Hana. Mom Song refuses to return Hana to her until she’s able to confirm that Su-hee is actually Hana’s mother. To that end, they try to get in touch with Hana’s dad, Yong-chul, but it takes some time. When Mi-pung wakes up the next morning, the family fills him in on what happened while he was sick. Later, while he’s out of the house, he manages to connect with Yong-chul. Yong-chul tells him to just give the baby to Su-hee; she’s her mom, she says she wants the baby and will take care of her, so what can he do? He tells Mi-pung that he will never forget the Song family’s kindness. Mi-pung races home, only to find that it’s too late and akin to the time she gave away Sun-poong’s dog, she has sent Hana on her way with Su-hee. Mi-pung, ever the emotional lad, reacts similarly to Sun-poong by sitting down and throwing a fit, wailing and flailing his arms and legs.
Sun-poong, still laid out from the beat-down, has a few interesting visitors. First, Dad Oh crosses the Song threshold for the first time in 30 years in order to visit. Meanwhile, Eun-ji is on a terrible blind date with a douche-y guy who calls his friend when he thinks that Eun-ji is in the bathroom to brag that he’s on a date with an actress. Eun-ji is incensed when she hears him tell his friend that he’ll check her out first, and if she’s up to snuff, he’ll pass her on to his friend. She adorably tells him where he can shove it and storms off.
When Eun-ji arrives home, she hears of Sun-poong’s injuries and rushes off to the Song house to visit. She arrives, bearing gifts. The family spies on Eun-ji and Sun-poong’s visit, and are shocked to see her plant a big kiss on his forehead. Afterward, Eun-ji skips jubilantly home, hugging a copy of The Brothers Karamazov to her chest, which Sun-poong has given to her in gratitude for visiting him.
After witnessing the visit, the whole family tries to figure out what it means. Jin-pung and Dae-pung worry that Sun-poong will upstage them by getting married first, bringing more of their mother’s wrath down on their heads. Bok-shil, on the other hand, is saddened by the events, and it seems that she doesn’t really understand her feelings either. It’s not really that she ever liked Sun-poong or resents Eun-ji for taking his affections like Mi-ran suggests; it just seems like she’s sad that she’s witnessing the start of a happy relationship while she’s still pining for the guy she loves.
Su-jin stops by Jin-pung’s pharmacy on her way to work and gives him the album that Hye-rim had bought for him all those years ago. Touched at the unexpected gesture and happy to have a small piece of his first love back, Jin-pung absently hands Su-jin a free drink. Su-jin takes it roughly, perhaps resenting the fact that he still has feelings for her sister-in-law and that he doesn’t notice or like her more.
Brutus gets called into a conference with the kids’ teacher, who tells him of the difficulties that they’re having at school. Because Brutus is intimidated, confused, and at a loss as to how to fix his kids’ lives, he buries himself in his work and asks Su-jin to look out for the kids for the week. Su-jin agrees but then has to work late that night; she calls Jin-pung and asks him to take care of the kids for her. He agrees, and is left watching them late into the night after Dae-pung hijacks Su-jin on her way home from work and whisks her off to dinner.
At dinner, he presents her with a beetle? ladybug? some kind of insect brooch, which he asks her to wear everyday as a reminder of him (barf). Su-jin reluctantly accepts, and then rushes to the pharmacy for the kids. When she gets there, Jin-pung gives her a serious dressing down for neglecting the children for so long. Dae-pung comes across him while he’s still yelling at Su-jin’s retreating back, and asks him to cut her some slack, explaining that they were together. Jin-pung gets even angrier, perhaps reacting to a twinge of jealousy that he hasn’t yet recognized or acknowledged.
Eun-ji’s biological mother visits a mysterious woman whom she calls Unni, and apparently knows from a long time ago. Both Daddy Oh and Dad Song learn of the visit, and you know the lady has something to do with their history. Both men urgently head out from their homes. They cross paths as the episode ends, signifying a more serious intersection of their lives directly ahead.
While I really, really enjoy this drama, there’s one thing that bugs me almost every episode: I REALLY wish Lee Pil Mo would chill on the shouting. I get that his character is supposed to be over the top, a cad, and someone who doesn’t take life too seriously, but there are more subtle ways to convey that, I think. I don’t know if it’s the result of poor direction, or poor acting or what, but it grates on my nerves. I don’t really think Lee Pil Mo is a bad actor, though, because there have been flashes of his more even-handed performances throughout the series so far (i.e., when he first learns of Hye-rim’s illness and stops to ask Jin-pung if he’s ok… I thought there was a world of fine acting and a lot of heart in that short scene).
Wait, I lied– there’s one more thing that annoys me: Oh-Ma. Her shrieking and crying gets a bit tiresome, too. On the other hand, she’s a good foil for Mama Song’s toughness. Mama Song really plays a woman with four sons well– this may be a stereotype, but I’ve always noticed that Korean moms who only have sons tend to be more rough and tumble and no-nonsense. She’s totally on-point, especially in the scene when she’s lugging the soy sauce around and puts Oh-Ma in her place.
Other than that, most things about this drama tickle me. I’m with Javabeans in that at this point, Sun-pung and Eun-ji are the highlight of the show for me. I love that Sun-pung is so freaking geeky, and that his world is upturned by this whirlwind of a girl. And in a way, it makes sense that he would develop feelings for her being that he loves animals– not that Eun-ji is an animal, but she reminds me of an excited puppy at times. He’s the perfect caretaker for her abundant emotions and her (at times) reckless abandon.
I also really love the development of Brutus’s character, and his very real struggle to recover and carry on after his wife’s death. Although he’s faltering right now, we can still see that he really loves his kids and wants to do the best for them. And the relationship between him and Granddad Song is really cute.
Like I said before, and in agreement with Javabeans’s previous comments, this drama has so much heart. There’s something really endearing to me about watching a traditional Korean family whose bonds are the centerpiece of their lives, and where the kids really honor their parents. I dunno, maybe it just reminds me of my family in Korea. It’s good, wholesome fun, but not in the super cheesy TGIF/Danny Tanner way.