This was really Dong-chan’s episode to shine, and he did whenever he had to cast longing glances Hae-na’s way. I wish he would be equally strong in other scenes, though — the effect is sorta spoiled by overacting in other moments.
Overall, though, Yoon Sang-hyun is doing a good job with his character, aided in large part by his wonderful eyes. The lingering looks are probably the highlights (for me) in this episode, although I think the impact of his longing gazes falls a tad shy of the heart-tugging ones Jung Jun-ho would toss at Choi Jin-shil in Last Scandal of My Life. (Refer to exhibits A, B, C, D.) Jung Il-woo also has wonderful eyes (refer to the whole of Return of Iljimae), but alas, I don’t think we’re going to see much of them in this drama.
SONG OF THE DAY
The Melody – “You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Confronted by Mr. Jang, Dong-chan owns up to his lie. He explains that Eui-joo and her mother are dear to him, and he doesn’t want to burden them with knowledge of his debt, so he told them that Chairman Kang had paid it off. Mr. Jang is mollified, even sympathetic, when Dong-chan explains that his debt was incurred because of his mother, who has since passed away.
Hesitantly, Dong-chan asks whether he will be fired. Mr. Jang answers no, and leaves him to his work. His concerns have been eased for the moment, but he still instructs Woo-sung (the leader of the butler trio) to keep an eye on Dong-chan.
Eui-joo’s mother is sympathetic to Dong-chan’s unsteady situation with his watchful employers, but she also doesn’t fully believe his explanation that his debt to the loan sharks has been paid. She urges Eui-joo to find out the truth.
Meanwhile, Hae-na wonders what Dong-chan meant by warning her not to trust him.
It’s time for Tae-yoon to make his formal greeting as Hae-na’s boyfriend to Grandpa Kang, and Hae-na is visibly nervous. She spends extra time primping and asks Dong-chan for reassurance about her appearance. Dong-chan looks at her with affection, and lapses into his own thoughts for a moment as he takes in the pretty picture she presents. He advises her to let her hair loose, so she hands him her sparkly hairpin to hold. This, I suspect, will become one of those symbolic little trinkets so beloved in trendy dramas.
Grandpa Kang dismisses Hae-na so he can speak to Tae-yoon alone, which takes Hae-na off-guard. She steps aside, and Grandpa comes out strong by posing the hypothetical question of what Tae-yoon would do if Grandpa told him to choose between his profession and Hae-na. Tae-yoon, after all, doesn’t quite suit her or her position as the next company CEO.
Tae-yoon answers that he didn’t make the decision to date her lightly: “I don’t want to let go of either the work or the woman that I like.” He says honestly that he cannot promise that he’ll be a boyfriend on the same “level” as the Kang San heir, but he does have the confidence to promise he will never make Hae-na lonely.
While the men talk, Hae-na nervously wonders how the meeting is going. Tae-yoon joins her at the piano, looking none the worse for wear, and prods her to play a tune for him. It’s been ages since she’s played the piano, but she tentatively taps out the beginning of a melody, although she doesn’t make it very far before she gets stuck. Tae-yoon takes over, playing the melody she was attempting.
(It’s “Hymne L’Amour” by chanteuse Edith Piaf. Download )
As with Tae-yoon’s singing, his piano playing skills aren’t outstanding, but it’s cute and Hae-na enjoys the song. At a distance, Dong-chan watches a little sadly, and the butler trio join him in observing the couple. They comment that it’s clear Hae-na has fallen for the lawyer, and urge Woo-sung to get over his crush on her — he can’t possibly compete. Plus, the mere idea of a butler falling for his mistress is ridiculous. The words aren’t directed his way, but Dong-chan recognizes that they apply to him, too.
Eui-joo drops by to figure out what the deal is with Dong-chan’s debt. Did Grandpa Kang really pay it off? Is he clear of the loan sharks? Dong-chan lies and answers that the president did lend him the money, which reassures her slightly. But she urges him to quit his job, even if he’s now indebted to the chairman. She and her mother will help him repay the amount; it’s better than continuing to work here, where he’s constantly treated with suspicion.
Dong-chan resists, his tone growing heated as he answers. Yes, he had once been a gigolo and took women’s money freely as part of that lifestyle, but he doesn’t do that now. He can’t take money from her or her mother.
This tense scene is interrupted by Hae-na and Tae-yoon. Eui-joo is hurt by Dong-chan’s response and unable to cover up her discomfort, unlike Dong-chan who puts on a cheerful expression. Since Tae-yoon is on his way out, he offers to take Eui-joo home.
In the car, Eui-joo assures Tae-yoon that she’s fine, but isn’t very convincing because tears soon start falling. Seeing that, Tae-yoon pulls over in concern. Did Dong-chan do or say something to her? Eui-joo is embarrassed but can’t stop the tears, and tells him, “I’m sorry, but I’ll just cry for a moment.” He lets her have her cry, and doesn’t press for details.
Hae-na fishes for information, curious to know why Eui-joo seemed so angry. Dong-chan answers vaguely that he’d wronged Eui-joo in various ways: “I’m a bad guy.” Hae-na laughs, “You? You’re not bad.”
She tries to get him to explain in more detail — surely he didn’t kill, or steal. Dong-chan replies that there are lots of other ways in which one can do bad things:
Dong-chan: “You could be a robber, pickpocket, swindler, thug, gangster, gold digger, gambler — even a gigolo.”
Hae-na: “Talk some sense. You’d never do that.”
Dong-chan: “You never know.”
Hae-na: “Still, I trust you. You said yesterday not to trust people too easily, or to trust you. I don’t know how you used to live, but the person I know is definitely not a bad person. You’re a good person. Seo Dong-chan, I trust you, no matter what anyone says.”
The next day, Dong-chan takes some personal time off to handle matters with the loan sharks. When Dong-chan tells them he cannot get the money from Hae-na, they proceed to beat him up. Dong-chan refuses to do that kind of work anymore, even after he’s been thoroughly thrashed and warned that he has one week to pay the money back.
When he comes home that night, he sports a split lip and scraped brow, but he feels good about his decision. In refusing to go for Hae-na’s money, he feels free of his guilty conscience, and his mood is therefore upbeat. He finds Hae-na fiddling with her new bicycle, bought after Tae-yoon suggested a bike-riding date this weekend. She spots Dong-chan and starts to scold him for being late, until she registers his injuries. Oddly, Dong-chan smiles and says only that something good happened to him, and even offers to grant her one wish. Hae-na says she’ll make it later, but for now her task at hand is to learn how to ride a bike. He agrees to teach her tomorrow.
Chairman Kang receives a health checkup and learns that his heart trouble is serious. The doctor recommends that he check in to the hospital immediately to prevent heart attack, but Grandpa ignores that warning. If he’s not going to die right away, he’s got to get back to work — he won’t step aside until Hae-na is secure in her position.
Mr. Jang also informs the chairman that Dong-chan has decided to quit his post, although Hae-na doesn’t know yet.
Dong-chan doesn’t tell Hae-na of his intentions, although he drops little hints. For instance, as they eat the lunch he prepared, he suggests that she try making food too. She may have servants for that, but doing it oneself is a rewarding feeling. Hae-na waves it aside, saying, “Why would I, when I’ve got you to do it?” Dong-chan asks, “What if you don’t have me?”
Hae-na doesn’t catch on to the hint and answers easily, “Why wouldn’t I have you around?” She then jumps to the conclusion that Su-ah is trying to scout him away and tells him not to go anywhere — he should stick with her, and she’ll help marry him off and take care of his family. Just as long as he brings home his prospective fiancee so she can weigh in, since he’s too nice and might fall prey to a really mean woman. (He returns, “You mean like you?”)
Then for the bike-riding lesson. They both get frustrated with each other since Hae-na doesn’t pick it up right away, and keeps falling or jumping off. He grabs onto the back to stabilize her motion, and after many failed attempts, she manages to get going.
He lets go (symbolism!), and watches her pedaling farther and farther away, expression growing sadder as she does.
He thinks to himself, “Goodbye. I’ll miss you. I’ll want to turn back, but still — goodbye.”
He packs his things and prepares to leave.
Hae-na happily recounts her day to Ms. Jung, who is glad to see Hae-na in such good spirits these days. Her great mood only lasts until the maids burst in, however, to wail that Dong-chan is quitting.
Grandpa Kang would prefer that Dong-chan stay, but he respects his decision. He credits him for all of Hae-na’s recent improvements, although Dong-chan answers that Hae-na has changed on her own, not because of him. (As always, he wants to give her credit for being a good person, rather than having Grandpa think that he worked some magic and “fixed” her.)
As Dong-chan turns to go, casting one last look up at Hae-na’s window, Hae-na comes running up to him, upset and angry. She demands to know why he’s leaving — is this what he was alluding to all yesterday?
Dong-chan keeps his tone light, reminding her that he can’t live as her servant forever. She doesn’t buy that and asks if that’s his only reason. At his lack of defense or explanation, Hae-na’s anger sparks, and she retorts that she won’t be sad to lose him. It’s obvious she doesn’t mean that — the instant she turns, her face starts to crumple.
Dong-chan stops her in her tracks by calling out to her, “Hae-na.” He’s never called her by her name before — he’s used the term “Agasshi” — and explains, “I wanted to call you Hae-na once. Take care.”
And so, Dong-chan goes back to his previous job, helping Eui-joo and her mom Seung-ja at the flower shop. Mom is happy to have his help, but worries about this outstanding debt. He assures her that he’ll take care of it.
Eui-joo, on the other hand, is absolutely thrilled to have Dong-chan back. It’s not just jealousy speaking; she genuinely hates the way Dong-chan is treated at Hae-na’s household and thinks he deserves better.
Hae-na stews in her frustration and is back to snapping at everybody for every little thing. The rest of the maids and butlers wistfully think of how things were better with Dong-chan around, and wish he would return.
Ms. Jung asks Mr. Jang why he’d been suspicious of Dong-chan. Although I think Mr. Jang is a fair person who sees the good side of Dong-chan, he’s also strict and principled, and he answers that he’s actually relieved Dong-chan decided to quit. There were several things that had troubled him, and he had even wondered whether Dong-chan was working in cahoots with Director Kang (Uncle Chul-gu). His departure makes things easier all around.
Dong-chan works diligently at the flower shop, days spent busily tending to flowers and to clients. But he is reminded that time is running out — he only has five more days before the debt is due.
On top of things, he’s missing Hae-na — who, naturally, is also missing him. Although I doubt either would admit that honestly.
Perhaps she’s feeling lonely; Hae-na drops by unnanounced to see Tae-yoon at his office. However, things are hectic there, and she immediately sees that it’s a bad time. She offers to come back later, and heads out.
Tae-yoon insists on seeing her back, and leads her away by taking her hand. (She’s embarrassed, but he keeps holding on.) However, when she brings up their biking date, he remembers with dismay — unfortunately, he has to push it back because of family reasons. He apologizes, and she covers her disappointment.
In case we weren’t clear that Dong-chan and Hae-na miss each other (subtle, this drama ain’t), both look out at the rain, which makes them think of each other. Dong-chan worries whether Hae-na thought to pack an umbrella, while she imagines that Dong-chan is ready to greet her at home with an umbrella and a welcoming smile like the last time. To her disappointment, her brief hallucination that Dong-chan is back turns out to be Woo-sung.
When Hae-na runs into Eui-joo at the office, she uses it as an excuse to ask how Dong-chan is doing, and whether he gave Eui-joo any messages to convey to her. He hasn’t, and Eui-joo answers that Dong-chan is working at the flower shop and doing very well these days.
Hae-na’s face falls when she hears there are no messages, then grows angry to hear that he’s doing well. Knowing Hae-na, she is just dying to hear that he’s miserable without her, so it’s a setback to find that he’s not.
So when Hae-na drops by the flower shop, she is quick to say that she’s not here because she missed him, but because she was just in the neighborhood. When he asks if she’s doing okay, she asks coolly, “Is there a reason I shouldn’t have been okay?”
Hae-na tells him to come back, but frames it as an act of generosity, pretending she’s giving him another chance. But he says no, again saying that he can’t live as her assistant forever: “I don’t want to do that anymore.”
Uncertain now, Hae-na wonders, “Did you hate being my attendant that much?” He admits, “It was difficult.”
Hae-na: “What was so difficult?”
Dong-chan: “What was difficult? Do you ask because you don’t know? Even if I’m paid, there are some things that are too difficult to do. It’s more comfortable here, and I like it better.”
Hae-na: “You’re right, you shouldn’t have to struggle while earning money. But you know, I really thought you were looking out for me. I thought that someone who was just with me because they were paid to would have acted differently, but I must have been mistaken. Forget today happened, since I don’t want to see you anymore.”
By this point, both are feeling a bit raw. Hae-na hurries out, breaking a small flowerpot on her way out, fighting tears. “Jerk! I won’t see you again.”
Eui-joo waits on pins and needles to find out why Hae-na came by to see Dong-chan. When he comes home, he gives the vague answer that Hae-na had merely been passing by the neighborhood (which Eui-joo doesn’t believe for a second), and her level of interest raises Mom’s suspicions. Mom wonders, could Eui-joo like Dong-chan?
Eui-joo blurts defensively, “Why, can’t I like him? Is there a reason I shouldn’t?”
A problem crops up at the next directors’ meeting, which Chul-gu anticipates eagerly, knowing Hae-na will take the fall. The issue centers around an internet shopping mall that Chairman Kang had instructed to be shut down. However, Hae-na had countered the decision and had it kept open, and now they’ve lost money.
This is all news to Hae-na, who doesn’t recall making any such decision. Chul-gu and another director remind her that she signed the forms — surely she must have read them before signing. Hae-na cringes to realize her mistake, then bursts out that she did sign without reading. If she takes responsibility, that should satisfy them, right? Her defensiveness comes out as aggressiveness, and she storms out of the meeting.
Grandpa Kang is frustrated and mortified at her behavior, and yells at her at home — not only was she irresponsible enough to sign documents without reading them, she behaved poorly at the meeting. When Hae-na tries to point out that the directors were all out to get her, he counters, “Did you expect them to coddle you?” How can he leave the company to her?
She retorts, “Did I ever say I’d take it over?” She came to work because he told her to, but she’s not interested in business and doesn’t want to run the company. Grandpa asks what she’s going to do with Kang San after he dies, and she tells him to give it to Uncle Chul-gu, or Su-ah.
The stress finally does him in, and Grandpa Kang collapses from a heart attack. (Called it!) Immediately contrite and worried, Hae-na cries in guilt as he’s taken to the hospital, feeling this is all her fault.
When Tae-yoon calls, she sobs into the phone, and he assures her he’s on his way over. He makes the obligatory illegal U-turn and heads to the hospital.
Back at the flower shop, Seung-ja decides to discourage the Eui-joo/Dong-chan pair by pushing him toward another girl, and sets him up on a blind date. When he realizes what she’s done, he declines politely, thanking her for the thought. It’s then that he catches the television news report on Chairman Kang’s collapse.
At the hospital, Mr. Jang warns Hae-na of incoming reporters, but is too late to prevent them from spotting her. While Mr. Jang holds them at bay, Hae-na manages to slip away, but when she turns another corner, another group of reporters rushes at her.
The onslaught of questions, camera flashes, and shouting voices is overwhelming to Hae-na, who is still reeling from the shock of her grandfather’s collapse. The reporters swarm around her, and the only thing she can do is try to shrink back from the intrusion. As she is surrounded, Tae-yoon arrives and races inside — but it’s Dong-chan who gets there first this time.
He pushes his way through the crowd and steps in front of Hae-na, announcing that she has no comment at this time. Hae-na looks up in surprise and relief as Dong-chan grabs her hand and leads her out of the crowd.
However, the reporters aren’t going to accept a measly dismissal like that, and they pursue the couple as they break into a run down the hallway.
I think the point of this episode isn’t merely that these two miss each other, but that pride is still a factor getting in their way. As we’ve seen, Hae-na is skittish about showing her feelings, and her rebellious behavior can be seen as a defense mechanism of some sort. So even if she is slowly becoming aware of her attachment to Dong-chan (let’s not call it love just yet), she can’t express that without any sort of encouragement from him. And as we know, he’s not in a position to encourage her, given his own personal messes, not to mention the whole power-dynamic thing with her as his boss. It’s like Pygmalion meets Cinderella meets, oh I don’t know, The Boss and the Secretary with a dash of Random Harvest. (Btw, how is it that there’s no Korean drama version of Random Harvest? It would be PRIME fodder for all that kdrama glorification of melodrama and romance.)
Also, in an episode that was full of predictable moves and very little surprises, I appreciated Dong-chan’s reaction to getting beaten up by the loan sharks. It was nicely moving that he felt free of his burden, and that he told Hae-na that what had happened to him was a good thing. Since he quit the next day, the freedom he feels isn’t so he can pursue her, so it’s not a romantically driven motivation. It’s more that he’s free from the label of “bad guy,” and can now be the good person Hae-na believes him to be. I’m pleased to see this kind of change in Dong-chan.
In any case, I loved Yoon Sang-hyun’s eyes in this episode. Yoon Eun-hye had a few nice moments, too — she has this way of making her eyes actually redden with tears without letting the tears fall that I think is great — but this story was Dong-chan’s to emote.
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