We are now officially halfway through My Fair Lady, and although this means we get an inexplicably less flattering hairdo for Jung Il-woo, at least the plot heats up! (Perhaps they purposely sabotaged Jung Il-woo’s appearance to sway us subconsciously toward Dong-chan?)
SONG OF THE DAY
Na Yoon-kwon – “심장소리” (Heart sound, or Heartbeat) [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Dong-chan leads Hae-na away from the throng of reporters, and they manage to slip into an elevator and escape to the roof. Apparently they are safe here, because nobody else is clever enough to figure out where the elevators go, and the reporters give up their chase. Instead, they stake out the chairman’s wing of the hospital, which is blocked off by his guards.
Hae-na’s initial reaction is relief at the rescue, but once they’re away from the crowd, she drops Dong-chan’s hand and wonders why he’s here.
Distraught over her grandfather’s condition (and still feeling guilty for upsetting him), Hae-na wants to stay by his side. Dong-chan urges her to remain put, reminding her that the reporters will find her and that she can’t do anything for her grandfather right now anyway. He gives her his jacket while they wait.
When Tae-yoon arrives on the rooftop, Hae-na rushes to him, dropping Dong-chan’s jacket in her haste (symbolism!). Dong-chan watches them embracing, saddened, and heads down alone.
Tae-yoon catches Dong-chan on his way out and asks why he quit — it would have been nice for Hae-na if he’d stayed. It’s clear that he respects Dong-chan and sees that he’s a good presence around Hae-na (for now, at least), and that makes me like Tae-yoon.
Seeing how despondent she is, Tae-yoon takes Hae-na’s hand and assures her, “It’ll be okay, so don’t worry too much. I’ll stay with you.”
The severity of the chairman’s condition requires him to travel to America for surgery, accompanied by Mr. Jang. This leaves Hae-na alone in the household, which worries everyone. Mr. Jang therefore brings Dong-chan to the chairman’s bedside for one last appeal to return to his former position.
Grandpa Kang would feel much better knowing that Dong-chan were there to look after Hae-na in his absence, and presses him to reconsider. Dong-chan politely but firmly declines again, saying that Hae-na has Tae-yoon and Ms. Jung with her. (Note: I noticed in this episode that they seem to be calling the head housekeeper Ms. Jo, but the website lists her as a Jung… Just in case you were wondering.)
Despite his resolve to stay away, Grandpa Kang’s words weigh heavily on Dong-chan’s mind. Upon Grandpa’s departure, everyone is surprised to see that Hae-na has her bag packed and announces that she’ll go with him. Grandpa tells her no, because she has to remain here and take care of the company. Hae-na protests, and seems ready to dig in her heels for an argument — until Dong-chan steps in.
This takes everyone by surprise, although not in a bad way. Dong-chan tells Hae-na she cannot go along, and addresses the chairman with a formal bow: “Sir, I will take the responsibility of watching over her. Please travel safely.” He mutters to Hae-na that being gracious to her grandfather is the best way to send him off, and at that chastisement, she gives her grandfather a heartfelt goodbye hug.
Hae-na is still upset with the way Dong-chan left without telling her, and the next morning, she issues her instructions to Woo-sung, ignoring Dong-chan (who is promoted as Hae-na’s offiicial attendant). Dong-chan reminds her of a meeting and advises her to change into work clothing right away in order to make it. Hae-na refuses to listen, so he takes matters into his own hands (literally).
Smiling cheerfully amidst Hae-na’s outraged protests, he picks her up and deposits her in her room, warning, “Will you change your clothes yourself, or shall I do it for you?” When Hae-na tattles to Ms. Jung, he smoothly talks his way out of it, holding a hand to his cheek and saying in a resigned tone, “You can hit me as much as you want, it doesn’t matter.” Ms. Jung thinks Hae-na is still beating him, and Dong-chan wins this round.
The other employees marvel at the change in Dong-chan and his take-charge attitude. Dong-chan steers Hae-na to the office for her meeting — passing by a startled Eui-joo, who wonders why he’s back working for Hae-na — and only relinquishes his hold on her when she promises to go to the meeting.
Dong-chan gives her a few tips, knowing that without the safety of her grandfather’s presence, her reception by the directors will be chilly. Particularly from her opportunistic uncle.
His advice turns her meeting from potential disaster to mild success. She takes Dong-chan’s tip of answering a question with a question, raising issues such as “Do you have the data to support that claim?” Then, she defuses a possible conflict with her uncle by agreeing sweetly with his points. Lastly, Hae-na concedes when faced with a tricky question about the troublesome internet shopping mall. Per Dong-chan’s advice, she admits the truth, that she doesn’t know a lot about these matters but will get back to them when she’s had the chance to examine the situation in detail.
While Hae-na is in her meeting, Eui-joo demands to know why Dong-chan went back. He understands her feelings about the job, but wonders why she has such a strong reaction whenever Hae-na is mentioned. There’s a moment when Eui-joo almost blurts out the real reason — that she cares so much because she likes him — but she swallows the truth and dissembles, “It’s because I worry about you so much!”
Dong-chan steps aside to get her a cup of coffee, at which point his phone, left on the table, receives a text message. Curious, Eui-joo takes a look. It reads, “You have one day left.” This triggers her suspicions, and she hurriedly excuses herself, memorizing the number and calling it.
Hae-na wonders what Dong-chan’s real reason was for returning to the job. She doesn’t believe the vague answer he’d given before, that he needs to find his own way and can’t be her butler forever. Dong-chan replies, “It’s because I’m worried about you,” but Hae-na sees that for the evasion it is and persists.
After a beat, Dong-chan answers, “It’s because I like you.” Startled, Hae-na doesn’t know how to react. He makes his point, saying that no matter what he says, she’s not likely to believe him anyway. Annoyed, Hae-na accuses him of making a joke of it.
That evening, Dong-chan chats with the housekeeper, who tells him she’s glad to have him back. Dong-chan’s expression dims when she says that the reason for Hae-na’s recent improved mood is due to Tae-yoon, and she asks if he likes anybody. Dong-chan answers yes, but doesn’t identify her, merely saying that she’s a beautiful person he can’t be with, since she’s out of his league.
As if to drive that point home, he comes outside to see Tae-yoon helping Hae-na ride her bike around the courtyard.
Tae-yoon and Hae-na have rescheduled their bicycling date this weekend, and he compliments her riding skills. She credits Dong-chan for teaching her, and doesn’t notice his tone changing upon hearing that. It’s a small comment and Tae-yoon has never minded Dong-chan’s role in her life before, but this bothers him.
Tae-yoon keeps his reaction in check, bidding Hae-na good night and leaving her with a parting gift — it’s the photo he took of her. But on his way home, he frowns at this latest wrinkle in his relationship.
The dissatisfaction goes both ways; Dong-chan isn’t happy to see the photo, or Hae-na’s excitement over it. When she instructs him to frame it for her, he tells her to do it herself.
His demeanor is more curt than usual, and it rubs Hae-na the wrong way. She chases him up the staircase to give him a piece of her mind, but slips backward. Dong-chan instinctively reaches out and grabs her, stopping her fall, and they freeze at the sudden closeness.
Both feel something spark between them, but cover up their reactions. Hae-na is caught off-guard and blurts out her favorite excuse (“This is all your fault”) and heads to her room, where she puzzles over the sudden new feelings.
The next day, Eui-joo investigates the mystery of Dong-chan’s phone calls, arriving at the moneylender’s office. She learns the truth of his debt (100 million won, or $80,000) and his intention of seducing Hae-na in order to pay it off. Racking her brains for a solution, she seeks out Tae-yoon for legal advice.
I love Eui-joo’s blunt, to-the-point way of speaking, not least because it leaves Tae-yoon so bewildered. She asks about the validity of a signed memo, such as in the case of private loans. Are they binding? He answers that it depends on the situation. Desperate now, she asks straight-out, “You’re a chaebol, right? Could I maybe borrow 100 million won?”
Surprised, Tae-yoon answers that he doesn’t have that much money, which elicits a laugh of disbelief from her. He clarifies that his parents are the rich ones, not him. Eui-joo leaves the office feeling mortified, while Tae-yoon wonders to Su-ho whether he did something wrong. (I love Su-ho’s baffled answer, which is that it’s hard to tell with those Kang San ladies.)
Hae-na falls asleep while reviewing documents at work. Dong-chan props her head on a pillow, his expression gentling as he watches her sleep.
Some time later, Hae-na awakens to find the scenario flipped: Now Dong-chan is the one asleep. She approaches, giggling as she snaps her fingers in front of his face, getting no reaction. Suddenly, Dong-chan’s hand grabs out instinctively and pulls her close. There’s another prolonged moment of awareness between them before they move away.
Tae-yoon calls Eui-joo back after she leaves the office, and they talk over drinks. He cautions her to drink slowly, although she assures him she can handle her liquor.
Tae-yoon calls Hae-na to join them, and when she and Dong-chan arrive, Eui-joo reminds him to keep their earlier conversation about money a secret from Dong-chan.
During the meal, it becomes apparent that Dong-chan and Hae-na are very cozy and comfortable with each other. Tae-yoon and Eui-joo clock the vibe between the other two, their looks uneasy and questioning.
This is the first scene where Tae-yoon exhibits an undercurrent of rivalry? tension? as he asks about Dong-chan’s previous occupations. Dong-chan mumbles a vague answer about “this and that,” and Eui-joo takes over. By now the alcohol has loosened her tongue and she starts to brag about how popular Dong-chan is with the ladies. This veers uncomfortably close to the topic of his gigolo days, and Dong-chan gives her the “What are you doing? Shut up” eye, which she ignores. Eui-joo warns Hae-na not to take Dong-chan’s kind attentions to mean much, since Dong-chan treats all women well.
That’s it. Dong-chan stands and takes Eui-joo outside to talk. He’s genuinely concerned to see Eui-joo drunk and so free-talking, but doesn’t pick up on her underlying message when she asks meaningfully, “Is there anything you want to say to me?” When he doesn’t answer, she tells him in disappointment, “I feel sorry for you.”
Hae-na and Tae-yoon wonder what’s taking the others so long, and head outside. When they join them, Eui-joo is drunkenly singing karaoke-style into Dong-chan’s necktie. It’s really cute.
Now facing the other couple, Eui-joo slurs out to them, referring to them as The Lawyer and The Princess. She’s not exactly rude (okay, she is a little) — I’d say blunt, maybe abrasive — as she laughs at Tae-yoon for being a chaebol without money, and speaks to Hae-na in casual banmal speech.
Hae-na is put off, but she holds back her temper since Eui-joo is drunk. Dong-chan apologizes and ushers Eui-joo away to take her home. Tae-yoon takes Dong-chan aside to tell him about his conversation with Eui-joo earlier. He didn’t mean to break his promise not to tell, but he thinks Dong-chan should know, and suspects that Eui-joo has taken out a loan from a loan shark.
After the others leave, Hae-na surmises that Eui-joo must be acting out since she’s in love with Dong-chan. Tae-yoon had thought they were dating, but hearing that they aren’t, he asks, “Then who does Dong-chan like?” Hae-na doesn’t think he likes anyone, which Tae-yoon finds surprising. He calls Dong-chan cool, which Hae-na finds funny — she admits he’s a nice guy, but she wouldn’t call him cool. Again, Tae-yoon seems perturbed as he takes in Hae-na’s description of Dong-chan.
Dong-chan mulls over Tae-yoon’s information, and sits with Eui-joo outside until she sobers up. He suggests they talk things over, but she’s not in the mood and declines. But when he stands to leave, she suddenly grabs his hand and asks, “Why do you live like this?” She knows everything — about his debt, his intention to swindle Hae-na of money. Why did he go back to that job? Was it to get money from Hae-na? Or… because he likes her?
Dong-chan answers, “I just want to be with her when she’s going through a tough time. That’s all.”
Eui-joo asks what he’s going to do about the money — he has to pay them back tomorrow. She’s exasperated that his concerns for Hae-na are misplaced, when he should be thinking of how to get himself out of trouble. Fed up, Eui-joo tells him angrily to take care of things himself, and stalks off.
Hae-na shows Dong-chan something she’s working on, which looks like a plain scrapbook of things she likes. She explains that she has thought of an idea for work, based on his advice to use her likes as a starting point, and will show him when it’s ready.
She then hesitantly asks about how long he’s going to stay — is he going to leave after Grandpa Kang returns, like he said? Probably thinking of his debt, Dong-chan answers philosophically that something may always come up, so people never know what the future holds.
Hae-na keeps her tone light but her meaning is sincere as she says, “Have I told you this? I’m glad you’re back. I mean it.”
The next day, Hae-na practices her presentation in front of Dong-chan, who gives her tips on how to act when she stands before the directors. Her idea centers around a marketing plan for the internet shopping mall, using herself as the face of the brand — she freely admits she’s got her flaws (like rudeness), but plays up her reputation as a fashionista and trend-setter.
On their way out, she remembers leaving papers behind in the conference room, and Dong-chan goes back to retrieve them. Thus she’s alone when a couple of familiar faces enter the lobby, talking loudly about not trusting Dong-chan to meet at their planned location (the church). It’s debt payback day, and the thugs are here to collect.
Eui-joo arrives in time to see Hae-na talking with the three men, and rushes to warn Dong-chan. As soon as he hears, Dong-chan races off in alarm, scouring the lobby for Hae-na.
When she reappears, he waits tensely as she walks toward him, her face grim.
Hae-na stands before him, glaring at him in a mix of hurt and anger. He tries to speak, but she cuts him off with a slap to the face.
This episode is pretty much about the growing attraction between Dong-chan and Hae-na, as we are bombarded with repeated “accidental clinch” scenarios. Like I said in the last recap, subtle this ain’t. If I had to list some criticisms of the drama, its tendency to overdo things is probably at the top of the list — not just acting, but in its writing. What could be effectively conveyed in one lingering look is given three instead. A point that was made in the beginning of an episode is reiterated over the course of the episode, just in case you missed it the first three times.
This is my own pet peeve so you may not feel the same, but I always feel that this kind of excess is a sign of a lack of directing confidence. It happens often when the director doesn’t trust his audience to be smart enough to pick up the cues, and therefore goes overboard with the symbolism and such as. You could probably argue that it’s also a hallmark of the trendy drama genre, but I’d argue that that correlates with my point — that the trendy drama genre tends to underestimate the intelligence of its viewer and therefore tends to overuse such techniques.
But let’s move on to more exciting things, like the physical awareness growing between Hae-na and Dong-chan! Again, these scenarios are hardly original — the inadvertent embrace is another favorite device in the genre, and we’ve all seen these moments before. But I actually like that it’s taken us eight episodes to get here in this drama — we had a few moments earlier, but this is the first episode where it’s full-blown awareness on both sides. In many dramas the attraction comes first, or develops concurrently with the emotional attachment, but in this case the characters have developed their emotional bond pretty strongly before getting to the “What fluttering feeling is this?” stage of attraction/denial. It sort of solidifies the feeling I had early on that this is an updated version of an older-school, more innocent class of kdrama. (Which I find endearing.)
Speaking of which, it is something that never fails to amuse me in kdramas how the characters NEVER KNOW that what they are feeling is romantic interest. Seriously, it takes them forever to figure it out. I mean, c’mon Hae-na, you’re 24, not 12. SURELY you understand what it feels like to have the hots for a guy! I don’t mind this unrealistic sort of innocence, but it does always make me laugh.
Last but not least, I have to say I’m really digging the love geometry in My Fair Lady. On the surface, it feels like every other trendy drama we’ve ever seen, but for me, there’s a nice balance struck between all the parties. I usually find that the couples are very off-balance in terms of charisma and romantic appeal, and many times I’ll only root for one of the possible lovelines in the main quartet. In this drama, it’s not that I think they’re all fantastic characters on their own, but when you put the four of them together… I dunno, I just smile.
- Happy birthday, Jung Il-woo
- My Fair Lady: Episode 7
- My Fair Lady: Episode 6
- My Fair Lady: Episode 5
- My Fair Lady: Episode 4
- My Fair Lady: Episode 3
- Moon Chae-won promises more smiles in My Fair Lady
- More gifts for the staff of My Fair Lady
- My Fair Lady: Episode 2
- My Fair Lady: Episode 1
- Please take care of My Fair Lady
- Press conference day for My Fair Lady
- Jung Il-woo seeks acting advice
- My Fair Lady’s prince on a white horse
- First still shots from My Fair Lady released
- Jung Il-woo: “Acting is a marathon”