Hullo! I’m soyjoy, and I’ll be your guide through episodes 5 & 6. The three of us “Smile” recappers are rotating weekly, so hopefully our stylistic differences won’t throw you off. Luckily, we’re all in agreement that this is an endearing and enjoyable series, so at least the commentary should be pretty consistent in tone!
I think Lee Min-jung is adorable; she’s the reason I started watching the drama, then quickly got sucked in. She’s refreshing and spunky, and, like javabeans and dw4p, I’m really enjoying her in “Smile.” That said, I think Episode 5 is Jung Kyung-ho’s time to shine. He carries the scenes so well, from understated moments like the one above, to the wildly contorted facial expressions he makes in Hyun-soo’s goofier moments.
And off we go…
Episode 5 Recap
The Kang family (minus Grandpa Man-bok, plus Kyung-soo) is having their little make-up-with-Mom celebration, which is a smashing success. Turns out it doesn’t take much to win Geum-ja over; she’s a total softie underneath her gruff exterior. Sang-hoon promises to treat Geum-ja well, and Hyun-soo says he’ll move into the front room that evening.
Grandpa Man-bok comes home, and everyone scrambles to attention. Sang-hoon begins to explain, but Grandpa Man-bok cuts him off, bringing in his guests—
The Seo family.
Suffice it to say that no one is really happy about this, especially when Jung-kyung sees Hyun-soo, whose speechless stuttering devolves into helpless hiccups.
That is, no one except for Jung-in! She’s stayed here before, so she knows the ropes. Plus she finally gets to rub salt in her sister’s wound, since she’s onto the (non-)relationship between Jung-kyung and Hyun-soo.
“Hi Oppa,” she waves blithely when she enters. “Oh, right… this is the first time you two are meeting! That’s Chauffeur Kang’s grandson, Kang Hyun-soo.” Oh, she is enjoying this. Hyun-soo starts to explain that they know each other, but Jung-kyung cuts him off and introduces herself as though they’d never met.
Grandpa Man-bok explains that the Seos will be staying at their place for a few days. He shows the Seo family to Hyun-soo’s (intended) room. After how hard she’s fought for that room, Geum-ja is not giving up easily, but Sang-hoon pulls her away.
Hyun-soo is shocked. Very.
Jung-kil, meanwhile, is back to grandstanding. He says the place is too small and starts to leave to go to a hotel, but Jung-in points out that they have no money. The room definitely is too small, though, so Jung-kil will have to stay in Grandpa Man-bok’s room.
Hyun-soo has recovered from the initial shock and is ready to take advantage of this new proximity to Jung-kyung. He hovers at the door under the pretext that he’s delivering blankets.
Jung-kil comes out and warns him that he remembers the last incident (wherein a half-naked Hyun-soo was hovering over a drunk Jung-in, passed out in bed). Jung-kyung comes out of the room from behind and beelines for the bathroom.
Jung-in is ready to take advantage of a few things herself, and tells Jung-kyung through the door that using hot water will get her in trouble with Geum-ja. Hyun-soo cuts in, telling her to go ahead and use as much hot water as she needs.
Having primed him, Jung-in then says that her sister is sensitive, so Hyun-soo should make sure his parents treat the family well while they’re there. He’s all obliging, especially when she turns on the charm.
Wink, tuck, smile. Well played, Jung-in!
There aren’t as many pleasantries in Grandpa Man-bok’s room, where Jung-kil settles in for the night. He tells Grandpa Man-bok not to get the wrong idea just because he’s momentarily in a rough spot, then tells him to turn off the light.
Grandpa Man-bok sums up all of Jung-kil’s rudeness in one look. Then he gets up and turns the light off, without a word of reproach. (The look is searing and all, but could someone kick Jung-kil already?!)
It’s a sleepless night in the house.
Jung-kyung goes out to get some air, only to run into Hyun-soo, who had the same idea. She asks him if he’d known who she was.
Hyun-soo: Never! Really. Truly. If I’d known, I would’ve told you. It would have been an easy way for us to become closer. This is no ordinary connection. No, it’s fate—this has to be fate!
Jung-kyung quickly puts a damper on his excitement. She tells Hyun-soo not to get the wrong idea; had she known who Hyun-soo was, she wouldn’t have come to the house. She asks him to pretend he doesn’t know her. He cheerfully agrees, so long as she’ll let him know if there’s anything she needs.
He’s not exactly driving a hard bargain, and it becomes apparent once she leaves that he’s not even disappointed by her words. “Alright,” he peps himself up, “This is as far as I’m getting today.” (After all, what’s a day after eight years?)
Jung-in bumps into her sister coming back in, and suspects something is going on, which is confirmed when she finds Hyun-soo pumping himself up. She interrupts him to ask what he thought about meeting her sister. He says the two sisters are nothing alike, and Jung-in retorts that Hyun-soo is nothing like his Grandpa Man-bok; she says he must have been adopted. Hyun-soo tells her to stop being immature and hits her on the forehead.
Hyun-soo: How can you “Hey” at an oppa? What kind of woman…. Granted, one mountain isn’t like another, so not all women would be alike either. Talking to you only makes my mouth hurt.
(Note that Hyun-soo’s begun to refer to himself as her oppa. Even though Jung-in and Hyun-soo both use the term to serve their own agendas, they’ve definitely settled into a nimble bickering relationship that goes from antagonizing to sweet-talking each other.)
Jung-in, manipulative though not maliciously so, goads him by saying that her sister mentioned him. She trails off and turns to go, but he’s positively hungry for the information. As she hesitates, he looks at her like he might eat her if she doesn’t spit it out, so she finally says her sister told her not to be rude to Hyun-soo, since he’s Grandpa Man-bok’s grandson.
He’s pleased at this and asks for more. She retorts, “What do you mean more? She just met you today.”
She turns to go, and mumbles under her breath, “No wonder he’d get slapped with a slapper.” He doesn’t hear her, and is not only unfazed, but beside himself with glee.
The next morning, breakfast is rife with tension before it even begins. In the room, Jung-in is yelling at Jung-kyung, who is trying to wake her and Joo-hee up. The Kangs overhear the argument as they’re setting the table and Geum-ja rails at the daughters’ poor upbringing.
When the Seos finally come out to eat, it’s amazing that anyone can manage to keep anything down with such palpable animosity going round. The Seos gripe, and the Kang parents respond with hateful looks and comebacks. Finally, Grandpa Man-bok yells at everyone to just eat, and silent watchfulness ensues.
When Jung-kyung gets up to go to work, Jung-kil tells Grandpa Man-bok to drive her. But Jung-kyung hurriedly leaves, saying the bus will be faster.
Hyun-soo’s almost missed his cue!
He crams his remaining spoonfuls of rice in his mouth, trying to catch up with Jung-kyung. He starts to leave, but his mother hands him some hot broth to finish first. He downs it, scalding hot. Hyun-soo’s expressions in this scene are PRICELESS.
Hyun-soo runs out and catches up with Jung-kyung at the bus station. He tries to give her helpful hints about which bus to take and safety at night, but she doesn’t respond. When the bus comes, she asks him to take the next one. This time, he’s disappointed, especially when she sees him out the bus window, then turns her back to him.
Jung-kyung at work is much more chipper. Two coffees in hand, she banters with the Chief. Seeing her suitcase, he asks if she moved out of her house. She asks, “Why, are you worried I’ll try to move in with you?”
Reaction FAIL. She continues to play it off lightly and says they should spend the night together at the hospital instead.
After he leaves, though, we see her true feelings.
Now we see Hyun-soo at work. Too cute to be a prof!
The director approaches him and says that he did sign the deal with Global Korea, so he should start working there as of the next day. Hyun-soo asks the director how he could make that decision without consulting him first, at which the director reminds him that there was no way to contact Hyun-soo, who doesn’t have a cell phone.
Hyun-soo: So, Lee Han-sae, you’re saying we’re on the same team?
He stalks off determinedly. (Whoa! What happened to being Beta male?) Well, Hyun-soo is nothing if not loyal, and this scene makes it clear that his loyalties lie with Jung-in. He looks positively FIERCE.
Back at home, Jung-kil comes out looking for “Chauffeur Kang,” where Kyung-soo is working on a car. I heart Kyung-soo, not just because he is hilaaarious in all his scenes, but because he’s the only one so far who puts Jung-kil in his place.
Kyung-soo tells Jung-kil to stop calling Grandpa Man-bok “Chauffeur Kang,” since that was yesterday’s news. Jung-kil raises his hand to smack Kyung-soo, who responds by raising his own—which is holding a wrench. Jung-kil awkwardly puts his hand back down. HAHA.
When he finds Grandpa Man-bok, Jung-kil is shifty and pretends to sniffle at how sad it is for his family, and how bad he feels at being unable to recompense the Kangs for their troubles. Grandpa Man-bok offers a roll of toilet paper (ha), but Jung-kil moves on to his main point.
Jung-kil: So… you should buy us plane tickets to the U.S.!
Kang Man-bok: What?
Jung-kil: It doesn’t cost much, so buy them for us and unburden yourself of the indebtedness you feel toward us once and for all!
(Ugh.) Grandpa Man-bok tries to dissuade him, but Jung-kil insists, even saying he’ll repay the cost once he finds Sung-joon.
A storm is brewing… Sang-hoon hasn’t necessarily overheard the exchange, but he’s had enough. He winds up, ready to lay one on Jung-kil, but Jung-kil blackmails him by reminding him of the “thigh” and “pink lipstick.”
Huh? Thigh? Pink lipstick?
Flashback—room salon—and—oops! It’s true. Sang-hoon had indeed kissed one of the hostess girls and touched her thigh. Jung-kil threatens to tell Geum-ja about the incident, and psychologically shakes Sang-hoon down for some cash.
Hyun-soo’s brought home some food for the guests—coffee and bread, which Jung-in had said in the morning is the only thing Jung-kyung eats. Meanwhile, Grandpa Man-bok has also brought home coffee and pastries. Geum-ja feels betrayed, especially by Hyun-soo, that the guests are treated so well while she isn’t given even a stick of gum.
She has a pity party in the kitchen, crying while she does the dishes. Hyun-soo comes in and holds out the bag to her, asking if she had looked thoroughly at its contents. At the bottom of the bag is a bottle of hand cream, which soothes a sore point, since unbeknownst to him Joo-hee had just called Geum-ja’s hands “tortoise shells.”
Hyun-soo: I prefer hands like these, my mother’s hands. They show how much my mother loves our family, and loves me. I am so proud, and so happy, to be your son.
This scene: Awww!! I should go call my mom.
Speaking of making phone calls… Jung-in’s phone fell in the toilet. When she comes out of the bathroom, Hyun-soo is talking to a woman (we presume it’s Jung-kyung, especially when she hangs up on him).
It’s impressive how quickly Jung-in works: she says her sister’s cell phone has been dropping calls, trying to goad him into buying a new phone for her(….self).
And he’s suckered again. You’d think he would see through her, but no. She convinces him to get his own too, since there’s a deal on “couple phones.”
She takes the phone that’s supposedly for her sister and is about to split, but Hyun-soo insists on going to the hospital now to give it to Jung-kyung in person. To avoid getting caught, she tells him to wait in the lobby while she gives Jung-kyung the phone.
She finds her sister in the Chief’s office, where the two are engaging in some collegial hanky panky. She backs out quickly—not without a judgmental glare—and intercepts Hyun-soo, who came up looking for Jung-kyung. She tells him she already gave her the phone and hurries him off.
At home, Jung-in gets a text from Hyun-soo: “Jung-kyung, I went to the hospital, and I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to see you. Overworking is bad for you, so take some breaks while you work. –Kang Hyun-soo.”
Jung-in says to herself, “Poor guy. He doesn’t even know a thing.”
But she sends a reply to Hyun-soo, with the voice-over is in Jung-kyung’s voice (since that’s who he thinks it’s from): “I’m disappointed too. And thanks. <3”
The heart was a little much on Jung-in’s part… but needless to say, Hyun-soo is ecstatic. He excitedly starts tapping away at his response.
(The music in this scene, which plays during the rest of the text-message scenes between Hyun-soo and Jung-kyung/Jung-in, is a great pick. It reminds me of the kinds of music they play in Mac commercials: it’s light, playful and has a steady pace that suggests the development of something novel.)
Grandpa Man-bok has bought tickets for Jung-kil, who is of course not only rude enough to wrest them away from him, but complains that they were purchased by redeeming mileage points. Jung-kil takes them and trades the redeemed points for cash, which he plans to use to pay for a hotel.
To this point, I haven’t captured much detail from the scenes about the dynamics among the parents because (a) it’s a secondary storyline and (b) it’s not that interesting, but this exchange cracked me up:
Joo-hee (to Jung-kil): Honey, when are we going to the U.S.? She keeps trying to start a quarrel, and it’s so scary.
Geum-ja: How am I scary? Am I an evil spirit? You’re the scarier one.
Jung-kil: Actually, even as a man, I do find you a bit scary.
We’ll see a lot of the parents’ dynamics in the next scene, though. Grandpa Man-bok gives Geum-ja meat for the guests. She protests—he wouldn’t even get meat to celebrate Hyun-soo’s homecoming—but he explains that the guests are leaving. It’s for their send-off. At that, she perks up. “I understand, Father. I’ll do my best!”
Though the Seos are about to leave for the hotel, it’s not hard to convince them to stay to eat the meat.
The two families grill the meat outside. They’re sitting in cramped quarters, and the sound of the sizzling meat is like a soundtrack to the escalating tension.
Jung-kil eggs Sang-hoon on, gesturing and alluding to the girl at the room salon, the thigh and pink lipstick. Meanwhile, Hyun-soo is anxious, waiting for Jung-kyung to come home. And Geum-ja is taking this last opportunity to rib the Seos.
Joo-hee mentions that she wants coffee, and Hyun-soo jumps up to go buy a freshly made cup, since he’s anxious for an excuse to look for Jung-kyung. Jung-in is close behind, seizing a similarly lame excuse of an errand. As they’re walking, they run into Jung-kyung, who’s just been dropped off by the Chief. The three of them pick up the coffee and head back to the house. Hyun-soo drops hints about the cell phone:
Hyun-soo: You must be sad that your family is moving to the U.S.
Hyun-soo: Well, since you have your phone, you can keep in touch with them.
Jung-kyung: I guess so.
Back at the house, things are getting juicy. Jung-kil is alluding to Sang-hoon’s womanizing ways by bringing up his first love and how he even started attending church for her. It seems that neither Geum-ja nor Jung-kil realize that person is Joo-hee, who chokes at the mention. Awkwardd! Then Jung-kil alludes to the thigh and pink lipstick again.
Sang-hoon’s had enough. He lunges for Jung-kil, accidentally searing his hand on the grill in the process. He pushes Jung-kil off the platform, then jumps up howling in pain.
The “kids” return and are there to witness Jung-kil’s retribution—he spills everything. He says that Sang-hoon touched the hostess girl’s leg, and even kissed her.
Far from the outburst you might expect from Geum-ja, she’s silently throwing daggers at Jung-kil with her eyes.
Jung-kil: Why are you glaring at me? Sang-hoon’s the one who kissed her.
Geum-ja says Sang-hoon did well: Why go to such an expensive place if all you’re going to do is drink? Even though my son is here, I’ll acknowledge that men will do such things sometimes. And the fact that he lied to me? That’s obvious. We’re married, so you can do that. That kind of lie is acceptable. Do you have anything left to say? If not, please leave our house this very instant!
(Geum-ja’s having a moment, and I like it. She’s been sensitive up to this point, but it’s because she’s fiercely loyal and wants affirmation that her family is loyal to her, too. In the face of mockery from the outside, and especially from the likes of Jung-kil, something finally snaps and she rushes to Sang-hoon’s defense, willing to overlook his mistake. Will she kill him later? We don’t know. But for now, brava!)
Jung-kil appeals to Grandpa Man-bok, who clears his throat and looks away. Jung-kil says, “Fine, I’m leaving!” and begins to spit on their hospitality. Sang-hoon spits back, and there’s no end in sight to their juvenile antics.
But just then, the long-lost brother Sung-joon comes in. Heads turn, and not just because of that outrageously shiny murse.
Sung-joon: “So this is where you all were!”
[The Seos]: “Sung-joon!”
Sung-joon: “That’s right. Mother, Father, I’M BAAACK! AAAHAHAHA!”
I know we’ve only seen him for all of 15 seconds, but having also seen episode 6, I’ll say that I am loving Lee Chun-hee as Seo Sung-joon. His character comes on the scene when, frankly, the plot was starting to drag and I was past annoyed with Jung-kil’s asinine behavior. Sung-joon’s arrival could have been a total plot contrivance—the distant son swoops in and sets some plot devices in motion—but Lee Chun-hee just does it with so much gusto. His entrance tells it all: this guy is crazy, and when he bursts onto the scene with his half-maniacal laughter, he infuses the scene with new energy. He commits to his antics with loads of flair and creates moments of unbridled comic relief while the other (more serious, if you will) plotlines are developing. Keep watching—there’s more Sung-joon fun to be had in episode 6!
On the other hand, Seo Jung-kil irks me to no end. I know he’s supposed to be annoying—his character is grotesquely immature—but I haven’t decided yet whether to attribute my reaction to character alone, or also in part to Kang Suk-woo’s performance. Jung-kil’s nonexistent backbone is essential to the plot; he’s dodgy, evasive and oblivious to how his actions affect others. But I think that Kang Suk-woo is making Jung-kil out to have the emotional intelligence of a 12-year-old, and regardless of character flaws, this is still a man who steered a company for several years. Granted, he steered it right into the ground, but surely he should have even the slightest sense of scale? That said, I am looking forward to seeing Jung-kil eat some humble pie in order to grow a backbone, and I hope to see a bit more nuance in how Kang Suk-woo portrays that growth.
- Smile: Episode 4
- Smile: Episode 3
- Smile: Episodes 1 & 2
- Lee Min-jung gets dumped
- Lee Min-jung takes a second walk down the aisle
- Smile finishes casting, begins filming
- Well, that’s dramatic
- Smile casts Lee Kyu-han
- Lee Min-jung gets her first leading role