Smile: Episode 6
This episode is not so much a series of small lol’s as a crescendo towards one, raucous, side-splittingly hilarious scene (Thank you, Lee Chun-hee!!). In my opinion, it’s the funniest scene in this series so far.
Overall, the snappy pace and light fun of this series are getting a bit bogged down, but we do get a lot more Jung-in/Hyun-soo quality time in the latter half of this episode (yay!). In recent episodes, the two carried on about the slapper and traded barbs as they adjusted to the new two-family dynamics, but the actual relationship between the two of them for its own sake hadn’t developed much. Here, we get lots of “I care for you” looks from Hyun-soo toward Jung-in, which I appreciate even if he hasn’t actually mentally processed this yet.
Episode 6 Recap
Sung-joon, the pro golfer son on whom the Seos’ hopes hang, has finally come home. His entrance inadvertently breaks up the Seo-Kang feud that had just come to a head. Feeling back in control now that his moneybag—I mean, son—is home, Jung-kil begins to taunt Grandpa Man-bok and Sang-hoon and the tension reheats.
But Sung-joon interrupts and says that, despite what may have been happening in the house up to this point, the proper order of things must be observed. He leads the group inside, where he makes a formal bow to his parents and apologizes in elaborate, flowery language for having been oblivious to their troubles.
When he finishes his little monologue, Jung-in looks at her sister and says, “What’d he say?” (Our first indication that it’s not just we the viewers who find him a bit odd.)
Eagerly, Jung-kil asks whether the house and car he’d bought for Sung-joon in the U.S. are in good condition. Taken aback, Sung-joon says, “Pardon?” and laughs nervously. “Of course! But more importantly, they say that the rich can last three years even if they lose everything, so how did the house disappear overnight?”
“Not to worry,” Jung-kil says. “Everything will be fine now that you’re here.”
Jung-kil reaches in his pocket, takes out the money Grandfather had given him and throws it on the floor, saying he no longer needs it. He tells the family to get ready to leave, but Sung-joon interrupts: “From now on, we need to live differently. Even if we leave for America, until we go, I will stay in this house.” (Love Geum-ja’s expression here.)
Speaking with gravitas, he says that, given the ruin that’s come to this family, he must now take responsibility as head of the house. With a quick look around and a comment on how small the house is, he says he’ll sleep outside and runs out with his luggage. Everyone is thinking the same thing—WTF?!—so it takes the Seos a few moments to regroup and follow him outside.
It must have been a long time since Sung-joon left for the States, because something about him has clearly been off, yet they are only just now catching on. Jung-kil says that he’s found the whole thing suspicious from the start and asks Sung-joon if he’s been doing drugs in the States (haha!), while Jung-in uses her sixth sense to surmise that Sung-joon has set up house with a mistress.
Sung-joon has quickly fallen from grace, but he doesn’t stay down for long. He denies both of these scenarios and turns the searchlights back on Jung-kil. Where Jung-in’s childish “This is all your fault” outbursts fail, Sung-joon uses logic to undermine Jung-kil’s inflated sense of self:
Sung-joon: Don’t carry on like that; you have no right to do so in these circumstances! As far as the business, sure, sometimes things can go wrong. I’m not saying we should resent you for that. But whose fault is it that we’ve come to this house? If times are hard, it’s harder on Mom, Jung-in and Jung-kyung; and the blow to their pride would be greater, too.
Hyun-soo comes outside, expressing concern that it’s cold and Sung-joon must be tired. He tells Sung-joon to sleep in his room tonight, at which Sung-joon immediately grabs his man-bag and goes inside.
Hyun-soo smiles at Jung-kyung, hoping for a word of thanks. Jung-kyung looks away. You literally hear crickets in the background as Jung-in eyes them both skeptically.
Sung-joon invites himself to sleep in Hyun-soo’s bed, and with Jung-kyung in mind Hyun-soo is completely amenable, trying to impress her older brother. The two establish that Hyun-soo is a year younger than Sung-joon, who magnanimously tells Hyun-soo to be comfortable with him and just call him “Hyung” (older brother), while he begins calling Hyun-soo “Dongseng” (little brother).
Sung-joon observes that Hyun-soo has a certain charm and gives him a seal of approval as a potential suitor for one of his younger sisters. Hyun-soo is overjoyed—and his reaction blips on Sung-joon’s radar.
The Seo women are settling in for the night. Jung-in gets a text message from Hyun-soo, asking Jung-kyung to come outside to talk for a bit. The response: “Once my family is asleep, I’ll come outside. Wait for me.”
And wait he does. It’s cold outside, so he grabs clothing off the laundry line and piles it on.
When Geum-ja finds Sung-joon sleeping in Hyun-soo’s bed in the morning, she sounds an alarm in the house, worried that he’s disappeared. Jung-in remembers the text she’d sent, and rushes outside.
Without much sympathy for his barefoot-in-the-cold, fetal position, she wakes him up.
Jung-in: “You like it that much? Is it that great?”
Hyun-soo [with a sheepish look at the phone clutched to his chest]:“It is new after all…”
Jung-in: “That’s not what I meant.”
Geum-ja and company rush to the scene. Hyun-soo sees Jung-kyung, and, not wanting to make her feel guilty that he fell asleep out in the cold while waiting, he exaggeratedly insists that he’s completely fine, really!
Jung-in sarcastically remarks that he doesn’t seem to have a fever, so maybe drinking the morning dew has addled his brain? Geum-ja flings Jung-in’s hand off her precious son. Sung-joon’s radar computes: sister—hand—Hyun-soo—forehead—!!! As everyone heads inside to eat, Sung-joon flashes a sly, knowing look at Jung-in.
Over breakfast, Jung-kil asks Sung-joon to just front some cash so the Seos can leave. If nothing else, can’t they just abandon the house they’ve lost and go to their second home in the States? Sung-joon and Jung-in both say they can’t just abandon the house, its associated memories and the belongings they left behind.
Grandpa Kang agrees. Ever loyal to the Chairman, Grandpa Kang says that now that the company’s lost, the house is the sole inheritance left to the family.
Sung-joon later approaches Grandfather Kang in the car garage office, emphasizing once again that this house is the best place for the Seos to stay until they can recoup their losses. He begins to bring up something else, but Kyung-soo interrupts.
Grandpa Kang, referring to Sung-joon as “Young master” (which is also how he addresses Jung-kil), leaves to make his morning rounds. Kyung-soo sarcastically remarks, “This isn’t the Chosun era anymore, so what’s with all the young masters around here?”
Kyung-soo and Sung-joon have a mini-showdown, which I think is cute because they have similar character traits. If ever there was such a thing as a Korean-male-blonde, these two are it. Though well-intentioned and charming, they are not all there upstairs, and whether by self-report or by reputation, they supposedly know how to work it with the opposite sex. (They even kind of look alike!)
Both react with surprise when they hear Jung-in coming, looking for Oppa. Kyung-soo realizes that he’s been mouthing off at the older brother of the object of his affections, and immediately changes his tune.
Sung-joon senses the shift in power dynamics, and he begins to coax some information out of Kyung-soo. He asks how the car wash business is doing, and whether Grandpa Kang still owns the surrounding land. Kyung-soo says he does, but there’s something more important that he wants to tell Sung-joon. He hesitates. Sung-joon insists that his lips are sealed, so he should tell him everything.
Kyung-soo essentially wants to ask Sung-joon for his blessing in re: Jung-in. He cryptically (at least to Sung-joon, who is completely out of the loop) refers to Jung-in’s past and says it doesn’t matter to him that she was married. He dreamily refers to the first time he laid eyes on Jung-in, when she was dumped on the way to her honeymoon and appeared at the car garage with tears in her eyes, wearing her wedding dress.
Sung-joon: “If you’re kidding around, you’re dead meat!! Tell me straight up. What happened to my little sister Jung-in??”
Meanwhile, Lee Han-sae calls Hyun-soo and asks him to come by the office for a brief orientation of the facilities, since Hyun-soo starts work tomorrow. After hanging up the phone, Han-sae tells his assistant to bring together a team for the system testing project.
Confused, the assistant reminds Han-sae that Hyun-soo is assembling his own team. Han-sae tells him to choose people who are capable enough to take over the project in its entirety, since Hyun-soo might find himself ousted somewhere down the line. Do I smell sabotage?
Why, yeeesss. And accompanied by a look of evil genius, no less. Han-sae is planning professional revenge for a personal grievance—that Hyun-soo would steal “his woman.”
Han-sae’s revenge is oh so passive-aggressive. He tells the receptionist to relay the message that he’s stepped out of the office, and have Hyun-soo wait. While waiting, Hyun-soo drafts a text message to Jung-kyung. It reads, “Jung-kyung, have you had lunch?”
With a sigh, he chides himself: “All you ever do is talk about eating; she must think you’re a glutton.”
Sung-joon is outraged at hearing what happened to Jung-in, and he finds her reading text messages from Hyun-soo, in a wistful mood. Sung-joon demands to know what happened with her marriage and annulment.
She expresses bitterly that Jung-kil pressured her into marrying Han-sae in order to save the company from bankruptcy (by forging ties with a wealthy family). As a result she was accused by Han-sae’s mother of using the marriage to swindle them. She says thinking about it stings her pride so deeply that she’d rather die, and tells Sung-joon to drop the subject.
Far from dropping the subject, he yells, “Lee Han-sae, you bastard!” and takes off in a tizzy of protective, big-brother anger. (It’d almost be cute, if he weren’t so completely crazay.)
Jung-in rushes to find her mother and father, asking them to stop Sung-joon from causing trouble. She wants no further entanglements with the Lee family, and if Sung-joon creates a scene they’ll think she still has feelings for Han-sae.
Back at Global Korea, Han-sae finally calls Hyun-soo up for their much-delayed appointment. Hyun-soo asks, “Did I get the meeting time wrong?” To which Han-sae responds that he had some important reading to do. He throws it on the desk, and it’s a mere consumer magazine, Top Gear.
Han-sae gets down to the business he’s interested in. He asks what the relationship is between Hyun-soo and Jung-in.
Hyun-soo: Our families are acquainted.
Han-sae: By acquainted, you mean…
Hyun-soo: My grandfather was their chauffeur.
Han-sae: Chauffeur? [Laughs.] Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not because he was a chauffeur… but for you, working with cars is the family trade. Granted, you’ve upgraded a few levels.
Han-sae continues to press Hyun-soo for the exact nature of his and Jung-in’s relationship, but Hyun-soo keeps his tone professional and makes it clear that’s not what he came here to talk about.
They tour the premises, then leave the office together. As Hyun-soo is taking his leave, Han-sae says, “Kang Hyun-soo, I have high expectations for your work. And I’ll be putting in my best effort when dealing with you, whether at work or in other matters.”
Hyun-soo responds with a civil, “Very well.”
All civility disappears when Sung-joon bursts on the scene. It’s like the running of the bulls when he barrels down on Han-sae, full-force:
“Lee Han-sae!! Come here, you bastard! You call yourself a man? Annulment?! When was it that you chased Jung-in around saying you liked her, and then you throw her out in the cold??”
He shakes Han-sae like a rag doll. Hyun-soo is trying to break up the fight, but ducks out of the way when Sung-joon winds up his athletically trained arm and decks Han-sae. Han-sae goes flying, and Sung-joon picks him up, only to flatten him again.
But Han-sae’s called security, and when they accost Sung-joon, Han-sae says, “Hold on tight!” and begins to hit Sung-joon back. (A dastardly move, if ever there was one… not that we’d expect any better from Han-sae. Even the security guard is looking at him like, ARE YOU FORREALS?!—haha.)
Han-sae taunts, “Come on! Come get me!” His attempt to enrage Sung-joon is too effective. Sung-joon flings the guards off, lunges and mauls Han-sae to the ground. (He is a BEAST!)
(HAHAHA… This is like one of those “Can you find all seven things that are wrong with this photo?” puzzles.)
Jung-in, Jung-kil and Joo-hee have arrived. Jung-in looks at Han-sae, disheveled and bloodied, and asks, “Did you really have to go this far?”
Sheepish, he says that Sung-joon started it.
Jung-kil is enraged now, too: “You drew tears from my daughter’s eyes… and now you draw blood from my son?!”
He jumps into the fray, and a hilarious, frenetic melee ensues. Unable to break it up, Jung-in yells in frustration from the sidelines. It almost seems like a game of tag, musical chairs and steal the bacon combined… Which is to say, nice job on the maturity level, boys.
(Okay, commentary. OMIGOD Lee Chun-hee is brilliant. He’s the fulcrum of this madness, and he completely lets it rip. Props to Lee Kyu-han, too, for being a remorseless Hugh Grant to Lee Chun-hee’s Colin Firth; the only thing this scene lacks is a fountain. I should note, this also happens to be the first scene in which I approve of Jung-kil’s actions—it is the very first time we’ve seen him stick up for his family. He’s always cowering, evading, worming his way out of sticky situations, so it was just fun to see him getting his hands dirty along with the rest of them.)
Now that testosterone levels are back to normal, the two families start a war of words. Jung-kil, master of empty threats, says that Global Korea’s corporate reputation will suffer when word gets out that Han-sae is prone to violence; he points to Sung-joon’s bloodied lip as evidence.
But Han-sae’s mother advises Jung-kil that those who have more win out in the end.
(Wardrobe! What did you do to this poor lady? I know she’s a total witch, but did you have to make her look like one?)
Proving Mrs. Lee’s point, her lawyer comes in with a file on Sung-joon. While at a casino in Las Vegas, he says, Sung-joon had been restrained for creating a public disturbance when he got in a fight. Jung-kil jumps to Sung-joon’s defense, but Sung-joon admits that it’s true.
Jung-in, still smarting from the physical and emotional slap she got from Mrs. Lee, apologizes on her brother’s behalf for creating a scene. Mrs. Lee turns her verbal venom on Jung-in, telling her to stop clinging on to Han-sae. Since it’s money she’s looking for, would she give up if the Lees introduce her to some other wealthy bachelor?
Hyun-soo has been observing the dynamics: Jung-kil’s groundless pugnacity, Mrs. Lee’s vindictiveness and Jung-in’s silent submission. This isn’t the resilient, right-back-at-you Jung-in he’s come to know. He grabs Jung-in’s hand and pulls her outside.
Hyun-soo: Are you a fool? How could you just stand there and take the things she was saying?
Jung-in: You’re right. I’m a fool. So stay out of my business.
Outside, Sung-joon apologizes to his parents for having gone gambling in Vegas, and to his surprise Jung-kil shrugs it off. Sung-joon is a man, after all, and sometimes men let their fists fly.
Remember how I said Sung-joon is a Korean-male-blonde? He proves it when he ditzily responds: “Father, I was wronged. They say there’s no mercy in gambling. Even though I only put down a few million, it was criminal of them not to give me at least me a cut of the winnings. And so, before I realized it, it was over…”
Jung-kil stutters, “A—a few, a few million?” No doubt, he asks, that money was from Sung-joon’s tournament prize earnings… right?!?!
Wrong. Sung-joon sinks to his knees, pleading for his life. (Actually, he’s pleading for his death, saying, “Please kill me!”—which drove home for me the vast difference in how culturally appropriate behavior is perceived.)
Joo-hee and Jung-kil, realizing what this means, collapse in frustration. The moneybag has come home empty. In a nice touch, after Jung-kil collapses flat on his back, his feet convulse a little, as though he’s just died a little inside.
Grandpa Man-bok had come out looking for the family (he’d driven them to the original fight scene), and he overhears the exchange. He, too, is distraught to hear the news. But as he leaves, he walks purposefully and determinedly. The family’s hit rock bottom, and there’s no time to waste. Something must be done.
Hyun-soo has been walking Jung-in home, a few paces behind her. But he looks around and wonders where she’s going; this isn’t the way home.
It is, though—it’s the way to her old home. “Grandfather,” she says in tears, “right now, I feel so upset, and so troubled, but there’s no one to turn to. And so… I have nowhere to go.”
As if on cue, Hyun-soo steps into the scene. (This is gorgeous—both in terms of the framing of the shot, and the symbolism, which we’ll soon discover.) He tries to cheer her up, and they banter per usual, but her delivery lacks its signature feistiness.
He points to the angel statue they’ve been sitting under, commenting that it kind of resembles Jung-in.
Jung-in says that her grandfather had it made when she was born. “Grandfather treated me the most fondly. So he said he wouldn’t give this statue up, even when I leave the house to get married. If he missed me, he said, he’d look at this statue and think of me. But the reverse has happened. Since he passed away, whenever I miss him, I look at this statue.”
(Back to the photo above—I love that Hyun-soo’s entrance is a mirror image to the guardian angel that symbolizes her grandfather. It’s way obvious, but sweet nonetheless.)
Still trying to cheer Jung-in up, he tells her that with her spitfire personality, she’s bound to get the house back if she sets her mind to it. Once she’s reclaimed the house, he demands that she invite him over for a barbecue. “A luxurious one,” he gestures. Jung-in scoffs.
Hyun-soo: What? We had a barbecue party for you at our house too, you know.
Jung-in: Some party that was.
Hyun-soo: Regardless, you ate barbecue.
Jung-in is still hard to please, but her tone has softened.
Hyun-soo: Are you hungry? Let’s go eat. I can buy you anything under $10.
Jung-in: Have you forgotten? For women, it’s all about the atmosphere. You shouldn’t worry about where to go, but how much you’re going to spend.
Hyun-soo: You’re not a woman, you’re a dongseng.
Jung-in: I’m not hungry. Go and eat by yourself.
Hyun-soo: Hey, I’m putting effort in here, so could you stop acting like that?
Jung-in: Put your effort in with the slapper, and don’t worry about me.
A gate latch clicks, followed by a door opening and closing. Footsteps approach.
Hyun-soo grabs Jung-in to hide behind the bushes. Jung-in asks in a whisper who it could be. As Hyun-soo whispers in her ear that it must be the new owner, she becomes aware of his physical presence.
His hand is on her shoulder to keep her in their hiding spot, and his face is so close that it almost seems a precursor to a kiss scene. “Let’s get out of here,” Hyun-soo whispers.
After they leave, lights turn on in the house. The owner sits down among the slipcovered furniture, and in the briefest moment, we see that it’s Grandpa Man-bok who has bought the house.
Hyun-soo continues to follow Jung-in and asks her if she’s sure she doesn’t want to eat. The whispers still ringing in her ear, she turns around and pushes him away, telling him not to stick so close to her.
Sung-joon, Jung-kil and Joo-hee discuss next steps as they approach the Kangs’ house. Simple-minded Sung-joon suggests that they should come clean and ask Grandpa Man-bok for some money to reclaim the house, but Jung-kil and Joo-hee say that would never work. And if Geum-ja were to find out the truth… Joo-hee shudders at the thought of it. They don’t have a plan B, but they agree that no one in the house must know this change in their situation.
Hyun-soo and Jung-in arrive, and Sung-joon apologizes to Jung-in for starting the fight. She tells him he did well, but asks him not to interfere again, and to avoid the Lee family from now on.
Hyun-soo goes inside, and Jung-kil points out that he might have overheard their secret. “Don’t worry,” Sung-joon says. “Leave it to me—I’ll take care of it.”
He puts out feelers to get a sense of whether Hyun-soo has overheard anything about losing money, gambling and the like. Hyun-soo’s non-reactions put him at ease, and Sung-joon pulls out his trump card.
Sung-joon: Very well! I consent. Take good care of my little sister.
Sung-joon: I was onto you the moment you grabbed her hand and swooped out of the room.
Hyun-soo, of course, insists nothing is going on. Too discomfited to keep this conversation going any longer, he goes upstairs to wash up.
Jung-in comes out, looking quite lovely. (Is it the hair? Curled more tightly than usual?) She’s also had a mood upswing, and offers to cook ramen for Hyun-soo if he’s hungry, since they never did eat on the way home.
Sung-joon pops up from downstairs, intrigued. (Hahaha!) Hyun-soo says he wouldn’t eat it with her, and storms into the bathroom.
Jung-in processes an eventful, emotion-filled day. She thinks about her interactions with Hyun-soo and sighs, “I must be crazy.”
Just then, a text message. “Are you sleeping?”
(The voiceovers are now in Jung-in’s voice (up til now, they were voiced over by Jung-kyung). Hyun-soo still thinks it’s coming from Jung-kyung of course, but Jung-in needs someone to talk to—her guard is down—so she’s interacting with Hyun-soo in her own voice and thoughts.)
Jung-in: “I can’t sleep.”
Hyun-soo: “If you’re too tired, it can be hard to sleep. Was it a difficult day?”
Jung-in: “A bit. I was upset enough to cry, but I’m okay now.”
Hyun-soo: “Via text, I can’t pat your back or console you with a song, so what can I do?”
Jung-in: “Do you sing well?”
Hyun-soo: “No. So if I sing, at least you’ll laugh. Though you’d be laughing at me.”
Jung-in: “Unthinkable. Singing doesn’t suit you at all.”
Hyun-soo: “Haha. But it’s strange. When you’re texting, you seem like a different person.”
At this, Jung-in snaps out of it. Hyun-soo sends a few more texts, but she doesn’t reply.
Grandpa Man-bok, in the Chairman’s house, vows that in the Chairman’s memory he will make a man out of the young master. His determination is evident when, probably for the first time in his life, he calls Jung-kil “young master” and then corrects himself saying, “I mean—Seo Jung-kil.”
The plan goes into effect bright and early the next morning. Grandpa Man-bok sounds a siren, to which Geum-ja, Sang-hoon and Hyun-soo react with evident auto-recall. Barely awake, Hyun-soo bounds out of his cocoon sleeping bag, robotically puts on his jacket and goes outside.
Grandpa Man-bok announces that the morning exercises that were temporarily sidelined due to Hyun-soo’s studies abroad will now resume daily at 6 a.m. Those who are late don’t eat. Those who don’t work also don’t eat! He says that anyone who lives under his roof from this point forward must follow his orders.
He turns on an antiquated recording, to which the Kangs do their morning routine. The Seos find this hilarious, but it’s cold, they’re tired, and it’s not enough of a spectacle to keep watching. So they head inside.
Until Grandpa Kang calls out, “Jung-kil, you wretch! Get down here right now!”
Jung-kil’s never been called a wretch, so he says in surprise, “You… you… wretch?… Chauffeur Kang!”
“Shut your trap! Who said I’m your chauffeur? I am the owner of this house. Kang Man-bok.”
I embedded by fangirly commentary re: Lee Chun-hee above, so I’ll pass on describing once more how much he’s enlivened the show. He brings crazy fun, but Lee Ming-jung and Jung Kyung-ho provide the cute fun so I’m glad we’ve seen their friendationship take a baby step forward. The chemistry between the two is still going strong, and I think they had a lot of great moments together in this episode.
But I’m starting to think that Jung-in’s character is actually getting short shrift, somewhat. Lee Min-jung traverses such a spectrum of expression that she makes Jung-in’s emotions believable in each moment, but Jung-in as a character doesn’t really cohere for me. She was engaged & spunky; now she’s dumped and mopey. She was rich; now she’s poor. She’s fresh and in-your-face to Han-sae, but sensitive and timid in front of his mother. We know she was spoiled, but I just can’t figure out anything else about her. Aside from being opinionated and outspoken, Jung-in hasn’t actually done much other than express her opinions and make a fuss in these last two episodes.
One thing to note: in the last recap, I said that the parental dynamics are a secondary storyline, but I misspoke; the parents are clearly integral to the story. What I actually meant to say was that Joo-hee seems so… peripheral as a character and inessential to plot development. She doesn’t register for me at all—I don’t feel sorry for her, amused by or even annoyed with her. And for the most part all the characters pretty much ignore her too, including Jung-kil. The exception is Sang-hoon, I suppose, but the fact that he turns into putty around Joo-hee seems completely out of place, considering that they were interested in each other thirty years, two marriages and four children ago. If they were, say, 35 and had toddlers rather than grown adults for children, then maybe. I hope the writers don’t take this thread too far, because it just doesn’t make sense.
I probably sound a little schizo in my assessment— it’s fun & cute; but it drags and some characters don’t make sense. Well, since taking on these recaps I’ve started watching episodes twice, which brings out both the good and the bad. The first time, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode for its fun/farcical moments, and I didn’t pay much attention to the less interesting scenes. But my reaction after watching the episode a second time was tepid because while the fun parts are still fun, the rest just isn’t going anywhere right now. The show focuses entirely on the Seo/Kang inter-family dynamics, but there’s nothing else external going on to keep the plot moving. And since the characters haven’t developed much in these first six episodes, the cyclical jibe-comeback-glare-sulk thing is getting tired/predictable.
Whip ‘em into shape, Grandpa! Let’s MOVE this story right along!!