Smile is hitting exactly the right notes for me. Though not wildly innovative, there’s something organic and sweet about the pacing and tone that I really enjoy. When there’s as much chemistry & development as there is in these two episodes, reducing the repartee to a line of summary just doesn’t do it justice. So I apologize if these recaps get a bit long-winded!
The actors play off each other really well in small ways that are especially hard to capture, like the moment above when Jung-in makes an excited puppy-face at Hyun-soo. Out of context, it looks almost silly, but it’s the kind of unapologetically endearing moments that abound in this drama.
Stunned by Jung-in’s kiss, Hyun-soo falls back against the wall.
Hyun-soo: What’s gotten into you all of a sudden?
Jung-in: I wanted to be a first to you, too. That way, you’ll wait for me.
Hyun-soo tries to change the subject, saying the paint won’t come off his jacket (ha! There’s our beta male.)
Jung-in: You’ll wait for me, right?
Jung-in: You said you waited for Jung-kyung because she was your first love.
Hyun-soo: Sure. Sure, I w-w-waited. But who said that was my first k-k-k-kiss?
Nonchalantly, Hyun-soo says that there’s nothing he hasn’t done before.
… System OVERLOAD. You can almost see Hyun-soo popping screws as he staggers downstairs and collapses in bed. Sung-joon comes over to check on him, but, with urgency in his voice, Hyun-soo yells that he doesn’t want to be bothered, touched or even have anyone standing nearby. His whole body is tingling in shock!
Meanwhile, Geum-ja confirms her suspicions when she finds Joo-hee’s name on an ancient church bulletin in Sang-hoon’s Bible. She stalks off to find Joo-hee, who is in the backyard talking to Sang-hoon. Geum-ja rounds the corner, but Jung-kil, following close behind, pulls her back.
Sang-hoon holds Joo-hee’s hand briefly, saying that had been his wish thirty years ago. Joo-hee asks what his wish is now; he says he wants to make up with Geum-ja. But Geum-ja doesn’t hear this last part because Jung-kil pulls her away.
(Jung-kil consistently shows no affection toward Joo-hee, and even upon overhearing this incriminating conversation, his only reaction is to try to turn it to his advantage. I find Joo-hee exceedingly insipid and annoying, but seeing Jung-kil fail to display a hint of jealousy, protectiveness, or any interest at all, actually made me feel bad for her.)
Jung-kil tells Geum-ja that the Kangs’ house originally belonged to his father, so the house and car center all belong to him. He suggests that she can wield this knowledge to threaten Sang-hoon into good behavior and get more respect from Grandpa Man-bok.
Sung-joon finally gets Hyun-soo out of bed, but complains that the bed smells. Hyun-soo realizes it’s because of the paint and runs up to the attic, where Jung-in has fallen asleep among the paint fumes. He opens the window to air out the room and takes Jung-in outside.
They make a fire with fallen leaves to keep warm. Hyun-soo keeps his distance, but Jung-in tells him to sit next to her with a string of excuses: (a) it’s cold, (b) she’s still dizzy and wants to lean on him and (c) his legs must hurt from squatting. Finally she says, “Oppa, you’re acting weird.” Defensively, he sits next to her saying that’s not the case.
Jung-in: How was it?
Hyun-soo: What? H-h-h-…. H-h-h-how was what? W-w-what are you thinking?
Jung-in: I meant… the survey… how it went…
Hyun-soo falls sheepishly silent, and Jung-in mutters, “Player.”
Hyun-soo responds with feigned flippancy, “Look, for a man that’s a given! So what if I k-k-kissed someone? Just because I kissed a girl once…” His tone changes, genuinely curious. “… does that make me a player?”
Jung-in drops the subject, but as if in response she cuddles up to Hyun-soo, sayiing, “Can’t a dongseng link arms with her oppa when it’s cold?” He has to be consistent with his new playboy image, so he nervously laughs off the sexual tension, puts his arm around her and agrees that between an oppa and dongseng, it’s nice to be able to keep warm together.
(Eeeeeee!! Omgoodness, the cuteness of it all!!! Hyun-soo is making a total sucker out of me. *MELT*)
The next morning, Jung-in tells Hyun-soo they should make another fire and roast sweet potatoes. He shrugs her off, saying the fire is obviously not strong enough for the task. She pouts; he tells her, “Tuck those lips back in.” (Ha!)
But he can’t get her lips off his mind and starts seeing lips everywhere. He spazzes, but so as not to call attention to himself, he eats the “lips.” His imagination is so vivid that he struggles not to gag as he chews and swallows.
Jung-in finds onions and charcoal in her room, which Hyun-soo has put out to absorb the smell. Happy to see his thoughtful gesture, she labels them with post-it notes marked “Gift 1” and “Gift 2.”
Enter more tension between Jung-kyung and the Chief. Their relationship has already been strained because of personal matters, and now it’s spilling over into the workplace. Jung-kyung, incensed to hear that the Chief took her off a patient’s surgery, confronts him in front of colleagues. He sternly tells her it’s his policy to take a doctor off a case if the patient requests it.
Later, they make up quickly over the surgery issue, but when they get to the real problems at the heart of their relationship, making up isn’t so easy. The Chief argues that she wasn’t this way (i.e., this ‘demanding’) before Hyun-soo came back. Frustrated, he says they should take some time to rethink their relationship.
We get to dig into Sung-joon’s pro golf past, and there are skeletons lurking in his closet. The owner of the driving range asks him about his pro credentials, and he shiftily says that he left it in the U.S. He says his pro pseudonym was Tiger Buzz. “Tiger Buzz?” the owner repeats, incredulous; he’s never heard of it. (Though it does have a vaguely familiar ring… LOL. Oh, Sung-joon.)
To his salvation, a gaggle of eager ladies pass by just then, and he introduces himself as their new coach. (Damn, he’s tall.) They’re only too happy to be taught by the strapping young man. I suspect this is how he got by in the States, too…
At Global Motors, Han-se’s getting all lovey-dovey to Jung-in’s cold shoulder. “What?” she asks. “Cuz I like you,” he responds. The love sesh is rudely interrupted by Hyun-soo and his team. Seeing that the meeting room is taken, the team heads back out, but Hyun-soo yells, “Don’t close that door!” His ears perk up as he strains to listen from across the way.
While Hyun-soo is leading a meeting about the H-Spider brake system, Jung-in lets out a big yawn. (Haha–love Hyun-soo’s mid-sentence glare.)
They have coffee and desserts during the meeting, and more red juiciness = more lip fantasies. Hyun-soo passes off the cake, saying he doesn’t want it. After a beat, he says, “Nevermind—I’ll eat it,” and takes it back. And again, “Nevermind—you have it.” Hehe. I love how flummoxed he gets with all things Jung-in.
Han-se has Jung-in come to his office for lunch. Frustrated at the impasse she’s reached with Hyun-soo, she asks Han-se why he likes her.
Han-se: You’re pretty, you’re sweet and you don’t listen.
Han-se: It’s a good thing. A woman should be like that; if she’s too easy, it’s no fun…. And truthfully, what I like most is that you make me tremble. Aside from you, no woman has ever been like that for me.
An employee comes in to tell Han-se his mother is on the way. Panic mode!! Jung-in runs into the employees’ workspace and hides under Hyun-soo’s desk. Han-se’s mother recognizes Hyun-soo and approaches the desk; Jung-in grabs Hyun-soo’s pant leg anxiously.
(Mrs. Lee really gets the shaft from wardrobe. Here she is, with all the grandeur of an ostrich.)
Once she leaves, Hyun-soo pulls Jung-in out, angry that she felt the need to hide. He tells her he’ll help her find a job elsewhere if she needs money.
Hyun-soo: You said you had no thought of getting back together with Han-se.
Jung-in: And what if I do?
(Han-se: [Eavesdropping, reacts] ?? … !!!)
Jung-in: I said, so what if I do? It doesn’t matter to you whether I do or not. I’m not that smart, so don’t go confusing a person.
Jung-in’s speaks her mind with refreshing candor, and they fall silent as her meaning sinks in with Hyun-soo. Jung-kyung calls him, saying she’s at the house, but no one is there.
Jung-in always gets tight-lipped when Jung-kyung comes up, but this time, Hyun-soo tries to talk it through with her. While they’re waiting for the bus, he wonders aloud why Jung-kyung called: “Where do you think everyone went? Why would she stop by?” It’s not that he’s anxious to know; he just wants Jung-in to engage. This signals a shift in dynamics—he’s trying to involve Jung-in in the process so she doesn’t feel left out.
The cougar action in this scene is scary hilarious to watch. One woman offers to buy Sung-joon clothes, which he says he doesn’t need, and she says, “So it’s not clothes you need, but money!” She pulls out a wad of cash and greases his palm with it. He excuses himself to go count the money, saying, “I’ll be right back—I have to go powder my nose.” The women find this adorable.
Ha. Seo Dong-chan (of My Fair Lady) would have done it with more finesse than our endearingly bumbling Sung-joon, but ladies–I do believe we have a contender to take over Dong-chan’s old gigolo duds!
Sang-hoon takes Geum-ja to dinner, but their time is cut short when Jung-kil, anxious to thwart any potential reconciliation between the two, arrives with Joo-hee.
Sang-hoon does finally redeem himself later, in a rather touching scene. He tells Geum-ja the truth about Joo-hee, then continues:
They say that you realize how precious your parents and your wife are only after they’ve passed away. You’re grateful for them, you miss them, you feel sorry to them. I don’t want to have those regrets later. Dear, you’ve suffered a lot during these past thirty years. I don’t know how much time we still have left, but if we can live together another thirty years, during that time, even with you next to me, I’ll be grateful for you, miss you, and feel sorry to you.
He pulls out a ring, then kneels and puts it on the ring finger that’s never had a diamond on it til now. He explains, “I saved up some spending money to buy it, so I couldn’t get a nice one. Thank you for loving and protecting someone like me up til now.” She’s moved to tears (she’s also had her fair share of soju, hehe), and they embrace.
When Jung-in and Hyun-soo arrive at home, Jung-kyung tells Hyun-soo that she hasn’t eaten yet. In a huff, Jung-in tells them to eat by themselves and stalks off.
Hyun-soo is concerned at her reaction, but he goes with Jung-kyung and they end up at Ji-soo’s food stand. Sung-joon arrives after them and asks, “Why are you two here—where’s Jung-in?”
Home alone and furious, Jung-in needs to vent. She uses Hyun-soo’s gifts against him, taking the charcoal and writing “Idiot” on the wall he’d painted.
Sung-joon later reminds Hyun-soo about Jung-in’s intense propensity for jealousy, and Hyun-soo merely says, “Goodnight.”
“Oooh,” Sung-joon responds. “At long last you acknowledge it!”
As they get ready for bed, Jung-kyung asks Jung-in if she likes Hyun-soo, and tells her to get over him. Jung-in asks, “Why? Am I not allowed to like him?” Jung-kyung says that Hyun-soo had liked her for eight years; so even if it were to work out with Jung-in, Jung-kyung would still come to mind between them.
Jung-in confronts her sister right back, asking if she likes Hyun-soo. Jung-kyung admits it. “He’s a good person. There’s no reason not to.” She challenges Jung-in, “Do you think Hyun-soo sees you as a woman? Not as my little sister, but as Seo Jung-in, a woman?”
Jung-in: It doesn’t matter. Your feelings changed after you disliked him for so long, but now you like him. So who knows whether Oppa’s feelings might change too? So don’t say it can’t happen.
(YOU GO GIRL! That line is so perfect. I love how relationships and emotions are handled in this series—it’s true to life and handles both the rational and emotional aspects of how relationships develop, rather than relying on serendipitous maneuvers, musical cues and cliche to convey emotional crescendo.)
Neither sister can sleep, and Jung-kyung gets up to go back to the hospital. On her way out, she runs into Hyun-soo, who offers to give her a ride to the hospital.
In the car, Jung-kyung comments that it seems like rather than Jung-in being her dongseng, now she’s Jung-in’s unni. Hyun-soo is confused: aren’t they one and the same? Technically, they are, but Jung-kyung senses that her footing with him is slipping.
She says things aren’t going well with the Chief. Hyun-soo responds that liking someone won’t always be easy. Caring for someone can cause worry and hurt, and he encourages her to think of her situation as such. He says that when liking a person actually plays out in real life, it feels like taking a test without studying; or as if you’re cheating so you can’t look up straight; or when you do catch the person’s eye, your heart starts to pound. This makes him think of Jung-in swooping in for the kiss, and he shudders giddily at the thought.
Waiting up for Hyun-soo, Jung-in makes another fire by herself. After she puts it out, she kicks it over in anger.
In the morning, the family finds the overturned ashes. Jung-in yells that people who do such things should be punished, as well as people who stay out making noise at 2 a.m…. and 3:05 a.m. (Not that she was keeping track or anything.) Sung-joon realizes that Jung-in is acting out because Hyun-soo drove Jung-kyung to the hospital.
Sung-joon: [In Hyun-soo’s ear] That’s why I told you to watch out for her jealous side.
Jung-in: It’s rude to whisper when I’m right here!
Sung-joon: You see that, you see? She can’t even stand the sight of me standing with you.
Sung-joon stops by Ji-soo’s truck to raise some fanfare about his new job, but she’s sick and unresponsive. Watching from afar, Kyung-soo repeats, “Poison! Poison!”
I never knew til now that golfing could be so… ELVIS. BWAHAHA! Sung-joon gets his hip-gyration flirt on while demonstrating form. I’ve never golfed myself, but somehow I sense that this is NOT how it’s done.
Han-se calls Hyun-soo and tells him to tell Jung-in to turn on her phone. Peeved, Hyun-soo goes up to Jung-in’s room where she is woosah-ing her anger away by meditating on a black spot, her “mark of self-discipline.” She makes him meditate with her. He hits her on the forehead to snap her out of it; when he tries to do it again, she moves to block and he smiles.
Jung-in asks, “Aside from Runny Nose, is there anything that comes to mind when you think of me?” Helpfully, she offers a few ideas: Pretty, cute or loveable? Koala, parakeet, a big-eyed bunny, a bear cub? As she hovers in close giving him cutesy looks and batting her eyelashes, he can’t seem to help but pucker his lips.
“Oh!” he says. “A frog.” She snaps at him, and he says that confirms it—she’s a big-eyed green frog. Han-se calls Hyun-soo again, and he petulantly tells her to pick up. Han-se tells Jung-in to come outside (he’s on his way) because his father approved her headlight design.
She gets ready to go out, and as she comes down the ladder in a miniskirt, Hyun-soo looks on with a loud gasp. HAHAHAH!!! It’s supposed to express his disapproval and disgust, but the setup of this shot is hilariously suggestive.
Geum-ja reprimands Hyun-soo for going up to Jung-in’s room, but Jung-in tells her Hyun-soo is like an unni (older sister) to her. Geum-ja is offended, so to prove her point, Jung-in puts on Hyun-soo’s mama-boy voice and acts out the scene when Hyun-soo had come to Joon-bae’s restaurant, begging her to come home: “‘Mom—since you’re not here, I haven’t been able to eat. To me, mom’s cooking is the BEST. So huwwy up and come home~!’”
Hyun-soo gets defensive, but Geum-ja says it’s okay for him to stand in for the daughter she doesn’t have, and follows up by saying that outside of his interactions with her, he’s like his father. In a word: Macho.
Jung-in gives him a once-over, then throws her head back and milks that laugh for all it’s worth.
She meets Han-se outside, and he takes her to an apartment that he’s found for her. He tells her to leave the Kangs’ house and have a room of her own, but she retorts that she already does. “You didn’t know? I have a room. A room that Hyun-soo oppa made for me.”
She tells him not to take her for a strange woman and do things like try to give her a place to live. He asks if that makes Jung-kyung a strange woman too, since she was living with a man in an apartment. Shocked, she goes to the hospital to confront her sister. On her way, she calls Hyun-soo to ask if he’d known about this. He has no idea what she means, but worried that she’s going to create a scene, he goes out to follow her to the hospital.
Yeon-jae storms out of a cab right behind Jung-in and gets to Jung-kyung first. Having intercepted a text from Jung-kyung to her father, she confronts Jung-kyung in the middle of the hospital terminal, drawing a crowd: “Get your filthy hands off me! What did you and my father do in the apartment?” (Whoa, there. I know people think Jung-kyung is bad, but this little biotch-in-the-making here is something else entirely.)
Jung-in cuts in and puts Yeon-jae in her place, saying Jung-kyung wouldn’t date a man with a kid in tow—especially if that kid is as ill-bred as Yeon-jae. Yeon-jae is intimidated, and when the Chief comes in she runs to him, whimpering.
Jung-in asks the Chief, “Ajusshi, did my sister ask you to buy her an apartment? The sister I know is too proud and would die before asking for something like that. Ajusshi, tell me. Say it clearly in front of your daughter!”
He tells Yeon-jae that he’d already had the spare apartment, and he was only trying to help a colleague in need. “We don’t have that kind of relationship,” he says.
Disappointed by his cop-out response, Jung-kyung interrupts, “Yeon-jae, you don’t have to apologize. It wasn’t you who misunderstood, but me.”
Jung-in runs out after her sister, but Jung-kyung walks away as Hyun-soo arrives, witnessing the tail-end of the scene. Hyun-soo finds Jung-kyung and offers an ear as she verbally processes her relationship troubles. She asks for his advice, contrasting her feelings for the Chief with his feelings for her. But he says he doesn’t know the answer, since their situations were different: his was one-sided, hers is mutual. He tells her, “Just because the process is hard, don’t doubt his love.”
“Kang Hyun-soo,” Jung-kyung says, “I wish the Chief were as honest about love as you are.”
He brushes it off with a laugh: “If he had, he would’ve been rejected a long time ago, like me.”
Forget the self-discipline Rorschach; Jung-in is back to venting by darkening the word “Idiot” on her wall. She adds, x 100.
Jung-kil and Geum-ja see a lawyer about the house, who says that Jung-kil can’t make a legal claim to the house without any official records, like an IOU or proof of the Chairman’s payment. Without the backing of the law, Jung-kil tries to bully Grandpa Man-bok into turning over the house. He tells Grandpa Man-bok to come out with the truth.
Grandpa Man-bok: Look, you rascal who’s more worthless than an ant! Even the lowly ant moves its food with its own body. What are you planning to do with your body, that you’re trying to get something for nothing?
Kyung-soo later finds Jung-kil in the car center office, descending to new lows. He takes all the money from the cash register and even grabs the tip right out of Kyung-soo’s hand, claiming that it all belongs to him. (STOP! THE! ENTITLEMENT!)
Kyung-soo calls the house to tell them that Jung-kil took off with all the money, so Grandpa, Sang-hoon and Geum-ja all run out after him. Hyun-soo goes to look for Jung-in.
She’s outside, sketching headlights. He texts her, saying, “You’re needed. Come home.” She shows him the sketches she’s been working on, and they’re pretty good, but he says they’re not what he needs. “I’m hungry. Get me some food.”
She makes some bibimbap, but knowing she hasn’t had lunch, he makes her eat it. He tells her gently that Jung-kyung had been upset about the Chief, and he had only been there to listen.
Geum-ja comes home and gives Jung-in a hard time about her dad. Jung-in has no reason to stick up for him, either, so she keeps quiet. To get Geum-ja off Jung-in’s case, he leads her out of the kitchen.
As they leave, he motions to Jung-in to keep eating and gives her an exaggerated, dorky wink.
Sung-joon has been helping Ji-soo find a new place. She does find one, and to thank Sung-joon for his help, gives him a coupon to her pojangmacha. He buys her blankets and says that in exchange, she should give him an all-you-can-eat coupon. She refuses, so he says, “Forget it”; walks out, counts to five, and bursts back into the room, catching her red-handed in the frilly blankets.
Jung-kil comes to Joon-bae’s restaurant, where Grandpa Man-bok has been talking with Joon-bae. He says to Jung-kil, “I can’t live indebted, so I will give it all back to you. Let’s go.”
But Grandpa takes him to the police station. Once inside the door, he grabs him by the collar and yells, “Catch this thief!” He tells Jung-kil, “This is exactly what I had to repay to your father, the Chairman. I went to jail because of your father!”
Back at home, Hyun-soo begins to text Jung-in, asking, “Is it going well?” Hearing her coming down the stairs, he throws the phone down like a hot potato.
Jung-in: Who were you calling at this hour?
Hyun-soo: Nah, just l-l-l-looking at the time.
Jung-in: If you’re going to lie, you should fix that stutter first.
She asks him what was up with the wink from earlier. (Jung-in’s Hyun-soo impressions crack me up!!) She says, “Hey, Player. What you said about having done everything was a lie, right? You dorky mama boy.”
She asks him again for feedback on her sketches. He’s already given it some thought, and shows her the preliminary design he’s started on his computer. He launches into technical speak, none of which matters to Jung-in right now (Teehee!!).
Jung-in: I really like you, Oppa.
Jung-in: You’re clumsy, dorky, you can’t wink and you lie about being a player, but I still really like you. So you should appreciate it and be good to me in the future. Wait for me, and teach me, like this. Okay?
Typical Hyun-soo, he hits her on the forehead. You can’t blame her for being slow on the block—who would hit a girl at a time like this??
He tells her to pay attention to the task at hand—but I’ll confess, his techie speak gets totally lost on me because I am just sitting here going SQUEEEEEEE at her blatantly loving looks. She doesn’t even look at the screen–not a once!
At the Chief’s apartment, Jung-kyung has packed her bags and expresses that she’s reached her limit.
Jung-kyung: You know, we’re very similar. Though we pretend not to be, we’re extremely selfish. You have your reputation at the hospital, you want to be a good father to Yeon-jae, and on top of that, me—you won’t sacrifice any of these three. So how could you love me?
Chief: Then would you be able to give up everything for me?
Jung-kyung: I left my family at another person’s house and came here without batting an eye! If it weren’t for you, would I want to be a mom right now? If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t come to work listening to the gossip at my back! If it weren’t for you, I would have met someone else by now who would make things easier for me. What else could I give up?
She walks out and calls Hyun-soo. Hyun-soo is still working on designs with Jung-in. He looks at the phone and says, “It’s Jung-kyung. Why would she be calling at this hour?”
Just as he takes the call, Jung-in says, “Don’t answer.” Jung-kyung asks Hyun-soo to come pick her up, and again, Jung-in says, “Don’t go.”
Hyun-soo argues that they can finish up when he gets back, but she insists: “No. If you leave now, I don’t think this will work. Don’t go.”
But he goes anyway, and she begins to cry. Once outside, though, he turns back.
“Let’s go together,” he says, grabbing her hand.
EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Maybe it’s because the buildup has been so long in coming (enjoyable, but long), but that final scene totally got me. He’s finally beginning to reach back out to Jung-in, too.
I appreciate that this series respects the viewer enough to allow events to unfold naturally, rather than banging Big Moments over your head with flashbacks and voiced over closeups of the brooding lover. The charm of this series–and why it works–is that it uses the small moments to bring out the charisma that abounds in this cast.
A few thoughts on Jung-kyung. I haven’t had a visceral response to her because while her actions are abrasive, I do appreciate her from a character development standpoint. Though her actions are inexcusable, I think Choi Jung-yoon, who plays Jung-kyung, grounds them in motivations that make sense.
Probably thanks to the parents who raised her, Jung-kyung has little capacity to take anything other than her own needs/goals into account. So her life is a precarious balance: her career, her noncommittal single-father doctor boyfriend, and her family. She puts these three in triage and prioritizes her career and the Chief; dealing with family troubles on top of her workload and the stress of an unfulfilled relationship would be too much to handle. So her icy, inconsiderate words and actions stem her efforts to maintain this decision, and Choi Jung-yoon does a great job of portraying the resignation and frustration Jung-kyung feels as she follows through on the choices she’s made. In these episodes, the fragile balance is thrown off-kilter, cracking her “Ice” exterior and exposing her humanity.
So I don’t hate on Jung-kyung, but her relationship with Jung-in does still trouble me. It might just be because it saddens me to see them be so harsh and unforgiving towards each other. (In fact, in a recent interview Choi Jung-yoon admitted that portraying Jung-kyung’s relationship with Jung-in “makes my heart ache.”)
Though Jung-kyung keeps a cold exterior, Jung-in’s spunk and warmth usually manage to win out. But in the abrasive interactions between these two, I have yet to find anything redemptive. Perhaps that’s why family is family; other relationships wouldn’t withstand such friction. The sisters share too-similar flaws; they’re opinionated, proud, self-centered and stubborn. With this set of foibles, they’re bound to clash. And while the Kangs have loyalty in spades, loyalty is not the Seos’ strong suit—although Jung-in does stick up for her sister in the hospital scene. Perhaps she’s finally learning something from the Kangs!