Drama Recaps
City Hall: Episode 17
by | January 5, 2010 | 39 Comments

(written by samsooki, with 0timelost and cleown)

Episode 17 – Trial By Ordeal: the Judgment of Shin Mi Rae.


While the concept of trial by ordeal is probably most easily associated with Medieval Europe, equally loathsome practices were institutionalized in ancient China and Korea as well, all of it based on the idea that to get to the truth, one must exact and another must endure great pain. What’s more, the “cost” of truth is evident even in mass contests, as in any conflict opposing sides battle not just for material gain but also for the right of moral suasion. The adage goes, “winners write the history books” and so “truth” is often based on which side is able to sacrifice more for victory. Last episode, Shin Mi Rae, fresh from the happiest day of her life, has found that the simmering political and personal conflicts that she has been fighting have reached boiling points. She has been arrested at the behest of unknowns, charged with bribery and corruption. In order to win the fight for the truth, Mi Rae, as Mayor and as a woman, must pass through her trials by ordeal. There is no other way.


At the police station, Mi Rae is questioned by a detective about a certain doraji (bellflower root, often shredded, pickled and served cold, or boiled and drank as tea) that was accepted by Mi Rae’s mom and consumed by both. Mi Rae’s mom, with no concept of the potential for illegality in accepting gifts from others, details out the acceptance of the gift as Mi Rae looks on.


Jo Gook, learning of the substance of the charge, is more annoyed than worried, while both Mi Rae and Mi Rae’s mom are confused as to why this is an issue at all. Did they take it? Sure, absolutely. Did they eat it? No! They drank it! hehe! Even Jo Gook has to smile. Of course, Jo Gook’s mirth subsides when the police detective reveals that the doraji that Mi Rae received was valued at over $2,500 per root!


Still, this is relatively small potatoes as Jo Gook feels comfortable in merely blustering his way out of this. But at that moment, he gets a phone call – a cabal of businessmen who also double as City Council members have apparently created this whole scenario to get Jo Gook’s attention. Mi Rae’s economic plans to revitalize Inju City will cost these businessmen dearly, as they have been used to sucking the wealth out of Inju City and Mi Rae threatens that tap. How can Jo Gook sit there and let that happen!


Still, Jo Gook knows how to deal with this kind of vermin. With a single phone call to the notorious Madam Jung (it pays to have a person like Madam Jung as a noona!), Jo Gook has the City Council members tripping over themselves to call their buddy the police chief and get Mi Rae released. And Mi Rae is home before dinner.


On the other side of town, though, Jung Do is beyond angered at the latest to befall his Mayor. This smells exactly like something that his career criminal of a wife Joo Hwa would do. He accuses his wife of plotting this. Inasmuchas this is not a bad assumption, since Joo Hwa has been responsible for everything else, Jung Do should have at least given Joo Hwa an opportunity to respond to the accusation.


But, Joo Hwa’s reaction is not positive. When Joo Hwa seems elated by the news of Mi Rae’s arrest, Jung Do rages and slaps his wife across the face! Wow! Joo Hwa could not have been more surprised. And Jung Do is shocked at Joo Hwa’s reaction… wait, his wife didn’t having anything to do with this???


As much as I dislike Joo Hwa, Jung Do was completely wrong here. Once violence is done, it cannot be undone. What’s more, even if you disagree with your wife, you STILL have to support her. What kind of a husband chooses sides against his own family? And almost immediately, Jung Do realizes his error and tries to apologize but Joo Hwa will not hear of it. Not only has Jung Do screwed up big time, but now he just made it extremely personal for Joo Hwa to bring Mi Rae down. An enormously huge blunder. At this point, it is safe to say that Joo Hwa would gladly risk jail if it meant that Mi Rae would be there as well. Nice job, Jung Do, you just created more problems for Mi Rae.

The next morning, at the Shin residence, Mi Rae and her mom are sitting down to breakfast. Mi Rae, despite being the mayor of 130,000 people, has prepared the breakfast before her mom has gotten out of bed. Her mom is still feeling apologetic for being ignorant and very unsophisticated, resulting in the doraji charge, but Mi Rae brushes away her mom’s tears.


Her spirit rejuvenated, Mi Rae’s mom reverts to instinctual mother-ing, noting that if there were a man in the house, the detectives wouldn’t have treated them so poorly. Mi Rae has to get married while she is still desirable (as mayor). Mi Rae deflects as usual.


Mi Rae: Not to worry. I’m going to broadcast a city-wide announcement and line up all the guys who look like Hyun Bin, Jang Dong Gun, So Ji Sub. Have no worries, okay?


Hey moms, isn’t a mayor for a daughter good enough for you???

Hey, I understand the cultural normalcy of such talk. But let’s get real for a second: Mi Rae overcame unbelievable odds and won the highest municipal job in the entire city. And Mi Rae could have lived in the Mayor’s residence, but instead stayed home, so that she could take care of her mom. And yet, Mi Rae’s mom’s only thought is, “you need to get married.” Hasn’t Mi Rae done enough? What is this obsession with getting your kids married, even to the point of not caring who the spouse is?

Anyhoo, Mi Rae is off to work but makes a quick detour to Jo Gook’s house to drop off an ox bone, wishing him strength for his first day at the National Assembly. Jo Gook wanted a cute text, but gets a bone instead. Hehe! Hey, cute texts and coffee are for closers only!


After a quick and cute repartee with Jo Gook, Mi Rae heads to City Hall and meets with her staff. Right as the meeting is ended, an unannounced visitor has arrived to meet with the Mayor. It is the beautiful and elegant Go Hae; might Mi Rae have time for a spot of tea? And now, the fateful meeting, the buildup of which has taken a dozen episodes, between these two women has finally arrived.


Go Hae starts off bearing extremely generous gifts for Inju City. She has understood that Mi Rae wishes to build a hospital in Inju City, and how would she like it if Go Hae brought the Dae Han Group conglomerate to build it? And, what’s more, how would Mi Rae feel if Go Hae also got the Dae Han Group to put up the capital to build a factory in Inju City? Mi Rae hesitantly agrees that yes, that would be wonderful… but why Inju City?


Go Hae: If I may be frank, this isn’t for you. Can I say, this is as a wife doing this for her husband National Assembly Member Jo Gook? So, really, there’s no need for thanks.

Mi Rae (immediately understanding): I see, I guess that’s all right then…

Go Hae: But you, you seem different than the last time I saw you… is it because you have fallen in love? You look so pretty, Miss Shin Mi Rae…


Oh my, a compliment. Warning! Warning! It’s coming. Run away, Mi Rae! Nobody can protect you from what is probably coming next!

Go Hae:  …Is it fun to be with him? He’s not really that much fun, is he?  Not romantic either. Do you meet with him often? Do you sleep with him and do things like that?


Go Hae has brought guns blazing to this fight.  Mi Rae has nothing to say.  It would appear that Go Hae has every right in the world to say these things to Mi Rae.  Mi Rae bows her head and excuses herself.  There’s really no reason to stay and listen to Go Hae shred her dignity with her salon hardened nails.

Go Hae: SIT!  I have had to put up with much worse that this, and you cannot even last 30 minutes? That wouldn’t be right…

Mi Rae (sits back down): …


Go Hae: That’s right. Sit in front of me and listen, as this is my punishment for you.
Mi Rae: What sort of things do you want to hear? To be honest, I don’t really have much to say. This is uncomfortable for me, and there are things here that seem very unfair. But… with sincerity, I am sorry.
Go Hae (incensed): “I’m sorry.”??? Did we just bump into each other on the street? By accident, did you step on my foot? Don’t you know that those are the circumstances when “I’m sorry” is said? Don’t you dare think that you can set yourself free from guilt by giving such a flimsy apology like that!

Mi Rae then asks if Go Hae loves Jo Gook, but Go Hae brushes that away as well.

Go Hae: LOVE??! You act all good and noble, but in the end, the last card you pull is “love”?! Is Miss Shin Mi Rae’s defense only going to be that person’s heart? It looks like those who have nothing tend to use that hormone nonsense extravagantly, but I can do quite well without love. So go ahead and “love,” the two of you. Go right ahead. I’m saying that I won’t stop you… but tragic, isn’t it, that a sentence never ends with a comma, does it? Shin Mi Rae is just a comma in Jo Gook’s life, and not the period at the end.

Very, very harsh.  But from Go Hae’s perspective, isn’t everything that she said, the truth? Mi Rae merely swallows this bitter pill, as she must, and then leaves.  You play with someone else’s credit card, sooner or later, you got to pay the bills that come due.  This isn’t Mi Rae’s fault, but Jo Gook’s, for playing both sides. How should Mi Rae feel right now? As long as Jo Gook remains with Go Hae, that makes Mi Rae the cheap floozy on the side. Can she blame Go Hae for anything? From Go Hae’s perspective:

1. Go Hae was first; Jo Gook is her man. How do you know? Well, the engagement ring should make things clear.
2. Jo Gook has said to Go Hae privately that he will not dump her, but will wait until Go Hae dumps him. That means they are still together as long as Go Hae is willing.
3. Go Hae and Jo Gook had an arrangment already, built on trust, and Jo Gook breaks it just because he falls in love? What does love have to do with their arrangement?!
4. And who does Mi Rae think she is, KNOWING that Jo Gook is engaged, and STILL acting as if Jo Gook is going out with her?

Meanwhile, the sole cause of Mi Rae’s bitter pain is making his first appearance at the National Assembly.  Jo Gook joins up with his new party and then elects the Agriculture and Labor Committee to join.  After his introductions to fellow party members, he quickly makes an about-face and returns to Inju City, to see his girlfriend.  What a life it must be for Jo Gook – he’s a rising political star / National Assembly member. He has a billionaire betrothed. He has plenty of money. Everybody likes him. And he has his girlfriend to have fun with, when he’s home. Mi Rae, though, is not too happy to see him, avoiding him at the charity luncheon and not reflective of Jo Gook’s warmth.


An ignorant and very blissful Jo Gook is wearing his couples sneakers, but Mi Rae barely notices. After all, would a “comma” care whether she is treated well or not? Mi Rae breaks it down with a single question: what is Jo Gook planning on doing with Go Hae and herself? Is he waiting to see which one of them grows tired first and falls away?


Jo Gook replies by saying that he needs time so that he can let Go Hae protect her pride. Can’t Mi Rae understand that? Does he have to dump Go Hae so cold-heartedly in order to prove his sincerity to Mi Rae? Hmm. Actually, Jo Gook’s response is a very good one. I had to pause to think about it. After all of the criticism that I’ve leveled toward Jo Gook, I have to say, that’s an angle that I didn’t really consider. 


I’m honestly a little bit confused now as to whether that’s a good enough reason. I get it. Jo Gook is trying to be a stand-up kind of guy, giving Go Hae the time and space to formulate an exit strategy. But shouldn’t that be something that he works out with Mi Rae first, so that she is not blindsided by Go Hae? Jo Gook, you gotta be more considerate of the person you presume to love… Mi Rae’s face says that she is not entirely convinced of Jo Gook’s plan of action either.


Meanwhile, Joo Hwa’s anger at being slapped has not cooled, and she decides to take Go Hae up on her offer to become a stooge for BB.  Joo Hwa rounds up Mi Rae’s supposed friends, and with bribes and implied threats, gets them to sign affidavits accusing Mi Rae of election fraud and bribery. If she is going to be slapped around by Jung Do for getting Mi Rae arrested, then, at the very least, Joo Hwa should experience the antecedent reward.


A triumphant and almost crazy-looking Joo Hwa then lets Jo Gook know of the impending arrest, giving him one last opportunity to get back with Go Hae. Joo Hwa looks like she really has gone off the deep-end, and Jo Gook’s reaction is stunning – unlike the amateur doraji charge, this is beyond serious – it is potentially fatal to Mi Rae’s mayorship.


Absolutely furious, Jo Gook meets with Go Hae. Go Hae notes that in actuality, all of this really is Jo Gook’s fault, and none of it is Mi Rae’s. Who was the one who shook a country bumpkin’s heart and put her into the mayoral chair where she didn’t belong? Who was the one who made her think she was somebody in the first place? If Mi Rae gets hurt, it’s really all Jo Gook’s fault. Jo Gook responds that his only reason for not dumping her sooner was so that she could protect her pride. Go Hae smiles and says no need for that, as she has her own ways of protecting her pride. Jo Gook’s lack of foresight here is an absolutely stunning miscalculation of Go Hae’s resourcefulness and tenacity.  Btw, this is what happens when you gamble your life.  You have to be right 100% of the time. If you screw up, even once, this is what could happen.


Realizing the chain of events to follow, Jo Gook races to the police station, as Mi Rae has been arrested and subjected to closed interrogation. And not even lawyers can approach to help Mi Rae at this point, leaving Mi Rae all alone. Mi Rae is subjected to hours and hours of repeated questioning and accusations, with signed affidavits by her supposed friends claiming that she is a corrupt person. Hour after hour, as detectives rotate in to try to break her, Mi Rae is subjected to the same accusations.


And all Mi Rae can do is cry out that she has done nothing wrong, as she stares at papers that tell her that even the very people for whom she has worked so hard, for whom she has received terrible beatings and vicious calumny, conspiracies and threats, for whom she sold out her own heart’s fondest desire for love, that those very same people, had betrayed her. And all Jo Gook can do is wait helplessly outside, knowing exactly the kind of interrogation techniques and accusations the interrogators must be using on Mi Rae, trying to get her to confess to lies. And all of Go Hae’s words were true, weren’t they? Jo Gook, the brilliant rising politician, had a job to do down in Inju City and failed miserably, managing only to get a simple girl all confused with thoughts of love.


And now, precisely because of all the short-sighted things that Jo Gook did out of spite for his father, and due to childish romantic feelings toward this simple girl, that blameless girl was being punished. Her mayorship would be finished, her dreams for Inju City would be toast, her reputation would be that of a pariah, and she would have nothing.  After all the struggles that Mi Rae has gone through, she would be left with nothing.  And she would be correct in blaming Jo Gook for all of it.

Jo Gook is a beaten man. He know it. He calls Go Hae to tell her that she has won. Go Hae is magnanimous in victory, and tells him not to worry about Mi Rae. Jo Gook must go back to BB, however. Jo Gook has no choice but to agree. How will he have the heart to tell Mi Rae?


In the morning, Mi Rae is let out of the police station in daze. She is met by Boo Mi and Jung Do. Boo Mi is beyond upset, not willing to believe that Mi Rae’s own friends could have betrayed her like that. Jo Gook is there as well, but strangely perhaps, he does not greet Mi Rae, does not even try to comfort her. He merely watches from a distance; it isn’t time to break the news to Mi Rae.


Back at City Hall, an emotionally and physically exhausted Mi Rae sinks to the floor of her office. Is this what being Mayor is all about? Is this why she worked so hard, giving everything that she had as a person, just so that people will use her as a target for their political games? As she begins to realize how much of herself she has given, only to end up with nothing, Mi Rae begins to cry uncontrollably. It is more than a little ironic that it was on that very same spot that the previous corrupt mayor had cried as well, the night before he resigned for corruption.


On her way home, after this most terrible day of days, Mi Rae finds a visitor waiting for her in the darkness. It is Jo Gook. Is this the proper moment to tell her who was behind this, what they can do to beat BB / Go Hae / Joo Hwa, together?


Even if everyone else has betrayed her, at least he might be able to help her, comfort her and give her guidance. Mi Rae wants to fight. She wants to sue the people responsible, and she will not stop until she has repaid the evil-doers with 10 times the pain she has received. Jo Gook’s reply is cold, however.


Jo Gook: Why do I have to help you? …It seems like you are always standing in my path, blocking my future. You were right. We cannot be on the same side.
Mi Rae: Right now… what are you…
Jo Gook: I’m sorry, but I am returning to my own proper place now.


Mi Rae: Assembly Member Jo…
Jo Gook (with suddenly caring eyes): But don’t lose to me. Don’t ever lose to me.

And with those last cryptic words, Jo Gook leaves Mi Rae absolutely stunned and beyond confused. Jo Gook is dumping her?!

A panicked Mi Rae runs after Jo Gook, not understanding why he is dumping her or what he means by “don’t ever lose to me.” She runs after Jo Gook, pleading for him to stop the car. Jo Gook does not stop.

Mi Rae (screaming desperately): Please wait a minute!


Just give me a second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!
Just wait one second!

This is one of the saddest scenes I think I have ever seen. Every single scream out of Mi Rae’s mouth causes tears to come unbidden. What did Mi Rae do to deserve this treatment from Jo Gook? Mi Rae has now been betrayed by her friends and now apparently by the one that she loves with all her heart. Yet Mi Rae still does not give up. She continues to run after Jo Gook, long after itis apparent that Jo Gook will not stop his car. Why is she running? What is it about Mi Rae that makes it so that she will not give up without fighting?

And then, in the ultimate scene, a beaten Jo Gook has appeared before BB.  As BB looks impassively looks on, Jo Gook lowers himself to the ground, on both knees.


As his knees the touch the carpeted floor, I think a part of me wanted him to get up and give a Jung Do slap to BB, first for abandoning him and his mom, and second for intentionally hurting the person that he loves. But Jo Gook can’t do that. He can’t do anything except stop the bleeding. It is time to give up.


Jo Gook: I… admit defeat. I beg you not to touch that person any more. That person, she has many dreams, and for her dreams to come true, I beg you, please, leave her alone from now on.


Comments –

One word: wow.

The scene to watch for in this Episode: the park bench scene at the end.


I was actually part of the fan-subbing team that did this drama, and as luck would have it, the responsibility of translating this particular episode fell upon me. And the hardest part of translating this episode weren’t the difficult words, but typing out each “just wait a second!” that Mi Rae screamed out to Jo Gook. (And to think, I had requested a “happy” episode to translate…)

I mean, it’s a drama, right? So it’s fictional. But there’s something about City Hall, and Kim Sun Ah as Shin Mi Rae, that just makes me forget that it isn’t real; this scene is so heart-breaking as you can literally feel what Mi Rae is feeling, and you can understand why Jo Gook is doing what he is doing (to a certain extent, anyway – honestly, I disagree with his whole approach). Mi Rae is the kind of person who will not stop fighting, she will not back down from injustice or unfairness. Every single time she is beaten down, something inside of her forces her to get back up and get stronger.

Mi Rae, consider this as Jo Gook’s last lesson. You are stronger than you know, you are strong enough now to beat everyone and anyone, including the quadruple team of Jo Gook / BB / Go Hae / Joo Hwa, even if they are all aligned against you. Don’t ever give up, and don’t ever lose to Jo Gook!

On To Episode 18!


39 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. hanguk-drama-luver:D

    thank you even though i already finished watching this drama i love reading the recaps “kumowyo”
    anyways so this ep did have me crying this drama knows how to reach peoples emotinons and for me this was one of the top 5 dramas of 09 actually one of my top 3 😀 and i cant wait for the next recap

  2. asianromance

    thank you for the recap! it’s like watching city hall for the first time again!

  3. ockoala

    Thank you, samsooki, and 0timelost and cleown.

    Wonderful recap, must have been a difficult episode to recap, this episode really was a powerhouse.

    I accidentally (on purpose) jumped to episode 18 when I was watching City Hall, and saw the scene where Jo Gook was kneeling before BB, and I literally screamed and shut off the screen immediately.

    One cannot prepare for the intensity of that interaction, and from the scene where JG is standing in the dark outside MR’s house, until the scene where he kneels before BB, I probably forgot to breathe, it’s that billion shades of awesome.

    And CSW can cry, oh god, that man can cry like a man cries, his eyes are so full of torment and agony, it’s like speaking to me in eye-lish, and saying “what can I do, what must I do to stop people from hurting MR, this woman who has taught me what love is”

    This episode is so good, it’s almost not worth recapping the summary – just post the two screen shots, one of MR running down JG’s car and banging on the window, and another of JG kneeled before BB with that red-rimmed glare, and you’ve just captured every ounce of emotion, KSA and CSW are brilliant!

  4. eunha

    I was so excited to see a new episode recap of City Hall! I’m making my sister watch it with me (again). You know, I never really realized just how much Burger King is used as their “cafe”. Isn’t there a part where Mirae is like, “I know a great cafe!” and Gohae is annoyed at coming to a fast food restaurant? It might have been my imagination. Anyways, I thought the last scene was a turning point for his character. Maybe it was the slow-mo-thudding resignation but seeing Jo Gook finally brought to his knees and teary-eyed (this guy cries so well!) pulled at my heart. Thanks for the recap!

  5. robotmatsuri

    I love love love that entire segment before, during and after the park bench scene. They were absolutely beautiful–I especially like the path illuminating to Jo Guk’s shadow and my heart broke a bit more with every shout after Jo-Guk’s car. 🙁

    I am so excited for the next recap, as that is probably my favorite episode (if not, one of the top 4? Oh hell, who am I kidding? I love ALL of them)!

    Thank you for your hard work Samsooki, 0timelost and cleown!

  6. omo

    Yikes! Ep 17 already? I’m approaching the end of these recaps like I did on countless re-watches of this drama series. I do not want this to end and I have my non-salonized talons on Ep 13 recaps.

    I will be back when I’m done backreading and assimilating Eps 13 to 16.
    Thanks again to the awesome team for the wonderful recaps.

  7. pabo ceo reom

    lol it’s always surprising to hear you so………passionate…..in your writing. honestly i didn’t watch this drama and don’t have a strong interest to watch it but i read the recaps anyways just to see how much you spaz about it! haha 😀

  8. Icarusfalls

    *sigh.. I miss the City Hall watching days.. maybe I should rewatch it! ^_^

    CH forever!

  9. omo

    Quick question :

    Do you think JG would have thought of the damaging consequences he could face if he was to dump GH first? Perhaps JG just didn’t know how long and poisonous those salon hardened nails were.

    Should MR have questioned JG on the status of the JG-GH relationship before she decided to get involved? Women love to know these things but men hate to answers these sorta questions.

    Oops! That’s 2 questions.

  10. 10 jastinel

    I was watching this episode, when I saw this recap.
    3 more episode to go and this drama is done….A million thanks to samsooki team!

  11. 11 sueyip

    Really touched by the very apt description of the park bench scene. Kim Sun Ah’s acting was real awesome here. She was truly stunned and it took her a while to realize that perhaps her JoGuk had dumped her. Her running after the car brought tears to my eyes. Gosh, JoGuk kneeling down in front of BB for his love -that’s real touching. CSW’s acting is also equally awesome. (Am glad that they both got the acting awards for this drama but they deserve more, right?).

    Thanks so much for this real touching recap, samsooki and team.

  12. 12 KORN

    This was one of my favorite episodes! The acting was absolutely AMAZING! CSW and KSA are truly gifted actors that made this drama into one of the BEST dramas EVER!

    Samsooki and team: THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  13. 13 sleeplessinwgtn

    The scene where SMR chases JG driving away reminds me of YEH chasing CHK in Coffee Prince altho’ the latter is a shorter scene and much less intense. When I saw the CH scene, I immediately screamed (quietly of course, else my husband will get startled) “COFFEE PRINCE!”

    JG’s face looks so sad and SMR chases so naturally.

    Thanks for the recap.

  14. 14 alodia

    Shooosh~ How can a recap be as powerful, if not more powerful, than watching the episode. As of typing this I have a box of Kleenex in between me and my computer monitor – literally!


    This was the first episode you subbed, right? The first episode of the very first drama that you subbed.
    And as far as I can remember, this was the episode wherein BON translators passed it to one another, until “fortunately” it landed on Samsooki’s virgin subbing hands. ㅋㅋㅋ

    Yes indeed, it’s a powerhouse episode!
    aside from Mi Rae running after Jo Guk’s car, and Jo Guk kneeling in front of BB. I also looove CSW’s excellent acting while leaning on his car outside the police station – no words, but you can almost see gazillion thoughts running through his mind.

    Burger King is a major sponsor!!!
    I usually dislike product placements on shows, but that scene that you’ve mentioned was a good one… Mi Rae saying that “This place has the best coffee” to the rich-kiddo Go Hae! haha!
    (I’ve craved for BK a few times while subbing this drama in the middle of the night.. kkk)

    @ robotmatsuri
    And do you still remember the preview for this episode? There was another camera angle wherein the camera is inside Jo Guk’s car. For a brief moment we get to look directly at Mi Rae’s pleading face as she pound the driver’s seat’s windows. Wonder why they edited that out on the final cut. Probably the editor’s hearts can’t take it anymore! lol (though I wish they can include it on the Director’s Cut hee~)

    And if the cliffhanger of the previous episode is a bit awkward, the cliffhanger for this episode was just so awesome! It leaves your heart pounding, your teeth gritting, your fists clenched, and your eyes wet.

    Again, all my heartfelt thanks to Samsooki, and the girls: 0timelost & cleown for another wonderful wonderful wonderful recap! Thanks for Episode 14, 15 and 16 too. I wasn’t able to leave any comments, not even word of thanks, on those episodes!
    And even though I can’t wait for the next espisode’s recaps either, i’m dreading the end….. No!

  15. 15 Amg1

    Thank you guys for such a good job I just finish watching CH and I can say the last third of the drama is the best, the lead actress is amazing at showing an unconditional love to this guy that for most of his life has been using people to advance his own agenda, she had me on tears till the very end.

  16. 16 epyc

    You know what, I always feel sorry for those who do not watch or finish City Hall as they are seriously missing something fantabulously great! This is especially true for the younger kdrama lovers. If you don’t like it now, it doesn’t matter. Watch it when you are 35, after some experience of life and love.

    Like what Serendipity said at a previous recap, CH is a drama that just goes up and up towards the end unlike most others just drags and drags down. Those last few weeks of CH’s airing were tormenting waiting, and sleepless nights on the airing nights. No dramas had given me those breathless and gut wrenching moments like CH.

    This is such a powerful episode that I don’t know where to start commenting. Samsooki, 0timelost and cleown – thanks for this amazing re-cap for what would be an extremely-difficult-recappable episode. It is an episode so rich of emotion, text and visual. Even the minor point as noted by Eunha of the GH and MR meeting in Burger King is a sight to behold, a subtle but brilliant set for this confrontation to take place. [Hope this is not a spoiler but I also love the subsequent double-entendre scene of their meeting in a new episode where the set is used as a contrast.]

    My favorite scene in this episode has to be the break up scene like everyone else. The particular segment is when MR gets home wtih her bike along the green rice field under the bright moon light, to be met by the shady JG lamp post after lamp post. It was one of the most beautiful, quiet yet emotional shot I’ve seen in dramas. There’s this calm before the storm and tears welling up atmosphere for us viewers – but poor MR is the unsuspecting one! [Again, another spoiler: I love, love, love the subsequent double-entendre scene in Ep 20. Who doesn’t??]

    The best line is, of course, JG’s “But don’t lose to me. Don’t ever lose to me.” This is perhaps the moment when I started trusting JG, despite all his misdeeds from Ep 1 till now.

  17. 17 cingdoc

    Wow…it’s been MONTHS that I’ve seen this drama, and yet, as I read your wonderful recaps…yes, the agony that we all felt with Jo Gook outside the police station as the cops were interrogating poor Mi Rae….the park bench scene- I cried again as I read it…and the last scene between BB and JG- I totally agree with you; I wanted to slap or punch BB , too 😉

  18. 18 31pop

    City Hall to me is a revelation of KSA’s acting prowess….. I loved her acting in KSS and WIAN- have also watched 3 of her most recent films. I already saw Bodyguard before and 2 of CSWs many films so I am already aware of his acting capabilities. He was so goofy in the Bodyguard so different to the suave, determined and ambitious man he portrayed here in CH- he did it well too (being goofy, i mean). It was not really a surprise to me that KSA can act, CH just cemented my admiration for her acting- seems to me you can throw any role at her and she will be great at it. This episode squeezed my heart with all the emotions the characters went through. Once again, thank you very much for continuing with the recaps. I really wished they won the top awards in the recent SBS drama award for they deserved it (am so biased coz I did not watch the other dramas to be a fair judge he he he).

  19. 19 gra

    I speechless when read your recaps, it so clear and help me to understand the situation in this episode. Thank you a million for Samsooki and the team.

    I hope those actors (CSW and KSA) will get kinda National Korean Drama’s award not only on SBS 2009 Award for their role in CH.

  20. 20 eiko

    Oi vey……..here we go again! I thought I had let City Hall go and moved on to the “real world”…..but this episode got to me once again! Talk about roller coaster ride of emotions…..you gotta hand it to KSA and her excellence in acting and making a character come alive! You gotta hand it to CSW also for being able to get the fans to love and hate him at the same time!

    But you gotta love Jo Gok because I got emotionally involved in this episode and I really felt he was coming through in trying to protect Shin Mi Rae…his agenda might not be the best route….but he hates his father and his fiancee. Actually….I don’t think he hates them as he hates what they represent and are doing to get what they want….which is getting to the blue house. At this stage….his love for Shin Mi Rae is taking hold and that scene where he has gone to his father, down on his knees and begged to let SMR alone…..that says a heck of a lot because at the same time he is crying, his right fist is showing that he is fighting for something.

    Aaaahhhhhh…..the tears keep flowing and the love shows through!

    Yep…I gotta remember that this is a drama….not for real!!!! Just as I have to remember that You Are Beautiful was a drama!!!!! 🙂

    Gotta love the emotional outlet and the excellence in acting!!!!

  21. 21 eiko

    By the way…..thanks Samsooki and team for the excellent write up!

  22. 22 shin mi rae

    thanks for the recaps. so happy to see this.

    this is indeed one painful episode. the break up scene in the park is the most heartbreaking break up scene i’ve ever watched. it was in this scene that kim sun ah the actress emerged in full bloom… this scene is a clear example that acting is not just about delivering dialogues. how perfectly did she convey to us what SMR was going through that day and felt at that exact moment that JG was breaking up with her.. SMR was a woman who have been through hell. she is facing criminal charges. her friends betrayed her. at the end of such a horrid day, you just want to run to the only place that feels safe… and when you got there, you were told that its now enemy camp. it did not feel like she was speaking a line from a script. words were pouring out from her heart. samsooki was right in his description.. how kim sun ah pulls you inside and make you forget this is just a drama. in cityhall, with kim sun ah, you invest your heart and your soul..
    and cha seung won made me love JG then hate him then love him again. he is the source of the roller coaster in this drama… the wide range of emotions that he delivered in this one episode… he was one lovesick boyfriend wondering why the woman he loves seems to be ignoring him. he was a man in love, trying hard to get his girlfriends attention. then he turns into a jerk. that first bench scene…. what a big jerk! (i told you i hated him)… telling SMR – do i have to break up with go hae and trample her pride just to prove im in love with you…. i was crying out of sheer frustration… such a jerk to turn this around like it SMR fault that he was two timing jerk! then minutes later, he was the worried boyfriend… trying his best to help the woman in love.. and frustrated that with all his power as an assemblyman and still he cant help the woman he loves. he want to rescue her… he cant.. he was helpless… one last thing he can do to rescue her… he rescued her… and in the process broke their hearts……

    samsooki, i love your recap so much i ended up rewatching episode 17 and here iam crying a river again…

    everybody at cityhall really delivered. Go Hae… BB, GUMI….

    samsooki, please no hurry on episode 18. someone mentioned that there are 3 episodes to go.. but i dont want your recaps to end yet…. its my last link to cityhall……

  23. 23 lynaq

    I am not good in words, but I just want to express my heartfelt and sincere appreciation to Samsooki, Otimelost and Cleon for your dedication and effort dividing your time and family. You guys are genius. Constantly checking this site often, if the next recaps is out, now it is time for me to say million thanks but not just anticipating the next recap to come out. Please continue the recaps until the end. Nothing can beat drama CITY HALL , ever.Everybody’s post here are very very well outspoken. The WHOLE crew of CH, you guys did a good job, and congratulations!!!

  24. 24 ena

    hi samsooki and team!

    each recap just gets better than the last! well done!!!

    it’s so fluidly written, i feel im caught up in reading a great story! thank you!

  25. 25 hyall

    That scene was painful.Her running after him ,him looking at the side mirrors while he is driving hoping she stops running.Then that scene with BB. Most powerful episode and oh so painful. I cannot watch that episode again but every part of it is embedded in my mind, brilliant acting.

  26. 26 sunahforever

    This is only the beginning of more to come…Tears, OMG, flowed freely!!! So heart-broken by the interogation scene…can you see how poor thing SMR was..and how tormented JG was waiting outside?? It broke my heart to see SMR suffering..and then the break up scene…another flood of tears…then the kneeling scene…bucket of tears…now you know why my eyes are so swollen after watching this episode? My friends couldn’t believe it when I told them it is due to watching this wonderful show….hahaha, now to entice them to watch….

  27. 27 deannadsc

    ..”City hall” just cements my sentiments that nobody else could give us such GREAT DRAMAS like the Koreans could!!!
    ..from funny but beautifully written romantic-comedies like “Coffee Prince”, YAB,”My Girl”, CH, “Who Are You” & “Last Scandal of My Life”…
    …to melodramas like WISFC, “Que Sera Sera”, “Star’s Lover” & “Winter’s Sonata”…
    …to sageuks like “Hong Gil Dong” & “Return of Iljimae”…
    …to family dramas like “Assorted Gems”,”Glory of the Family”,”My Precious Child”, “My Too Perfect Sons”, “Smile,You” & “Creating Destiny”…
    …to action-thrillers like “IRIS”, “Swallow the Sun”,”All In” &”Story of a Man”…
    I Absolutely ADORE KDramas…especially love CH!!! It’s one of the BEST written,& has the BEST chemistry & acting for the 2 outstanding leads!!!
    …Thanks Samsooki, you’ve captured each & every tiny nuances of the characters & have made me appreciate this drama all over again!!!! just might watch it for the 5th time!!! (especially now that I have more time, since Viikii isn’t showing MBC dramas these days)

  28. 28 JELYN 07


  29. 29 mzpakipot

    *sigh* i don’t think i can read any further, it’s so well written that made me bawl my eyes out again. I’m not sure how I can have the courage to read episode 18, it is the episode I skip most when i do my CH re-watch. I will write more about it later.

    Thank you Samsooki and team.

  30. 30 sunahforever

    I think this break-up scene pales to the first one, if all of you remember, on the staircase..watched CH for 2nd time to savour the show better but guess wat, cried like a baby again watching that staircase scene…OMG, look at my eyes, all puffy again!!!

  31. 31 sueyip

    Wow, you are really amazing. Samsooki and team.
    I’ve just watched episode 17 again and counted the
    number of times MiRae shouted, “Just wait one
    second” and it’s exactly 11 times – just like what you’ve
    written. Wow …. again. Looking forward to episode 18.

  32. 32 blue_star

    @30 sunahforever: i agree with you that the staircase breakup is more heartbreaking but the breakup in this eps is also heartbreaking on a different level, nonetheless!

    *clutches heart* Those “Just wait one sec” lines uttered by SMR totally broke my heart. When I was watching, I was tearing uncontollably by this point… what with SMR’s “torture” by the police and her so-called friends betrayal, JG’s absence (and then the subsequent knife-plunging-into-her-heart breakup part)… gosh! You can absolutely feel what she’s feeling. I must say I can also feel JG’s helplessness when he waited by his car outside the police station and felt his pain when he had no choice but to “surrender” to evil GGH. And the kneeling before BB at the last part, what powerful acting by CSW! *stops self from throwing stones at BB* On a cheerier note, these scenes are just another testament why KSA and CSW are Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively! *does a pompom dance for their wins at the recent 2009 SBS Drama Awards* Yes, this is just a fictional drama but great acting by these two showed why CityHall is NOT just another drama! =)

    My favourite scene is the dark street, JG waiting in darkness by the street lamp part. It’s kinda sweet in a sad way. Ominous in a way for things to come. Sighs! Trial by ordeal(s) indeed! I say it is more than one ordeal because I consider the BB meeting in the restaurant, SMR’s route to becoming mayor, her thrown-by-eggs incident, etc as necessary fire loops that she must jump through in order to grow as a person (becoming stronger and believing in herself).
    I also like the part at the beginning (not in recap) whereby Manager Lee and JG were drinking at the restaurant after SMR’s release from the police station following the doraji incident. I like the interaction between these two guys! What a laugh when JG got jealous with Manager Lee for having a longer sms from SMR. And JG’s disgust with a wallowing-in-sorrow-with-drink, drunk Manager Lee. Haha!

    Ahh, eps 17. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. So SMR and JG, HWAITING!!!

    Onwards to eps 18! =)

  33. 33 mtoenlob

    Mi Rae’s words rang so true in this episode – “how can you win all the time?” Jo Guk, the tragic hero saw his downfall, literally, to the floor and discovered that his downfall is the result of his own actions. The overly confident Jo Guk was brought down to his knees. If this is the only way to save his lady love from the menacing clutch of BB, then Jo Guk might have just did the right thing. But it was so painful and so hurtful. Jo Guk begging on his knees before BB might have been a humbling experience for him, but his eyes ( and clenched fist) say otherwise. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then you will see the real Jo Guk in those eyes. In the park bench scene, Jo Guk was telling Mi Rae that it’s over but his eyes were telling a different thing.

    The actress in KSA came to fore in this drama. When Jo Guk stood up and left after telling her – “ But don’t lose to me. Don’t ever lose to me.” – she just sat there lost in the meaning of Jo Guk’s parting words. Then in her moment of epiphany did she realize that she was being dumped. Mi Rae’s face transforms from one emotion to another in seamless successions.

    Another tour de force performance by KSA and CSW. These pair really up the ante in kdrama watching. Talk about stepping into the world of drama, their portrayal of SMR and JG is so believable you can’t help it but wonder if you are just watching or are you really there in that scene or situation and actually experiencing the moment.

    In this episode, my stand out scene is the lamp post scene. In the dark with only the moonlight providing illumination, he with his perfect silhouette (I love CSW for this) and she with a surprise yet a lovingly worried look on her face standing there, no verbal exchanges just their eyes speaking volumes. Scenes like this are more explosive for me for the silence conveys more what words can hardly express. You hear much more in the silence.

    Thank you for another wonderful recap, Samsooki and team.

  34. 34 lover

    i love you kimsunah.my heart is for you

  35. 35 Kelela

    This series is amazing. I actually watched up to 17, read the recaps to 19 and watched 20 because I couldn’t wait.

    I finally saw 17 today and MIND. IS. BLOWN.

    First off, I know Go Hae is tenacious and scheming, but I found her desperate here. A high society daddy’s girl who gets whatever she wants without consequence. Which explains why she was open to partnering up with Joo Hwa since she was from a family like hers (albeit a different wealth level), she was willing to scheme and get what she wants.

    Jo Guk and Mi Rae is this delicious roller coaster of a romance. And I completely fault Jo Guk for the negative and manipulation for his benefit, but I also wonder how much it had to do with BB and career aspirations and his mom not really knowing how to steer her son away from that. (Or rather be in complete denial that it was the issue.) Who am I kidding, it totally had something to do with it!

    KSA delivers a heartbreaking performance in this episode that is now ranking very high for me on any level of ANY drama. CSW is also equally as amazing. His face is just so telling. He played it so stoic for so long and the gradual breaking down is stunning work.

    I’ve realized I rambled. I love this show. Love it. Love it. Love it.

  36. 36 Bengal

    i didn’t realize the 11 “wait a second”s since I kind of looked away on this scene because I couldn’t bear to watch it…. and i am angry at myself for having ruined the last scene… I accidentally saw something like that in one of the fan music video on youtube and i was too late to turn it off when i saw it… now seeing it in this episode really tore me up inside… i wanted to hug him and take him away from that awful man BB. thank you to all the recappers. you made this episode come alive again… in due time I will rewatch and count the 11 “wait a second”s.. thanks!

  37. 37 Amanda

    “What’s more, even if you disagree with your wife, you STILL have to support her. What kind of a husband chooses sides against his own family?”

    Only for once was Joo-Hwa truly innocent (although she needed that slap).
    So yes, he did make a mistake in assuming she was the villain this go around.

    But you can’t blame him.

    Joo-Hwa’s been anything but innocent the whole show through. Truly a woman who gives politics a bad name.

    And I’m sorry but what you said is completely wrong.
    Yes, family comes first.

    But it is also your duty to show your brother when he has stepped out of line. Wife or not, that’s really a load of bs.
    It’s the reason they’ve slept apart for __ years, the reason they live under the same roof as complete strangers, the reason Jung-do was pushed to what should always be a last resort–divorce.

    Because Joo-hwa has been walking the wrong line for far too long. She walks the path of corruption.

    Even a family member is NOT worthy of your full-fledged support when the actions they make and expect your blessing on are

    Jung-do is a man of conviction.
    ((From I’ve seen, as far as politics are concerned, his wife has none. && Jung-do..he’s just the loving all-too-forgiving husband..sort of like a bright light..trying to guide her back. What he is to Mi Rae as well
    a North Star.))

    It’d be a pity to see one of my favorite characters go against all that’s pitted me for him.

    On a side note, I enjoy your recaps.
    Certain things I don’t catch or quite understand, you clear up pretty well. You make the watch more enjoyable.

    Thanks ^0^

    ((I love your <3 for MNIKSS–the greatest.))

  38. 38 Rossa

    I cried myself out when Mi Rae running after Joo Guk. I can really feel the pain……Love hurts !

  39. 39 gasenadi

    Mil gracias, samsooki, 0timelost and cleown. Just an extraordinary labor of love. After all, you HAD asked for a happy task and got 11 “Wait a minute!”‘s. LOL!

    Before I forget, love the writing for CH sooo much – how that pivotal question at the very beginning “How many times do we become VICTIMS OF POLITICAL SCHEMING?” – is played out throughout the drama but especially in this episode. And, it turns out JG’s just as much a victim of others’ scheming as MR. As are we all.

    I agree with Amanda (37), Kelela (35), and, most of all, omo (9): “Should MR have questioned JG on the status of the JG-GH relationship before she decided to get involved?”

    That’s the reason I re-watched CH this time. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand HOW this feisty, courageous, savvy, 36 year old woman with relationship experience under her belt, could ACCEPT this jerk’s behavior! (I know, I know. We’ve all seen it happen in real life.)

    So, although my original goal was to count how many times the “BEWARE of JERK” buzzer went off, it became clearer to me that this jerk was as much a victim as MR and that MR was just as responsible for her situation as the jerk.

    “This isn’t Mi Rae’s fault, but Jo Gook’s, for playing both sides.” Beg to differ. She KNEW he had a GF that he slept with from ep 5 (BEFORE the trip). JG himself told her she was his fiancée in ep 9, right before abruptly telling her to get out of his car after speaking to GH on the phone. I won’t continue pointing out all the times throughout the drama that MR COULD have exercised responsibility for her own choices, political and personal. That shot of her standing alone on the sidewalk looking at his car leaving would have been an excellent place to start.

    Actually, I think putting all the blame on JG turns MR into an irresponsible child. That’s not the MR I see when I watch CH.

    Finally, just let me say that THAT JERK believed in MR before she believed in herself. Which is why he chose her as opposed to someone else to expose Mayor Go’s corruption and, later, for her own candidacy.

    Thanks again samsooki and everyone. You are all amazing.

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