Drama Recaps
City Hall: Episode 19
by | January 14, 2010 | 73 Comments

(written by samsooki, with 0timelost and cleown)

Episode 19 – Invictus: The End of Mayor Shin.

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Mayor Shin Mi Rae, in a stunning move, refuses to sign the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) contract or any authorization to begin selling the land to Dae Han Group. The landowners are beyond riled up, spitting mad at potentially losing their chance at becoming rich. Go Hae is furious, being made to look like a fool by a simpleton mayor, not to mention the hundreds of man-hours of work that went into this project already. And Jo Gook is crushed, seeing that all of his efforts to protect Mi Rae seem to have gone up in smoke. All Mi Rae has done is place herself in danger again, but this time, Jo Gook has nothing left to offer BB, to spare Mi Rae from being crushed like an ant.

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Mi Rae has her face to face with Go Hae. Go Hae accuses Mi Rae of being a childish idiot, of being unable to read the documentation and refusing to sign out of spite. Mi Rae responds with an accusation of her own – there is no reason why Inju City should receive all of these gifts from Dae Han Group, what’s the real reason?! Go Hae goes ballistic and repeats that it is because she wants to help Jo Gook! But Mi Rae has the last word: this project began before even Jo Gook came down to Inju City in the first place. In fact, it is because of this project that Jo Gook was forced to come to Inju City in the first place. How does Go Hae explain that? And with that, Mi Rae stalks off. She will not sign any authorization until she gets answers.

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And with that, Go Hae is shaken… does she not know what is going on? Could it be that Go Hae is in the dark about what BB and Go Hae’s dad have planned from the beginning?

People who have been in the dark are starting to see the light. Soo In is next. He barges into Jo Gook’s office and demands an explanation. Jo Gook deflects the questioning, still playing the part of the jerk who merely got bored of Mi Rae, but Soo In’s no idiot. He flips open a folder, and inside is a color photo of the poster hanging on the wall of the porridge shop in Inju City. Hehe. Smartie. That’s why I like Soo In. He and Boo Mi should get married. Jo Gook relents. He tells Soo In that he hopes that Mayor Shin will not give in and sign the contract. But he also wishes that Mi Rae would sign, so as to not get hurt.

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Jo Gook: I wanted Mayor Shin to fight until the very end, but I had hoped that Mi Rae would not fight at all, not get hurt, and just finish her two-year term without issues and escape this dirty cesspool of politics.

Soo In sighs, he figured as much, but confirmation doesn’t make him any happier. Wishing for diametrically opposed outcomes makes for 100% chance of disappointment, and in this case, Mi Rae the Protector is indeed fighting to the end, while Mi Rae has gotten a world of hurt thrown into her face. The problem is that Mi Rae the Protector is now staring down the twin barrels of BB and Dae Han Group, a lethal combination of political power and unlimited money. Does Jo Gook actually think that with whatever plan that he has cooking up, that Mi Rae the Protector would be able to hold out long enough for his plan to work?

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On a warm summer night, on the park bench where Jo Gook left Mi Rae, perhaps for good, both find their way to revisit cherished memories. At different times during the night, both reach out to touch the spot where the other had sat, and both listen to the other’s voice through saved voicemails.

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It is the best that the can do, separated by time, space and by choice. For Jo Gook, this is as close as he can get to the one he loves, while for Mi Rae, this is her way of keeping alive the memory of the love that she had.

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Mi Rae, Boo Mi and Jung Do huddle, trying to determine what’s missing. Of course, it is like looking for the oddly-shaped needle in a stack of needles, and they have no idea what they are looking for. Mi Rae checks her web-mail and indeed finds an odd email, written in English about the kind of toxic heavy metal slag that a Euro company wants to export to Inju City; thinking its ‘unwholesome spam’ (didn’t I unsubscribe a while back?, she muses), she moves the email to her spam folder without trying to translate the email back into Korean…

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In a stroke of perhaps ‘k-drama plot device’ kind of good luck, Jung Do mentions that it would be impossible to determine whether evil-doers are planning on exporting toxic waste to Inju City, because they would never say that they are actually going to export things like iron slag or copper sludge anyway. Mi Rae’s ears perk up at those words, having read them before but not getting the context – she muses that maybe it wasn’t a porn email after all. Jung Do is totally confused. LOL.

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Mi Rae and Jung Do find the email and are elated, but inasmuch as it is a smoking gun, there is no proof of any wrongdoing. When Mi Rae declares to Go Hae that she wants to cancel the contract because of the dishonesty of the Dae Han Group, Go Hae flips out, and perhaps rightfully so. From Go Hae’s perspective, this single email from an unknown foreign source means nothing, especially compared to what Dae Han Group means, not only to Inju City, but to all of Korea. Who is Mi Rae to level an accusation like this against Go Hae??!! This is a HUGE mistake on Mi Rae’s part, as she really did jump the gun. Even if the email turns out to be real, her direct challenge and insult to Go Hae, now, cannot go unchallenged. The gap here is educational (not caste-based) between these women, and this gap cannot be overcome by good morals or by strong willpower. Mi Rae’s simplistic understanding as to how things should work has really put her at a huge disadvantage.

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Stinging from Go Hae’s rebukes, Mi Rae has only one outlet to vent her frustrations: Jo Gook. She bursts into Jo Gook’s office and accuses him of having planned everything (which is sort of true, but not really). Jo Gook plays it extremely cool (but why he plays it cool – I don’t get it), which makes Mi Rae even angrier. And even with Mi Rae asking Jo Gook to stop, he continues to screw around.

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Mi Rae finally responds:

Mi Rae: In this world, do you know what is so difficult that you might fail even if you die trying? It is the act of giving someone your heart. But do you know what is even more difficult to deal with than that? It is when you give someone your heart, and nothing is returned to you.

Jo Gook: …

Mi Rae: After you hoped and hoped that my heart would be torn to pieces, are you satisfied now, you son of a bitch!?

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With that rebuke, Mi Rae leaves. Jo Gook has nothing to say. I’m not sure what to say either. I think that the reason he is acting like such a jerk is because (1) he believes that if Mi Rae still loves him, she will end up being hurt even more by those (i.e., Go Hae and BB) who want Mi Rae out of the picture, and (2) if Mi Rae’s anger is raised, maybe she will work even harder to try to block the MOU. But if that’s the case, then why did Jo Gook try to force Mi Rae to sign the MOU in the first place? I’m not sure if Jo Gook really knows what he is doing at this point.

In the scenes that follow, Jo Gook runs after Mi Rae, and tries to give her an umbrella for the rain. Mi Rae tosses it away, and then Jo Gook grabs her wrist and drags her to a gazebo to wait out the rain.

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Mi Rae screams for Jo Gook just to let her go, but Jo Gook will not do so. Mi Rae collapses from the emotional and physical strain, just begging Jo Gook to stop hurting her. But what can Jo Gook at this point? With Mi Rae sobbing at his feet, the best that Jo Gook can do is just remain standing.

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A taxi passes by and Jo Gook flags it, dragging Mi Rae inside. In the back of the taxi, Jo Gook releases the grip on Mi Rae’s wrist. Jo Gook looks down and realizes that he had been holding on so tight that her wrist is raw and bruised. And then it happens – Jo Gook’s hand closest to Mi Rae’s bruised hand creeps up and Jo Gook’s pinkie finger reaches out and touches Mi Rae.

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Mi Rae recognizes his touch as an apology. Mi Rae bursts into tears again, her heart almost failing. What is it about Jo Gook that even a single touch can melt the strongest person in Inju City? What’s awesome here is that Mi Rae does not pull away her hand. She still loves Jo Gook!

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And this is confirmed when, at Mi Rae’s house, Jo Gook asks for a towel to dry off. Entering Mi Rae’s room, he sees a poster of him with the crystal baendaengi pendant on the poster’s jacket lapel.

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Mi Rae enters and she asks him to leave after he has changed, turning her back so that he can change in peace. She remains where she is standing though, curiously. Jo Gook’s hand reaches out to touch Mi Rae, to grab her and hug her, but it is too soon. He withdraws and leaves without changing. Mi Rae turns around and he is gone.

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But not quite gone, however. Soo In meets up with Mi Rae the next day and shows a list of email recipients that received the same email from Jo Gook, who had been writing these companies in an effort to produce the kind of evidence that Mi Rae would need to stop the power plant project. As Mi Rae reads the list of recipients, she sees the one that send her a reply – she realizes it was Jo Gook who was helping her all along.

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And at that moment, Jo Gook is continuing to play the double-agent game. Tasked with writing an environmental statutory supplement by BB so that Korean companies can import toxic waste without significant penalty, Jo Gook completes the project and shows it to his father. BB is impressed, and wants Jo Gook’s party to introduce the supplement so as to keep his own hands clean.

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Jo Gook agrees, but in a double-cross, shows a different environmental statutory supplement to his own party boss, stating that with this new law, BB and his party will be completely shut down. But before he pulls the trigger and kills any hope of his father achieving his dream of becoming president, Jo Gook himself needs a few answers – if this legislation goes through, he will be killing his father’s dreams, and so he has to know whether BB was ever a good person. He heads back to Inju City to search out the Chairman of the Inju City Council, who was there at Jo Gook’s birth, who was friends with BB before BB was anyone special. Why did BB, who could have become President, suddenly drop out of the race and endorse the current President?

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Chairman Kang explains it simply. The key had always been Jo Gook. In the last election, someone found out about Jo Gook and threatened to reveal that BB had a son but didn’t care for him or the son’s mother. That someone was actually Go Hae’s dad, who was supporting the current President. But then the current President cut ties with the Dae Han Group, leaving Go Hae’s dad with nothing. And so, this time around, Go Hae’s dad and BB are tied together through Jo Gook’s impending marriage to Go Hae. If Jo Gook marries Go Hae, then BB will likely become President, and then the Dae Han Group will be even more powerful and rich than ever. And with that, likely, Jo Gook’s path to power will be secure.

Talk about decisions to make! If Jo Gook doesn’t go through with the double-cross of BB, then he would likely be the heir apparent to not only the Dae Han Group, but also to the presidency of Korea as well. Unlimited money, unlimited power. All he has to do is close his eyes for a time and let Mi Rae and Inju City turn into nothing but a bad memory. While Jo Gook is pondering and walking back to his office, he sees Mi Rae waiting for him. Rather timidly, Mi Rae thanks him for lending an umbrella to her.

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Jo Gook: But you didn’t even use it.

Mi Rae: I thought so too, but… as it turns out, I was underneath the biggest umbrella in the world the entire time. Spring, summer, autumn and winter… all rolled into one rainy day, and I was all alone getting hit by all the rain in the world. Thank you, for keeping me so dry the entire time.

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Yay! They are back together. I knew it, come on, we all knew it, but it still makes me happy to see it happen. But Jo Gook warns that he will be away for about 10 days, as he has to take care of matters – he started a fight with a certain someone (I won’t say who, but the initials of the person are “B” and “B”), and he has to see it through. Mi Rae asks what she can do to help, especially since she knows that her and Inju City are right in the middle of this fight.

Jo Gook: Don’t give in. Hold on for just a little while longer, and don’t sign anything.

And so Mi Rae, Boo Mi and Jung Do play hide and go seek with Go Hae, trying to delay any project meetings. Mi Rae and her staff go on a series of outside the office events, literally hiding from Go Hae and the Dae Han Group staff, even delivering hand-delivering food to the poor. But Mi Rae cannot run forever, and at the end of another out-of-the-office events, BB’s stormtroopers find and bring her to BB. And, in a scene that brought shivers down my spine, here comes BB, raging and full of wrath:

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BB: As I have lived and lived all the years of my life, you are the first person I have ever met who cannot understand common sense, politics or money. But rather than just feeling anger towards you, I feel wrath.

What should take just a single word, you force me to use TEN words. And even with those ten words, YOU STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND! And then you have the gall to make me come and seek you out?

Your enemy is the Dae Han Group, although you know that I am with them… how dare you continue to frustrate their plans like this? It hurts my pride to have to fight a one-day old puppy, but with all the rage inside of me, would it be reasonable to think that I will just hold back?

However ignorant you may be, you have to know when it is time to stop and get on your knees. That is how I live and that is how you live. But if you continue to fight like this, is there anything for me to do but tear the very breath from your lungs and rip you apart?

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BB: And as for Gookie, what can you do for him? He is just beginning to make his ambition a reality. Then what the hell are you doing, putting out his fire, clipping his wings and destroying him?

By tomorrow, if I do not get news that the contract with the Dae Han Group is settled, then I guess I will have to start doing things my way. Other people seem to have tried the direct approach with you, but I think differently. Starting from the very bottom, I will fuck with every single person you know. Since the same pain can be shared, I will start with the company that feeds Inju City – Inju Fibers. And then all of the workers at City Hall, and then all of the families of the workers, and then all of the workers’ families’ relatives, and those relatives’ friends, and shall I even fuck with the neighbors of those relatives’ friends? The city may not have much to say for electing a woman to office, but as Mayor, shouldn’t you at least try to stop this horrible tragedy from taking place?

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With that, BB stalks off, and Mi Rae falls to the ground as if she has been shot. (Note: there are scary things on television like ghosts and vampires, psychopathic killers, giant man-eating pigs, etc. But absolutely terrifying is this guy BB, who has so little regard for humanity and weighs everything in life on a scale of the balance of power, rather than through any morality.)

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She tries to call Jo Gook, but his phone is turned off, as he has gone to Europe. She must handle this alone. After a night of thinking, Mi Rae calls up Go Hae and tells her that she will sign in the afternoon. And then she walks down the hall to the office of the Deputy Mayor. Joo Hwa, the former secretariat and the deputy Mayor are there. They have no idea what she is asking, but the look on Mi Rae’s face tells them that this is not a political stunt. They look at one another, unsure of what to make of things.

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We don’t get to hear what Mi Rae asked of them, but after the meeting, Joo Hwa is walking around in an emotional daze, even the point of needing to hold onto a column for support. I think it is safe to say that for the first time in her life, she finally has learned what it means to actually be a hero, to serve other people.

With BB’s threat looming over all of Inju City, Go Hae and Mi Rae get together to sign their respective documents. Go Hae needles Mi Rae about changing her mind about signing so quickly. Mi Rae ignores the goad and signs her documents, much to Boo Mi and Jung Do’s dismay. They have no idea the level of threat that Mi Rae received, nor what possible plan she had put into motion with Joo Hwa and the deputy Mayor. But Mi Rae says only that she can turn all of this upside down.

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That night, sitting in her room, Mi Rae thinks back to all the struggles that she had, to make it this far in her life, and all of the people that she has in her care. This is her legacy and her love story with Inju City, and Inju City’s love story with her, an ignorant woman of no regard rising up to take on corruption, politics as usual, and to make Inju City a better place. The strain and the burden of caring for so many people, the emotional journey of what she had to endure to get to where she is… all of it weighs so heavily upon her shoulders. In the quiet of her own room, Mi Rae sobs to herself. There is no one else she can turn to. Where is Jo Gook??!

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The next day leads to Jo Gook’s return from Europe. Nice of you to show up, a day late and a dollar short. Still, Jo Gook is in a good mood.

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Jo Gook tells Soo In that after tomorrow, he can be seen with Mi Rae in public, without worries, and so Soo In should just give up any ideas of getting romantic with Mi Rae. Soo In returns a weird look on his face. I can’t tell whether he is disappointed or happy for Jo Gook.

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Jo Gook’s legislation sponsored by the ruling party, has come up for the vote and has passed with the ruling party’s blessing. BB, in his office, is beside himself with rage. It is time for Jo Gook to confront his own father and to stand up for himself and for Mi Rae. He stands in front of BB to take his wrath. BB is almost a raving lunatic, literally apoplectic with rage – throwing everything he can get his hands on. Jo Gook is not afraid at all.

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You know, BB’s rage / wrath / madness is understandable, really. BB would have likely been president of Korea had the discovery of Jo Gook’s sinister birth not been discovered. And BB has had to live with this fear of being discovered for all of Jo Gook’s life, since he could not take care of Jo Gook and Jo Gook’s mom early on. Discovery would lead to the death of his political career, and so BB has done whatever he could to endure and push on despite Jo Gook being a daily reminder of being the millstone around BB’s neck. So that’s why BB resents Jo Gook so much. But then again, it’s not understandable at all. What father doesn’t love his own child? Jo Gook warns BB – turn back now or BB will be defeated. BB starts turning colors that I didn’t think a human body could manufacture, stating that he has had to endure Jo Gook all his life and this is the thanks that he gets? Jo Gook states matter-of-factly that BB just took away BB’s last chance of forgiveness, as Jo Gook won’t ever lose to BB again.

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BB isn’t the only one angered by this legislation.

Go Hae immediately realizes that Jo Gook’s environmental amendment is a direct attack on Dae Han Group and, by proxy, an attack on her. There won’t be any wedding bells in the future between them, after all. (This is truly a novel approach to breaking up – draft national legislation that attacks your fiance’s dad’s company…. some people just can’t do the face-to-face breakup…) Go Hae tracks down Jo Gook for explanation. Jo Gook tosses Go Hae a folder full of contracts that were signed by the Dae Han Group, detailing the toxic waste that they were going to import.

Go Hae replies that there is no way that the Dae Han Group would have done that, but, even assuming that to be the case, there is no way that SHE would have allowed that to happen. All she wanted to do was express her devotion to Jo Gook by delivering campaign funding and by building a power plant in Inju City to help solidify his power base. AND, even if it were true that the Dae Han Group was attempting to bring in bad things, it was HIS responsibility as her fiancé to cover it up, to support her and the Dae Han Group rather than betraying her. And now, since she got Mi Rae’s signature on the contract already, that power plant will be grandfathered in, unaffected by the new legislation, and Go Hae will see to it that even worse things are brought into Inju City, because even more than Jo Gook’s legislation, there is no way in hell that Go Hae will allow herself to beaten by Mi Rae. Go Hae really is a tragic figure here. Honestly, so many City Hallers growl at her, but what exactly did she do that was so bad?

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Jo Gook’s eyes go round as he sees Mi Rae’s signature. He cannot believe it. At that moment, Mi Rae and the deputy Mayor enter Jo Gook’s office. Jo Gook asks, is this really your signature? Didn’t he tell her not to give in??!

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Mi Rae then drops the very last bomb in her arsenal: her signature has no legal effect, because she wasn’t Mayor at the time. She had resigned before she signed. Both Jo Gook and Go Hae are stunned. And now we see what Mi Rae was doing inside the deputy Mayor’s office. She asked Joo Hwa and the deputy Mayor to hold off on announcing her resignation until after she had signed, so as to prevent the power plant from being built with all of the toxic waste to be imported (and now we know why Joo Hwa was acting so strange). Mi Rae looks up at a shocked and saddened Jo Gook and smiles slightly.

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Mi Rae: The paths that I could walk, I have walked them all. And in any case, I didn’t give in.

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Comments -

In as much as I shed a tear or two for earlier episodes, this episode had me good. There are SO MANY emotionally charged scenes in this one episode. The gazebo scene in the rain, the subsequent taxi ride scene, the BB threatening unholy war against Inju City, Jo Gook finally standing up to his dad, Mi Rae asking Joo Hwa to close her eyes, just for a moment, Mi Rae reminiscing over what it took to become Mayor… How many times must my heart get caught in my throat? What’s more, I always get a bit choked up when I think about how much better our world would be, if our politicians were as awesome as Shin Mi Rae… how wonderful of a world would we live in?

This episode is really the culmination of Mi Rae’s career and of the love story between her and her city. That she would sacrifice everything, including her career and even her very freedom (she’s going to go to jail for fraud if the Dae Han Group sues), to save her city from ruin is remarkable for anyone, but not remarkable for Mi Rae, because that’s what her heart has always been like. It was just that she never had the guidance, encouragement or resources to get her to a place where she could make a difference, until Jo Gook showed up.

If I have one “wish,” it would be that those shop-keeper “friends” of Mi Rae who betrayed her by written affidavits (charging Mi Rae with corruption) could have been in Jo Gook’s office, so that they can see what it means to be a person of true integrity and character, so that they could fall on their hands and knees in awe and literally beg Mi Rae for forgiveness (which, I am a little pissed to say, Mi Rae would probably give, since she is also generous with that as well). At least, I am happy that that weasel of the secretariat, the career criminal in Joo Hwa and the deputy Mayor all were able to witness first hand what it means to be a hero.

Still to me, this is the saddest episode of all of the City Hall episodes, because we have been through such a roller-coaster ride with Mi Rae, and after everything – the ignominious firing and being tossed out on her ass from City Hall, the torn dress at her one-woman protest, being pelted with eggs, being subjected to ridicule and being ignored, being looked down upon by everyone, and then rising up to connect with her people, and then being threatened again and again with various taints of corruption and calumny, and finally, with being threatened by the scariest threat against all of Inju City, she has withstood and withstood and withstood some more, only to be forced to resign in the end.

On the day that Mi Rae leaves office, there should be a plaque made to be put under a portrait of her, with just one word engraved: invictus. Invictus is latin for “undefeated.” Mi Rae, having never been defeated by any who seek to harm her fair city, deserves at least that much.

The scenes to watch for in this Episode: It’s a tie! The BB threat scene and the scene at Mi Rae’s house, after the gazebo and the taxi ride.

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I’m not sure if Choi Il Hwa, who plays BB in this drama, will ever be able to play a role of a cuddly, good-natured or crazy funny slightly stupid grandfather in any future k-dramas. BB is so evil in this scene, so unforgiving, so terrifying… people who have seen in him this drama may not be able to picture him in the future as, say, a warm fuzzy and wise grandpop who is a poor fish-monger or shoemaker, who has to take care of spunky and cute Yoon Eun Hye who really is an heiress to a chaebol all by himself. When my wife and I were first watching this episode, I found that my left hand was death-gripping a pillow and that my right hand was being death-gripped by my wife’s hand. Scary, scary stuff.

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How awesome is this scene after the taxi ride and the gazebo? Jo Gook wants nothing more than to reach out and hug Mi Rae, but he can’t, not before the trap that he set for BB and Go Hae is finished. And in the mean time, Mi Rae’s heart has been nearly destroyed by Jo Gook. I say nearly, because even now, in this scene, even with EVERYTHING that Mi Rae has been through, she is still willing to forgive and love Jo Gook – why? Because her heart, though it might be broken, is STILL bigger and stronger than anything that Jo Gook or anyone else can throw at her. Mi Rae’s broken heart is still stronger than most other people’s regular hearts.

And that’s why I love this drama.

On To Episode 20, the last and maybe the best episode of this entire series!! Trust me, you will not want to miss the last episode!!

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73 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Shin Anna

    Samsooki I absolutely love your recaps. It’s been months since I last saw this episode and thinking back on Choi Il Hwa’s pure rage still gives me the chills.

  2. Robyn

    ” BB starts turning colors that I didn’t think a human body could manufacture,”

    This was one of the best acted episodes of the entire series. In this scene BB truly does turn this awful shade of puce that should never be seen on a “human” body. This scene reminded me of a scene with Randall from Monsters, Inc. who turns all sorts of colors when he is finally exposed. You do not expect that sort of emotional and physical investment in a television show by a supporting character. It is one of the best scenes of the entire show, and the one I remember the most clearly because of the pure hatred you see emanating from his soul through his face and body.

    The other favorite part of the episode was the taxicab ride and at home in Mi Rae’s room, the smiple contact and the quiet togetherness was beautiful, uncontrived, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

    I cannot wait for 20
    ~R

  3. robotmatsuri

    Samsooki, 0timeslot and cleown, thank you so so so much for another wonderful recap!

    Like you, this was the only episode that had me bawling. The scene that reduced me to hiccups and never-ending tears was the entire rain scene, from the gazebo to taxi ride to the house. Beautiful, beautiful angst from both leads.

    I also agree with you that BB (played by Choi Il Hwa) is one scary MF. I was almost shaking as badly as Mirae was during that scene.

  4. hanguk-drama-luver:D

    i loved this drama one of the best thank you for the recaps

  5. samsooki

    @robotmatsuri,

    hehe. my 11 week old baby gets hiccups sometimes and when he wails and carries on and cries for whatever reason (k-melodrama actor in the making???) but has hiccups, it is so funny:

    waaaaaaaahh *hic* *confused pause* waaaaaaaaaaaah *hic* *confused pause* lol!

    but yeah, when I watched this episode, i teared up. then when i drafted this recap, I teared up. then when i did the screen caps, i teared up. hehe, good thing i don’t get hiccups.

    :D

  6. asianromance

    awesome recap! I agree with you abt Choi Il Hwa as BB! I can’t think of any character in a kdrama who makes my blood run cold like BB in that scene with MiRae

  7. chasen8888

    Great recap Samsooki and team, this reminded me why it was one the best dramas for 2009. After episode 20 recap, I’m soo looking forward to rewatching it for mmmmh – 4th time.

  8. ockoala

    I had to stop when reading the recap, samsooki, it was that heart-wrenching to remember how I wailed when I first watched the scene btw MR and JG in the rain all the way until he walks out of her house. Just breathtaking acting on their parts, and truly elevates their relationship turmoil and love to a whole nother level.

    And I was scared out of my mind by the scene with BB and MR, which I first watched raw without any subs, and I had no clue what he was saying to her, only that it was very very terrifying in its very vengeful fury and I was so scared for MR. And to later understand the actual threats he leveled at her just sucks the very air out of my gut – so EVIL!

    Whew, I finally just let out a very deep breath, which was pent up while reading this recap. Episode 19 finally takes us to that very very edge, where everything that has been put in motion for the entire drama finally collides, and I am just in awe of how this drama makes me feel and connects with me so viscerally.

    And a special kudos to Joo-hwa, for that very briefly shown moment when she finally *gets* it. What it means to be a citizen of Inju and a meaningful member of society.

  9. Anonymous

    I got choked up just reading your recap samsooki! Thinking back on this episode, there are so many moments, like you said, that are so emotionally charged. I watched this episode initially at night, so the BB scenes were really quite terrifying! Props to the actor Choi Il Hwa (he will never be the gentle dad in coffee prince to me again)!

    I really got the sense that Jo Guk didnt really know what he wanted in this episode. And in his indecision, he hurt Mi Rae even more. I wonder if this was intentional from the writers, or that the plot was just not as put together as was intended. Nevertheless, in reality, guys ARE like that (seriously, they never know what they want *cough*). But I think this also highlighted Mi Rae’s depth of love for Jo Guk; that even though her heart was broken into bits and pieces by him, she STILL loved him. What an amazing character she is!

    I also loved the gazebo scene, but in a love-hate way. It was terribly uncomfortable to watch if you know what I mean? Kim Sun Ah did such an amazing job as an actress that I could feel her anguish roll of her in that scene. And then in the taxi, with the barely-there-finger touch, I couldn’t help but cry a little *sob.

    What makes this drama so amazing for me is that all the acting is so good, all ’round. From the leads, to the second leads, heck, even the extras are good (just joking:P but you know what i mean). It makes the drama really come alive for me, and I cant help but still feel the emotions of this drama even after rewatching it a few..(make that many)…times :D

    Thanks for your lovely recaps again!

  10. 10 lyd

    I got choked up just reading your recap samsooki! Thinking back on this episode, there are so many moments, like you said, that are so emotionally charged. I watched this episode initially at night, so the BB scenes were really quite terrifying! Props to the actor Choi Il Hwa (he will never be the gentle dad in coffee prince to me again)!

    I really got the sense that Jo Guk didnt really know what he wanted in this episode. And in his indecision, he hurt Mi Rae even more. I wonder if this was intentional from the writers, or that the plot was just not as put together as was intended. Nevertheless, in reality, guys ARE like that (seriously, they never know what they want *cough*). But I think this also highlighted Mi Rae’s depth of love for Jo Guk; that even though her heart was broken into bits and pieces by him, she STILL loved him. What an amazing character she is!

    I also loved the gazebo scene, but in a love-hate way. It was terribly uncomfortable to watch if you know what I mean? Kim Sun Ah did such an amazing job as an actress that I could feel her anguish roll of her in that scene. And then in the taxi, with the barely-there-finger touch, I couldn’t help but cry a little *sob.

    What makes this drama so amazing for me is that all the acting is so good, all ’round. From the leads, to the second leads, heck, even the extras are good (just joking:P but you know what i mean). It makes the drama really come alive for me, and I cant help but still feel the emotions of this drama even after rewatching it a few..(make that many)…times :D

    Thanks for your lovely recaps again!

  11. 11 Rovi

    20

    20

    20

    20!!!!!

    Yes, we’re nearing the end…But then, we will get to see the end of the (TV version) of JG-MR love… :(

  12. 12 JJ

    I’m not following this drama but am I right that this has been airing since about June of last year? Is it this lengthy? I’m sorry for being so ignorant here but i was just wondering why it’s still on!

    thnx

  13. 13 robotmatsuri

    @Samsooki

    It was the Ican’tcatchmybreath kind of crying on my end, which lead to the hiccups. :P

    waaaaaaaahh *hic* *confused pause* waaaaaaaaaaaah *hic* *confused pause* lol!

    That is SO adorable! :D

    Another part I absolutely loved, but forgot to mention was the scene in the house when he saw the Baendaengi pinned on his poster. That was to me, Shin Mirae literally pinning her hope on Jo Guk–it was so touching and poignant.

    Oh, and one last thing… I didn’t really hate Go Hae before, I just disliked her ways. Toward the end though when the story started to unwrap more, I started to feel pity for her. She was just another pawn like Jo Guk.

  14. 14 ockoala

    @ JJ

    City Hall ended in early July. Samsooki has graciously offered to recap the entire 20 episode drama and his recaps are what is still “on” at dramabeans. :-)

  15. 15 chasen8888

    FYI – BB is playing the stern father in Reputable Family a drama that not much people are watching. For those in the US and Canada, you may be able to see it on viikii.net as at present it has a license pending issue, for the others its regretful not being able to watch it. The drama for the first 2 episodes is interesting so far, though BB’s role is more pronounced in episode 3.

  16. 16 kaedejun

    “BB is so evil in this scene, so unforgiving, so terrifying… people who have seen in him this drama may not be able to picture him in the future as, say, a warm fuzzy and wise grandpop who is a poor fish-monger or shoemaker, who has to take care of spunky and cute Yoon Eun Hye who really is an heiress to a chaebol all by himself.”

    HAHAHHA – that comment had me cracking up so badly!! =D it’s true – that was a terrifying scene. i like to think that the warmest/fuzziest i’ve seen him in is in Coffee Prince as Gong Yoo’s dad – he was distant at first, but had the best “amused” expressions towards the end of the series.

  17. 17 Anonymous

    I’ve seen may villains in K-dramas but Choi Il Hwa has to be the scariest villain i’ve ever seen. I don’t think I want to meet him in real life. hahaha…his eyes, his mouth, and his demeanor enough to make you run away. How can a short main be so menacing?

  18. 18 Anonymous

    @ Samsooki

    I actually don’t understand why Jo Gook initially aggravated Mi Rae on purpose so she won’t sign the contract but later he was disappointed when she did give in. Why were his actions so conflicting? do you want to shed a light?

  19. 19 samsooki

    @17,

    Well this is the whole two-persons-in-one type of dealio. When Mi Rae broke up with Jo Gook on the stone staircase a few episodes back, she did so because even though she, as a woman, would have accepted losing to Jo Gook, she, as Mayor, could not accept losing to him (or BB).

    Jo Gook sort of saw Mi Rae in the same way, the Protector that would battle all comers to the death for the sake of principle, and the Woman that he loved.

    When Jo Gook hatched his plan to destroy BB and save Inju City, he needed time enough to get his legislation passed.

    For that to happen, for Jo Gook’s plan to succeed, he needed Mayor Shin Mi Rae the Protector to fight with all her strength and remain strong against Go Hae / BB / Dae Han Group / Joo Hwa (who was trying to take credit for the power plant). Of course, there is great risk in this, because Jo Gook knew that that would mean exposing Mi Rae to more attacks. And Jo Gook would not be able to shield her from these new attacks. And so he was saddened, but he needed to risk everything to win everything.

    See, this all started when when Mi Rae was interrogated all night and mercilessly treated at the police station, and Jo Gook couldn’t bear to see Mi Rae get hurt any more, and so he got on his knees in front of BB. JG decided at that point to bring down BB and Go Hae and Dae Han Group all at the same time. That was when he came up with the plan to attack BB from within. But he had to trust that Mi Rae was strong enough to hold out against the combined attacks of Go Hae and BB, until he could (1) confirm that toxic waste was going to come to Inju City, and (2) set the trap that would be the downfall of BB.

    So, that’s why it seems like Jo Gook was acting inconsistently. He really was being inconsistent, because he changed his approach after the night Mi Rae spent at the police station. At that point, JG realized he could only protect Mi Rae if he could defeat BB and Go Hae at the same time. And for that to happen, he needed to risk Mi Rae, and, at least in his own mind, he needed to make Mi Rae think that he was breaking up with her.

    Personally, I think he could have told Mi Rae what he was doing, and not break her heart so many times. But, my feeling now about that, is that JG knew that his plan could fail, and so if it failed, then he wouldn’t be able to see MR again, and it would be better if she could forget about him and hate him, than just pine for him and wait for him endlessly. I would have argued against that approach, but that’s just me.

  20. 20 snowanh

    Samsooki…you are priceless…..Thank you so so much for the recap…reading it make me want to watch the drama again…give your little one a little kiss for me.

  21. 21 Artemis

    Thank you so much for another GREAT recap, Samsooki!!! Just reading it took me right back to when I watched the episode. It was a really good one!

    And BB freaked the hell out of me. What an evil evil man!

    Good luck with the last one. It’s the home stretch, you are soon at the finish line!

  22. 22 Sere

    Samsooki, I’m still reading the recap, but I had to stop at this line “He and Boo Mi should get married” and cheer like mad. You read my mind! \o/ I had hoped the writers would play with their characters cos the few times they were onscreen together, they were awesome together. They could be such BFF!

    *resumes reading*

  23. 23 skelly

    Samsooki,

    Totally agree about Choi Il Hwa – I first saw him in Coffee Prince, and I just loved his understated character. Then came City Hall, and when I recognized him I was all set to think of him as a good guy… but by the time Episode 19 rolled around, not only was he not a good guy, he had me literally in a cold sweat, he was so evil and menacing and real.

    So a few weeks ago I thought I would watch some of Coffee Prince again, and when he came on I’m thinking, “run away, he has some horrible plan up his sleeve! Yes, he really does hate you!” Really, I could not look at him the same way. What an amazing acting job (I hope it’s acting!!!)

    And if I haven’t said so before, thanks so much to you and your marvelous team for making these recaps happen. It’s like seeing it for the first time, all over again, because of your comments and insight. I love them – and I’m saving them in my big book of All Things City Hall.

  24. 24 moineau2907

    I’ve seen this drama months ago but I’m still waiting for your recap…

    Everytime a recap is posted I jump on it just to feel that stream of emotions again…

    What a great drama! A what a great job you do with your recap…Thank you for making me remember the feeling of being in love with a drama^^

    If only I could turn back time just to discover the drama again…If only!

    Can’t wait for your – last -_- – recap of this wonderful serie

  25. 25 langdon813

    Oh, samsooki. :-(

    What I love the most about your City Hall recaps is that how much you love it just comes through in every single word. I’ll be so sad to read the last one.

  26. 26 su-pah

    Such an awesome recap, appreciatus muchachas!
    This was my fave CH episode, ever! Obviously the finale was the shiznit but this was still better, in my humble opinion.

    The scene at the gazebo really did it, while she’s wailing and going berserk, the expression on his face had me feeling like I was getting poked in the heart with daggers kind of thing, ooh so intense and painful! that’s what you call real acting. What an awesome actor! *Applause*

  27. 27 Penn

    “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” but they haven’t meet Mi Rae. I cried a lot in this episode. I cried out of anger. I cried out of sympathy. I cried out of pride. Pride for Mi Rae who despite her lack of higher education was able to outsmart these evil mastermind individuals.

  28. 28 Rita

    What can I say but – WOW to another wonderful recap! I am in the office and I shed tears reading it and tried to hide the tears from my officemates but was not successful! If I were at home, I would bawl like a baby! Samsooki and team, thank you. You guys are really great!

  29. 29 gia

    best couple ever in kdrama

  30. 30 Lahmongnese

    This is one of the many great episodes in city hall.

  31. 31 ktb

    Thanks for the great recaps! I haven’t watched this in a while, but I think I just might have to go back and rewatch this epidsode.

    Btw, BB IS really scary. I don’t think I can ever look at him the same, either….

  32. 32 Sere

    You know what? I love this drama more and more. The first time I watched it, I was wowed by it. And no matter how many times I re-watch scenes or entire episodes, it’s just as good, it keeps touching me and shaking me. I love it.

    BB’s confrontation was scaaaary. One of the scariest thing I’ve seen on a kdrama. Still, the one that left me speechless and choked up was the taxi scene. Gets to me every single time. When their fingers brush slightly…oh. Oh! You can feel their emotions, their pain, their love.

    @18 and @19 Samsooki

    One of the qualities I love of Jo Gook is that he thinks of several things at once, he can antipate moves and plan ahead, just like in a game of chess. And that quality, he’s had it from the very beginning. It kind of dawned on me when he first learnt from Go Hae that BB wanted to build a plant in Inju. When he learnt about that -and kudos to CSW for his acting because GUH! awesome!- you can tell he was thinking of ALL the implications building a plant there would mean, what it would mean to the Inju City citizens, what it would mean to Mi-rae, what to BB (is that an advange? A disadvantage? What’s his real purpose?) and can he, Jo Gook, protect Mirae from whatever BB was planning? That scene lasted for mere seconds, but his conflicting emotions showed on his face, no question about that. For this very trait of his personality, I don’t think Jo Gook’s actions weren’t conflicting at all. He was only trying to do all he could, fighting several battles on different fronts, trying to anticipate his opponents’ attacks while trying to protect Mirae as much as he could.

    I have to agree with Samsooki. JG didn’t reveal his plans to Mirae just because he wasn’t sure of the outcome and he was trying, in a very Jo Gookish way, to shield and protect her.

  33. 33 hyall

    Oh wow what a recap ! Thank you it was well done. Right about BB. I was shivering too. He acted brilliantly I was so scared for Inju and everyone ,he left no one out. He was so thorough.

    The gazebo scene another great one.

  34. 34 Robin

    Gracias! Another recap that leaves me in a puddle of longing to return to the world of Inju City, Mi-rae, and most definitely, Jo Guk!

    This drama continues to showcase the talent pool in Korean dramas as every player lives up to the huge task of making us love ‘em or hate ‘em — and then some!

  35. 35 Abdul

    OMG LOL
    Did anyone other than me find the fact that she got an email from greenland@hotmail.com hilarious? And the bottom of the e-mail it said: “sincerely, greenland? and the from said green land? LOLOLOLOLOL

    Anyway, to be honest, this drama has lost me. The only character I like right now is Soo In. He’s sooo cute.

  36. 36 celestialorigin

    Thank you, Samsooki!

    Just skiming though your re-cap takes me into the world of City Hall and re-live the experience all over again. Especially this one is heart wrenchingly good! At the same time implying the direction it`s heading: no more heartaches, happiness and a rainbow in the sky ahead…

  37. 37 momosan

    @35 Abdul

    No, you weren’t the only one amused at the email addresses. ::snicker::

    And yes, BB was bigtime scary. Scary, scary.

  38. 38 kdxmel

    Mi Rae: The paths that I could walk, I have walked them all. And in any case, I didn’t give in.

    This is the scene that had me bawling when I first watched it, and even now, reading the recap. It’s the pent up fear and anger and heartache built up over the past few episodes, culminated to the revelation of MR’s ultimate sacrifice. When she said that one line at the end, and you realize that she had held fast to her beliefs, her immense strength and tenacity of her as a person and protector of Inju City just broke my heart into pieces and certified me a CH fan forever.

    Thank you, Samsooki, for bringing us back, for writing all these recaps against your busy schedule. There is no praise high enough for your dedication and insightful writing.

    Thank you javabeans, for this awesome site, everyday.

    I heart City Hall.

  39. 39 sukispop

    Another awesome recap, Samsooki, 0timelost, and cleown! Thank you!

    I loved every moment in this episode…so many great, great scenes! I agree with all of you on the key scenes…amazing acting, writing, directing, and it bears repeating-acting! The BB meglomaniacal tirade, how fun and scary was that?? If the drama powers-that-be only knew what Choi Il-hwa was capable of, before. I hope that we’ll see him in many more dynamic(read explosive) roles in the near future.

  40. 40 jastinel

    Choi Il Hwa, he should win an award for his magnificent portrayal of BB in this drama. Anyway, He is a winner for me. ..The most evil villain in a drama!

    Again, KSA was brilliant in in this episode, she is truly the BEST ACTRESS!
    Thanks for the recap, again and again!

  41. 41 cecee

    Thanks guys for the wonderful recaps. It is always a joy to read from another prespective. One more episode to go. I’ve been watching each episode after I read your recaps. It refreshes my mind. I really enjoy this series alot.

  42. 42 gra

    another memorable scene is on gazebo :( again with your recap I can understand why Jo Gook left her room after he trying to reach and want to hug her. ( i heard it took 6 hours KSA was under the rain to make this scene, that show how she is a great actress)

    Very strong and intense but that I love watched this episode is Mirae’s love never change to Jo Gook as same as she love the Inju city.

    CH is the best ever.

    Thank you Samsooki and team for awesome recaps.

  43. 43 mtoenlob

    Fatherhood is never biological. This is so true to BB. When others would have moved heaven and earth for the sake of family, BB would not leave any stone unturned unless and until he gets to his life-long dream and it does not matter whoever gets trampled on or the manner on how he will achieve that dream. Thanks to Choi Il Hwa for a credible portrayal of BB. To a true actor there is no small or big role. There were only a number of times we would see his character on screen but when he did, his presence reeked with malevolence so real you would cringe in fear.

    Credible acting is one of the many charms of CH. The entire cast rendered a believable performance to the characters they were portraying – from JG and SMR, from BB and GGH, from Boo Mi and Soo In, from Jung Du and Jhoo Hwa to the bureau directors. Either you love them or hate them, but each one moved you either to tears, laughter or rage. Even those who were given just a minute of fame left a mark. In previous episodes, take that sly weasel of a photographer-reporter for example. That wily look of his still gives me the bristles.

    “There are SO MANY emotionally charged scenes in this one episode. The gazebo scene in the rain, the subsequent taxi ride scene, the BB threatening unholy war against Inju City, Jo Gook finally standing up to his dad, Mi Rae asking Joo Hwa to close her eyes, just for a moment, Mi Rae reminiscing over what it took to become Mayor… How many times must my heart get caught in my throat? What’s more, I always get a bit choked up when I think about how much better our world would be, if our politicians were as awesome as Shin Mi Rae… how wonderful of a world would we live in?” . . . Mi Rae’s broken heart is still stronger than most other people’s regular hearts. . . And that’s why I love this drama.”

    I had my share of kdrama watching, but no other drama has ever touched me the way CH did. It’s a drama that not only rouse your feelings but your mind as well. It is both emotional and cerebral. . . . . And that’s why I love this drama.

    Thank you, Samsooki and team, for another wonderful recap. Until the next episode.

  44. 44 indri

    Loooooooooooooooove the recaps,.. thank u so much !!
    almost ending,.. how sad,… I want more please,……hiks…hiks…hiks…..
    Season II pleaseeeeeeee…..

  45. 45 mzpakipot

    awww….i’m literally crying right now, for an awesome recap…especially the last part..

    Because her heart, though it might be broken, is STILL bigger and stronger than anything that Jo Gook or anyone else can throw at her. Mi Rae’s broken heart is still stronger than most other people’s regular hearts.

    thank you

  46. 46 Samira

    Hey. I already watched this drama 2 times, but I love reading your recaps and reminiscing the amazing scenes that make this drama one of the best for me. I love Kim Sun Ah so much, she’s my favorite actress ever, but I already expected good things from her.

    But it wasmy first time seeing Cha Seung-won and I was blown away. HIS EYES caught my attention since the first episode. They always have SO MUCH feeling it pains me sometimes. The look on his eyes in the gazebo scene just broke my heart. He’s an amazing, amazing actor.

  47. 47 eiko

    Darn…I swear Samsooki you must have a PhD in psychology. I love to read your reviews! And if anyone out there has looked at some of the behind the scenes making of City Hall…..that particular scene with the umbrella was a mighty stressful and emotional scene that got both CSW and KSA looking drained. And then the taxi ride?!!! Oi vey…..the touching with the pinkie finger had me in tears….wow…talk about electrical current to keep connected!

    Yes, the best is yet to come…..

  48. 48 alodia

    Woah! Really! How can your recaps be as powerful – perhaps even more powerful than the episodes themselves?
    I can’t even make myself read the comments anymore coz I’m brawling right now…. I can’t even make myself re-read it…
    I guess I’ll be back later…
    Samsooki, 0timelost and cleown – thank you thank you thank you! I wish I can express my gratitude more than saying tons of thank yous….

  49. 49 mememomo

    Samsooki, 0timelost and cleown – thanks again for the amazing recap. A very emotional episode and really solid acting from everyone all around.

    Really thought that BB was going to have a heart attack being so intensely angry and worked up.

  50. 50 sueyip

    “The scenes to watch for in this Episode: It’s a tie! The BB threat scene and the scene at Mi Rae’s house, after the gazebo and the taxi ride”.

    Agree Samsooki. The threat scene by BB is just so frightening and like what some others had said earlier, I thought that he might have a heart attack halfway during his awesome performance. The actor who portrayed the role of BB should be given an award. Guess Suna won’t be able to sleep for a few days after thiis scene. Really really admire the acting of both KSA and CSW during the gazebo, taxi and scene at MiRae’s house. Real excellent acting skills.

    Thank you for the recap.

    Am definitely waiting for the last episode but I actually do not want it to end …..

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