First, let me say that I’m sorry and embarrassed for taking SO long to do this recap. I intended to get this done about two weeks ago, but despite the best of intentions, I simply couldn’t keep up.
I imagine that’s how the writer felt, too, when she got slammed with writing 16 more episodes… and it shows. Episodes 28 & 29 are out of whack with the rest of the series: they’re weepers, but of the kind that make your eyes roll rather than tear up. There were some moments that made me smile, but most of them were due to Sung-joon and Ji-soo, which is why they get this recap’s top billing.
Hands clasped and on her knees, Geum-ja begs Jung-in to let Hyun-soo go. Jung-in doesn’t answer yes or no, and instead they both cry.
That same night, Ji-soo takes Sung-joon to an abandoned lot, and tells him to see for once and for all the kind of person she really is. He hides while she picks a pretty mean fight with the hoodlums, though she’s heavily outnumbered. But Sung-joon runs in and shields her from them, taking the blows instead.
Ji-soo takes Sung-joon to her place to wash up, and she begins to clean his face. But he takes her hands and puts them back in the bowl, saying meaningfully, “I’ll wash it for you, so that it’s over now.” Meaning that her past is now really in the past.
Ji-soo hugs him tightly and says, “I like you.” They kiss passionately (and surprisingly painlessly, considering the beating that Sung-joon just took and his bloodied lip).
HAHA. Sung-joon’s face the next morning belies his bliss as he sleeps next to Ji-soo. They have some cute and slightly awkward morning-after talk, even though, since they’re fully dressed, it seems safe to assume that nothing actually happened.
Jung-in stays in bed the next morning, unwell after having cried all night. Hyun-soo starts to go upstairs to check on her, and Geum-ja glares at him, growing angry with him for ignoring her when she tries to stop him.
Hyun-soo says, “Don’t look at me like that; you remind me of Han-se’s mom.” She retorts that he’s like Han-se—these insults get under each other’s skin.
Jung-in tells Geum-ja to take it out on her. Since Jung-in is committed to seeing her relationship through with Hyun-soo, despite Geum-ja’s approval, it would be better for Geum-ja to do something overtly, even hit her, than to suppress it.
Geum-ja fires back: “I thought you’d changed after coming to our house, but you haven’t at all. You’re the same.” If Jung-in will do whatever she wants, Geum-ja says, so will she.
But Geum-ja acts nice to Jung-in in front of the rest of the family. She heats up abalone porridge for Jung-in, since Jung-in woke up feeling unwell. It puts everyone on edge to see Geum-ja’s sudden change of attitude toward Jung-in. Is her new plot to kill Jung-in by kindness?
Jung-kil tells Geum-ja that he needs to get Jung-in back with Han-se, and Geum-ja begs him to make it happen, stat.
Jung-kil says, “Don’t you know Romeo and Juliet? If they’d been left alone, they might have gotten sick of each other after dating for a while. It was because the parents opposed it that they went off and ruined themselves.”
He says they need a way to split up Hyun-soo and Jung-in more organically, as it were. Geum-ja asks what that method might be, but she should have seen it coming. He says that she should sell the house to Han-se, so as to separate Jung-in and Hyun-soo, at least physically.
Sung-joon stops by to see Jung-in while she’s at work and tells her that he’s with Ji-soo. He says he may as well have it out, but she begs him to hold off so as not to make her and Hyun-soo’s situation worse. Sung-joon shrugs it off, saying that if it gets really bad, he can just leave the house.
Jung-in says Hyun-soo would never suggest doing such a thing against their parents’ wishes. Sung-joon says that’s exactly why what wouldn’t work for Jung-in works for him—since Ji-soo doesn’t have parents around to object to anything.
Hyun-soo calls Jung-in, and she says she feels sorry for getting in between Hyun-soo and Geum-ja (LOL, the weirdest love triangle ever).
Hyun-soo: “Hello? Is this Seo Jung-in?”
Hyun-soo: “The Seo Jung-in I know chirps like a frog, talks big even when she’s in the wrong, and hits you on the forehead if you tell her to apologize. Don’t change. That’s the Seo Jung-in I like.”
Geum-ja and Hyun-soo go on their “date.” He tries to bring up Jung-in again, but she cuts him off. Turns out, she’s brought him not on a mother-son date, but on a matchmaking setup, arranged by Han-se’s mom. It’s with the daughter of the president of the university where Hyun-soo teaches. She seems sweet enough, but Hyun-soo doesn’t even bother to look at her or participate in the conversation.
In a ballsy move that shows how serious Hyun-soo is about Jung-in—in that he’s not afraid to diss his employer’s daughter—he cuts off the meeting abruptly, saying he was about to die of boredom. Pointing out that he’d never agreed to this setup, he leaves, dragging Geum-ja out with him.
Geum-ja begs Hyun-soo to give the girl a chance—just three dates. A “Winter Sonata”-esque sountrack begins to play as Geum-ja breaks down in tears, accusing him of being a good son in the past only to disappoint her now. She rails on about her hopes and dreams for him. With jealousy and incredulity, she asks, “Jung-in? Jung-in? Jung-in, Jung-in?”
Hyun-soo says he can understand why she’s opposed, and he kneels and begs tearfully, “Forgive me. I love Jung-in.”
Geum-ja walks away, leaving Hyun-soo kneeling in the street. (Emm… kay?)
Sung-joon is actually at little scary here, but at least Ji-soo is happy to see him now. They get adorably physical.
In a throwback to Lee Chun-hee’s Chunderella days on Family Outing, he offers to fix the window but ends up breaking it. “Why is this window so clumsy?” he quips. (Poor Lee Chun-hee, he tried so hard to get away from the Clumsy image.)
Hyun-soo, unable to sleep, goes to Jung-in’s room and falls asleep comfortably, his head in her lap.
Geum-ja is down to her last resort. She offers to give the house to Jung-kil later that night, saying she’ll do anything for Hyun-soo’s sake.
At Geum-ja’s offer to give Jung-kil the house, he cracks up. “President Kang Man-bok, you can come out now,” he says, sure that it’s a trap. But Geum-ja begs him in desperation to take Jung-in out of Hyun-soo’s life. To even his own surprise, Jung-kil realizes she’s telling the truth.
He goes inside and checks on Jung-in, who has Hyun-soo in her lap. Jung-kil pulls her aside to tell her she has to let Hyun-soo go, for Hyun-soo’s sake. He suggests that they should leave the house, which immediately sets off a warning signal.
Worried that Jung-kil is going to try to do something regarding the house–although she doesn’t know about Geum-ja’s offer–Jung-in tells Hyun-soo to leave her alone moving forward, since seeing them together upsets the parents more.
The next day, Jung-kil refuses to accept the house, as it’ll make him a blackguard who has twice pawned his daughter off for monetary gain. He tells her to sell it to Han-se instead. She shouldn’t just give away such an expensive house for free.
But Geum-ja explains that she has to sacrifice everything she has in order to (though she doesn’t say it in these words) forever be able to guilt-trip Hyun-soo into staying away from Jung-in. She tells him to make up his mind, and soon, because if her frugality wins out, she’ll rescind the offer.
Geum-ja warns Hyun-soo that women like Jung-in who get nasally (i.e. whiny when they yell) are trouble later on. But Hyun-soo says that Geum-ja gets nasally when she talks too. He points out that they’re similar: “Oh, that must be why I like Jung-in, because she’s like the Baek Geum-ja that I love.”
They begin to bicker and it’s slightly creepy because it is actually pretty reminiscent of how he and Jung-in bicker.
But when he runs upstairs and uses Jung-in as a human shield (make that, a human snuggie) the joviality quickly dissipates. Although Jung-in gets mad at Hyun-soo because she knows he’s deliberately trying to be obvious in front of Geum-ja, she can’t help but smile at his antics afterward.
It’s New Year’s Eve, so the family makes dumplings by hand. While the two families talk as they work, Grandpa begins to notice that there are strange vibes in the room, particularly the way Geum-ja talks to Jung-in.
And it only gets tenser and tenser, thanks to Jilted Mom Syndrome, which Geum-ja has come down with bad in these two episodes. One after another, everyone leaves the living room to avoid the venom Geum-ja keeps spewing, leaving Jung-in making dumplings alone.
Grandpa Man-bok chides Geum-ja for being so hard on Jung-in, when Jung-in is obviously trying hard to please Geum-ja. She bursts into tears again, begging Grandpa to send the Seo family awayyyy *sob*.
Jung-kyung, who came home for New Year’s, gets a letter from the Chief. He tells her he’s taking a month of vacation, and that he misses her. “By the time I get back, I hope you’ll have gotten over your crush,” he tells her, hinting that he wants to start over with her.
Jung-in wakes up in the wee hours to make the dduk mandoo soup, using the rice cakes and dumplings they’d prepared the day before. Jung-kil sees her working, upset to see her put in so much effort that Geum-ja rebuffs.
In the morning, Geum-ja mutters under her breath about the slightly sub-par soup; both Grandpa Man-bok and Sang-hoon good-naturedly say it’s pretty good. Jung-kil digs in wordlessly, and remains uncharacteristically somber the entire morning.
Hyun-soo had wanted to tell Grandpa first thing about his relationship with Jung-in, but she tells him to wait, since Joon-bae is still there. I like the trusting look they share here.
Sung-joon is missing from the New Year’s celebrations because he’s taken Ji-soo to visit her orphanage. He remarks that the place is big, teasing her, “So you’ve really always gone around to big houses, haven’t you?” (Big house = slang for jail).
She walks off, pretending to be annoyed, but he tells her playfully that the face she makes when she’s annoyed is what he likes best. She makes an even more annoyed face.
Ji-soo: “Ahjusshi, when you were in school, you probably got beat up a lot, right?”
Sung-joon: “No, I didn’t really go to school.”
HAHA. He reminds her that she can’t beat him with words.
Sitting on the swings, they share a meaningful moment—one of the first in which she really opens up about her past, and he really listens—when Ji-soo tells Sung-joon that she used to wish she could just stay a kid, since once the kids grew up, they had do leave. “It was scary, thinking of being alone. You don’t know that feeling, do you?”
As a reply, Sung-joon runs about a hundred feet away, then walks back. “What’s your name?” he asks. “You’re pretty. Do you want to come live with me? I’ll be your family.”
He reaches into his pocket and slips the couple ring back on her finger.
Hyun-soo tells Grandpa Man-bok that he and Jung-in are dating, with the intention to marry. He explains why he had asked Grandpa to lend him money (to pay for the ring, though he doesn’t go into detail) and says that though his parents know, they oppose the relationship.
Grandpa is surprised, but he responds sensibly. He tells Hyun-soo that he’s approaching things in the wrong order. First, Hyun-soo should resolve it with his parents, and then discuss it with his grandfather, since Grandpa can’t boss around Sang-hoon and Geum-ja on the matter. However, it is clear to Hyun-soo that Grandpa isn’t exactly happy to hear Hyun-soo’s news, which worries him.
On her way back to the hospital, Jung-kyung tells Hyun-soo that she overheard her father talking with Geum-ja about something–she wasn’t sure what–but it roused her suspicions.
Turns out, they were finalizing a contract regarding the house. Jung-kil has decided to accept it, with all its implication that he will cut off ties with the Kang family.
PUAHAHA. Secretary Kim! He doesn’t even get a holiday off.
Han-se drops by with gifts. With gravitas, Jung-in asks if he brought gifts for his Beat team leader, Hyun-soo. When he says they’re for her, she turns down the gifts and tells Han-se not to come by anymore if it’s for her sake.
Jung-kil pulls Han-se aside, and with them gone, Geum-ja says to Jung-in: “I can tell you’re doing this for my benefit, but it’s futile.”
Once Jung-kil tells Han-se about the house:
Han-se: “How could you accept that? I was going to give it to her as a Christmas present.”
Jung-kil: “That’s long gone now. Christmas is over.”
Han-se asks what Geum-ja’s conditions were, and Jung-kil replies that the only thing she’d asked for was that he take Jung-in away.
“She must really dislike Jung-in, to go that far,” Han-se says.
“Exactly. I was worried Jung-in would shrivel up and die if we stayed longer in this house, which is why I accepted it.” Jung-kil asks Han-se if he really thinks he can win Jung-in over, but says that much as he wants to, he doesn’t have much confidence in Han-se.
On his way out, Han-se eagerly thanks Geum-ja for handing the house over to Jung-kil. Since he had intended to buy the house anyway, he offers to pay for at least part of the cost of the house. Geum-ja refuses again, saying that’s how much she dislikes Jung-in, for having ruined Hyun-soo and making him lie.
Han-se responds, “Wow, how are you even scarier than my mother?”
Geum-ja tells Han-se to make it work with Jung-in, especially considering how much she’s given to break and keep Hyun-soo and Jung-in apart.
Then Hyun-soo, who’d been listening, turns the corner and asks Geum-ja, “Did you tell Jung-in’s family to leave? Didn’t I tell you that I like Jung-in? That I was sorry for upsetting you, that I’d wait. I got on my knees and begged.”
He asks, “Is this how much you dislike her? You absolutely won’t approve? You won’t?”
When she answers as expected to each, he says evenly, “Alright.”
Surprising the whole family, he drives away with Jung-in. In the car he asks her, “Do you really not want to go back to your old house?” She says that she doesn’t intend to go back; she wants to be by his side.
“Keep that promise,” he says.
Several times in this episode, characters tell Geum-ja she’s worse than Han-se’s mother. It’s as if the writer is admitting, Yes, I know my script is laced with crap but HELLO I’ve been forced to write an extra 16 episodes and OMG Winter Sonata happens sometimes when you’re desperate.
Song Ok-sook, playing Geum-ja, had to squeeze out so many tears in these two episodes, behaving in a way that seems unnatural and irrational. At least, I’m calling it irrational because otherwise it just gets… creepy and possessive. I don’t necessarily think Song Ok-sook is a bad actress; in Geum-ja’s lighter scenes I think she can be pretty delightful. But the script has not given her much to work with for the last five episodes or so.
Meanwhile, I’ve finally been won over by Sung-joon and Ji-soo’s storyline. I enjoy seeing them off doing their own thing, and Sung-joon’s carefree, devil-may-care attitude is a refreshing, much-needed break from how beholden Hyun-soo and Jung-in are to the adults. He also showed himself finally capable of being serious and meeting Ji-soo at a deeper level, acknowledging how her past has shaped her, but inviting her to move past it now.
- Smile: Episode 27
- Smile: Episode 26
- Smile: Episode 25
- Smile: Episode 24
- Smile: Episode 23
- Smile: Episode 22
- Smile: Episode 21
- Smile: Episode 20
- Smile: Episode 19
- Smile: Episode 18
- Smile: Episode 17
- Smile: Episodes 15-16
- Smile extended to 46 episodes
- Smile: Episodes 13-14
- Smile: Episodes 11-12
- Smile: Episodes 9-10
- Smile: Episodes 7-8
- Smile: Episode 6
- Smile: Episode 5
- Smile: Episode 4
- Smile: Episode 3
- Smile: Episodes 1 & 2