Drama Recaps
Smile: Episodes 30-31
by | March 19, 2010 | 21 Comments

Surprisingly, rewatching these two episodes weren’t as torturous as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but just as soyjoy mentioned in her last recap, I can sympathize with the writer’s plight to stretch out a storyline by 16 episodes. Now that Smile has ended, I can look back and see how the frustrations of these two episodes fit into the big picture. But man oh man, it’s taking a circuitous and nonsensical route to get there. (More on this later.)

The one person that I’m enjoying immensely is Lee Chun-hee. I’ve recently finished watching the masterpiece, Conspiracy (BEST) in (DRAMA) the (EVER) Court (directed by the man behind Chuno) and my little crush on Lee has turned into a full on lovefest. I’m sure we’ve all had our fangirl/boy moments, so you’ll have to excuse my indulgence on all things Sung-joon in the recap. I especially found his scenes with Hyun-soo to be quite amusing and endearing. And the bathroom scene above where Sung-joon turns on the water is so reminiscent of Chunderella (see last recap by soyjoy) that it made me giggle with glee.


Conspiracy in the Court OST – “일월지가” (Song of Sun and Moon) by Sunye of Wondergirls
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Episode 30

Hyun-soo whisks away Jung-in, leaving behind a crew of crazy led by Geum-ja. And what’s his brilliant idea? A deluxe apartment in the skyyy… actually a hotel suite. Jung-in is quite livid over his rash decision and yells at him furiously, but in the end gets dragged up to the room.

Meanwhile, over at the Kang house, the house turnover deal (between Geum-ja and Jung-kil) is now the main focus of the discussion. Grandpa Man-bok is visibly upset about Geum-ja’s decision, but tells her to carry on as she desires. By the end of the conversation, she’s pretty much given up and tells the Seos to just take Hyun-soo with them if he refuses to break up with Jung-in.

Following the aftermath, everyone’s involved in their own worries. Sung-joon teeters between waiting to tell the family about Ji-soo or just spilling the beans while everyone’s already at the height of confusion. (Seriously, how cute is Sung-joon!) Jung-kil is busy mulling over the meaning behind grandpa Man-bok’s words while Han-se is solely focused on getting the Seos out of the house.

Hyun-soo has a spread ready to celebrate the new year but Jung-in only responds with stink eyes. He tries to make a toast, but she cuts him off by downing the champagne in one shot. He makes an attempt to lightening the mood by laughing about the messed up dduk-mandoo (dumpling) soup but she won’t let up on the badgering.

Jung-in: You messed up more. Let’s go home.
Hyun-soo: Froggie, I’m not gonna go back. Even if it’s just to fix your stubbornness. How can you be so stubborn? Hurry up and eat, instead of regretting it later when you’re hungry!

The two of them end up stuffing the food down one another’s throats as they glare at each other.

The Kang/Seo household also “enjoy” their New Year’s lunch with the food that Geum-ja and Jung-in prepared the previous day. Geum-ja has basically given up on Hyun-soo and even asks Ji-soo to be their adopted daughter (which Sung-joon vehemently refuses. His thoughts are exactly the same as mine. You’ve already gone Winter Sonata on us, are you now trying Autumn in My Heart?) Each try to drink their sorrow away with Geum-ja and Joo-hee eventually yelling at each other in their drunken stupor. They basically vow to never see each other again once the kids return.

Working all his might to get Jung-in to stay, Hyun-soo calls home to ask Sung-joon to bring her some clothes. Geum-ja answers the phone and demands him to come home. When she threatens to torment Jung-in, Hyun-soo hangs up on his mom, sending her to a state of shock. She has a defeated look as Sang-hoon and Sung-joon ask about their whereabouts: “No, it isn’t our Hyun-soo. Honey, that wasn’t our son.” She breaks down into tears wanting to see her son come home.

I realize that people are hurt by feelings of abandonment by their children and each other, but is this any way for grown adults to act??

Seeing Jung-in’s reaction to the phone call, Hyun-soo’s next great idea is to develop a plan of action. He draws up a family tree and starts figuring out where everyone stands.

Hyun-soo: Sung-joon hyung is on our side. Jung-kyung, our side. Your parents. Just tell me how to win them over and I’ll do it. My father. He’s weak towards feminine charm, so you do it. My mom. We’ll need to do it together, but I’ll take the baton first… I think you should gain some weight also. She gets jealous easily so you don’t want to be prettier or thinner than her. The problem is grandfather. The Kang men are all weak towards feminine charm, so you take care of it. Why aren’t you answering? Fine, I’ll do it…

Jung-in, for the first time since leaving the house has a smile on her face, and answers, “Don’t drive yourself crazy. I’ll do whatever you tell me to.” She gives in but laughs at him for running away from home with so little in mind and gets even a bigger kick when Hyun-soo reveals that he got the idea from Sung-joon.

Grandpa Man-bok also drowns his sorrows with alcohol and the reasoning is again a selfish one. He’s upset that he wasn’t able to change Jung-kil and feels betrayed that his lifetime savings is going to used to cut ties with the chairman’s family.

He returns home drunk and wonders why Jung-kil is still living at the house. Jung-kil is also disappointed that Man-bok seems to have changed after finding out about Jung-in and Hyun-soo. Seeing his father upset, Sang-hoon takes things out on Jung-kil, accusing him of being the reason for opposing Jung-in.

Just as the mung-goo couple are about to head to bed, Sung-joon and Ji-soo interrupt them at the hotel room. (What’s with the choice of music? When did this turn into a B-rated horror flick?) Sung-joon pulls Hyun-soo into the bathroom and pretends to give him a lashing, but basically has come over at Hyun-soo’s request. He tries to be the protective big brother, but knows that Hyun-soo’s pretty innocent when it comes to affairs of the opposite sex.

Sung-joon: Nothing happened, right?
Hyun-soo: If anything did happen, how would I be able to look at your right now?
Sung-joon: You’re so frustrating. What a waste of a hotel room…
Hyun-soo: Huh?

Hyun-soo assumes that the other couple will leave, but Sung-joon announces that he and Ji-soo will be staying with them. The four of them end up bonding over drinks. The talk eventually turns to their homes and Sung-joon lets the Geum-ja/Jung-kil contract slip out, to Hyun-soo’s dismay. Jung-in doesn’t let on but she definitely realizes that something is going on.

Hyun-soo comes home in the morning to speak with his father, but Sang-hoon only has harsh words to say to him.

Sang-hoon: Is Jung-in the only one important to you? How about your mom and I? Your grandfather really suffered yesterday because of you and Jung-kil… I finally wanted to be a good son to your grandfather but you’re messing it up. Who are you to mess it up?

Understandably, this response frustrates Hyun-soo. He pleads for some understanding and help from his father, acknowledging his own fault in the matter. But he’s unsure of what to do next in order to satisfy his family and hold onto Jung-in. Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by Geum-ja before the two can finish their conversation.

Jung-in tries to dump Hyun-soo off at the sauna and possibly head back home, but he somehow figures out her plans and waits outside for her. She uses getting underwear as an excuse to go back up to the hotel room and works up the courage to call the car center. She tells Sang-hoon that she’ll figure out a way to get Hyun-soo back home as soon as possible. Hearing her voice makes Sang-hoon finally give some thought to Hyun-soo and Jung-in as a couple.

Jung-in and Hyun-soo leave the hotel; he to meet his mystery phone call and she to pick up her free laptop, thanks to Secretary Kim’s scheming brain. Geum-ja and Jung-kil head over to catch Jung-in with Han-se and Secretary Kim. But just as Jung-in is about to open the door to the eager eyed group, she stops short.

Meanwhile, Hyun-soo’s secret date is with Han-se’s mom. He hands over research that he worked on overseas for a contract that meets his demands: for a fairly large sum of money and for Han-se’s family to stay away from Jung-in. Just at that moment, they find Jung-in watching from the cafe.

Jung-in: What did you have to sell in order to pay back the ring? I understand ahjumma now. It’s not my past that’s the problem. I’m messing up your future.

With that said, she runs off, while thinking over what Hyun-soo has done in the past and the implications that has on their future together.

Hyun-soo chases after her and goes back home to find her kneeling in front of grandpa Man-bok.

Jung-in: Please give me permission, grandfather. I’ll leave the house with my family. Please let me.
Man-bok: If that’s what you really want, go ahead. Everyone get out!

Episode 31

The whole house is in a frenzy as the Seos start packing, and Hyun-soo is left completely befuddled. He tries to convince Man-bok and Sang-hoon to force them to stay but doesn’t have any luck. He then turns to Jung-in but she’s in no mood to listen to his whining.

Jung-in: First the ring, and then a house for us to live. Then helping my dad. What next? You’ll need to get our old house back for us for you to be satisfied. And each time, I’m supposed to be thankful for the generous love that you bestow on me. If I wanted to live that way, I would have [married] Han-se. This is the last time that I’ll make things hard for the people around me. I can’t take any more of this. I’m not leaving because things are hard for you. I’m leaving because I can’t live like this anymore.

To be honest, this is the first time in awhile that I felt satisfied by a story development. I love that she takes a stand and even admits that she’s acting for her own benefit. Hyun-soo has been quite misguided in his actions and I’m glad that she stands up for her own thoughts instead of being pulled into something she doesn’t agree with.

After dealing with her boyfriend, she turns to her dad, demanding for the paperwork to their old house. He doesn’t want to give it up, but Jung-in is back in rare form and takes the papers.

As the Seos head out, the Kangs are not in good spirits either. Hyun-soo sulks up in Jung-in’s room. Jung-in gives her farewell to grandpa Man-bok, promising that her family will do well. Even Geum-ja, who’s wish in life was to kick out the Seos seems to be in a doleful state.

The Seos head over to Ji-soo’s house. Even though the parents emphatically argue that they should just go back to their old house, Jung-in insists that they need to either stay here or go sleep at a motel.

The happiest with the outcome is of course, Sung-joon: “Ji-soo, the heavens are on our side! I can’t believe we’re living together even before we get permission from my parents. Awesomesauce!” Have I mentioned how cute Sung-joon is?

The Kangs and Seos finally have their first meal apart, but it’s far from a happy situation. The Kangs are missing their son and busy looking out for grandpa Man-bok’s sour mood. The immature Seo parents complain about the small space and demand to go their old house. When Jung-in erupts at her father for selling her off again for money, Jung-kil slaps her on the head. She then gets teary, telling her dad that she knows he loves him and that they need to stay out of that house in order to show the Kangs that he really does love her. (The smack really isn’t worthy of such a visceral reaction and made me roll my eyes at the scene, rather than feel any empathy.)

The mung-goo couple spend their first night apart: Jung-in with tears and Hyun-soo with slight dementia. Did anyone else think Hyun-soo seemed slightly insane while watching the video and mouthing his lines?

The next morning, both are hard at work with their morning routine. Hyun-soo performs his morning exercises with gusto and Jung-in wakes up the family, even Chunderella, I mean Sung-joon, with a clanging pot. He goes off to start his new project at Global Motors and she announces that the family will go all-in at the dduk-bbok-gi restaurant.

When Hyun-soo returns from work, he beelines up to Jung-in’s room. But Geum-ja can’t stand to watch Hyun-soo continue his sulking ways and chases him into the spare bedroom. Watching his son suffer at the hands of Geum-ja, Sang-hoon decides to use his hidden card: Geum-ja got pregnant with Hyun-soo in order to convince grandpa Man-bok to allow them to get married.

Hearing about the tale of his birth, Hyun-soo does his best deranged joker impression and runs off. By this point, it’s pretty clear that Sang-hoon is fully on board with Jung-in.

As the Seo family acclimates to working together at the dduk-bbok-gi store, Hyun-soo saunters in as a demanding customer. Jung-kil chases him out of the store, but then falls for Hyun-soo’s juvenile tactics and ends up agreeing to buy him a drink.

As Man-bok sits outside and thinks about his possible cancer diagnosis, So-nyu runs into him and takes her scheming ways to the next level. He tries to run away from her, but she seems to have found her way in, when she mentions that her mother died of cancer. Hearing her talk of her family and facing health problems of his own, Man-bok opens up to her. So-nyu advices him to live his life to the full, instead of using his family, age, or anything else as an excuse to hold himself back. The two of them enjoy their time together and even promise to have rice wine on their next date.

Jung-kil takes Hyun-soo to Ji-soo’s place for a drink and even makes his own appetizer, much to Hyun-soo’s chagrin. But Jung-kil retorts that he doesn’t have any money and this is the best he can do. Either way, Jung-kil is only interested in hearing about the demise of Geum-ja, thinking that she’s been kicked out of the house.

When Hyun-soo finally yells out his secret, “I’ve learned about the secret of my birth!”, the Seos think that he’s not really a Kang. But the intrigue fully fades when he reveals that he was a pre-wedding baby, making Jung-kil laugh while telling everyone that Sung-joon was walking around when he married Joo-hee.

Jung-kil: Who cares, as long as you live well afterwards.
Hyun-soo: Oh… Of course… that’s what’s really important.
Sung-joon: Father, you really are cool.

Sung-joon then throws a knowing smile over at Ji-soo before having a drink with Hyun-soo. The two young men share a bond over how they could be living their lives.. basically getting their respective girlfriends pregnant. Hyun-soo’s all smiles with Sung-joon, but storms out when left alone with Jung-in.

Hyun-soo comes home to a worried Geum-ja and reassures her with these words, “Don’t worry. I won’t make the same mistake you made. … Anyways, you should be nice to grandpa. Think about how upset he must have been.” Sang-hoon has handed over gold to Hyun-soo, who plans on wringing every little drop out of this nugget.

Even though Jung-in may have left on her own accord, she still misses the house and the family, and comes back to see Hyun-soo looking out of the attic window. Han-se also comes by the house, hoping to find Jung-in and sees her return.

Han-se: Why did you leave if you were going to come back like this? Isn’t it because you were planning on breaking up?
Jung-in: No. It’s so that I can return. So that when I return, I can come back alone. If oppa can wait until then, I’ll come back.

The gravity of the words seem to have finally sank into Han-se, as revealed by his glum face.

Consistent with the schizophrenic nature of these episodes, Hyun-soo’s anger has now dissipated as he finds Jung-in and hugs her. He chastises tells her for being a moron and asserts that they tackle the problem together from now on. She’s still not ready to make amends and walks away, retorting that she’ll handle things her way.

Oddly, Hyun-soo responds by showing up at the store and announcing, “I’m this store President Kang Man-bok’s grandson, Kang Hyun-soo!”

Back at the hospital, grandpa Man-bok is dealt a fatal blow, finding out that he has third stage liver cancer. He initially walks away but returns to the doctor’s office to ask his first question: “Can this disease get passed down to my family?”


The one thing that I noticed during the rewatch was how selfish everyone is in the midst of the chaos. They are mostly thinking about their own feelings and pain, rather than thinking about the ones they love. The worst is that even in their selfish state, they believe that they’re acting on behalf of someone else, rather than their own interests. Jung-kil thinks he’s caring for Jung-in by accepting the house. Geum-ja thinks she’s protecting Hyun-soo by separating from the Seos. Hyun-soo thinks he’s loving Jung-in by running away with her. Even grandpa Man-bok is more concerned about his ties with the Seo family than his grandson. Jung-in’s the only one who atleast takes responsibility for her actions but is still selfish in thinking that that she needs to take care of her family by “breaking up” with Hyun-soo.

Initially, I had found everyone’s reaction to be just annoying. But knowing what’s to come (and the change that we witness in everyone), I can see that there is a reason for the madness. I don’t think the schizophrenic craziness is the best way to show the transformation, but I can atleast understand the reasoning behind it. If the writer had allowed the characters to develop organically (which was done so well in the beginning half of the series) and rationally, instead of making them jump from one emotion to another to create a false sense of drama and intensity, it would have been so much more enjoyable to witness the journey. Thankfully, the last line by Man-bok, does signal a change. During a time when he should be most worried about his own health, grandpa’s first reaction is to worry about his family.

As I started the recap with Lee Chun-hee, let me finish with Lee Chun-hee. Even though his character is pretty one dimensional in the drama, he’s really milking it for everything it’s worth. His one-liners really made me chuckle throughout these two episodes and pretty fun to watch the writer play up the Chunderella in Sung-joon. But don’t be fooled folks – his acting is not limited to goofy, which can be attested by everyone who’s watched Conspiracy in the Court. I sure can’t wait until he lands a lead role in a drama.


21 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ika

    Hi dw4p..
    Great recap..Thx..
    I’m curious about conspiracy in court..What is the story about?I heard that it’s a docu drama.Isn’t it?Is it that great?

  2. asianromance

    thank you so much for the recap!!!

    and cancer?!! $%&@!!!!!!! whyyyyyy?!!!! =*(

  3. Molly

    Thanks for the recap! Geum-ja really started annoying me around these episodes, and I’ve put the drama on hold for now because of her. I’m curious what’ll happen to our main couple though…and how the Man-bok and So-nyu relationship will turn out to.

  4. Icyanne22

    I stopped following the drama halfway due to its tedious plotline. But…hmm….now my interest is piqued. Any intentions *hint**hint* to recap conspiracy in the court? =p

  5. vrosemarie

    I’m still itching to know what happens even though I sort of stopped watching the episodes after my laptop crashed…. The horror.

    Anyway, I’m thankful for the recaps! Thanks for the recap, dw4p!!

  6. 50Cent Galz

    The slap in the head is a great intense scene, i think the way u said that the hit isnt worthy of such a response is plain stupid (sorry, if i being too harsh)… Maybe u should try to experience it, and we’ll see what kind of reaction u will have…

  7. cancerb

    The separation was sad and its torturing me to see how soulless Hsoo is that time, esp in the attic room scene… Just like u said he is look lil bit crazy there..
    But im glad that the separation didnt take long time unlike other K-dramas…

    I think SungJoon inherit his father personality esp all his goofy and funny side comment..

  8. JaeBin

    LOL… The way they were bluntly exposed the whole pre-wedding pregnancy was hilariously funny…. Like there werent any worry about it..
    And JKH’s smirk was so SPOT ON… Total WIN..

    I also like what JI told Hsoo before she leaving the house.. its so deep and show how much she’s matured now…

  9. too

    #6 I agree with you there. That scene was intense. Lee min-jung is a great actress. When she tell her Dad that she know he love her and such. I cried.
    Thanks for the recap

  10. 10 pabo ceo reom

    lol I totally forgot about this after watching the finale heheh

    Chun-hee is ok but I always see Chunderella in him and it just makes me laugh despite him trying to be serious. πŸ˜›

  11. 11 mimi

    I think ep 31 was when they started covering up Lee Min Jung’s eye b/c she had conjunctivitis. Before I found that out I was thinking ‘Why don’t they pin her hair up out of her face?’
    Chunderella and Jung-Kil really made this drama enjoyable for me. Great actors.

  12. 12 cutestro

    The best drama ever!!! i TOTALLY LOVE SEO JUNG IN > <…she is the best and lovavble female character, wit h no wishy washy or the weak female attitudes… ^ ^.. She is totally selfless, and adorable….i love how she matures so much with the her sassy attitude remaining

    I love Hs as well, dvery different from the typical k-drama( cool, handsome, perfect, etc) He is just the dorky, adorable sweet guy and very loyal to his love.This episode shows how much HS loves JI, and i see he regretted what he did, his face is so sad and shocked knowing the reason why JI chooses to leave the house. I'm happy hpw the characters developed and turn better and mature..only GJ is getting worse, but she will eventually change also later…..

    I totally love SOOIN!!! they thave the most cute, deep, and full understanding love story…i loe LEE CHUN HEE as well, i love the relationshop between him, HS, and JI…i don't really him and Ji soo couple, weak chemistry and their story quite boring , i guess?? or the Ji soo girl acting is quite stiff and not that appealing although she is pretty

    The selfishness in every characters in this drama show that nobody is perfect and has flaws. I totally love SY!!

  13. 13 cecile

    This ep is a turn point for all the family issues that had been around in the past eps… JI finally lead her family to the better by leaving the Kang’s house.. And this is when the drama start to pick up again after a couple of dramatic eps…

    Yeah agreed with u, at first i kinda feel bad for JI coz i think she is the one who love him more, but this ep prove me wrong,. Hsoo is in to deep now, there’s no way that anything could change his love for JI now… The extent he could go for her is a strong hint at how deep the love is.. But this time he cross the line, using more emotional action rather than rational one like he always use too, and this what make JI mad and finally take an action.. U GO GIRL…

    Love how the writer keep the pace ups and down so that we viewer still feel the excitement for this LONG drama..

  14. 14 Quaggy

    Thank you for keeping up with the recaps, dw4p!!

    “I sure can’t wait until he lands a lead role in a drama.”

    Me too! I’m sure it won’t be long after his work with Smile, You!

    For all the angst and general stupidity, it’s nice to know that there was still a couple of cute scenes. Jun-in and Hyun-soo were so cute during the plan of action discussion. And I love how the menacing music turned all disco the moment Sung-joon walked in! It so suits his personality. I like how the two couple could just sit around a table and laugh about Sung-joon’s eyes. πŸ™‚

  15. 15 selina

    Thank you for keeping up with the recaps

  16. 16 NTL

    Thanks for the recap. I agreed Jun-in and Hyun-soo are so cute but that mother Geum-ja is so annoying. I saw several later episodes via Viikii and cannot stand her. Maybe it’s because the writers are stretching out the drama that they don’t know what to do with her but her character is extremely selfish, hypocritical and I think down-right mean to Jun-in. Whenever her character came on, I just fast-forwarded thru her scenes.

  17. 17 bananasgalore

    what does hyun-soo write on the wall?

  18. 18 onemorepls

    The asian drama are pretty conservative, I’m surprise how in this episode they openly talked about having the baby before marriage. LOL They did such a great job about it. Too funny. lol

  19. 19 runwayy

    feel like watching this drama again πŸ˜€

  20. 20 LenaJ

    What happens in the end? Did SooIn get married? Have kids?

    I love the series, but mysoju is hopeless where this series is concerned – at least to me anyway – and I’ve tried looking everywhere but am yet to find a good source.

    As I cannot possibly wait another half a year for the DVD to come out, can somebody please tell me what happens LOL am the mother of all desperates when it comes to this.

  21. 21 Anonymous

    are you sure u wanna know what happens? well, if you and all the people in the world wants to know, here s a simple way to say how it ended: jungin and hyunsu get married and have twins, jisu and sungjoon have a kid, grandpas healthy and everybody’s gung ho and happy.

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