The Angst! Oh, the angst. There’s plenty of it to go round and round, though it’s Min-jae’s episode to shine, as he is understandably the one most squeaked out by the mother-girlfriend-boyfriend sharing. Yeah, come on…that’s weird. I’m surprised he didn’t toss his cookies right in front of them, but he does have a pretty-boy image to maintain. Christmasses are going to be SO awkward in this family…
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Shin-young approaches Sang-woo after the wedding, and comes upon him just in time to see him making out with…Min-jae’s MOM. My, my, such a public display. We’ve come a long way in one episode, eh?
Shin-young stands agape, completely befuddled at this turn of events. She really does have the darnedest luck when it comes to men. Hey, it’s still better than the cheating fiancé who wanted his ring back. That guy was a sack of poo.
She’s totally floored, and alternates between utter shock and bemusement, in the this-would-be-funny-if-it-weren’t-my-real-life kind of way. I half expect her to look around and go, “Ashton? Ashton?” She even imagines a scene from her future wedding, where Sang-mi and Sang-woo greet guests as Min-jae’s parents. Heh. That’s really the least traumatizing thing you could be imagining right now. I can think of things much, much worse, involving various people’s private bits. Just sayin.
Min-jae comes up and his curiosity is piqued by Shin-young’s bipolar reaction, but she makes excuses and he lets it go.
Sang-woo and Sang-mi head out together all lightness and joy, for the first time ever since they’ve met. It’s cute to see them happy and carefree, even if we know it’s only going to last half a minute. They eat lunch, being adorable at each other, saying that everything tastes better because they’re together. True.
Sang-woo still plans to move out of the fateful apartment, but Sang-mi tells him to stay. He asks to finally meet her son, which she agrees to, for some time in the near future. Nope, today, Sang-woo requests. Sang-mi hesitates, “Give me some time to think.” Sang-woo: “It’s not thinking you need time for. I’ll give you time to gather courage.” And a barf bag. Am I right?
Da-jung and Ban-seok head to the airport for their honeymoon, only on the way they realize that Ban-seok forgot their passports and plane tickets at home. Ha. What are we going to do with this guy?
So they end up at a hotel and Da-jung decides that they should just let everyone think that they went on their honeymoon after all. Ban-seok wonders if that’s necessary. Da-jung: “Yes, it’s necessary! Forgetting my passport and not getting to go on my honeymoon is not something that can be in the history of Jung Da-jung!” Her concern with external perception is unmatched in all the world, this girl.
She decides that in order to pull off the lie they need to look like they spent the week on a tropical island, so they head to the tanning salon. What follows can only be described as textbook Ban-seok hilarity, as he comes out looking very tan and muscular, to Da-jung’s delight, then takes off his sunglasses…
Ban-seok: “Is it possible…that I look stupid right now?” Well, when you ask it like that…
Oh, it’s time for Min-jae’s first visit to Shin-young’s apartment! Sexy fun times? Aw, man. The mother-Sang-woo revelation has put a damper on Shin-young’s mood. She’s on edge the whole time, while Min-jae is full of nervous excitement at being there.
Min-jae has thankfully changed his hair back to black, although I was just starting to warm up to the white.
Min-jae notices how distracted Shin-young is, and asks, “Do you have something on your mind? Why so lost in thought?” Shin-young hems and haws, then says gingerly, “I’m just asking this because I’m curious…how would you feel if your mother had a boyfriend?” Min-jae: “I’d be good with it. It’s something I always hoped for her. I told her she should get divorced and find someone new; that if it’s someone she loved, I would accept him.” You’re awesome.
Shin-young agrees: “Just like I expected: the devoted Ha Min-jae. So cool.” He adds, “My mom and her boyfriend, the four of us having dinner…I’d like that day to come.” Oh my goodness, it’s killing me, the everyone else knowing, including ME, and Min-jae is completely in the dark saying things like this. Tell him! Say it! You’re breaking my heart! But Shin-young just says vaguely, “It’ll come, that day…” I do not envy your position, Shin-young, caught between your boyfriend’s relationship with his mom and your own twisted fate in the whole thing.
Min-jae brings up Sang-woo, asking why he was at the wedding. This is Shin-young’s opportunity to ask leading questions about what he thinks of Sang-woo. Ha Min-jae? Not a fan. Well duh. If you hadn’t dated both of them at once, he might feel SLIGHTLY different about the man who used to be your lover, just maybe.
Just then, Shin-young gets a call from Sang-woo, and they make a plan for him to come over later so they can talk. Min-jae is perturbed at their meeting, and doesn’t want him coming up to the apartment. Shin-young attempts an explanation: “The three of us, we might have things to talk about tonight.” Well, that’s an understatement. Min-jae misinterprets the situation as Shin-young wanting to set Sang-woo up with his mom, and vetoes the idea, right quick. If only that were the case. Even though that would make Shin-young a crazy person.
Luckily, Min-jae gets a call from his mom, telling him that she’s met someone she likes, and she wants to talk to him about it. These are good signs, if this is normally how open their relationship is.
While Shin-young could say something here, I think she’s right to keep her mouth shut. If she had no indications that Sang-mi were going to tell him tonight, I might feel differently. But he’s clearly going to meet her to discuss her new boyfriend and probably meet him, so I think her instincts to hold her tongue and let his mom be the person to tell him is right. It’s kind of not her place, in a way. Even though, for goodness sakes, I wish someone would just put him out of his misery. His adorable happiness for his mom is just making it all the worse.
Min-jae gets up to leave and Shin-young starts, “Jagi, do you want to hear what I have to say first…” but trails off, then decides against it: “Nevermind. You’ll do the right thing. If you need someone to talk to later tonight, come by any time.” That’s a rock solid girlfriend right there. Min-jae just makes sure she’s not going to let Sang-woo into the apartment when they meet later. Cute, but totally the least of your worries right now, dude. He leaves and Shin-young buries her head and ekes out, “What do I do?”
Min-jae meets his mom at a café, all abuzz because he’s so genuinely happy for her. Sang-mi is relieved and grateful, and really wants him to like her new boyfriend, which makes me wonder why she can’t be slightly more empathetic towards Shin-young. But whatever.
Just as Min-jae is giddy with anticipation over what kind of man his mom is dating, Sang-woo excitedly walks up to the café, and just before walking in the door, looks in the window…
…and inside is Sang-mi, sitting across from none other than Ha Min-jae. Sang-woo has a quiet but substantial freak-out, mirroring Shin-young’s reaction earlier. In disbelief, he mutters, “This isn’t it…this can’t be.”
His first instinct is to call Shin-young. She’s waiting, phone in hand, knowing what’s about to go down. Sang-woo: “Shin-young, I’m seeing this scene unfold in front of my very eyes and I can’t believe it. Call an ambulance to your house first, then I’ll tell you what I’m looking at right now.” At this, Shin-young asks frantically if he’s there with Min-jae right now. Sang-woo: “What is this? Did you know?” She tells him she just found out today at the wedding and nearly fainted. He counters, “My hair is turning white right now.” Oh, not you too! We just got Min-jae back in black!
Sang-woo contemplates, “So, if things go well for both of us, you’ll be my daughter-in-law? That’s not right.” Shin-young is quick to agree: “I can’t accept you as my father-in-law either. That’s not going to happen. Dating someone ten years younger is hard enough, plus his mother who’s barely older than me, and now I have to add you too?” Seriously. Girl can’t catch a break.
Oh, to hell with it, Sang-woo decides: “Lee Shin-young, get over here. As long as it happened this way, let’s just go for a head-on collision. Get over here right now.” Damn, Sang-woo, I really like your style here. So direct and taking charge. If you had been like this earlier, I totally would’ve loved you like a classic second lead.
Sang-woo gathers himself and goes inside. He actually acts very calm and together, which is a good approach. Those five minutes outside really gives him the upper hand here. Min-jae wants to know what on earth Yoon Sang-woo is doing there.
Sang-mi is surprised that they recognize each other, and at first I’m going, what? Why are you pretending to be surprised, cruel, cruel woman? And then it occurs to me that even though she knows about the Shin-young connection, she doesn’t know that these two already know each other. So maybe she was hoping that Shin-young wouldn’t come up in the conversation? That’s a risky move. Sang-woo just says that they’ve met once at a party and that he’s a fan of Min-jae’s. I feel like all these white lies are moot at this point. Clearly, the shit? Hath hitteth the fan.
Min-jae grows pale at the realization that Sang-woo is the boyfriend, and excuses himself to go outside. He looks like he might throw up or faint, but mostly he just angsts for the camera. Shin-young comes running up, and Min-jae, angry, demands, “You knew, didn’t you? That’s why you asked me about Yoon Sang-woo earlier?”
Shin-young tells him she just found out today, which appeases him. I have to agree. That makes all the difference, her knowing only a few hours sooner than him. Days would be bad. Weeks, worse. Months…Coffee Prince-level angst. Min-jae: “I won’t allow it.” Shin-young: “If you don’t, then what are you going to do?” At this, he grabs her by the hand and they go inside.
Here we go! Most awkward double date ever. Oh man…these icy cold stares that they’re giving each other send chills up my spine. This is going to be bad. I bet my left foot everyone’s going to say something they’ll regret. Sang-mi tells them to sit. They do, and the way they’re sitting says a lot about the situation. Sang-woo and Sang-mi look like the parents here, not by age, but by stature. They’re sitting upright and taking charge of the situation in their demeanor. Min-jae and Shin-young are hunched over, feeling small and powerless, but they hold hands the entire time, relying on each other. Both couples look like a unit, though each in their own way.
Min-jae starts with the demands: “Mom, I’d like for you to break up with Yoon Sang-woo. You lived a loveless life with Dad for twenty-four years. Shouldn’t you meet a better person and live a better life?” He cites Sang-woo’s dumping Shin-young as a sign of his unfaithfulness, and tells his mom she has bad taste in men. Right in front of two women who have both loved Sang-woo, not to mention Sang-woo himself. Not really the angle you should go for, I think.
But Min-jae doesn’t care. He wants his mom to meet a better man. He literally says, “better man.” Yikes. To which Sang-mi throws back, “Is that why you’ve been dating a woman ten years older than you, as if rebelling?” Min-jae throws it right back at Sang-woo: “Who is HE rebelling against, dating a married woman with a son in college?” This is getting gnarly.
Then Sang-woo actually says, “Come to think of it, you and I have a lot in common. We could be friends in the future.” Min-jae does NOT like this idea at all. What? No BFFs? You guys could totally get matching shirts that say: “We’ve slept with the same woman.” Hm…too soon? Yeah, I’m not sure it’ll ever not be too soon.
Sang-woo tells them he’s proposed to Sang-mi and they want to get married right after the divorce is finalized. What’s the rush, speedy? Min-jae takes it all in slowly, then decides that he can’t get through to them right now. He starts to leave…
But Sang-mi starts in on Shin-young: “Why are you just sitting there quietly, not saying anything?” Shin-young replies that she thought maybe it was for the best, that maybe Sang-mi (she calls her Mother) would understand her and Min-jae’s feelings.” Right on. But Sang-mi squashes that right quick. “That’s what YOU think,” she says.
Sang-mi insists that their situations are totally different, but Shin-young challenges her: “What’s so different?” Sang-mi replies, “I’m Min-jae’s mother and he’s my son. Whatever he does as a parent I’m here for him through thick and thin.” (literal meaning: through water and fire) Shin-young, with tears in her eyes, “Is loving Min-jae such a sin?” Ack! Stab me through the heart, why don’t you?
Then Min-jae takes Shin-young’s side, telling his mom not to talk like that to the woman he loves. Oh, holy smokes. I’ve seen enough daily kdramas to know that the son taking his wife/girlfriend’s side in front of his mother never goes well for the daughter-in-law. Never. Ever ever.
And then Sang-woo, totally overstepping, butts in that Min-jae should stop talking to his mother like that in front of him from now on. Whoa, cowboy. You need to slow your roll. You’re not anyone’s daddy YET.
Just when you think they’ve said every passive-aggressive thing in the book, Sang-mi accuses Shin-young of trapping Min-jae, (grabbing him by the ankles). She tells Shin-young that she’s smitten because a 24-year old likes her and she’s not confident enough to know that 34 is still young, and that other opportunities will come.
Okay, if you really believed this for Shin-young at 34, then why wouldn’t you believe this for yourself at 44? I know that Min-jae is your son so it’s different, but you’re accusing Shin-young of trapping Min-jae because she’s mired in what it means to be a single woman of a certain age. But in fact it’s YOU who is afraid of this, and Shin-young has shown herself to be comfortable with who she is at this age. You are only naming your own fears, mommy dearest!
At that Min-jae gets up and he and Shin-young walk out, still clasping each other’s hands since the moment they entered.
Outside, Shin-young tries to be positive and upbeat with Min-jae. But he’s not in the mood for uplifting. He wants to be alone to wallow in the badness of his mother’s choices. In this one thing he is very similar to his mum. Shin-young just gives him his space and watches wistfully as he walks away.
Then we have an obligatory angst-go-round, where everyone is very sad, set to very sad music.
Thankfully, that night is also Ban-seok and Da-jung’s, you know, first night, so we get a little dose of much-needed lightness. They’re both adorably excited, as Da-jung primps and Ban-seok does push-ups while he waits. There’s a hitch of course, when Da-jung keeps cracking up at Ban-seok’s unfortunate tan lines, but he remedies that by turning off the lights. They are, as expected, awkward and cute.
Back in the land of single girls, Bu-ki tries to cheer up Shin-young with a workout, which pretty much consists of Bu-ki working it on the step machine and Shin-young sitting on an exercise ball while chatting away. Heh.
Shin-young continues to mope about her predicament, asking Bu-ki to help her find a solution. Bu-ki wonders what there is to solve, and Shin-young accuses her of not taking it seriously. Bu-ki: “You can just date, two by two.” When Bu-ki says it like that, it sounds so easy. Shin-young just can’t accept Sang-woo as her father in law. Bu-ki: “Then break up with Ha Min-jae. Or just date forever. Why be old-fashioned and get married?” Word, Bu-ki. Word.
Although if you ask me, I think an even better solution would be to have Sang-mi not get married. You just spent twenty-four years in a loveless marriage. Why in such a rush to be someone else’s wife? Wouldn’t it be better to spread your wings a little and be single for a bit? I hate that most kdramas necessitate being married as the only way to live happily ever after. I can’t go on about this or I’ll end up in a diatribe, but suffice it to say, I appreciate Bu-ki’s opinion on the matter.
Bu-ki also tells Shin-young that she shouldn’t badmouth Sang-mi’s relationship with her son; she can’t judge when she isn’t a mother herself. Also word. You can’t say what you would do as a mother until you are one. Because when it comes down to it, Sang-mi would sacrifice anything for her son, which Shin-young can’t compare to.
Meanwhile, Da-jung and Ban-seok stage a honeymoon photoshoot, and at first I’m thinking why would you go to such elaborate lengths for pictures of a fake honeymoon? But then I remember it’s Da-jung. Nuff said. They also decide to go souvenir shopping in the neighborhood and just remove all the “Made in Korea” stickers. Ha.
Bu-ki drags Shin-young out of the house to do some retail therapy, and happen to enter the same store that the honeymooners are in. Da-jung and Ban-seok hide in the dressing room, with some toilet humor to boot, and they overhear that something is going on with Shin-young. Da-jung is so curious about the gossip that she almost blows their cover, but her pride prevails. The girls muse that Da-jung must be having the time of her life. You don’t even know the half of it.
Min-jae goes to his mom’s house for lunch, and the atmosphere is chilly and subdued, although it’s clear he’s come over to try and recover some part of their relationship. Lunch is interrupted by Sang-mi’s mother-in-law (nice poetic justice), who throws a fit over news of the divorce, saying all manner of nasty things about Sang-mi trapping her son (intentionally the same words Sang-mi used earlier).
Min-jae jumps right up to defend his mother, both physically and emotionally, shouting at his grandmother that it’s his fault, prompting grandma to agree that he’s the reason this all went down and that he and his mother are one and the same. She breaks a flower vase for dramatic effect and storms out, saying that Sang-mi will get nothing in the divorce.
Whoa. That was nasty. Listen, I don’t know where y’all are from, but there’s no shouting at your grandma in my family. Although it’s clear that this grandma never sang Min-jae lullabies or walked him to school. Not that kind of grandma.
I like that Sang-mi is getting her own words fed back to her, albeit in a much meaner way, with physical violence and such, but it still feels like it’s a necessary hit that her character needs to take. Also it’s nice to see Min-jae step up to defend his mother, as a good son and as a good man. It helps to make him empathize with her as well, seeing what kind of abuse she’s been taking for so long. It’s hard not to want anything but total happiness for her after seeing that.
Min-jae leaves, and angsts some more in his rehearsal studio. I can’t help but laugh because he looks like he’s starring in a music video with his guitar strumming and sad contemplative face. Shin-young arrives, tentative but upbeat, trying to make him feel better. She tries and tries to make small talk, but Min-jae isn’t very receptive. It makes me worry a little, the shutting down when you should be opening up. But what I like about Shin-young is that she keeps trying, and eventually Min-jae does crack a smile, despite his mood.
After a while, Min-jae asks if Sang-woo is a good person. Shin-young does the very adult thing and affirms that he is, and that Sang-woo dumped her because he was innocent and hurt. He was scared that she didn’t really love him. “I’ve known him for a long time, and Sang-woo is sincerely in love with your mom.” Min-jae: “It was the first time I’ve seen my mom like that. And on the inside, it actually felt good, seeing her finally find what she wants.” How proud am I of these two?
Then Min-jae’s expression darkens: “If Yoon Sang-woo and my mother do well, then…what about us?” Shin-young says it’s not like they have to break up, but the looks on their faces do not bode well for them. They’re trying not to let it affect them, but the weight of the situation is seeping in.
And then, in the very next scene, Min-jae goes to see his mom and gives his approval: “Shin-young said that he was a good man. Be brave and go for it.” Wow. I really didn’t expect him to come around in one episode. Really, I expected much more angst and am happily, gratefully, relieved that Min-jae is being such a mature and understanding son here. Sang-mi is pleasantly surprised too.
Min-jae packs to leave Ban-seok’s house (oh yeah, he’s married now), and finds the couple’s passports sitting on the coffee table. He calls Ban-seok and after getting the we’re-on-a-tropical-island-complete-with-sound-effects story on the phone, he outs them and asks where in Seoul they’re staying. Aw, I’m going to miss these two guys and their odd-couple friendship. I hope they visit each other often.
Ban-seok and Da-jung return from their honeymoon to find…a house full of kids. AH! Is it a nightmare? Oh, it’s Ban-seok’s sister, who has brought an entire neighborhood’s worth of children to learn English from Da-jung, at her father-in-law’s request. Just when you think the hard part’s over…reality sets in. Seems like Da-jung’s next hurdle will be the family responsibility that comes with marriage.
At the office, Shin-young and her news team can’t take Myung-seok’s disapproving control over their work, and they stage a revolt. It’s good to see that when it comes to her own program, Shin-young stands up to Myung-seok. She’s growing some balls in the newsroom.
After being publicly dismissed at work, Myung-seok goes to his dojo to blow off some steam, and ends up getting his ass handed to him by a mysterious person in white. We of course are not surprised when this person is de-masked, and it is none other than Kim Bu-ki. Myung-seok completely falls for her in an instant.
Turns out he’s one of those guys who talks big and thinks he’s so smooth, but in front of a woman he likes, he becomes a babbling idiot. Ha. If they do this pairing just to give Bu-ki a love interest, I’ll be annoyed. But Bu-ki mostly ignores him, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a delicious comeuppance rather than a loveline here.
Min-jae shows up at Shin-young’s apartment, suitcase in tow. He asks her to house him for a few days. Shin-young panics: “What if your mom finds out?” He insists she won’t and that it’ll be fine. Shin-young pushes him to stay at the rehearsal studio.
Min-jae: “Why do you keep trying to kick me out?”
Shin-young: “I don’t want your mom to get the wrong idea.”
Min-jae: “My mom won’t find out, so that’s done. What else?”
Shin-young: “Don’t lead me into temptation.”
Min-jae (laughing): “I won’t do anything. Don’t worry. What kind of person do you think I am?”
What? Really? You’re not going to do anything? Boo. Come on, you’re lying, right? I request smoochies!
He goes into Da-jung’s old room before Shin-young can stop him. She takes a big breath and whispers to herself: “I’m shaking.” Cute.
Shin-young makes some ramen while Min-jae unpacks, and she walks in on him wearing a tank top, and I swear, these two act like he’s standing there in nothing but socks. They get all flustered and shy, and it’s adorable, but unwarranted given the level of nudity involved. Really, it’s like arms. No! Not the arms!
They eat ramen and Min-jae declares that it’s the most delicious ramen he’s ever had because Shin-young made it for him, mirroring Sang-mi and Sang-woo’s lunch earlier in the episode. Shin-young requests that he write her a song called “The Woman Who Makes Me Ramen” and he sets some ramen-centric lyrics over another song, and sings it to her.
Oh, whew, we’re back to the cuteness. I was scared the angst was going to go on past its expiration date. Shin-young asks why he’s not staying at his mom’s house, and he says that it’s uncomfortable. His mom feels sorry, and he feels bad for her, yet finds that he’s still angry with her. He thinks it’s better that they give each other space for the time being. Right on.
Across town, Sang-mi seeks Bu-ki out at her restaurant, and asks her about Shin-young. Bu-ki says Shin-young told her to treat Sang-mi well whenever she came by, and Sang-mi wonders why she would say such a thing when she’s never shown a kind side to Shin-young. Bu-ki says it’s her way of showing that she wants to be friendly with Sang-mi.
Sang-mi does admit to feeling bad because she sees how hard it is on Min-jae, assuming that he’s considering breaking up with Shin-young. I think you jumped the gun there, mom. I’m pretty sure he never implied anything of the sort. Sang-mi explains that she doesn’t want Min-jae to be pressured by marriage this early in his life, a legitimate concern from a mother’s standpoint, especially considering her own life experience.
Bu-ki defends her friend: “Lee Shin-young is a cool and modern woman: ‘If it goes well, that’s good and if not, that’s too bad. Even if I end up alone again at 36 or 37, I’ll be with the person I love.’” What an awesome thing to be able to say about someone. I wouldn’t be disappointed if there were something similar written on my tombstone. At this, Sang-mi softens, and she decides that they should drop in on Shin-young for a friendly glass of wine…without calling. Why? Why do people do this? There is never a good time to drop in on someone without calling. There could be nakedness. Or so we hope!
Sadly, no nakedness to speak of. Shin-young and Min-jae debate over which movie to watch, and even this mundane thing is adorable because Shin-young basically railroads Min-jae into watching one of her choices, and Min-jae just gives in.
Just as they get settled, the doorbell rings…oh god, oh god, oh god…
NO! Everybody put your pants on!
If I haven’t already expressed it enough, I am so happy that the angsting seems pretty much over, and we’re back to the comic situations and cute relationship stuff. In general this drama has done a good job of getting through the darker parts relatively quickly, which is a refreshing change of pace from dramas that dwell on the same stale conflict over and over again.
Characters actually move forward in their storylines (and backwards too, which is human), making for new feelings about each character as I watch each episode. For instance, not a huge fan of Sang-woo until this episode, where he showed both strength and vulnerability. I grew tired of Min-jae’s music-video-angst, but then he totally won me over with his turnaround by the latter half of the episode. Sang-mi is frustrating, but I always end up rooting for her. And Shin-young is just awesome-beans.
What…will I do…when it ends? Hold me?
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 12
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 11
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 10
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 9
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 8
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 7
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 6
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 5
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 4
- The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 3
- The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry: Episodes 1-2