This episode shares a similar tone to yesterday’s, which means it was a little mellower, in a positive way. Also, just when I was wondering at the logic of certain actions (which seemed like they were stretching a bit thin), we got a more thoughtful explanation for them. It was a nice way of fleshing out the conflict.

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EPISODE 18 RECAP

Pal-gang explains that she can’t accept Jun-ha when she still “remembers” everything about (read: loves) Kang-ha: “No matter how I try, I can’t help it.”

Using that logic, Jun-ha says, “It may be that I didn’t really love Jae-young. From some point on, I stopped being able to remember anything about her.”

Their mood lightens over dinner, as Jun-ha opens up about what it was like growing up with his father, whom he describes as “a very cold man.” Jun-ha had always been afraid of him, but Kang-ha hadn’t, and constantly fought with him. Their daily battles made it difficult on the others and their mother cried a lot, so although Jun-ha would have preferred to stay away, he went home for her sake because she’d be lonely otherwise. “I think that’s why I fell for Jae-young. No matter what, she didn’t cry. It was a curious thing to meet a woman who never cried, and so I liked her.”

And yet, their mother always doted on Kang-ha. Now we see the flashback from a previous episode, only this time, young Jun-ha is portrayed by a younger boy, giving the scene a new spin.

Using Shin Dong-wook in the first flashback must have been a conscious decision to misdirect us into thinking this was a romantic rivalry, but now we see that this scene is really about a boy feeling less loved by his mother. She would always wait for Kang-ha because he frequently came home late, and afterward the fights would break out with their overbearing Dad.

This image of Kang-ha goes counter to Pal-gang’s expectation, who would have thought he was a model student. Jun-ha explains that he changed after their father died, “like someone returning from a harsh battlefield.”

Jun-ha feels better having gotten this off his chest, and says (by way of thanking her for listening), “You should have come along earlier. Then I would have spent a lot less time feeling frustrated. But it’s much better than not meeting you at all, so I’ll forgive you for showing up now.”

When Jun-ha returns home, he comes upon Kang-ha drinking alone at his desk again, and tells him to reconsider his marriage with Jae-young: “You don’t love her. You love someone else.” Kang-ha doesn’t respond.

Jun-ha: “I don’t understand why you think you can’t be with Pal-gang.”
Kang-ha: “Because I’m a snob.”
Jun-ha: “Don’t make those excuses. What’s the real reason?”
Kang-ha: “That’s the reason.”
Jun-ha: “Is it because of me? If it is, don’t worry. I’m used to stepping aside.”
Kang-ha: “Go to bed.”
Jun-ha: “Pal-gang knows so much about you. She even knows all your habits that you’re not even aware of.”

Kang-ha’s face twists at that; he tries to contain his reaction (thankfully for him, his back is to his brother) and hardens his voice.

Kang-ha: “Stop saying useless things and go to sleep.”
Jun-ha: “I begged her to look at me. But she says she can’t do it. That’s how much she feels for you—”
Kang-ha: “Please just go to bed!”
Jun-ha: “I’m giving you a chance. This is your last chance, so don’t let it go.”
Kang-ha: “I don’t need chances like that.”
Jun-ha: “Then from now on, the person who’ll be by her side is me. I’ll ask this favor — don’t make her feelings waver anymore.”

Chairman Jung tells Kang-ha he’s going to put Pal-gang into his will, giving her equal standing to Jae-young as regards his inheritance. Kang-ha will take care of the will.

The chairman takes this opportunity to ask Kang-ha about Pal-gang, having witnessed their bickering scene yesterday — the chairman has never seen Kang-ha being so talkative, or acting like that. “Did Pal-gang make you like that? I’m curious to know if you have feelings for her.”

Kang-ha looks surprised, not expecting to have been found out like this, but sticks to his familiar line: “I’m going to marry Jae-young.” This does not compute with the chairman, who advises him to think carefully, because entering a marriage without love can bring them both unhappiness.

Pal-gang is welcomed back to work by her friends, but Jae-young interrupts to call her in for a talk. Eyeing Pal-gang with suspicion, Jae-young insinuates that Pal-gang has pulled a fast one in order to win over her grandfather. The story doesn’t make sense to Jae-young, no doubt because she’s used to being sneaky and underhanded, and she scoffs at the idea that Pal-gang’s father was acquainted with the chairman without Pal-gang ever finding out he wasn’t simply the Raggedy Grandpa.

Pal-gang doesn’t feel the need to defend herself, saying that even if Jae-young doesn’t believe her, it’s the truth. Jae-young doesn’t buy it, and presses, “What is it you really want?” Isn’t being honest about her intentions the least that Pal-gang can do? After all, Jae-young’s the JK heiress and she deserves to know, considering Pal-gang will now have a stake in the company.

This is news to Pal-gang, but Jae-young sneers, “Are you really going to pretend to be so naive? … You’ve become Grandfather’s heir and you’re saying you don’t understand what I’m saying?!”

Ignoring Jae-young, Pal-gang quickly excuses herself, intent on finding out what’s going on.

Jun-ha comes upon Jae-young just as Pal-gang leaves, and tells Jae-young not to bother her — she’s got enough to deal with already. Thinking to preserve her inheritance, Jae-young suggests suddenly, “You marry her.”

She presents this idea to her parents, believing that if Pal-gang is safely married off to Jun-ha, that will settle the inheritance conflict. (This is logic that doesn’t quite jibe with me, but I suppose it means that Jun-ha is friendly with the Jungs, and will keep his wife in line. Therefore, the Jungs will be safer keeping their enemy near rather than being at the mercy of Pal-gang’s independence.)

Pal-gang bursts into the chairman’s office and confronts him about this inheritance business. What does he mean by this? She doesn’t want it.

The chairman explains that she’s like his own grandchild, so it’s not so strange to leave his inheritance to her. Therefore it’s not the same thing as winning the lotto. Pal-gang responds, “To me it is. You’re doing this because of your relationship with my parents. I haven’t earned it with my own efforts. Why should I accept?”

He doesn’t see what the problem is — she can use this money to raise her family comfortably. It does seem that Pal-gang’s resistance and stubborn pride are veering into foolish excess, until she bursts out, “It’s because I’m afraid because I don’t know what I’d do with that money!”

Ah, now it becomes clear. She reminds him of all the stupid things she used to do, like raiding a sibling’s piggy bank to do her hair or going into credit card debt for a nice bag: “I can’t trust myself. I couldn’t tell anyone back then, but I didn’t like myself either. I used to wonder at night if I shouldn’t live like that, and it gave me headaches. But I don’t feel that now. I don’t have money or my own place to live, but my mind is easy.”

In fact, she’s so determined to not take his handout that she urges him to put it into writing that he will NOT make her his heir. He indulges her and calls Kang-ha to the office.

The appearance of Kang-ha surprises Pal-gang, and this time it’s Kang-ha who’s left looking on in bemusement as Pal-gang bickers with Grandpa. Why is Kang-ha here when the will doesn’t concern him? Grandpa explains that Kang-ha drew up his will, and she returns, “Don’t you know how to write, Grandpa?”

The chairman says that a man as successful as he is must have other people do things like this to look cool. She retorts, “That must be nice.” He replies, “It is. You can succeed yourself, then tell Kang-ha to write your will.”

Grandpa instructs Kang-ha to take out the clause in his will that involves Pal-gang. He sniffs, “I’m not going to waste my money on someone who insists she doesn’t want it.” This makes Pal-gang happy, so he dismisses her.

After she leaves, Grandpa chuckles at her stubbornness. But contrary to his prior statement, he tells Kang-ha that they’ll be drawing up a new will and leaving Pal-gang in it. However, they will keep this one a secret, because he realizes now that it was a mistake to reveal his intentions to his family.

At lunchtime, Jun-ha plays with Nam and waits with Pa-rang for Pal-gang to come out. When she arrives, she tries to take Nam from him — both feeling sorry at the trouble, and uncomfortable with Jun-ha being so solicitous — but Jun-ha is back to being the nice, accommodating ajusshi, and he insists he’s fine. This is a recurring motif this episode, where Pal-gang finds his niceness burdensome, but Jun-ha presses on anyway.

Pa-rang is keen on dropping by Kang-ha’s office, and Jun-ha tries to deflect the boy’s attention. He’s unsuccessful, but as it happens, Kang-ha comes by anyway, and Pa-rang invites him along to lunch. However, seeing the uncomfortable looks on Pal-gang’s and Jun-ha’s faces, he declines.

And then: babies feeding babies! HOW CUTE, right?

Urg. So. Adorable. It’s ridiculous. There’s something hypnotizing about watching baby Nam eat jajangmyun. Nom, nom.

Jae-young finds Kang-ha on the terrace area outside, and reminds him of their upcoming engagement ceremony.

Kang-ha has agreed to go along with everything, but he shows very little reaction to her. Thus Jae-young approaches him a bit tentatively, thanking him for going along with all the plans, a little unsettled at his lack of response but grateful that he’s not resisting anymore. Rather, it’s like he’s resigned to his fate.

Jun-ha offers to let the kids stay in his office for the time being. Again she declines his kindness, but he adds that it’s really for the kids’ benefit, not hers. It must be difficult for them to tag along as she works, and honestly, if she’s so intent on making money, this allows her to focus more on her work.

As he drops her off after lunch (taking the kids), he advises her to focus on work to avoid thinking on other things (read: Kang-ha). And then, he tells himself, as though trying to convince himself, “I gave hyung a last chance. So I won’t feel sorry.”

Pal-gang scores a new contract with a client who actually contacted her first, saying that the rumors have spread that she’s an FC who treats her customers like family. She’s a little awed but pleased at this easy sale, and happily signs him to a policy.

The man treats her with friendliness, but after she leaves, he asks his subordinate if she’s really the FC with the worst record. It didn’t seem that way to him. This comment, coupled with the fact that it’s hinted that this man is a mob boss of some sort, makes him seem rather shifty.

Kang-ha accompanies Jae-young and her mother as they finish up some shopping for the upcoming engagement and wedding. He hangs back disinterestedly, answering when his opinion is requested but hardly registering their questions. Kang-ha excuses himself, and Min-kyung mutters that he’s like a cow being led to slaughter.

While the women browse, Kang-ha gets lost in thought, thinking of Jun-ha’s telling comment that Pal-gang knows a lot about him.

When Pal-gang picks Nam up from daycare, the caretaker informs her that Nam seemed unwell today. Pal-gang figures that it must be that he’s reacting to the changes in their environment.

She comes home with Nam and Pa-rang to find a full house: Grandpa and Jun-ha are over for dinner. Grandpa has bought some meat to grill, and Jun-ha has come bearing gifts.

The gifts are electronic devices with little GPS trackers that link to Jun-ha’s phone, and even has a sound function, sort of like a fancy walkie-talkie. The kids think this is cool and not creepy.

He also has a gift for Pal-gang, and presents her with a box. Last of all, there’s an electronic photo frame, which displays digital photographs in a slideshow.

The next day, Pal-gang hurries to daycare after receiving a distressed call about Nam’s health. What was minor agitation yesterday has now worsened, and it looks like he has to go to the hospital.

Eun-mal has to be away in the evening, so Jun-ha assures her that he will watch over the kids that night, and brings them back to his house. (Cutely, Tae-kyu is thrilled.)

The children all line up (looking a bit like the Von Trapps) to present Kang-ha with a wedding gift: it’s Jun-ha’s digital photo frame, which has been loaded with photos of the Jin family.

The older kids file away, but Pa-rang hangs back to ask in a shaky voice, “Are you really going to marry that hateful looking ajumma?”

This means that Pa-rang won’t be able to sleep in the same bed as Kang-ha anymore: “I could, if you married my sister. You’re really bad! You like my sister, I know it!”


Meanwhile, Pal-gang waits anxiously for the results of Nam’s exam, and they are not good. They’re quite dire, actually. I’m not sure of the exact name of his condition, but it’s a congenital condition occurring because his bile duct hasn’t fully formed, which keeps the bile from getting to the intestines and, if left untreated, could likely kill him.

Pal-gang can’t believe it — Nam is so healthy. The doctor answers that this often is the case, that the baby seems healthy and therefore the condition is discovered too late. Pal-gang begs the doctor to do something, and he answers that it’s a quickly deteriorating issue, so the best thing for Nam is to get a liver transplant.

Pal-gang is tested, but she isn’t a possible match, which makes sense since she’s not his blood sister. Because this hospital is full and the specialist is away, they refer her to another hospital. However, they warn that the biggest problem will be to find a donor match.

Desperate for a solution, she begs the adoption office for information about Nam’s biological relations, but they can’t help her. Aside from not being able to give her that information, the orphanage where he was living is no longer in existence.

That night, she worries with a fussy Nam about their predicament. She is unaware that at the moment, Kang-ha is parked outside the building, looking up at the rooftop room. This is the night before his engagement, and even he isn’t sure what he means by coming here tonight. He tells himself, “It’s just for today, because I won’t come again — I can’t come again.”

As he looks on, he sees Pal-gang leaving the building with Nam and hurriedly grabbing a taxi. She had received a phone call and is rushing to meet her contact. Watching curiously, Kang-ha follows the taxi in his car.

The taxi drops her off in front of an orphanage, where Kang-ha pulls up to Pal-gang and startles her. Assuming that she has come here to give up Nam, he confronts her angrily, and — aie! — slaps her.

Kang-ha: “Is your stupid pride that important? If things were that difficult, you should have asked the chairman or me for help! No, I don’t have the right, but you should have at least asked Jun-ha for help!”

He condemns her actions, mistakenly believing that she is in such difficulty that she is ditching Nam at an orphanage.

That’s got to hurt, to have your intentions so misunderstood even if the situation does seem to support it. Pal-gang tells Kang-ha, “If you don’t know anything, don’t interfere and just leave.”

He continues, “You rejected the chairman’s inheritance, but how does it make sense to leave Nam at an orphanage? What the hell are you doing? What are you thinking?”

Pal-gang bursts out, “Nam is sick!”

It’s only after Pal-gang starts to explain things to her contact — a worker from Nam’s old orphanage — that Kang-ha begins to understand the real situation. Pal-gang explains that she needs to find a blood relative to Nam, because he needs a liver transplant.

The woman is sympathetic, but apologizes — Nam was dropped off without any contact information, which makes it difficult to find any relatives.

Kang-ha hadn’t known that the Jin siblings were all adopted, and asks why she had never said anything about that. Pal-gang explains that she’s her parents’ biological child, but doesn’t see why she should have explained all this: “Why do I have to say that my siblings aren’t my blood relations?”

She worries for Nam, whom she had brought along hoping to sway the woman into giving up the information about his parents. Without that, she doesn’t know what to do.

Now Kang-ha starts to get worked up. He points out that if she couldn’t find help at the first hospital, she should have gone right to another hospital! And she should certainly have asked for help! (It sounds like he’s blaming Pal-gang for being thoughtless, but I think it’s his way of reacting to the horrible news.)

Pal-gang argues, what kind of help was she supposed to ask for? Finding a donor is the most important thing, so her priority was to find Nam’s blood relatives. Kang-ha points out that there’s no reason a donor has to be a blood relative: “You should search the whole world until you find one!”

The budding argument is interrupted by Nam, who starts to bawl, in pain. Alarmed, they rush him to the hospital.

(And, by the way: THIS is exactly why they hire super-cute babies in dramas like this, just to wring every last tear out of the viewers’ eyes! Good lord, it’s uncomfortable watching babies cry in such (supposedly life-threatening) distress.)

The doctor can’t even offer any hopeful words, because it looks really bad and the condition is advanced. Pal-gang sobs, and Kang-ha tries to console her.

Kang-ha gets on the phone and starts calling friends and colleagues to ask for favors, presumably about medical contacts. Kang-ha’s initial coldness and professionalism have been so well established that it’s a little jarring seeing him discard that prideful shell to call people with whom it’s clear he’s not close, in order to request a favor. That surely speaks to how drastically his character has changed over the course of this drama.

Pal-gang sits dully while she waits, but at a certain point she recalls that today is his engagement day. She urges him to go on. When his phone rings, he fumbles hurriedly for it, thinking it may be one of his contacts, but it’s only Jae-young. He doesn’t answer.

This leaves Jae-young and the Jungs anxiously waiting around for the missing groom. The engagement ceremony is quickly approaching and the guests are due to arrive soon. Where is Kang-ha?

Kang-ha does pick up his phone for his brother, who is also at the engagement location. Kang-ha tells Jun-ha to come, which brings both Jun-ha and Jae-young rushing to the hospital.

Not knowing what the situation is, both stop short to see that Kang-ha is with Pal-gang. Kang-ha tells his brother, “Nam is very sick. Now you stay with her.” He hadn’t wanted to leave her alone, but now that Jun-ha is here to take his place, he turns away. When Jae-young starts to go after Pal-gang angrily, Kang-ha grabs her away.

Jae-young doesn’t understand why he has to be here when the person sick is Pal-gang’s sibling. Looking rather lost, Kang-ha answers, “I don’t know why I’m here. But I just felt I had to. I couldn’t go and leave her alone.”

She slaps him, then demands, “Why is that? Who is she to you?!”

Kang-ha says, “I don’t know. I don’t know either who she is to me. But I couldn’t go. With her hurting alone, I couldn’t leave to get engaged to you.” Jae-young asks incredulously, “How could you say that to me?”

Kang-ha cuts her short and proposes that they marry without the formality of the engagement ceremony. This is a gesture of appeasement, but Jae-young isn’t having it. In fact, it fans her anger — does he think that if he just agrees to marry her, this fixes everything?

It doesn’t, but Kang-ha has no better ideas. He’s beyond frustrated, and his voice grows more and more heated as he demands, “Then what more do you want? That’s the only thing I can do! I can let go of the woman I love, but not my brother. That’s why I’m marrying you — isn’t that enough?!”

But oy! At that, a voice speaks up behind Kang-ha: “What do I have to do with this?” Jun-ha approaches, his eyes narrowing in suspicion: “Why bring me up when you’re talking about your marriage plans? Why do you have to marry Jae-young because of me?”

 
COMMENTS

Finally! This family secret is out! (Almost, kind of, just-about-to-be?)

I actually liked Jae-young more than I ever have in this episode, but maybe “like” is too strong a word. It might be more accurate to say that I did not hate her at all, and I sorta-almost even understood her. Kang-ha has stopped resisting the idea of marriage, and gotten past those initial stages of denial and anger into depression and near-acceptance (does this mean that the idea of marrying Jae-young is cause for grief?). A resigned Kang-ha also means that Jae-young is no longer fighting him, and that leaves her at a loss. This enables her to see exactly how miserable he is, and that in turn makes her uneasy as well. This is probably much more effective at proving why the marriage is a mistake than trying to fight her or reason with her.

I liked the way they explained Pal-gang’s aversion to the inheritance, because for a while it was enough to make you think she was getting a little too up on her high horse. I understand why she left Kang-ha’s home, but on another level it was also understandable why everyone else seems to think it was a rash and selfish (prideful) move on her part, to drag her siblings along with her. But the enemy isn’t a rich man trying to use her, or even an overly stubborn sense of pride, but a fear of her own worst self.

This was touched upon once earlier, when Ju-hwang found out that Pal-gang was working at a hostess bar and offered to live at an orphanage so she wouldn’t have to keep that job. She had argued that it wasn’t because she would feel too bad for leaving them at an orphanage, but rather that she was afraid she would find it comfortable without them and not go back to get them. The fact that her big conflict is with herself adds a little complexity to the overall picture and I appreciate that.

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