Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 3
She’s not as tough as she looks, is she? Don’t try to hide that you have a heart, you big softie!
Loved this episode, which had a lot of character movement. This is such a good drama — whimsical, thoughtful, funny, and well-balanced. Prior to the drama’s premiere I had guessed it would be high-quality, and Moon Geun-young tends to pick good projects. My misgivings were therefore not about whether it would be good but about whether I would like it, and I’m thrilled that I do because it’s one of the meatier offerings to come around recently. Even so, the complexities leave room for a sense of humor.
SONG OF THE DAY
Cinderella’s Sister OST – “뒤돌아봐” (Look back) by JOO [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Following the slap, Dae-sung is actually disappointed in his wife for taking such an extreme measure against her own daughter. He recognizes that Hyo-sun has been doing her share in harassing Eun-jo and tells Kang-sook, “I was embarrassed and upset. Don’t do that again.”
He’s more generous regarding Eun-jo than Kang-sook gave him credit for, and she sees that her move has backfired — she was trying to look like a good mother to Hyo-sun but she has come off looking cold to her own child. So she breaks down and says that she was afraid he’d look down on her because of her daughter’s behavior.
While this is true enough, Kang-sook the Opportunist sees a chance to use this moment to her advantage. She cries that she can feel the judging eyes of others, and that people (like uncle and the ajummas) give her dirty looks and think she’s just a lowly widow who wormed her way in.
Ain’t she crafty! She’s not lying about any of this, but her master stroke is in twisting the situation so that she comes off as a total innocent. As a result, not only does she get herself off the hook, Dae-sung issues a stern ultimatum to his staff: anyone who doesn’t accept his wife can resign. Hyo-sun’s uncle and the ajummas gulp uneasily.
We introduce an element of fantasy — it’s not overdone, just a touch of delightful whimsy — as Eun-jo sits by the lake, moodily tossing rocks into the water. She thinks, “In my thoughts, I’ve packed my bags more than a hundred times.” An imaginary sheet of paper drifts from the sky to settle at her side, upon which she envisions clothing and a suitcase. With a finger, she drags items into the bag, mentally packing her belongings.
Thus packed, Eun-jo decides she’s ready to depart for a place without her mother, and grabs the handle of the suitcase that has appeared out of thin air.
She stops short to see Ki-hoon, ever smiling, who has been searching for her far and wide. She’s holding her suitcase with one hand so he takes it from her grasp, only now the luggage has turned back into a rock, like a pumpkin that has lost its magical properties at the stroke of midnight.
He starts to lead her away, but she wrenches her arm out of his grasp. That sudden movement causes the glass
slipper hairpin (which he bought for her) to fall out of his pocket. It settles on the sand, unnoticed.
Eun-jo pushes past Ki-hoon, who calls after her to wait up since that she doesn’t know the neighborhood. When he stumbles and falls over a rock, she looks back momentarily but keeps walking on. Hilariously, just as he grumbles over her unconcern, SHE trips and falls. She pops back up instantly, trying to save face, and continues on.
With some effort, Ki-hoon catches up to her and notices that her knee is bleeding profusely — the rock has cut a huge gash in her leg.
Shocked at the extent of the injury, Ki-hoon exclaims that it must hurt. It won’t stop bleeding and she’ll need to attend to it. Eun-jo keeps a stoic face and he asks, “Doesn’t it hurt?”
Finally, sick of his fussing, Eun-jo retorts, “It hurts! Why wouldn’t it hurt? But so what?”
At home, Hyo-sun asks Kang-sook hesitantly where she heard that the kids were making fun of Eun-jo for having a different last name. Hyo-sun has asked every student in her class and nobody said such things, which Eun-jo also confirms.
Kang-sook isn’t about to admit she lied, so she tells Hyo-sun that she must have misheard. Thankfully, she’s got the tried-and-true head-pat to win Hyo-sun’s affections, and the girl agrees to let the matter die here.
Eun-jo keeps a blank expression on her face while a doctor disinfects her injury, then stitches it up. Ki-hoon is a big ol’ wuss and can hardly stand to watch her being fixed up, and is incredulous at her lack of response. He even asks the doctor if she has a problem perceiving pain, because that would make a lot more sense. It’s her lack of expression at feeling pain that he can’t fathom.
As they walk home, Eun-jo asks Ki-hoon what language he was singing in the other night. Ki-hoon perks up at her interest and explains that it’s a Spanish song. Liking the idea of Spain’s distance from Korea, Eun-jo thinks, “If I go hide there, nobody will be able to find me.”
But first, she’ll need to be prepared. She asks whether Spanish is hard to learn, and Ki-hoon starts talking enthusiastically about Barcelona and Gaudi. Uninterested in that, she cuts him off to tell him to teach her Spanish. They can use one hour of their math lessons for Spanish lessons. Without letting him get in a word in edgewise, she walks off.
Ki-hoon hasn’t had a chance to tell say anything, so now he worries to himself, “But I don’t know Spanish.” HAHAHA. I love him.
Ki-hoon’s only half-right about Eun-jo not showing pain, because it’s only in front of others that she won’t display her hurt. When Eun-jo comes home to see her mother cradling Hyo-sun, both asleep, her emotions are much easier to read without anyone around to witness it. Her hurt plays across her face, and a tear even glints in her eye.
That night, Ki-hoon starts to study Spanish on his own, trying to learn enough to teach Eun-jo without giving himself away. And I LOVE the flipped dynamics in their subsequent tutoring session, because he has to fake his way through it. Tutoring sessions are the only time Eun-jo shows him any respect, and he doesn’t want to be found out as a fraud.
As they start, Eun-jo asks whether South America is farther away than Spain. Ki-hoon takes issue with the way she rudely cuts him off, which is when she cuts him off again to say they ought to start the lesson.
Ki-hoon wants to start by teaching her the alphabet, but she has studied that on her own last night and is eager to advance to Lesson 2. Having only studied enough to stay one step ahead of her, Ki-hoon’s face falls and he looks a little panicked. He isn’t ready for Lesson 2, so he turns to her previous question. Drawing a vague outline of South America, he points to a dot representing Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the world’s southernmost city.
She asks how long it would take and how much it would cost to get there, prompting the question of why she’d want to go to Ushuaia. Curtly, Eun-jo tells him to forget it and turns back to await her lesson expectantly.
Faced with continuing their conversation or revealing that he’s a fraudulent Spanish teacher, Ki-hoon chooses the former. Thankfully, he’s rescued by the sound of voices outside, which give him an excuse to cut the day short.
(To Eun-jo, asking Ki-hoon for Spanish help is a necessary evil, and she figures that nobody will be able to find her if she runs for Ushuaia. Ironically, she’s just setting this up so that nobody would be able to find her EXCEPT for the one guy who will become the one most determined to track her down. I’m not saying she’s going to be running to Ushuaia anytime soon, just that she’s giving him the tools to figure her out without realizing it.)
(Also, the conversations are so well crafted here. You can reveal so much through conversation structure — what is said, what is not said, the order in which things are said. Well done.)
The noise comes from arriving guests, here to celebrate Dae-sung’s birthday. As Eun-jo watches from a distance, Hyo-sun approaches to offer one of two gifts she is holding. She figured that Eun-jo wouldn’t have had a chance to buy a present for her father, so she prepared one for her. It’s a sweet gesture, but unsurprisingly Eun-jo rejects it.
Returning to her room, Eun-jo checks a voicemail message on her phone, which immediately darkens her mood. It’s from Jung-woo, warning her that the drunk ajusshi (he’s only identified as Ajusshi Jang by the drama) is on his way to find her mother.
Eun-jo confirms that Hyo-sun’s uncle gave him the address, and takes out her agitation on him. How could he? The uncle has no idea why this is a cause for upset, nor does Ki-hoon, who is eating dinner with him.
Eun-jo finds the drunk Mr. Jang sitting in a heap just outside the front gate. He has settled here after peering into the party to witness Kang-sook presiding as hostess, singing a song for the guests. Miserable, he cries as he sings along with Kang-sook — it’s a song he taught her, he explains.
Nervous that he’ll be caught and angry that he came here to crash the party, Eun-jo drags him away, just as Ki-hoon comes up to them. He doesn’t know what’s going on but he can read the general tenor of the situation, and ushers both to the wine cellar so they can hash this out in privacy.
After Ki-hoon steps out, Eun-jo tells Jang that Kang-sook is out of his life now — he’d better get over it. Is he here for money? Jang insists that he loves Kang-sook and that this is not about money.
The sound of men’s voices makes Eun-jo tense, and she claps a hand over Jang’s mouth to silence him. Dae-sung and another partygoer have come from the party to grab more makgulli from the cellar, and they’re headed straight inside.
Thankfully, Ki-hoon is waiting outside and intervenes, volunteering to deliver the wine to them. He comes inside to grab a cask, then warns Eun-jo not to stay in this room for too long, lest they be discovered.
Eun-jo speaks harshly, trying to drive the point home to Jang: he doesn’t have any of this — a grand house, a large family, status. If he did, Kang-sook would go to him without a second thought. But instead, he’s a lowlife gambling drunk “whose body and heart are rotten.” The sharpness of these words finally cuts through his drunken haze, and he mumbles, “Stop it.”
I actually think Eun-jo’s derision is as much (if not more) directed at her mother for being so mercenary, although she doesn’t harbor warm feelings for Jang, either. She warns him not to come back until he can bring Kang-sook these things: “If you don’t show up, I’ll believe that you loved my mother. Disappear now. If you don’t, you’re a lowlife who just came for money.” She’s unable to stop a tear from falling down her cheek.
Slowly, he gets to his feet and stares at her for a long, uneasy beat. Eun-jo looks scared — it’s unclear what he means to do when he steps closer to her — but holds it together under the weight of his glare. Finally he decides he’s had enough and stumbles off, and only now does she allow herself to tremble in fear and relief.
After making his delivery, Ki-hoon finds Eun-jo in front of the house, staring: Jang is passed out in a heap by his truck. Frustrated — so close to getting him gone, yet thwarted at the last step — she growls, “Will you kill that guy for me?” She’s powerless to do anything in this moment but stare at him, wishing him gone.
Ki-hoon sees the frustrated tears in her eyes and takes charge, taking the driver’s seat to drive him home. Eun-jo doesn’t say a word, but he assures her it’ll be fine — he’ll take the last train home and make it back by morning. Eun-jo can’t tell him she’s worried about him, but he seems to sense it anyway and repeats, “Don’t worry.” With a last small smile, he drives off.
This entire encounter is more proof that Eun-jo does care about her mother and, perhaps to a lesser extent, her new family. If she didn’t, she could wash her hands of everything and let the others discover Jang, letting the chips fall where they may. Jang would have babbled freely about his relationship with Kang-sook, reflecting badly on her and giving others reason to look down on her. It would also disillusion Dae-sung about his wife and by extension disrupt the familial harmony that he is hoping to achieve.
If Eun-jo truly didn’t care — or if she were as heartless as people may believe — wouldn’t she be fine to let that happen? Or even enjoy the disruption? The fact is that she’s preserving the family and trying to be as invisible about it as she possibly can.
Heading back inside the gates, Eun-jo sees Hyo-sun leading Kang-sook in a song and dance routine. (For the curious, it’s Two Two’s 1994 hit song “One and One Half.”) Dae-sung beams approvingly, but he notices Eun-jo trudging off in the distance and indicates to Kang-sook that she should check in on her daughter.
It’s out of duty that Kang-sook finds Eun-jo in her room, where she complains about her rudeness and Dae-sung’s attentiveness regarding Eun-jo. After her ordeal tonight, Eun-jo orders her mother out, screaming in frustration when her mother ignores her.
Eun-jo’s hurt that her mother has barely noticed her and asks why she even bothered bringing her here. She didn’t even know that she needed stitches in her knee! Ironically, despite Eun-jo’s facade of cynicism, the only thing that really gets through to her is sincerity — like Ki-hoon’s and Dae-sung’s (though not Hyo-sun’s) — and she cannot abide her mother’s fakeness. So now she rejects her mother’s concern when Kang-sook worries over the stitched knee.
I believe that Hyo-sun is being sincere in her overtures, so it’s interesting that Eun-jo views her motives suspiciously, not believing that her kindness is real, though Dae-sung has (somewhat) earned her trust. Perhaps the difference is that Hyo-sun is monopolizing her mother’s affections and pleading for Eun-jo to like her back, while in contrast Dae-sung offers his help without any demands on Eun-jo’s feelings.
When Hyo-sun finds her outside their room to tell her that she gave both gifts to her father, Eun-jo says flatly, “I don’t like you. You don’t like me either, do you? You can’t like me. There’s no reason to, so how could you?”
Hyo-sun says, “But I really do.” Eun-jo can’t believe that, and says, “It’s much more natural to dislike me. It’s harder to make yourself like someone because you have to. So it’s fine to dislike me. I’m saying to act like you don’t know me.”
Crying now, Hyo-sun asks Eun-jo to believe that she isn’t just pretending to like her, or forcing herself to act friendly.
Eun-jo returns, “You’re fooling yourself” and tells Hyo-sun to think carefully. As she walks away, she meets eyes with Dae-sung, who has overheard the exchange. This is unfortunate, and Eun-jo probably would have preferred he not witness this, but she walks on stoically.
Eun-jo calls Jung-woo to let him know that someone is driving Jang ajusshi home, and asks him to call her when Ki-hoon leaves. Not one to bother with pleasantries, she starts to hang up, but Jung-woo keeps her on the line. He has something to tell her, and announces, “Noona… you’re my woman! I love you!”
Jung-woo hangs up quickly, then exults that he confessed his feelings at last.
Eun-jo stays up that night waiting for Ki-hoon to return home. When it’s past 4 am and there’s still no sign of him, she opens the gate and waits in the dark on the front step. But still, he doesn’t come, and finally she heads back indoors, leaving the gate slightly ajar so he can make his way inside.
When dawn breaks, she is still awake, not having slept all night.
The reason? Ki-hoon has been called to see his father, and now we get a bit more insight into his background. He’s a youngest son, but he’s also illegitimate and has been disowned by the Hong family. Neither man enjoys this encounter, but President Hong (who runs his own company) feels he must address this issue before it grows out of hand. Recall that Ki-hoon’s photos had been taken in an earlier episode, and the family had paid off the source to hand them over. But the longer Ki-hoon stays as a worker in Dae-sung’s wine company, the more possibility there is of him being discovered and written about in the papers. This possibility has the family on edge, in particular Hong’s wife. They’d all prefer he dropped off the face of the earth, because that would make life easier for them.
Ki-hoon replies that he won’t stop working for Gu Dae-sung. Wasn’t it President Hong who said that he had no place in the Hong family? Therefore he gives his father no right to dictate how to live his life. He will sign the document giving up his inheritance.
Enter the hateful stepmother, who tells Ki-hoon to show some respect — they’ve done so much for him. If by “so much” she means neglected, sent away, and pretended he didn’t exist, then I suppose she’s right.
Interesting that even with a shared dislike of Ki-hoon, both spouses are also at odds with each other. This is a political marriage, not a love match.
Dad tells him soberly, “If you don’t save me, I have nobody on my side.” As Ki-hoon stands up to leave, President Hong stops him with the words, “I need you.” His wife and eldest son are buying up stocks of the company. Ki-hoon understands that his father needs his shares, not him. Although he has never placed any great expectation for affection from this man, he is bitter in his response: “I almost believed you for a moment when you said, ‘I need you.'” He adds accusingly, angry with his father for getting his hopes up, “I almost thought you really needed me.”
Ki-hoon visits his mother’s mountainside grave, where he sits despondently. He asks his mother whether he ought to go ahead and talk with the reporters and reveal everything, just as the Hong family fears. Or maybe he should let them pay him off handsomely in exchange for his silence. What should he ask for? His tone is bitter at this fresh reopening of old wounds, and he takes swigs from the bottle of soju he has brought (which is a common offering to the dead).
All day, Eun-jo remains distracted. In class, her ears perk up when Hyo-sun calls her uncle to ask about Ki-hoon, who isn’t back yet and isn’t answering his phone.
At nighttime he’s still absent, and she lies awake in bed, unable to sleep. She gives up trying and heads outside again.
Only, this time he stands there slightly drunk, leaning against the wall. (Warning: this next scene will break your heart just a little, and you will like it.)
Surprised, relieved, nervous, Eun-jo thinks to herself, “He’s here.” And then he smiles at her and she thinks, “He’s smiling.” Simple words, but they carry the weight of a revelation.
He calls out to her, “Eun-jo ya,” and waves her closer. Her eyes fill ever so slightly with moisture and she thinks, “He called me ‘Eun-jo ya.’”
Ki-hoon tells her to come over, but she stands unmoving, thinking again, “He called me ‘Eun-jo ya.’”
Unaware of how very much she feels his presence, Ki-hoon misreads her non-response as disinterest and mutters in dissatisfaction, even as she revels one more time, “He called me ‘Eun-jo ya.’”
Thinking she’s not going to come to him, he walks over to her, stumbling at the last moment. She reaches out to steady him, thinking, “He called me ‘Eun-jo ya.’”
Ki-hoon leans into her, wearing a stricken expression on his face, and says, “Eun-jo. I’m hungry.” Potentially comic words are actually quite telling of his emotional state — i.e, his emotional hunger. He fights his tears — one falls — and says, “I’m starving to death.”
So, what exactly is the significance of “Eun-jo ya”? Would it be too maddening to answer “Nothing, and therefore everything”?
Plainly put, there’s nothing terribly significant about Ki-hoon calling her “Eun-jo ya.” One could argue that it implies closeness, because the suffix “ya” is the casual way of calling someone’s name — someone your age or younger, with whom you are on somewhat familiar terms. You couldn’t use “ya” to address someone older than you. But since she is still a minor, “ya” is a perfectly appropriate way for Ki-hoon to address her. I don’t think it’s that meaningful that he uses that term because it just means that he’s older and has that right.
I’ll argue that the significance lies entirely in Eun-jo’s reaction to the words. She is moved by them, not because of some deep meaning in the words themselves but because of the context. She wants to be close to him in this moment, and for once she’s not fighting herself and trying to close off this new feeling with ironic eye-rolls. It’s an emotional breakthrough for her, and all because of a simple matter of him calling her name.
Hunger is one thing she can help him with, so Eun-jo busily prepares a table of food for Ki-hoon. All the while, she thinks to herself — and even her inner voice seems softer now — “He called me ‘Eun-jo ya’… He called me ‘Eun-jo ya.’” As though the repetition makes it more true.
When she takes the food to his room, he’s asleep. Uncertain, she lingers in the room and tells him to eat, but he’s dead to the world.
She looks at Ki-hoon closely, noticing that one of his socks is loose. She reaches over to pull the sock off gently, but when he moves in his sleep, she leaps up and runs away like a startled animal. She’s panting when she reaches her room — a combination of physical exertion and a more emotional stirring.
When she looks down at her knee, the scar is healed. Symbolic?
In the morning, Hyo-sun bursts into Ki-hoon’s room and wakes him. She wonders why he bothered to prepare food but didn’t eat any of it.
Seeing the table, Ki-hoon remembers Eun-jo’s words to eat — heard subconsciously in his sleep — and that killer smile emerges again as he realizes who’s responsible. He digs in, leaving Hyo-sun sad to sense that he’s miles away from her. She asks, “Oppa, who am I?” but he’s too busy eating to respond.
On the way to school, Hyo-sun hesitantly brings up her upcoming dance competition. Mom and Dad may miss it, and she’s not sure about her uncle or Ki-hoon. Working up the courage, she asks if Eun-jo can come see her, and gets back an immediate no.
Hyo-sun is disappointed but doesn’t press the issue, now that she’s used to Eun-jo’s attitude. She says with fake cheer that that it’s okay — Dong-soo (the boy who told her to stop texting) has been acting nicer to her now, and when she told him about her competition, he said he’d make it.
Eun-jo doesn’t care to hear this and sighs. In a trembling voice, Hyo-sun says:
Hyo-sun: “I know what a sigh means. It means you’re tired of me, right? I know, but unni, no matter how I think about it I don’t know what you mean about me fooling myself. I really like you for real. But you hate me. I know, so you can keep hating me. I’ll keep liking you. Even if you hate me, I’m not going to bug you to like me, so don’t tell me to force myself to hate you too. If it makes you happy, I can do anything — just not hate you. You probably hate me harping on this, don’t you? I know. I’m sorry.”
Hyo-sun runs off to join Dong-soo.
As Eun-jo studies, Ki-hoon’s voice intrudes on her thoughts. It’s a little unnerving to her. After school, her walk home takes her by the lake, where she sees Ki-hoon sitting alone on the hillside.
For a moment she seems pleased, but her mood sours when an unknown girl joins him and hands him a shopping bag.
When she arrives home, Dong-soo is lurking around the house with flowers. He trips at the sight of her and drops the bouquet, then runs off without a word. Eun-jo has no desire to convey the flowers to Hyo-sun, so she leaves them there.
Inside, she sees Mom clipping Hyo-sun’s toenails in another of their cozy moments. While I don’t think she wants the same kind of attention from her mother, she certainly feels hurt to be passed over entirely for her stepsister, and this darkens her mood even more.
It’s been a bad afternoon for Eun-jo, who has been passed over three times now — first Ki-hoon and his mystery girl, then Hyo-sun’s Dong-soo with the stupid flowers, then Mom. So when she finds a tea party set out in the bedroom, she glowers.
Hyo-sun presents it as a surprise, because Eun-jo is moving in to her own room tomorrow. This is her way of celebrating their last night as roommates.
Any other day, Eun-jo may have just ignored this, but today she’s feeling angry and perverse. So she asks Hyo-sun leadingly, “If you like me so much, can you give me everything I ask for?”
Hyo-sun brightens — it seems like Eun-jo’s finally ready to take a step forward! — and asks what she wants. She’ll do it!
Eun-jo asks, “You can handle it no matter what I take?” Hyo-sun nods without hesitation. Eun-jo challenges, “No matter what I have, you can like me through the end?” Hyo-sun promises that she can. Really!
So Eun-jo heads outside to retrieve the bouquet from where Dong-soo dropped it, thinking, “I don’t know why I wanted to play that kind of joke. I just felt really angry about something, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what.”
We can presume that it’s Ki-hoon’s defection to another woman that rankles the most, but Eun-jo doesn’t recognize the stirrings of jealousy. When Ki-hoon comes walking home holding the shopping bag, she turns away coldly, to his surprise.
She presents the flowers to Hyo-sun and announces that Dong-soo gave them to her and wants to date. There, she’s made her point that Hyo-sun was fooling herself. Now that Eun-jo has claimed Hyo-sun’s crush, she can’t keep liking her no matter what.
Hyo-sun is stunned and hurt. She sees the card in the bouquet, and starts to read it. Eun-jo hadn’t noticed the card, which is about to ruin her joke, so she snatches it away as Hyo-sun starts to cry and walks out in a daze.
As harsh as the joke was, Eun-jo is content to use it to make her point and let it end here. But when she looks down at the card, to her shock it actually IS for her: “Song Eun-jo! I like you. I want to go out with you — let’s go out! I’ll treat you well.”
I think her upset reaction shows that Eun-jo is mean enough to play the trick, but she’s not so mean that she would have done it for real, had she known the truth. Her expression shows her regret.
Just then, Hyo-sun storms back into the room. Glaring, she mutters quietly, “Beggar.” Eun-jo asks her to repeat herself, so Hyo-sun, brimming with anger, says in a loud, clear voice: “BEG-GAR! Get lost.”
And Eun-jo’s actually relieved at that reaction.
There’s no question that Eun-jo acts in rude, unkind ways. But she’s generally the type who reacts when people bother her; she doesn’t incite trouble. Therefore, this lie to Hyo-sun falls outside of her normal range of behavior, because she initiates the conflict. And when she realizes that she has hurt Hyo-sun unintentionally, she’s upset with herself. It may seem inconsistent that she’s been fine hurting Hyo-sun’s feelings all along but feels bad now, but the difference is that this time the hurt inflicted isn’t the hurt intended, if that makes sense.
Also, Eun-jo is uncomfortable with the idea that Hyo-sun likes her when she dislikes her back — it makes her the bad guy. She pretends that doesn’t matter, but she would have a hard time justifying being so mean if Hyo-sun were truly as good and nice as she seems. So at the end of the episode, it’s a relief to have Hyo-sun fighting back — it relieves that guilt.
I don’t think Kang-sook’s reason for treating Hyo-sun nicely is purely calculated, but I think that her bonding sessions are her way of “earning her keep.” A large reason Dae-sung married her was after seeing his daughter taking to her so well, so it’s up to her to maintain that.
I also suspect that Kang-sook finds Hyo-sun easier to treat nicely than her own daughter, so she prefers to maintain this illusion of doting mother rather than work on the relationship with Eun-jo. Eun-jo doesn’t let her get away with crap and brings out her true self, and Kang-sook doesn’t like that reflection. Perhaps Eun-jo’s insistence that Hyo-sun is fooling herself stems from Kang-sook’s behavior. It’s like Kang-sook is pleased to live out this fantasy as someone’s devoted wife and loving mother. I bet she likes that vision of herself better than the one Eun-jo reflects — the one that shows her in the harsh light of reality without any fancy mirror tricks.
If you disagree with the following, that’s cool, but as for me:
I find Eun-jo is eminently relatable. I mean, how many of us have seen kdramas with an adorable and/or plucky and/or perfect heroine and wanted to be more like her (gorgeous even through the “shabby” clothes and with men falling at her feet), but really had nothing in common with her?
Eun-jo, however, is constantly misunderstood — and sometimes by her own fault. She gives us hope that someone out there will see the real us despite the way the world misinterprets our behavior, and who finds enough value there at the core to try to connect even when our pride puts up that wall.