Another emotion-packed episode, parts of which I loved and other parts which I did not love at all. Seems this is becoming a pattern for me with his drama — it’s like these two extremes are growing ever farther apart, so that the heart-wrenching parts of each episode are enough to bring a tear to my eye, but the frustrating parts are enough to make me swear at my screen.
SONG OF THE DAY
Big Mama – “기다리다 미쳐 ” (Going crazy waiting) [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Ki-hoon pounds on the front gate, screaming Eun-jo’s name over and over, ready to confess everything to her. She has been tasting batches of makgulli, which has the natural side effect of getting her drunk, and is therefore asleep inside as he shouts to her. Slowly, she wakes up and hears the yelling, staggers drunkenly to her feet, and makes her way outside.
But Jung-woo has gotten there first, and helps Ki-hoon inside. He tells Eun-jo to go on, as Ki-hoon is dead drunk.
(And yeeaaargh, I was so frustrated with this complication that I wanted to hit Dear Ms. Scriptwriter upside the head for yet another fakeout. We finally get one character determined to talk, and finally get them both in the same general vicinity for said discussion, and finally get both drunk and therefore a little less hostile to hearing the other person out. And what happens? Thwarted by Leg #4 in the Love Rectangle. How typical.)
In their room, Jung-woo glares down at Ki-hoon. From outside, Eun-jo calls to him, bearing a tea tray with two cups. She sways a little, still tipsy, and says that it’s for both guys to drink. But Jung-woo’s no dummy and knows who it’s really for, and asks why she likes Ki-hoon.
Eun-jo scoffs, reminding him not to “fool around,” but it’s hardly an effective denial. Jung-woo grabs her (by the wrist, of course) and drags her outside, where he walks her back and forth to sober her up. Or should I say jerks her back and forth aggressively. I don’t know why he thinks making a drunk person stagger around dizzily is going to CURE her drunkenness, but he’s pissed off and it’s more like an act of frustration than helpfulness.
The reason for his anger becomes clear when he flashes back to just a few moments before, when he had opened the gate. Ki-hoon had lurched forward — Jung-woo had held him up — and mumbled his confession, addressing him as though he were Eun-jo.
Ki-hoon spilled everything about his intended takeover as part of Hong Ju, and how he was going to give the company back to Dae-sung. However, “he died because of me” after hearing Ki-hoon on the phone with his brother.
Now Jung-woo is burdened with this information as he sees Eun-jo, but not in a position to reveal it to her. He knows how they feel about each other but feels Ki-hoon is unworthy of her, and asks if she likes him knowing “what kind of person he is,” the implication being that she doesn’t know what he’s really like. Eun-jo warns him to watch his words — who is he to say that?
Eun-jo: “It hurts when I don’t see him, and when I do. It hurts whether he’s here, or whether he’s not. Hurts whether he smiles at me, or smiles at someone else. Hurts whether he calls my name, or doesn’t. As long as I don’t disappear into the earth, I think I’ll continue to feel hurt, Jung-woo, but still, being here is better. Being able to see him and hate him is better than him not being here.”
She’d given this speech in a detached, faraway voice, and now she comes back to the present. Adding insult to injury, she calls Jung-woo kiddo, which must ruin the moment for him even as she says warmly, “You’ve grown up a lot, our Jung-woo.” With that, she makes her way unsteadily back to the house.
In the morning, Ki-hoon wakes on the floor. I like to think it’s Jung-woo’s little retaliation to have let him stay there all night rather than putting him to bed. When Ki-hoon wakes, Jung-woo demands to talk and asks why Ki-hoon isn’t asking him to keep his words a secret from Eun-jo. Ki-hoon answers that it’s because “I have to say them.”
At that, Jung-woo punches Ki-hoon. How could he dare tell Eun-jo this? “If you tell her, my noona won’t be able to breathe. You’re going to come clean so you can relieve your mind? Then what about noona — what happens to her?” He yells, “Are you going to kill Eun-jo?!”
Well, that’s a little dramatic, but then again, this whole show is really laying it on thick with the life-and-death stakes. While it makes for some poetic analogies, secrets don’t REALLY kill people, at least not via guilt complexes and mental anguish. Either that or these characters have the mental toughness of baby birds and must be constantly coddled to prevent them from breaking with every secret. Case in point:
Ki-hoon warns Jung-woo to keep his trap shut, because he will tell Eun-jo himself. Jung-woo tells him, “She says that it hurts to both see you and to not see you, but she’d rather see you. You sinned, didn’t you? You want to receive punishment, right? Then let your punishment be not being able to say it for the rest of your life, and not being forgiven.”
Those words do have an effect on Ki-hoon, but ultimately he sticks to his original idea and races for the house, looking for Eun-jo. Hyo-sun runs into him at the gate and hears that he’s looking for her sister, and for a moment you wonder if she’s going to lie to thwart their meeting. She ends up telling him that Eun-jo is at the lab, and he drives recklessly to get to the school as fast a she can. Alas, when he gets there, he finds the lab empty. You know, Ki-hoon, you could just… call her.
It turns out that Hyo-sun had known Eun-jo wasn’t at the lab, but she isn’t going to play out the manipulative sister role, so she calls Eun-jo to tell her that she has something very important to tell her. Can she come home right away?
Next, Ki-hoon calls Eun-jo to say urgently that he needs to talk to her right away, or he may never get the chance again. Where is she?
Ki-hoon then calls his father to explain his reasons for working with him in the first place. Perhaps he started out by wanting to get revenge against his brother and stepmother, but there’s also a part of him that wanted to do a good job for his family’s company.
However, now he is willing — nay, determined — to give it all up. His stocks, his claim as heir, even his identity as Hong’s son — he’s going to give it all up. Furthermore, if his father or Ki-jung ever ties to mess with Dae-sung Co. again, he’ll treat him as strangers and won’t hesitate to go public with all their illegal manueverings.
Ki-hoon: “I’m going to see the girl who says she would rather see me even if it hurts her. I’ll atone for my sins, and ask her if I can stay, if I can keep seeing her. If she agrees, I’ll do it.”
He arrives at the house, seeing Eun-jo’s car already parked in front. And just as he’s about to hurry inside, a third car pulls up, stopping him. Seriously, the people in this drama have the Worst Timing Ever in the history of Ever.
Hyo-sun’s reason for calling Eun-jo turns out not to be an emergency, but a mental fear that she wants to address right away. She tells her sister that Ki-hoon was looking for her with some urgency, but in a way that wasn’t work-related. She hated feeling left out of the loop, but that made her feel ashamed. But even more than that, she was dying to understand the reason that Ki-hoon was looking for her so earnestly.
Eun-jo sighs, understanding that Hyo-sun hates herself for feeling left out, but can’t help being hurt by it. Her answer is a sort of compromise, and she suggests that Hyo-sun can come with her from now on. If it makes her that uneasy to feel out of the loop, they can stick together.
It’s really sweet to see Eun-jo make this concession — she could have told Hyo-sun that this isn’t her fault and that she isn’t making her feel left out on purpose, which is true enough. But instead, she reaches out a hand to address the underlying source of the complaint.
It’s generous of Eun-jo (especially considering her personality) to allow Hyo-sun to join her in the lab, where the latter hardly knows anything and might legitimately be more of a hindrance than a help. But she lets Hyo-sun in, and in return Hyo-sun does her eager best to be as helpful as she can.
The reason for Ki-hoon’s confession being interrupted this time turns out to be middle brother Ki-tae, who is so smitten with Hyo-sun that he’s here to beg Ki-hoon to introduce him to her. This is hilarious, because now Ki-tae is all eager to please, not at all the shifty punk he was when we first met him.
This encounter takes a swift nosedive when Ki-tae gets a call that their father has collapsed. Ki-tae doesn’t know why, but he hears that it happened right after he’d spoken with Ki-hoon on the phone.
And here’s where I borrow a girlfriday-ism to ask: Seriously, Show? Way to add to Ki-hoon’s already-crippling Daddy-killer issues. Are we in some horror movie now where a call from Ki-hoon has the power to send men to their deaths? Maybe that’s why he didn’t call Eun-jo earlier.
Ki-jung arrives at the hospital to join his brothers at his father’s bedside. But like the unemotional businessman we know him to be, he treats this whole scenario with coldness, and Ki-tae takes issue with his brother’s attitude, blaming Ki-jung for the collapse. Big Bro has been scheming with Mom to take over Hong Ju, right?
And then Mom arrives to scold them for yelling. Ki-tae is the most emotional of the brothers; he mutters that they all suck and stalks out. Ki-hoon listens numbly as Mom and Ki-jung have a conversation about how this incident delays their business plans. Hearts of ice, these two.
A different thug arrives at the house asking to see the mistress of the house. The gangster-looking fellow has been sent by her “brother” to the big sis who lives in a grand house, having been told that mere mention of him would be enough to get her to send money along.
Seeing Eun-jo driving up to the house, Kang-sook agrees to send the money to get him to leave, and urges him to go quickly. When she turns back to the house, she sees Hyo-sun’s uncle running away — he heard the whole thing.
Hyo-sun asks Eun-jo whether she knows a man by the name of Jang Taek-geun in Mom’s side of the family. And while it’s true he’s not actually Kang-sook’s brother, Eun-jo immediately knows what’s going on and confronts her mother. Leveling that glare at Kang-sook, Eun-jo asks how she’s going to handle this situation. Kang-sook promises to take care of it, but Eun-jo asks what she’ll do if Hyo-sun finds out.
To keep Hyo-sun away from Mom for the moment, she gives her a task. They need to find out what happened in the Japan export scam (and she’s already asked reporter Dong-soo for help on this front), but she has been unable to get in touch with Ki-hoon (whom she refers to as “that person,” as she still isn’t comfortable using his name). She asks Hyo-sun to get a hold of him asap.
Next, Eun-jo requests Jung-woo’s help — as he already knows about Jang ajusshi, she can therefore confide in him.
First, she asks Jung-woo to deliver the money to him, saying that if they don’t pay him off, he’ll keep sending people until they do. Jung-woo assures her that he’ll take care of it, but then Eun-jo changes her mind — she’ll go with him. There’s something she wants to tell him herself, so they can go together.
Jung-woo carefully asks Eun-jo whether “anything” has happened, looking closely for a reaction to see if Ki-hoon confessed the truth to her. He’s relieved to see that he hasn’t.
And again, this is a conversation that the sneaky uncle overhears. I don’t know why people are always having furtive conversations out in the open in this household, expecting complete privacy for their top-secret discussions. Cars, people! Go talk in your cars.
Kang-sook doesn’t want to hand over the money, but Eun-jo orders her to comply — they don’t want the elders to find out, do they? With frustration, Kang-sook retrieves her account books from her cabinet — but something catches her eye, and she pulls out a small stack of books from the back. They are Dae-sung’s diaries.
Opening the first one, from eight years ago, she reads an early entry where Dae-sung recounts meeting Kang-sook:
Dae-sung’s diary: “A person came to me. She’s like the spring wind. She carries the scent of flowers in the spring wind. It trailed from her like it trails from a flower wind. I vowed to massage her swollen feet forever. I’ve made so many vows. A foolish man does that. This foolish man has once again made vows. That I wouldn’t cause tears to fall from her eyes…”
Ki-hoon trudges back home at the end of a long day, where Hyo-sun is still waiting for him, per Eun-jo’s orders. Seeing how weary and shell-shocked he looks, she asks in concern how he’s doing, and whether something happened to him. Slowly, she puts her arms around him in a comforting embrace.
And then, surprisingly, Ki-hoon’s arms raise from his sides and hug her back in a brief gentle gesture, before he pulls away. Silently, he turns away and walks off.
And… seriously? Dude, you have GOT to stop doing that! This is one of those moments where you can’t really hate Ki-hoon, since he (sigh) is weighed down by the guilt over possibly killing (or at least maiming) another father figure. The comfort of a friend’s hug is probably a really welcome thing right now. But hello, this is Hyo-sun, and the girl has just started to let go of her hopes after realizing that you and Eun-jo have something she can’t get between — and now you confuse her all over again! Like I said, these characters suck at timing. Le sigh.
And sure enough, long after Ki-hoon has gone, Hyo-sun still stands there in the yard, stunned and immobile, feeling the importance of that return hug.
When Ki-hoon enters his room, Jung-woo glares disapprovingly and checks to make sure Ki-hoon didn’t tell Eun-jo anything. Ki-hoon wonders if that’s the only thing he cares about. After finding out that Ki-hoon is part of Hong Ju, and why he came to this house, and what he did to Dae-sung, “Eun-jo’s the only important thing?” He asks why Jung-woo didn’t say anything.
Jung-woo answers that he believes Ki-hoon when he said he meant to return the company to Dae-sung: “If I don’t believe that, it makes you too pitiful.” It’s the least bit of credit he’s willing to give Ki-hoon, although he still mutters that he doesn’t know why Eun-jo likes him so much.
With the necessary equipment on its way to them, they can begin with the wine-making process again and Eun-jo can proceed with her experiments. Ki-hoon and Hyo-sun visit their old rice dealer to make an earnest request — just this once, can he honor the terms he had used while Dae-sung was alive?
The man keeps his eyes turned away from Hyo-sun, as though aware that looking at her would weaken his resolve to stand firm. Hyo-sun simply says that she knows he dropped by their father’s funeral. The man tries to keep his face stern, but has difficulty when she admits that if he’d greeted her, she would have probably passed out from crying so hard “because you would have reminded me of my father.” Her sincere thanks breaks through his tough exterior, and he has to wipe his eyes with his handkerchief.
Hyo-sun has been eyeing Ki-hoon with a mix of adoration and hope, and Ki-hoon understands why. So he tells her, “You’re a really good person, Hyo-sun,” praising her ability to touch people’s hearts with her sincerity, which is a talent that others don’t have. He envies that about her, and says, “You’re a good person. Believe that.” His kind words are pleasing, but they make her nervous that there’s a catch. And there is.
Hyo-sun asks why her earnest words don’t have an effect on him, but he answers that they did: “You liking me, believing in me, your earnest feelings — I know.” She’s a little abashed to have her feelings for him discussed so openly, and asks, “You know?”
He answers, “I know, which is why I’m telling you this. Which is why I’m turning you down like this.” Ki-hoon adds his promise to take care of the sisters no matter what happens in the future, even if he never “receives forgiveness.” The words are cryptic and Hyo-sun doesn’t understand, so Ki-hoon makes his stance clear: “Thank you for your feelings. I’m sorry I can’t receive them.”
She asks if this is because of Eun-jo, and whether he’s going to reject Eun-jo too. He says no — Eun-jo is the one who rejected him.
Hurt, Hyo-sun backs away slowly and says amidst tears, “So none of the things I hold onto are safe. Not Eun-jo, not Mom, and not you.” Gently, Ki-hoon tells her that she can stand by herself. She’s doing well on her own now: “You’re growing up nicely.”
Eun-jo and Jung-woo take the money to deliver to Jang ajusshi, who comes out to see Jung-woo (not seeing Eun-jo) looking much worse than we had last seen him. Jung-woo looks at him in pity and takes him out for lunch.
When they emerge from the restaurant, Jang ajusshi starts at seeing Eun-jo there, waiting for them. She tells Jung-woo to stay where he is, then orders Jang into the car. Both men comply, a bit hesitantly, and Eun-jo tells Jung-woo that if she’s not back in two hours, go home without her.
That alarms Jung-woo, who realizes she’s planning something big that he won’t be able to prevent if he’s not with her, and he tries to run after them. But she speeds off in her car, scaring Jang ajusshi with her reckless driving.
Finally, she screeches to a halt and tells him to get out, screaming the order when he doesn’t react the first time.
And then — shocker of shockers — Eun-jo kneels before him, asking, “Save me, ajusshi.” She addresses him with halting, low words that are alternately pleading and brimming with quiet anger.
Eun-jo: “Save me. I feel like I’m dying. Every day, I feel like I’m going to die. I’m just barely hanging on. I live because I can’t die. I… I… am my mother’s daughter. Song Kang-sook’s daughter Eun-jo. Tough bitch Eun-jo. When you slept drunk, there was a time I wanted to kill you — you don’t know that, do you? I even held a knife. Every time you got drunk and raised a hand to my mother, I sharpened the knife to cut off this hand. That young teenage girl fantasized all sorts of things about cutting off that hand. Do you know that?”
Needless to say, her words freak him out, and he starts to apologize. But her voice turns hard and she tells him to shut up. If he’s really sorry, he ought to quit acting that way — but he always says sorry and does the same thing all over again.
With ominous intent, Eun-jo tells him, “Look at me. I’ll show you that your mistake can kill a person easily.”
With that, Eun-jo turns and walks down the hill, trudging down to the shore, not stopping when she hits the water and continuing on until she’s knee-deep, waist-deep, chest-deep in the lake. All the while, her face wears a look of resolve.
Shocked, Jang ajusshi hurries down the hillside and splashes in after Eun-jo, pulling her back and grabbing her around the waist. She screams her protests, but he carries her out of the lake and back to the car, where he puts her down in the grass, where she shrieks and sobs.
Kang-sook finds one journal for every year that she knew her husband, except for the most recent volume. Knowing that it must be somewhere, she ransacks her room looking for it, and when she finds nothing, the search takes her to his office.
She pulls books from their shelves and roots through desk drawers until finally, she comes upon the most recent diary, Year 2010. In it, Dae-sung writes how he had known his wife was meeting the other man, but being “that foolish man,” he had been too scared to ask why. Every time he opened his mouth to say something, he knew that his life with her over the past eight years would disappear and didn’t say the words: “That my life would continue without her — I’m most afraid of that.”
Kang-sook carries the volume back to the house, walking in a daze — Eun-jo had told her that Dae-sung knew the truth, but perhaps she hadn’t let herself believe it, or perhaps it never quite sank in just how generous, how loving he had been. But now there’s no denying it, and as she sits in front of her wedding photograph, she starts to sob.
I wondered whether Eun-jo’s lakeside freakout was part of her plan, because she had told Jung-woo the night before that there was something she wanted to say to the man. She’s her mother’s daughter, and Kang-sook has threatened suicide before, and been so good at it that it left Eun-jo wondering if she really meant it. Is this Eun-jo’s way of showing him just how hurtful he has been — scaring him straight, as it were — in hopes that he’ll back off for good rather than have her blood on his hands?
On the other hand, it’s possible that she really did snap, and the walk into the lake was a spontaneous reaction to try to drown out her pain, literally. However, I have to say that if this is the case, the lingering suspicion that this was all a part of the Master Plan actually prevented this scene from having any emotional impact on me, which I thought was a shame. Generally when Eun-jo has a meltdown, it’s riveting and heartbreaking. In this case, it felt too calculated to move me.
On the other hand, Kang-sook’s breakdown? Fan-freakin’-tastic. I loved seeing her finally face the horrible thing she had done — and the way Lee Mi-sook plays her, you can just about pinpoint that moment when the realization breaks, like a bubble of emotion that pops over her head and bombards her in a wave of repressed feeling. She couldn’t have gotten to this point by being dragged, or shoved, by Eun-jo. She had to come to it on her own, and that makes the moment that much more devastating.
As for Jung-woo, I find him an easy character to like — perhaps too easy — and I suspect it’s because he gets to vent all his anger at Ki-hoon and support Eun-jo no matter what. It’s probably how a lot of us feel, but for the desire to cut Ki-hoon some slack for an eventual redemption arc. Or at least that’s how I feel. But Jung-woo gets to be confrontational and antagonistic, and say all the harsh things I’m yelling at the guy, only at least his words actually get heard by Ki-hoon.
If only Ki-hoon weren’t so bogged down by all that oppressive guilt! I couldn’t believe they actually made Dad No. 2 collapse as the result of a Ki-hoon phone call. Aside from being an overused cliche (a kdrama dad/grandpa must always have unidentified heart trouble that pops up at the most inopportune times to drive people apart!), I just can’t care about him, particularly not after Dae-sung. Dae-sung was a character I was sincerely sorry to see go, but President Hong’s (potential) death is purely a plot manipulator. It doesn’t resonate with any of the characters except for Ki-hoon, and the repetition of the scenario saps it of dramatic effect. Sucks to be you when “I killed my father, oh no!” becomes a category of guilt, not an isolated incident.
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