Okay, I’m starting to sound like a broken record, I know. But while this episode is chock full of events, one of which, pictured above, is something we’ve been waiting seven thousand years for, none of them actually results in anything changing. At least not in the episode itself. Maybe things that happen here will show their effect down the road…but here’s the thing…there’s not THAT much road left to go. If we’re still taking one step forward, two steps back, I don’t know what on earth we’ve spent fourteen episodes establishing, if we could have just ended where we began. Needless to say, this is the episode that shattered what was left of my sanity, as you will witness below…
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Ki-hoon stands at his father’s bedside, and thankfully, he isn’t responsible for yet another father’s death, as Daddy Hong is alive and well. Darn it; the evil ones never die. With Ki-hoon, I’m starting to think that guilt might actually be a character trait rather than an emotion: What’s his deal? Oh, that dude? Yeah…he’s kind, emotionally stunted, and REALLY guilt-ridden. Like schooled-by-nuns kind of guilt.
He asks his father if he couldn’t just give it all up—the war, the family feud. He supposes that if Daddy Hong collapsed at Ki-hoon’s words, then maybe somewhere deep down, he wants a real relationship with his son, much like an Earth father might. I wouldn’t hold my breath; I’m pretty sure the man’s heart shriveled up sometime in the 80s. Ki-hoon says heartbreakingly, that if his father wanted, he could leave it all behind, and live in a tiny house where the two of them could go fishing. And if there’s a chance she’ll forgive him, he’d bring a certain stubborn skinny girl to be his daughter-in-law, so he could raise their child. Aw! Sadly, this is not that drama. Perhaps you are on the wrong channel?
In a move surprising to no one, Daddy Hong turns him down. He’ll keep his miserable millions, thanks. Curses! Nice try though, Ki-hoon. You get points for verbalizing your dream to marry Eun-jo and make babies, even if you’re constantly voicing these things TO THE WRONG person…but whatever. Daddy Hong agrees to be hands-off, but warns him that Ki-jung will not let him go so easily, and there’ll come a day when Ki-hoon will need his father’s help. Allegiance is a poor substitute for love; doubly so when it comes with such a giant string attached.
Kang-sook puts away Dae-sung’s diaries, lovingly caressing the last one that revealed his bottomless love for her. Hyo-sun comes into the room, wanting to lean on her mother for comfort. Kang-sook lets her, for just a second, and Hyo-sun tells her that she got rejected today. She seeks comfort, but Kang-sook gives her none, lost in her own reverie. Can we just stop to marvel at how good Lee Mi-sook looks in this scene?
Jang ajusshi has called Jung-woo out to fetch Eun-jo, after her fake/not-fake/maybe-unintentionally-not-fake-by-accident suicide attempt. Jang, hopefully scared straight for the last time, leaves, and Jung-woo sweetly hands him the money in his pockets, telling him to eat something. In case there’s some confusion about the money thing, my understanding is that the previous episode’s money was solicited by and paid to the thugs, who heard Jang loudmouth about Kang-sook’s money. He was just the kidnapped pawn, and therefore the truest sadsack, since his pathetic ass had to be ransomed by Eun-jo, the girl who hates him most in the world.
Eun-jo is shivering and nearly catatonic in the backseat, and Jung-woo dutifully takes her home. She shrugs off his help, wandering into the house on her own like a zombie, looking in on Mom with her trademark I’m-two-steps-from-crazy look on her face. But Mom’s still sitting in that same place, like a statue, frozen in her own emotional haze.
Eun-jo’s reaction after the suicide attempt makes me think that even if she did plan it as a scare tactic, something inside her stirred and broke in the moment. Because even though I think she had planned to play the role of her mother’s daughter, that very thing is also what she has feared most her whole life. And her agony at not being able to end her pain, even if she didn’t intend to die—that seemed real. What actually moved me more than anything else in that scene was her confession of wanting to kill Jang in his sleep. I could totally picture this drama veering into a horror/revenge plot that would be nine kinds of awesome and far more exciting than what we’re getting now.
Eun-jo goes to her room, where Hyo-sun is waiting; she asks if Eun-jo won’t play with her. Spoken like a true little sister. Eun-jo’s got the typical big sister look on her face, like you want me to what, after the day I’ve had? But Hyo-sun starts to tell her that she got rejected today by the guy she likes. Hm…who could that be? She tries to smile through the tears, but says that her heart feels like it’s tearing apart. Eun-jo lets out a big sigh, tears forming in her eyes. Is that…empathy? Sympathy? Joy? Perhaps all of the above is the complicated answer.
She calls out to Jung-woo from outside his room and Ki-hoon hears her from around the corner. He frowns, hearing her call for Jung-woo, but it turns out she’s calling Jung-woo to send out his roommate. Ha, the refusal to ever call Ki-hoon directly, let alone by name, is such an interesting quirk of hers.
They end up together…alone…in the woods! Omo! They are speaking words! To each other! If this ends up being a dream sequence I will hurl my beverage at you, Show.
Eun-jo rails into him for “dumping” Hyo-sun at a time like this, when she’s barely hanging on by a thread. She reminds him that he promised to take care of her, to look after her in Eun-jo’s place. She reiterates what she told her mother—the unbelievable goodness of that girl, who would rather have a sister and mother who hate her than have no one at all. “She had only one person in the world. Did that one person have to do that to her?” Ki-hoon listens quietly to her rant, then hurls his pent-up frustration at her.
Ki-hoon: Are you finished? With your over-stepping words? Do I have to accept her? A kid who has never been a woman to me, likes me, so I have to accept her by default? Am I not supposed to have a heart, or a mind? Why? Because I owe a debt to ajusshi? Should I accept her to repay a debt? Is that how you repay YOUR debts, you punk? Enough. Stop it. Do you mean what you said? Hand to heart, is it sincerely what you mean? Is that really what you want to say to me? If I say to you: ‘I was wrong. I’ll accept Hyo-sun.’ Then what will you do? Is that what you want to hear? Honestly? Is that how you really feel?!
Oh my goodness. Who are you and what have you done with Stoic Ki-hoon? Nevermind. Don’t answer. Let us never speak of him again. I feel like…this is gross…but I feel like I’ve been constipated for weeks and weeks….and then finally…the sweet release. Aahhhh.
I think the look on Eun-jo’s face pretty much says it all. But she shouts back: “What are my true feelings?” Ki-hoon: “You know them.” Eun-jo, challenging him: “What?!” Ki-hoon: “You…me…” Oooh, is it MadLibs? Love! Hate! Desire! Tears and Recriminations!
And then? He steps closer. KISS HER! Kiss her!
…And he grabs her wrist. Of course. He pulls her close, saying, “You just try and say those words to me again. If you say those words one more time…I’m up to my neck with the desire to give it all up. ‘Let’s just forget it all. Ajusshi’s grace, my debt, I’ll just throw it all away! All I need is you. If I just had you, I could brazenly forget all my debts…and live.” Ack! Do it! Run away! God, angry Ki-hoon is way hotter than martyr Ki-hoon. He asks her if she really wants him to be with Hyo-sun, tears streaming down his face. Eun-jo finally breaks her barrier and lets a tear fall. It’s tiny, but it’s enough. He grabs her in an embrace. My god, it feels like a century since they’ve had any physical contact.
He holds her tight, both of them crying. He says: “We can’t, Eun-jo ya. It’s already too late. We can’t. I know you don’t understand, but we can’t. I resent it like crazy, but we can’t.” ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Are you trying to kill me, Show? Because it would be much easier to just cut open a vein. You CAN’T? Why can’t you? You’re standing there holding her right now! Why is it too late? You’re here right now…with the feelings…and the hugging…and the tears! Gah. I may have just snapped. Ladies and gentlemen, your recapper has just snapped. Does not compute. Does not compute. I need a drink.
Okay, I’m back. I may be just the shell of a former recapper, but that’s what happens when the story actually moves backward. Sanity is fragile, people. This show might just be the death of me. Eun-jo breaks away from his embrace, asking him to reconsider Hyo-sun. Really? You too? Was I the only one present for the outpouring of feelings? She adds: “If she gets any sadder, I don’t think I could handle it.” (Meaning the having to take care of her, not like she’d die of empathy or anything.)
The next morning Eun-jo leaves for Japan to do research with the super-special yeast-testing machine. She’s even sweet to Hyo-sun, promising to play with her when she gets back. They watch her go, and when Hyo-sun turns around to look up at Ki-hoon, he’s staring off at Eun-jo. Eun-jo does her own staring off in the car, as she flashes back to the scene we saw not eight minutes ago. Really, Show? Do you think I have the same short-term memory as your characters?
In a moment of much-needed comedy, a gaggle of ajummas come running up to the house searching for Kang-sook. Uh-oh. Auntie Priestess is looking for a smackdown. Don’t underestimate the power of the ajumma gang. She tries to kick Kang-sook out, for her alleged affair (which Hyo-sun’s uncle overheard last episode and spilled to said gang). Kang-sook decides to go with “Prove it!” ha, leading to a hair-pulling, knock-down drag-out fight, complete with broken vases and bleeding lips.
Afterwards, Kang-sook goes straight to the phone to call the other town elders, crying at the top of her lungs about how she was wrong. Nothing if not crafty, this one. She then confronts Hyo-sun’s uncle, challenging him that no one, save her dead husband returning from the grave, can kick her out of this house. She uses Jun-su, sole male heir to Gu Dae-sung, as leverage. And then she kicks him out. Again.
The rice company owner comes by, surprising Hyo-sun and Ki-hoon. He’s come to make sure the delivery arrives, as he’s decided to honor their request. Ki-hoon smiles at Hyo-sun, praising her for single-handedly getting it done. She looks at him quizzically, then tells him to stop it. Finally!
Hyo-sun: Don’t talk so sweetly to me. I’m not very smart, so it really, really confuses me. If I think about it, from the day you came here, till the day you officially rejected me…while you were scolding me for being childish, telling me not to lean on you…you were exactly as sweet to me as you’ve always been. Even if the world crumbles, the feeling that if I held onto you everything would be okay…you did that. You pushed me off the edge of a cliff…and then you’re being sweet to me again—you can’t do that.
Thank you! I might be starting to gain some shred of sanity back. I’ve been waiting forever for someone to stop this boy from confusing her; the fact that it came straight out of the horse’s mouth? Topped my expectations. She really is growing up nicely, and I’m glad that even if his rejection of her didn’t move Ki-hoon and Eun-jo forward (grumble, grumble), at least it’s moving Hyo-sun towards growth and change.
She sends Big Sis a text, and at the same time, she receives an email from Eun-jo. Both sisters have sent word to the other that they have succeeded. Could it be possible we’re moving towards a sister-wavelength? That would be fun to see. She’s sending the results to the lab, and she’s named the yeast “Dae-sung Ssakaro Myesis.” I have no idea what the last two words mean. I’m assuming they’re scientific words, which I’ve just transliterated. But the important part is that she named it after Dae-sung.
She runs into the house, looking for Mom, but then ends up in front of her father’s picture, telling him the good news. She tells him that “unni did it,” and that she named it, not after herself, but after Dad. She cries tears of joy, finally able to say that they accomplished something in her father’s name.
She meets with Dong-soo, chattering away about the news as he types, hardly betraying any interest. She asks if it’s okay that he’s doing yet another piece on Dae-sung Co. for his magazine. Dong-soo replies that it’s not for the magazine; it’s for his blog. He tells her (rather defensively) not to underestimate netizens and the power of the internet. Oh, you don’t have to tell us, Dong-soo.
He brags that his site has more readers than the magazine, throwing his numbers around…Dramabeans tromps all over his little site, but I’m not being petty, really. He sort of talks through her, instead of to her, which Hyo-sun totally notices. This guy is becoming increasingly strange…in a funny way. He was always kind of weird; I guess he’s just getting more screen time. Hyo-sun comes home to witness the power of the internet for herself, as she is greeted with her own little fanclub (ha) complete with bubbles to replicate her commercial.
The machine to recreate the yeast has been sent from Japan, so once Eun-jo comes back they can start manufacturing new makgulli with the new Dae-sung yeast. Meanwhile, Ki-jung is maneuvering to underbid Dae-sung Co. on its Japan deal, to try and win back the buyer that was stolen from Hong Ju.
Jung-woo asks Ki-hoon: “What if I just stabbed you, right now?” Ki-hoon doesn’t seem to care much, asking why he hasn’t yet taken one of many opportunities to do so. “It’s because of Eun-jo, right? Someone’s chubby little kid dongseng (little brother), Han Jung-woo.” Uh, I’d be careful or you might end up with a baseball bat to the head. That might be true for Eun-jo, but it’s not how Jung-woo sees things. Ki-hoon says that it’s the same for him (Isn’t Eun-jo the reason for everything, with these two?), and that once the winery gets over this hump, it doesn’t matter what happens to him. He adds with a smile that if Jung-woo will let him live until then, that’d be nice.
Hyo-sun checks in on Mom, who’s been drinking alone tonight. She sees her vulnerable, for the first time ever, opening up about her sadness and loneliness in the face of Dae-sung’s death. For Hyo-sun to see someone else in her family finally mourning the death of her father—something Eun-jo refused to let her see—it shatters a wall between them.
Mom quotes Dad’s journal entry about her, saying that she read it over and over until she was bleary-eyed. Hyo-sun bravely goes in for the hug. Mom asks wistfully, “Are you that man’s daughter? That stupid man’s daughter? If he was so afraid of life without me, why did he leave me to go on without him?” Hyo-sun reaches for Mom’s hand and puts it on her head, asking her through tears to please call her “my baby” just once. Mom caresses her hair, tears falling, as she complies, giving Hyo-sun the affection she so desperately needs.
Eun-jo returns from Japan, looking much worse for wear, but doesn’t listen to Jung-woo’s protests that they go to the hospital. They arrive at the winery just in time to hear the bad news. Ki-hoon’s just received a call from the Japanese buyer that they’re canceling the machine rental and the makgulli order. And in this drama, as javabeans so aptly noted, when Ki-hoon is on the phone, somebody always collapses. Who will it be this time? Is there anyone left? Eun-jo it is!
Ki-hoon picks her up, pushing Jung-woo out of the way to drive her to the hospital himself. She gets up and tries to argue that she’s fine, eliciting Shouty Ki-hoon to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Hyo-sun calls the Japanese buyer to find out the real story, and goes directly to the competitor who swooped up the deal from under her nose…Hong Ki-jung.
They meet, and Hyo-sun doesn’t get a word in edgewise before Ki-jung cuts her down to size, making her feel young, inexperienced, and naïve. Which, to be fair, are all true of her. He announces that he’s not interested in talking about fair play; he made a bid and won, and that’s that. He was hoping that the older sister would make an appearance—the one researching yeast—because he has something to say to her. But upon discovering that Hyo-sun is the younger sister, he dismisses her soundly.
That night Hyo-sun tells Ki-hoon that it was Hong Ju who snaked their deal. He freaks out and makes a slip: “How did you…find that out?” She asks if he knew too, not suspecting anything. She declares war on Ki-jung and swears to destroy him, prompting an even bigger freakout from Ki-hoon that she went to go meet the Big Bad Wolf himself.
Hyo-sun cleans up in Mom’s room while looking after Jun-su, and discovers Dad’s journals, happy to recognize his writing. Eun-jo and Mom return from the hospital, and Mom asks what Eun-jo thinks if they get kicked out of the house tomorrow. Eun-jo says the deal is more important, and if it fails, they’ll have to pack up anyway. Kang-sook surprisingly doesn’t freak out at this news.
Mom goes into her room to find Hyo-sun surrounded by all of Dad’s journals. Kang-sook looks at her in surprise, as Hyo-sun shakes with resolve, raising her eyes slowly up at her mother. Ooh, scary.
So, let me get this straight, Show. You FINALLY brought Eun-jo and Ki-hoon to an emotionally honest and vulnerable place, and then they decide to stay apart for reasons that make no sense to anyone anymore. And then you FINALLY give Hyo-sun the connection to her mother that she’s been craving for eight friggin years, and then you yank it away with Dad’s words? They were supposed to be words of forgiveness and understanding! So…now we’ve ended the episode exactly where we started. Gah!
Perhaps I am being unnecessarily critical, or particularly plot-mongery this week. But I think I’m just…(borrowing Ki-hoon’s phrase) up to my neck with the swirling circles of going-nowhere-ness. I see shiny moments of what could be…and then they get yanked away, so cruelly.
I really, really hope that Hyo-sun’s Eun-jo-inspired death glare means some significant CHANGE in the episodes to come. And that Ki-jung will start getting involved to really muck things up for our crew. Or dare I say it? I might even welcome CANCER. Seriously. Cancer. Don’t make me wish Cancer on you, Show.
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 13
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 12
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 11
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 10
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 9
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 8
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 7
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 6
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 5
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 4
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 3
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 2
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 1
- Cinderella, Prosecutor, Taste: First episode impressions