Well, if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a prize. Perhaps a bobblehead Eun-jo doll, or a Ki-hoon weeble wobble, perfect for punching. What we get in this episode, along with the last one, are finally some major revelations and confrontations, ones that we desperately needed perhaps last century, but hey—when you’re dying of thirst in the desert, you don’t turn down a drop of water.
In this episode, Hyo-sun seeks out a skeleton in Mom’s closet, Eun-jo and Mom get lessons in feeling feelings, Ki-hoon gets emotionally pistol-whipped, and Jung-woo stands around with very little to do but get squarely ignored by Eun-jo.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Eun-jo trudges down the halls of the house, and even seeks out Hyo-sun, looking for anyone to help her deal with this crippling news. Sadly, Hyo-sun isn’t there to take advantage of the opportunity for sisterly bonding over Ki-hoon’s betrayal. She goes to Dae-sung’s office, asking his picture to give her some explanation of what’s going on right now. I always knew this girl who was so hard-hearted would end up being more hopeful and more hurt over Ki-hoon than she would ever admit to herself.
Ki-hoon speed dials 1, calling Eun-jo, but she can’t bring herself to answer. Better not to hear the truth, huh? That’s called denial, sweetie. He texts her, but when she goes to check it, Hyo-sun calls, and Eun-jo answers quickly, desperate for the interruption. Upon hearing that she’s on her way to meet Dong-soo, Eun-jo hangs up with her and calls Dong-soo to have him keep his trap shut about Ki-hoon and Hong Ju. What’s with all the don’t-tell-X-what-you-know-that-I-know-because-he/she-can’t-know? Dong-soo complies easily, and asks Eun-jo to come by too.
Eun-jo leaves, trying to drive by Ki-hoon so quickly that she almost hits him. This is way too many angsty almost-accidents for you, young lady. She drives off without explanation as Ki-hoon tries to call her.
She isn’t going to Dong-soo’s though…she’s meeting Ki-jung. Awesome. These two would be pretty steamy if she was, you know, so hell bent on revenge to go that far. But she’s not here for smooching. Aw, too bad. She wants to know if Ki-jung has a brother. He throws Ki-tae out as a decoy, but she wants to know about the Other Brother. Oh, that guy. The one From Another Mother? She asks about Ki-hoon, and Ki-jung tells her that while Ki-tae is his brother, Ki-hoon is not; he is the illegitimate bastard child. Well, I guess we don’t have to ask if you guys shared bunk beds and talked about girls all night.
Eun-jo assumes that the whole Hong clan is in collusion to take over Dae-sung Co, but Ki-jung stops her before she can get too far. He doesn’t have anything to do with Ki-hoon and his father’s dealings, and he assures her that when she finds out what they’re up to, she’ll be back to see him, ready for a partnership. Now this is a development in the makgulli wars I can get behind. Finally, some movement! Eun-jo gets up to leave, and Ki-jung informs her that no one gets up before him. Okay, princess. She’s like yeah? Here’s a girl who does. See ya.
She lets it all sink in, as she flashes back to all the cryptic things Ki-hoon had said about why they couldn’t be together, why it was too late, why he could never repay his debt to Dae-sung. Her hand shakes so much she spills her coffee, and she looks so small and frail all of a sudden, shaking in the hotel lobby. Ki-jung sees the effect it has on her as he walks out. She falls out of her seat, so he has his secretary help her. Ha, even your gallant stuff is done via secretary? You really are a princess. He watches as she falls again on her way to the car, so he sends the secretary to drive her home.
She screams out, “What the hell are you people doing? So let me get this straight…you people gathered your strength, and killed a man. I thought I was the one who did it. But you’re telling me that I’m not the only one…who crushed my Dad? All those people, including that person…including that person…all those people killed one man? Is that what you’re telling me?” Ki-jung steps closer, asking her if she’s okay since she’s turned pale. Eun-jo just keeps going, “What are you going to do now? You people are in big trouble now…” And she looks up slowly, leveling her most hardcore death glare at him. “I’m not going to let you get away with it…what are you going to do now? Huh?” Ooh, I like the challenge to Ki-jung.
Eun-jo goes to meet Hyo-sun at Dong-soo’s restaurant, and insists they have lunch together. Hyo-sun knows something is up, since she’s being too nice and caring, even for the new and improved Eun-jo. She wonders if Mom said something, but no…this is about something else…
She asks Hyo-sun how she’s feeling, about the rejection. She makes sure to add that she’s not asking because she wants to move in on Ki-hoon. Hyo-sun asks hesitantly if Eun-jo really wants to know. Eun-jo answers, “I really do. I promised to be closer to you. You might not believe me, but as your sister…or if not that, then as a friend your age whose face you see every day…it’s something I could ask.” Hyo-sun: “Are you really curious? It hurts. To be rejected officially…hurts.”
Eun-jo asks what kind of person he is, and how he came to be at the house. Hyo-sun says that Dad brought him home one day, saying that he was a friend’s son who needed a part-time job to pay his tuition. Eun-jo asks if Hyo-sun’s heart is still with Ki-hoon. Hyo-sun: “What do you think?” Eun-jo: “I’m asking because I don’t know.” Heh, she doesn’t know about FEELINGS. What are those?
Hyo-sun answers, “Yes. Even if oppa goes to another woman. Even if he has nothing to do with me…forever and ever…” She thanks Eun-jo for asking. I know you’re unfamiliar with feelings, but were you expecting her to be over him already? And are you going to keep your trap shut forever? ‘Cause that’s how long she’s going to harbor those feelings, unless you drop some nefarious truth on her.
Ki-hoon gets a call from Ki-jung, and big brother tells him that Eun-jo knows his family background, and assumes that they’re both in cahoots with Daddy Hong. Ki-hoon just asks how Eun-jo took the news, if she cried…Ki-jung pretends not to remember, saying she was shaking. He tells Ki-hoon to manage her so that she doesn’t end up going to the press about their family. But Ki-hoon isn’t listening. He wonders where she could have gone, shaking like that. He screams at his brother: “How could you have sent her alone when she was shaking like that? You should have called me!” He slumps down in his seat, and the camera reveals Jung-woo in the doorway.
Both the boys go to Dong-soo’s, where Hyo-sun is participating in a makgulli-blind taste test. She for some reason can’t figure out which is her father’s, which we know is very uncharacteristic of her. Ki-hoon asks Eun-jo to go talk, as Hyo-sun looks on, pained. Jung-woo waves at her sweetly.
Eun-jo tries to run away, but Ki-hoon catches up to her. He tries to explain, saying that he wanted to tell her so many times. She covers her ears and lets out a piercing scream, not wanting to hear any of it. He tries to make her hear, and she slaps him across the face. Awesome! I’ve been wanting to do that for weeks! He drags her, by the dreaded wrist, and puts her in the passenger seat.
And then…he drives her to the middle of the woods. What are you, going to kill her and dump the body if she doesn’t forgive you? She reacts violently, screaming and hitting him, trying to get him to let go. Eun-jo: “What kind of excuse are you going to give? I can’t hear anything right now. If I hear it now, I feel like my whole body’s going to burst into pieces! Rotten bastard. Son of a bitch. You’re the lowest of the low. I don’t even want to step on you. It’s unbearable!”
He grabs her as she struggles to get free. Dude, when a girls says NO let go…it means NO let go. Ki-hoon: “Let’s end it now!” She tries to bite his hand off, then slumps down to the ground.
Jung-woo drives Hyo-sun home, and she asks where Eun-jo and Ki-hoon went off to. They relocated to the picturesque woods for some nighttime angst. I know it sounds fun, but you don’t want any part of it; trust me. Jung-woo lies that there’s something factory-related they have to discuss, but he doesn’t know. Hyo-sun asks what his relationship with Eun-jo is, and he tells her about living in the same house as kids. Uh-oh…
Hyo-sun puts the pieces together, realizing that Jung-woo knows Jang-ajusshi. He lies badly that it’s not him, but Hyo-sun goes one step further, realizing from his reluctance to let her meet the guy, that Jang is actually his father. She wonders how all of them ended up at her house, assuming the worst that they’re all in cahoots. It’s the episode of Misunderstanding! And Cahoots! Jung-woo tries to explain, but Hyo-sun tells him to shut up, her eyes glowing fierce. Damn.
We catch up with Eun-jo and Ki-hoon, after he’s brought her up to speed. Thank you for skipping the unnecessary exposition. Eun-jo, crying, tells him that he could’ve acted differently, no matter what his father had said or done. How could he do that to the man who had taken him in, to Hyo-sun, to her…Ki-hoon says that he went crazy when he found out that Ki-jung had caused his mother’s death. Yeah, that’s still not an excuse for what you did to Dae-sung, buddy.
He continues to plead temporary insanity in the name of vengeance. But Eun-jo’s not buying it. She asks how he could stand by and watch Dae-sung, Hyo-sun, and her…being fooled, trusting him so completely…
Eun-jo: “How was it, watching Hyo-sun who liked you? And me, who like an idiot couldn’t forget you!? Was it fun?!”
Ki-hoon: “Do you want to die? Do you want to die? Really, do you want to die? I already let you, and ajusshi slip through my fingers. I let you go. I can see you right where I let you go, but I can’t pick you back up. Was it fun? Me, who committed a deadly sin, and all I can think about is how can I still have you…how was it for me?! Even if I died and went to hell, you…”
Eun-jo: “Shut up.”
Ki-hoon: “Rotten girl.”
Eun-jo doesn’t let him off the hook, not that we ever expected her to. She says that he may want to run away, but his lot in life is to keep up his oppa role to Hyo-sun. She tells him never to breathe a word of this to her, to go on and finish his work and then leave, just like he’s going to the army (nice callback to the way he left her), and to tell her that he’ll be there for her whenever she calls, which he will continue to do until the day he dies. Is everyone’s form of torture on this show for people to “play normal” and harbor secrets, forever unable to air out their consciences? Remind me never to mess with this family. So now Eun-jo’s got puppet Ki-hoon, and Hyo-sun’s got puppet Mom, all the while when these girls just actually wanted to be loved by these people.
Eun-jo: “That’s how, without killing you right here, without doing anything else, it’s the only way for me to let you be.” And then she gets in the car and drives away without him. He watches her go, then decides to run after her. She tearfully looks at him in the rearview mirror, then steps on the gas. Ki-hoon falls and rolls onto the ground, literally the roadkill that Eun-jo leaves in her wake.
She comes home, where Jung-woo is waiting for her. He tries to tell her about Hyo-sun, but she doesn’t even let him start, saying that she can’t hear anything right now. Gah, I really wish people would let others speak when they want to. It would save us a lot of grief, not to mention time circling around the same plot points.
Eun-jo goes to her room, digging around for all the objects that remind her of Ki-hoon, the things she used to hold so precious. She tries to break the pen in half while still in its case, which is just silly, and ends up throwing it under her bed. She takes out his drawing of Ushuaia and rips it apart angrily. Jun-su comes into her room and tells her meekly that Mom and Hyo-sun have gone. He leans on Eun-jo, who is barely holding it together.
She comes out and speed dials 1—Mom, who doesn’t answer. It’s ’cause she’s busy getting her ass handed to her. She dials 2—Hyo-sun, who also doesn’t answer. It’s ’cause she’s busy being the Punisher. If you had just let Jung-woo speak, you wouldn’t be sitting there calling people who aren’t going to answer. But it’s all about you, isn’t it?
Hyo-sun and Mom get off the train, and Mom asks if they really have to do it this way. Hyo-sun tells it from her point of view: she fell in love with Mom at first sight, Dad trusted and loved her, and even though Hyo-sun knew that Mom’s love for her wasn’t genuine, she was thankful for her, for eight years…but now her gratitude, her father’s love…they’ve all been dirtied. Kang-sook tells her all that talk is unnecessary; she just wants to know what Hyo-sun wants out of all this. Uh, I’m pretty sure she wants you to suffer egregious psychological pain.
Then Hyo-sun, idealistic girl that she is, no matter how jaded by Mom’s betrayal, tries to teach Mom a lesson about human beings. “That’s not how you deal with people’s feelings. Not pigs, not cows, not dogs, but people! You treated my father and me like pigs, like dogs! How can you not know that?” Again, you’re assuming it’s possible for her to see people as entities separate from what they can or cannot give her. Kang-sook screams that she doesn’t understand why they have to go through all this when Dae-sung is dead anyway, and she’s already cut ties with Jang, which Hyo-sun doesn’t believe.
Kang-sook: “Don’t say that Eun-jo is harsh. You are a hundred, a thousand times worse than her, you rotten bitch!” Jang-ajusshi listens to all this from outside the train station. Then he and Hyo-sun sit down at a restaurant, while Mom waits alone. Bad idea, to leave her alone where she can make a getaway. She starts to plan as much, but then gets recognized by a woman.
Meanwhile, Hyo-sun shows Jang a picture of her father, saying that he was a really good man. She tells him that even Eun-jo loved and respected him very much; if Eun-jo hadn’t loved her father so much, she would’ve kicked her out ages ago. “Because she loves my father…I’m letting her be.” Ooh, scary. I really wish we had seen this side of Hyo-sun, or the transformation into this, earlier in the series, as javabeans mentioned in the last episode. We got glimpses of it early on with her outbursts at Eun-jo, and then she became so weepy and sad and toothless. She’s far more interesting when she’s scary and off-kilter like she is now.
She tells Jang that her father loved Mom so much that he never let on that he knew about their affair, for fear she’d leave him. Hyo-sun tells him that she can tell now, after meeting him, that he won’t see her mother anymore. But she’s not here for that. What she wants is an apology, not to her, but to Dae-sung…because she can’t sleep, because she feels so sad for her father. She tells him that Mom was wrong too, but she’s being punished right now, and she sincerely regrets it. Fascinating that she still has that amount of trust in her, even after all that. She really is her father’s daughter.
She insists that Jang-ajusshi needs to apologize to her father, if he’s a human being. He says nothing and reaches for another drink. Hyo-sun asks for a bottle of Dae-sung makgulli. She holds it close, tears falling, saying that it’s her father’s. Jang finally looks up at her and says that he’s a beast, and to think of what he did as the actions of an animal, not a person. “If you will listen to the words of an animal, then I will speak. I was wrong. Tell your father in my place, that I was wrong. I mean it.” He pays, and leaves. Hyo-sun cries, the words finally lifting a weight off of her. She holds the picture of Dad and the bottle of his makgulli as she sobs.
Dae-sung makgulli 2.0 is now out for distribution, and it’s what Koreans call “daebak,” or a total hit. Jung-woo takes a second to try and call Eun-jo, but she greets his call with, “Is there anything wrong at the winery? No? Okay then. You can tell me later.” Geez, seriously?
She and Ki-hoon are at Dong-soo’s restaurant, putting up new Dae-sung makgulli signs. Dong-soo asks Eun-jo to talk, so they relocate, leaving Ki-hoon alone. No jealous pouty face? C’mon. It’s that jerkface Dong-soo!
Dong-soo asks what on earth is going on, since he doesn’t get why Ki-hoon’s still around, if he’s a Hong. Eun-jo tells him he needn’t concern himself with it. Dong-soo notes that she hasn’t changed one bit. Keh, are you reviving your high school crush? That would be hilarious and adorable, since it will surely pave the way for the return of Pouty Ki-hoon. Alas, no…Dong-soo’s getting married. He gives Eun-jo invites for her, Hyo-sun, and Ki-hoon. He wonders if Ki-hoon will come since he’s never really liked him (heh), but Eun-jo says she’ll give them the invitations.
And then? We get the real plot reason why Dong-soo’s called her over. He worries that there’s something seriously wrong with Hyo-sun. The fact that she can’t taste anything…it’s not normal for her, or anybody. He tells her that everything tastes the same to her, and that she should be taken to the hospital. Oh, crap. Cancer, is that you?
Eun-jo FINALLY takes the call from Jung-woo, learning that Hyo-sun knows about Jang-ajusshi. She and Ki-hoon stop, and Eun-jo frets over her sister, knowing now why she was sick and hurting. She cries, sincerely, for Hyo-sun. Leaps and bounds, this episode, for the sisterly love.
Ki-hoon goes over to her, reaching out his hand above her. But he hovers and hesitates, finally retreating. It’s the same infuriating almost-gesture that Eun-jo made to Hyo-sun, and now Ki-hoon is unable to comfort her. Yeah, karma’s a bitch.
Hyo-sun returns to the train station, and Mom is gone. She waits, and waits, to no avail. She calls home, and Jun-su confirms that Mom isn’t home. Hyo-sun continues to wait, till the trains stop running. She sits alone in the dark, seething: “So it’s like this, is it? Mom, is this how it’s going to be?” She runs out, but everything is closed and she’s all alone. She starts to cry, reverting to a little girl separated from her mother. She cries out, “Mom…Mom… MOM…MOM! Don’t go! Mom, don’t leave me!”
I sort of feel the same way that Eun-jo does when it comes to Hyo-sun. Her inner child/goodness/hopefulness astounds me. It’s sort of alien. It’s also just as dysfunctional, in its own way, enabling a scary level of denial in order to gain some superficial semblance of love and affection. Hyo-sun herself has such a large emotional void that she has to cling to others who may not even want to be there, only causing her more heartache in the end. Even her punishment for Mom is a way to hold onto her forever, and ensure that she never leaves. Except you miscalculated just how transient she is. Even Eun-jo learned to put down some roots, through Dae-sung; but Mom is fully formed and unable to make that kind of fundamental change.
We finally got the confrontation that we’ve been waiting for between Eun-jo and Ki-hoon. Problem is, when you make people wait too long for something that we KNOW is coming, no incarnation of it will ever satisfy completely. So the only way to win is to subvert our expectations, either with timing or a twist. Neither is on the side of this drama, so it has to rely on acting. While I’m still amazed by all these actors, it’s not enough for me to regain that wow factor that I would totally concede if either of the above were going on.
I did like that Ki-hoon yelled back and defended himself, because I was expecting him to just be pathetic the whole time, but he ended up flattened anyway, and agreeing to Eun-jo’s ridiculous demands. I feel like every week we’re moving towards closing that door forever, which just infuriates me. If Jung-woo were being offered as a viable second, with some romantic tension that was there just a few weeks ago…but it seems to have dissipated for some unknown reason…
Overall, this episode was a marked improvement from the last few weeks, what with significant conversations between Hyo-sun and Eun-jo, Eun-jo and Ki-hoon, Eun-jo and Ki-jung, Hyo-sun and Mom, and even Hyo-sun and Jang-ajussshi. I may even call it eventful, for this drama’s standards. But can I help it if I miss the whimsy, the dark humor, and the FIRE? Maybe, just maybe, Mom’s escape and Hyo-sun’s possible illness could be momentum towards an upswing for the last two weeks? Should a girl dare to hope?
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 15
- Cinderella’s Sister: Episode 14
- 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