Oh My Lady has really stepped it up in its last stretch of episodes, which makes me happy but also a little sad that it hasn’t been this strong the whole way through. If I had to choose one or another, I suppose I’d rather a drama start off weaker and then end high (as this drama is doing), rather than starting strong and ending weak, but I like to be demanding and ask for both.
SONG OF THE DAY
Maronie Girl – “나쁜 남자 길들이기” (Taming a Bad Guy) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
The adults split up and scour the department store for Ye-eun. Kae-hwa is overcome with guilt and blames herself for losing the girl, and Min-woo finds her losing her composure in the middle of the store.
She cries that she should never have let Ye-eun go in the first place and worries about not finding her. Min-woo draws her close and assures Kae-hwa that they’ll find her.
This is the sight witnessed by both Shi-joon and Yura, who are rather startled to see Min-woo cradling Kae-hwa so gently, which furthers the suspicions that both have been harboring for a while now.
Ye-eun finally emerges out of wherever she was (likely the bathroom), and when Min-woo walks by, he looks down to see the little girl looking up at a cardboard cutout of himself, HOLDING HIS HAND. Oh my god, that is so cute.
Min-woo calls her name, and Ye-eun smiles up at him. Smiling back, he gathers her to him, saying, “Come here, my daughter.” Bystanders grab their cameras and take pictures, among them Reporter Han, but he doesn’t pay them any attention.
I love that his cradling of Ye-eun is an echo of the way he held Kae-hwa, given that his affection for one is inextricably linked with the other. This is also reflected in the way his growing feelings for Kae-hwa coincide with his acceptance of Ye-eun.
They bring Ye-eun back to Min-woo’s apartment for the night, and Min-woo tucks her into bed. Out in the living room, Kae-hwa sees the box of Ye-eun’s baby things, clueing in to the cause of his change.
Kae-hwa leaves for the night, saying she’ll take Ye-eun back after tonight. On her way out of the building, she thinks back to how kindly Min-woo comforted her in the department store, which perhaps gives us our very first hint that she may be feeling something more toward him.
Min-woo cooks breakfast for Ye-eun (who seems to know that Dad’s cooking isn’t quite up to Kae-hwa’s standard, ha), then gets her ready for school. He dotes on her and pays them both a compliment by saying, “Good looks come from the genes, don’t they?” To which Ye-eun lets out a little “Uhn,” which is equivalent to saying, “Yeah.” This is the very first time he has heard her make a noise, so Min-woo excitedly confirms, “You just responded, didn’t you?”
(I am vastly amused that of all things, THIS is what Ye-eun chose to first say to her father. No grand moments, no hugely significant utterings of “Daddy,” no fanfare. Just a simple agreement to his “Yeah, we’re pretty” sentiment.)
He sends her off to school affectionately, and upon his return home, he’s again accosted by reporters in the lobby. Inside his place, Yoon-seok waits in agitation while fielding calls cancelling Min-woo’s various meetings. He’s so furious that he throws the phone at Min-woo (or near him), which crashes into the bookcase and smashes something.
Yoon-seok tells him that he’s being held liable not only for cancellation fees but compensation for damages to a tune of 3 billion won, which is about $2.5 million. Min-woo tells him calmly to take it out of his own account. Yoon-seok is not impressed with the gesture — so he’ll give up all his money and be left with nothing? That means he’ll have to move out of his luxury digs, and Yoon-seok tells him to get ready to do just that.
More potential problems are on the horizon, as The Show Company’s big investor is a very strait-laced type and may no longer approve Min-woo’s participation in the musical. Jae-hee snaps at Kae-hwa for hiding such big news, but Jin-ho is more fair, reminding them that it’s because of Min-woo that they got their production going in the first place. In any case, they assume that Shi-joon will take stern measures.
Kae-hwa hesitantly asks Shi-joon if it’s true that Min-woo won’t be allowed to perform in the musical. Shi-joon has to talk to the investor to know for sure, so Kae-hwa suggests that if Shi-joon is very forceful, he may be able to get them to agree to Min-woo. But Shi-joon asks very matter-of-factly, “Is there a reason I should do that?”
She starts to explain how Min-woo has been working really hard… but Shi-joon cuts her off and says that she’s pushing it — she may have brought Min-woo here, but she has no say in casting. She should remember to keep the personal and professional separate. His response is gentle (as in, he’s not being a cold-hearted ass about it), but it chastens Kae-hwa, who apologizes.
Min-woo requests a meeting with Shi-joon and gets straight to the point: “What happens with me now?” In the past, his projects tended to get cancelled whenever scandals arose, so he wants to know where he stands. Shi-joon answers that he doesn’t know yet — he’ll decide after seeing the producers’ and investors’ reactions. Min-woo takes this news maturely, thanking Shi-joon politely for taking the time to see him.
Shi-joon asks about Min-woo’s intentions, interested in how Min-woo plans to handle this. He hands over the keys to the dance studio, telling him that nobody will be around in the evenings; he can rehearse there. Min-woo is greatly encouraged by this gesture — however small, it’s a sign that Shi-joon isn’t giving up on him.
Min-woo is the hot topic du jour, as Kae-hwa can see for herself when looking online. The netizen comments are harsh, most of them telling him to retire or cursing his character in general.
Min-woo finds more crowds of people hanging out in front of his apartment building, so he drives to Kae-hwa’s place instead. He comes bearing snacks and looks around the empty room, smiling at Ye-eun’s drawings of the family (this one shows Kae-hwa, Min-ji, and herself). He flips back a page to see the one she drew of them at the zoo together.
Kae-hwa and the girls arrive home, where Min-ji sees the snacks on the counter, which tips Kae-hwa off that Min-woo had come by. She manages to avoid running into bystanders when she sneaks into Min-woo’s lobby to ask if the security guard whether he has come home yet, but gets back a negative.
He finally calls her later that night, and that brings her to the studio where he’s practicing his big solo (which happens to be one of the main theme songs of the drama). She smiles as she watches.
Kae-hwa joins Min-woo in the studio and they sit side by side, the latter in a quiet, pensive mood. He tells her about getting the package and letter from Yeon-hee, which asked him not to look for her, and explains that Yeon-hee was just one of the girls he’d dated, of whom he has no special memories. During their relationship, he had thought he loved her, but after they broke up she just became someone in his past.
He says, “I didn’t know Ye-eun was born, and the fact that she was born out of that kind of relationship makes me feel really sorry to her. I feel really bad for her, to have such a foolish mother and father.”
Kae-hwa has faith that he can do well, and tells him so. He’s not so sure, and he’s scared — can a guy like him raise Ye-eun properly? Now that he has lost all his money and reputation, “Can I be a good father? I don’t know.”
He’s a little teary, and Kae-hwa holds him sympathetically, encouraging him. “You can do it. The Min-woo I’ve seen till now is capable of doing well.” She tells him not to be scared and to be strong.
Shi-joon is able to find Jung-ah by recalling a place she liked in the past, which appears to be a sort of resort/hotel. As they sit down together, he wonders where they first went wrong. Jung-ah marvels that he’s talking like this, since the very fact that he bothered to look for her and speak openly is a big change from his norm.
He tells her that in the past, he hadn’t wanted to talk about losing their baby — it happened because he was struggling professionally and she’d taken on too much to help him. As a man, he felt he failed her, so he didn’t want to bring it up. Jung-ah, on the other hand, says that she considered it her failing.
Shi-joon presents a new actor profile to his staff, announcing that they will be using a new star in the lead. He has managed to secure a popular musical actor who is one of the industry’s most prominent stars. While Jae-hee and Jin-ho aren’t too surprised — they know Shi-joon’s the type to make cool business decisions — Kae-hwa can’t help feeling sorry on Min-woo’s behalf for being pushed out.
Shi-joon notices her upset reaction, and she admits that she agrees with his decision for the company’s sake. It’s just that she wishes he could have considered Min-woo, who does have potential — she can tell from all the effort he’s been pouring into the role. Even the very look in his eye has changed, now full of purpose.
Shi-joon notes that her answer is telling of their closeness, if she knows Min-woo well enough to read his gaze. Kae-hwa answers simply, “I trust Min-woo.” She isn’t pressuring Shi-joon to change his mind — that’s a losing proposition — and agrees that his decision as the CEO trumps all. She’s just expressing her thoughts.
Yoon-seok shows Min-woo the latest articles reporting that he has been replaced. He says “I told you so” — they should have quit while he was ahead — and presents him with a drama script. It’s not the lead role, just the second lead, but it’s as much as he can hope for now.
Min-woo answers simply, “I’m not working with you anymore.” Yoon-seok asks if he’s confident he can manage without him, and Min-woo answers honestly, “No, I’m not.” He won’t have someone to smooth things over if he loses his temper, or support him. “But I want to try being on my own.”
Yoon-seok is annoyed and tries to impress upon him that things could get even worse. What is he thinking? But Min-woo is unperturbed — peaceful, even. He agrees that Yoon-seok has a point, “But if I keep living like this, I think I’ll be too ashamed later on. I want to try living differently now.”
Min-woo calls Shi-joon for a meeting at the place they’d first met, and that similarity drives home how much everything else has changed since then. Back then he’d chosen this spot to highlight how much more “above” Shi-joon he had risen, to make a little dig at his pride. Min-woo admits that back then, he hadn’t even intended to meet him seriously — he just wanted to show up the teacher who used to look down on him. “But now, I really want to do it. I want to stand there not as a star, but as an actor.”
Shi-joon asks if he feels confident he can pull it off, and Min-woo answers that he wants to try regardless. He repeats Shi-joon’s own words, saying that somebody once told him that people don’t try things because they’re confident, but that they develop the confidence after they’ve done them.
He also reminds him of one more thing Shi-joon had said — that whether he’s a star or a nobody, he’d wait till the last rehearsal to make his decision. “Please keep your promise. Please give me a chance.” He isn’t asking for an answer now — either way, he’s going to keep working.
Yura apologizes for causing the whole fuss, feeling incredibly sorry at the fallout that has come of her misplacing Ye-eun. She had honestly just wanted to bond with the girl. Min-woo doesn’t hold it against her, and answers that it’s okay — they found Ye-eun, and that’s the important thing.
That isn’t enough to dispel Yura’s guilt and she reminds him of all his cancelled work, saying it’s her fault. He answers that she shouldn’t feel bad, since Ye-eun’s existence had to come out at some point — it was his mistake for hiding it. He apologizes for lying to her, too.
Yura says, “You must really love Ye-eun. I thought you’d think children were really annoying and unlikable, but it seems like you’ve changed. You seem like you’ve grown up.”
Now that she’s assured that Min-woo doesn’t hate her, Yura hesitantly asks one question to sate her own curiosity: What is his relationship with Kae-hwa? Is he just feeling pity for the single mom? It’s nothing, right? She asks these questions hopefully, as though she can lead him to the answer she wants to hear.
Min-woo answers, “No.” Not clear which question he’s responding to, Yura asks what he means.
He tells her with a little smile, “I don’t think it’s just nothing.”
An interview hits the internet and creates a new ripple in the Min-woo scandal, supposedly an exclusive interview from the mother of Min-woo’s child that paints herself as a victim of Min-woo’s negligence. Kae-hwa doesn’t believe it for a second, knowing that it must be a lie. Jae-hee says it doesn’t matter, because it’s the image that’s important.
After finding out who the reporter is, Kae-hwa storms off like a woman on a mission. And she is. Wearing her game face, she approaches the group of reporters camping out in Min-woo’s lobby, carrying two buckets. Stopping in front of Reporter Han, she throws water all over him in a grand gesture of indignation. Twice.
Kae-hwa accuses him of faking the interview, then turns her censure to the crowd, charging them with perverting people’s real characters — Min-woo and the mother are not the strange people they are portraying them to be. Min-woo’s working so hard to raise his child. If the pain they’re stirring up for sensationalist headlines ends up spilling over to the girl, who will bear the responsibility for that?
The reporters start to look a little abashed, which strikes me as terribly simplistic — hey, I’ve seen TMZ — and they shrink a little at her tirade. Oh well, this whole drama is an ajumma fantasy, and yelling at a group of errant adults buoyed by righteous fury is probably one of the top items on an ajumma’s fantasy wish list, no?
Her impassioned defense of Min-woo impresses them a bit, and the reporters then turn their cameras on her. If she knows these people so well, then she must have juicy insights, and they clamor for information.
Oops — the situation is starting to spiral out of Kae-hwa’s control, so she turns away to escape their prying. Running outside, she sees Min-woo pulling up to the curb in his car, and jumps in hurriedly and urges him to drive off, pronto.
Thinking that Min-woo is discouraged from all his recent setbacks, she urges him not to let things get him down. He should rest up so he can build up the strength to do a good job. Min-woo’s actually impressed with her reporter-threatening gesture, and since he has been handling the career setbacks with maturity, he’s not as depressed as she believes. He tells her he won’t let them demoralize him.
Now she worries about her outburst causing gossip to worsen. But then her mama cat protectiveness comes out and she growls that they’d better not write anything bad about Ye-eun, or she’ll really let ‘em have it.
She worries that he’ll have a hard time going home tonight, but Min-woo smiles and says, “Well, then you’ll have to take responsibility for me.”
Ha! Now that he has decided/realized how he feels about Kae-hwa, he’s not running from his feelings. Quite the contrary.
I enjoy that Min-ji calls him “ajusshi” — at 28, he’s probably on the cusp of the age where he’d get called ajusshi by young kids instead of oppa. But as a star, he’d generally get called oppa for a lot longer than the average dude, so being called ajusshi normalizes him. He’s just a guy to Min-ji (and potential boyfriend to her mom).
Seeing how Min-woo dotes on Ye-eun, Min-ji even concedes, “You seem like a really good dad.” I’m sure she means it, but I laughed out loud to see that it’s actually a shrewd tactic to gain his agreement for something — the apple doesn’t fall far from the manipulating tree, indeed.
But just like with Mom, Min-ji’s manipulation is used merely for harmless situations, as she requests that Min-woo play a game with her and Ye-eun. Thus the three of them play a game with blocks (like Jenga), and he participates with full enthusiasm, even bearing the flicks on the forehead (his “punishment” for losing) with good humor. Kae-hwa sees how much fun they’re having and delights in it as well.
Yura drinks, trying to figure out the secret to Kae-hwa’s mystique. Tae-gu likewise doesn’t understand how Min-woo could have fallen for her — not with Yura around, as she is smarter, younger, and prettier than Kae-hwa. He decides Min-woo must have lost his mind to prefer the single-mother divorcee… but doesn’t that just confirm he’s in love? After all, love makes us do crazy things.
Despite being bypassed for the role, Min-woo continues practicing as he had promised to do, while the company continues planning the musical.
The days pass by until finally, it’s time for the press conference leading up to the premiere. While Kae-hwa sets the table and prepares the stage, she casts a sad look at the new actor’s seat, his name placard there where Min-woo’s ought to be. And then, Min-woo gets the final word from Shi-joon.
The cast is introduced in turn, and after the lead actor takes his bow, Jin-ho proceeds to the next item on the agenda. Or at least, he tries to, but notices an additional note on his paper and looks questioningly at Shi-joon before reading one more name: Sung Min-woo.
To everyone’s shock, Min-woo comes out from backstage and takes the last seat at the table, which hadn’t been marked by a nametag. Shi-joon reveals that the role will actually be double-cast, which means that the two actors will be alternating performances.
Shi-joon had been playing this one close to the vest, and playing this card now is his way of pulling off a big surprise, stirring up interest, and solving the casting problem in one fell swoop. Even Byung-hak gives Shi-joon some props for handling this cleverly.
Kae-hwa is just plain thrilled, both with Min-woo for getting this chance to prove himself and with Shi-joon for having enough faith in Min-woo to give him the chance.
And then, the musical premieres. The performance goes well, and a particular highlight is the midpoint scene indicated by Shi-joon as a pivotal point for Min-woo. It starts with Min-woo delivering an emotional monologue, told to an empty stage: “Hyung, I wanted to be cooler than you. Smarter, better, more impressive than you.”
I’m so foolish
I didn’t see you in pain
Why did I see you so late
I held you and saw you every day,
but my spirit has grown tired
If I come closer, we get more hurt
I cry without a sound
I laugh without a care
From behind you, I swallow the words
“Don’t go, don’t go”
You’re so beautiful
I loved you so much
Saying I’ve forgotten
is all a lie
Please don’t go, don’t go
Come back, come back
The song has the desired effect, and the audience is enraptured. The rest of the performance goes off smoothly, and Min-woo takes his bow at the end, at which point Kae-hwa goes up to give him a bouquet (on behalf of the company) and a big thumbs-up.
And he pulls her close for a hug.
The crowd loves it and cheers even more loudly, but this makes her feel self-conscious and she runs off feeling bashful.
Min-woo finds her on the empty stage a little later, after the theater has cleared out. She views the stage with contentment, feeling that rush of satisfaction in a job well done, especially since their production weathered so many tribulations to get to this point.
Kae-hwa tells Min-woo he was really great today, and wonders what the papers will say about him tomorrow. But what’s wonderful to see about Min-woo in this episode is that he’s achieved a sort of zen state of acceptance about everything, and no longer is burdened by his petty worries. Oh, he still has worries, for sure — but he has taken on a calm, philosophical approach to his problems, as we saw in the scene when he told Yoon-seok he’d strike out on his own.
Now Min-woo tells her, “It won’t matter what other people say.” He feels confident he can continue to do a good job. She believes him, and he asks, as though thinking hard about what comes after he answer, “Do you really have that much faith in me?”
Kae-hwa readily answers yes, and while she means it, she’s not in as serious a mood as Min-woo. She doesn’t see the solemn expression on his face as he turns to look at her to say, “Kae-hwa sshi. Do you want to move back into my place?”
This statement doesn’t immediately strike her as significant, as she just assumes that he’s suggesting they resume their old maid-landlord dynamic. But Min-woo continues, earnestly, “Please be Ye-eun’s mother. Her real mother.”
Although Min-woo has been feeling these budding emotions for Kae-hwa for a while, I don’t think those feelings crystallized into conscious realization until now. He probably got an inkling in recent episodes, but I don’t think he was mentally ready to accept his feelings until after he had accepted Ye-eun, as I mentioned briefly above.
He has been busy struggling to maintain his status quo all drama long, afraid of losing what he had spent the past decade building up. I actually think this is the mark of a person who doesn’t have much in his life — not things of value — because he clings to the wrong things, afraid of having them taken away. And with Ye-eun and Kae-hwa showing him slowly that there are more important things to life, he is seeing that the world may be bigger than he had thought, and the prospect of NOT being a star is no longer quite the horror it used to be. I’m sure he’d like to keep his career and he admits to Yoon-seok that he’s scared, but that’s a normal, intellectual fear of the unknown — emotionally, he seems at peace, prepared to accept whatever comes his way.
It’s like holding a tiny trinket in your fist, deathly afraid of dropping it, not seeing that there’s a huge trove of real treasures right in front of you, if only you stepped closer. But you can’t accept those treasures with your hand balled up tightly on itself, and it’s only now that Min-woo is ready to unfurl his grasp and accept the greater things in store for him. And if he loses his trinket — well, maybe that’s not the end of life.
- Oh My Lady: Episode 14
- Oh My Lady: Episode 13
- Oh My Lady: Episode 12
- Oh My Lady: Episode 11
- Oh My Lady: Episode 10
- Oh My Lady: Episode 9
- Oh My Lady: Episode 8
- Oh My Lady: Episode 7
- Oh My Lady: Episode 6
- Oh My Lady: Episode 5
- Oh My Lady: Episode 4
- Oh My Lady: Episode 3
- Oh My Lady: Episode 2
- Oh My Lady: Episode 1