Sometimes I think this show was misappropriated into the revenge story genre. I know it’s a revenge story, but the drama itself isn’t actually a tightly-woven series of machinations—I know this because I keep wanting it to be, but it’s not. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it; on the contrary, I actually really enjoy this drama. But I only enjoy it if I let go of the premise, and just pretend it’s a melodrama. Because then? It works fine.
The drama at its core is really about who’s kissing whom, who knows what about who’s kissing whom, and the upstairs/downstairs drama between the filthy rich and the people who orbit their sadistic world. Gun-wook’s main goal is revenge, but that stopped taking center stage a while back, and now I’m sort of wondering if he forgot to take revenge because of all the pretty girls in love with him. It’s okay. It could happen to anyone, really.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
With Jae-in’s help, the detectives deduce that the original Tae-sung (that is, Gun-wook) isn’t quite as dead as the Hongs believe him to be. Sun-young was the only one who ever knew him as Tae-sung, and so they guess rightly that he’s going by a different name now. It only took you ten episodes. Bravo. If cops in the real world ever moved this slowly, people would be committing crimes left and right, knowing they’d get away with it for a good thirty years or so. Please, Show—if you’re going to have cops be characters throughout the series, then at least make them a legitimate threat to our hero, adding some much-needed tension in the grand master schemathon.
Jae-in drags the drunk Tae-sung into his apartment, marveling at the vastness of rich people’s living quarters. She tries to get him to drink a glass of tomato juice, which he knocks over onto her dress. Well, that’s as good a reason as any to get naked, I guess.
She changes into one of his shirts and checks on him, tending to him like a mom. He spends a split second basking in the warmth, then brushes her off coldly. He tells her not to treat him so well, since she’ll be the one hurt in the end. He thinks back to his mother’s harsh words about Sun-young earlier that day.
Tae-sung: I threw her away…because I didn’t have the guts to protect her. I might end up doing the same again. So quit now. Stop being so good to me. What do you get out of it? I’m going to see you like this, and then throw you away again. I’ll throw you away! Do you not understand me? I can’t change. Do you think my family can change? No matter who I meet, I just cause them pain. I’m that kind of bastard.
He pushes her out of the apartment and refuses to answer the door. He’s clearly drawn to her but can’t dissociate his guilt about Sun-young, so he’s doing the classic bad boy move: push her away for her own good.
Mortified, Jae-in slinks down to the lobby in nothing but a shirt, trying her best to be invisible. She doesn’t know what else to do, so she calls Gun-wook, who comes running to the rescue. See, this is why you always need girlfriends. Just sayin’.
Gun-wook arrives to find Jae-in standing pitifully in her socks and shirt. Without so much as a word, he takes off his jacket and ties it around her waist. He then takes off his own shoes and puts them on her feet. Jae-in sees him in a whole new light. He silently grabs her wrist and they walk outside, him barefoot and her clonking along in his giant shoes.
He takes her to a store where he buys her an outfit, with really, really cute boots to match. Seriously, knight in shining armor plus good taste in shoes? You’re not real.
While he’s putting on her new shoes, Jae-in stretches out her hand for a split second, hovering above his head, but he gets up and she pulls back. Don’t be an Eun-jo!
The sales clerk asks what she should do with Tae-sung’s shirt, and Gun-wook eyes it like it’s infested with mites. He tells her to throw it away, despite her protests that it’s a designer shirt. Can’t you tell by his death beams aimed shirt-ways that he’d like it to burst into flames, lady?
Gun-wook takes Jae-in out to eat, saying that she should eat up for strength if she’s not going to give up now. He puts kimchi on her spoon, and that last gesture, on top of an entire day filled with them, nearly makes her break down. She looks up at him with tears brimming in her eyes, then gathers herself and eats.
The next morning Tae-sung wakes up to find Jae-in’s dress in his bathroom, leading to an “Oh, shit” moment. Yeah, it’s a common side effect of drinking that much soju. And being an ass. He waits for her at work, but is stopped short by a coworker.
Meanwhile Tae-ra shows up at Gun-wook’s desk, and the two go into Tae-sung’s office for a chat. At the same time, Mo-nae is on her way up with a flower basket, headed straight for the two of them.
Tae-ra tells him that Mo-nae is earnestly learning the harmonica, sticking to one hobby (something she’s never done before), because of him. She says that if his intentions aren’t serious, then he should leave. Gun-wook challenges her, “Do you really want me to leave?” Tae-ra: “Then, are you saying you’re going to try something with me?” Gun-wook: “Is that something you can do?”
Mo-nae arrives, and cracks open the door…
She overhears Tae-ra telling him how much Mo-nae loves him, and that she’s Mo-nae’s sister, with a husband and a child.
Gun-wook: And you? Stop talking about Mo-nae. Tell me what you want, what you like, how you feel now. What I want to hear is your true feelings. Do you know what your problem is? That you always take yourself out of the equation. Without any feeling you live as a shell—family, work, the house, the company—is everything. For just this one moment, can’t you put yourself first?
Damn, does he know all the right buttons to push. Tae-ra spits out in banmal: “Listen, Shim Gun-wook. The most important thing to me is family. If I could go back to that moment…nothing like that would ever happen. Never.” Gun-wook: “Never? Do you know how dangerous a word that is…never? Time is a thing that passes. You can’t go back or lock it up; it’s but a moment.” She stops him short, saying that she can’t forgive herself for falling for him, even for a second. Gun-wook pushes further, saying that her swaying feelings were true.
Mo-nae’s face falls as she hears the very clear implications of not only their feelings, but of a moment when they acted upon them. Tae-ra calls that day a mistake. Gun-wook counters that mistakes are sometimes the most sincere. The best thing about this whole exchange is the way he looks at Tae-ra…it’s like a shark circling a guppy. She’s the kind of person who’s so concerned about looking all put-together that in the end she always gives every emotion away. She says she never wants to see him again, and leaves in a huff. Gun-wook just cracks a sly smile as the guppy swims away, thinking she’s getting pretty far. Mo-nae hides under a desk crying as they both leave.
Jae-in wants to do something nice for Gun-wook, and she remembers what he said about wanting a home-cooked meal if he were Hong Tae-sung. So she buys groceries and heads over to his place…only the apartment she cleaned for him last time actually belongs to his stuntman sunbae. So after enduring a delightfully awkward attempt at flirting from the sunbae, she realizes that Gun-wook doesn’t live there and heads out. She calls him to meet her at her place, and then cancels on him at the last second…so she can follow him back to his actual apartment. Ha. Nice spy moves.
She follows him all the way back to his place, and almost walks in on him shirtless (revealing his back scar), but he covers it just in time. Jae-in walks through the apartment in anger, noting how nice and clean the place is, wondering why he made her clean that other shabby apartment. She demands to know, other than the apartment, what else he’s hiding from her.
She wonders what kind of person he is, what he really does for a living, since he must be fairly well-off. “Are you a hidden chaebol son? Something like that?” Gun-wook: “Then instead of Hong Tae-sung, I guess you should be dating me.” Damn. She takes that about as well as you’d think.
Jae-in asks if he’s the Gun-wook she knows…if Shim Gun-wook is even his name. Gun-wook’s words might be cold and calm, but his face, which is turned away from Jae-in the whole time, is distraught and worried, because he’s got two sinking ships to save, and they’re both slipping pretty quickly here.
He thinks it over, then asks if it matters to her what he is. She asks, “What am I to you?” He throws it back at her, “Then what am I to you?” He adds (his own hurt feelings brimming under the surface) that she’s never cared about him from the beginning, so what does it matter who he is or where he lives?
She answers that he’s right—since they’re nothing to each other, she doesn’t know why she’s even here. She walks out, and on her way she sees their picture sitting on his desk, and stops at the shoes he had put on her feet the other day.
It seems as though she’s left and Gun-wook sulks alone. Uh, that’s why you have no friends, dude. But a moment later, Jae-in walks back in, groceries in hand. And the changing expressions on Gun-wook’s face…make him look like a twelve-year old all of a sudden.
He sheepishly watches her cook dinner, knowing he was clearly in the wrong. He asks, “Jae-in ah, do you trust me?” Jae-in, laughing, says, “How can I trust you when all you do is lie?” He doesn’t argue, and instead tells her not to trust him after all, and never to trust a guy like him. Heh. Duly noted.
But then she looks down, and adds, “I trust you.” This throws Gun-wook for a loop. All of a sudden, he’s like, oh crap, this went somewhere I was not expecting. Tae-sung and Gun-wook seem to suffer from the same I’m-such-a-bad-boy-so-you-shouldn’t-love-me-it’s-for-your-own-good-I-swear syndrome. Idiots.
Gun-wook grins like a child at Jae-in’s newly earned trust, and her home cooked meal just for him. She sends him to wash his hands like a mommy, and he gets his shirt wet so he starts to change, which is right when Jae-in walks into the bathroom (a crazy thing to do when you’re a guest in someone’s house, p.s., but whatever, Show).
She sees his scar right away and it piques her interest. They sit down to eat, and Gun-wook asks if she’s never seen a shirtless guy before. (Do you not own a tv? ‘Cause that’s sad.) She asks him how it happened…the scar. She looks genuinely concerned and not at all suspicious, I DON’T KNOW WHY. She asks him if it still hurts, and he says it doesn’t hurt anymore; it’s just a reminder of the pain he once felt.
They start eating, but Jae-in gets a call from Tae-sung. She doesn’t pick it up, making Gun-wook smile like a fool. But she gets a text asking to meet, so she runs off in the middle of dinner, making excuses about her sister. Gun-wook thanks her sweetly for the meal as she leaves. This time she knocks the shoes aside as she rushes to meet Tae-sung. Poor Gun-wook’s shoes.
Tae-sung runs up to Jae-in, who plays it cool, pretending to have happened upon him, since she erased his number and didn’t know who texted her. He naively doesn’t see through her act and gets all mad that she erased his number. They go out to eat, and we get a nice segment of silent acting, as all three characters eat in silence, their own thoughts flooding their heads.
Gun-wook in particular shows some great moments of vulnerability, as he eats Jae-in’s dinner after his own, struggling to keep his tears at bay.
What is it about food + tears? It’s like the new formula for an Emmy. Or the dramabeans version of one. A Beanie?
After a long while, Tae-sung says, “I’m sorry. But that wasn’t a lie. I don’t have the courage to protect you.” Jae-in says she never asked to be protected, and that she’s not the kind of girl who’s so weak she needs protecting anyway. She takes another bite of her food, and out comes a diamond ring. What the…?
A waiter comes running over, apologizing that the ring was meant for another table who ordered the same dish. Hahaha. Tae-sung chuckles to himself at Jae-in’s bewilderment. He asks her if she expected anything. She denies it with a laugh, and Tae-sung beams, the ice broken once again.
He petulantly asks if she really deleted his number. She says she did, but he grabs her phone for a test, and smiles to know it’s a lie. So cute, these two.
Won-in sees her sister being dropped off and asks who the guy is. She says that she’s got a boyfriend already picked out for Big Sis, but she’s just trying to figure out what kind of guy he is. Kah, I can’t wait for that set-up blind date. My favorite scenes are the ones with Gun-wook and Won-in, and once she introduces Jae-in as her sister, I hope hilarity will ensue.
Mo-nae is missing again, so Tae-ra calls Gun-wook to ask if he knows where she is. Mo-nae conveniently calls him to meet her at the family summer home, so both Gun-wook and Tae-ra head over separately to retrieve her. The driver arrives first, finding a drunk and passed out Mo-nae, so he takes her home. Gun-wook stands by and watches, because his motive for coming? Had nothing to do with Mo-nae.
Tae-ra arrives, and Gun-wook feigns concern over her illness (she’s been coughing all day) and offers to drive her home. She refuses, asking why she should concern herself with him. Only she gets so worked up over yelling at him that she faints. Haha. Okay, what the hell, Show? I know subconsciously she really really wants to be alone with him, so I’ll let this one slide, but that was just silliness.
Gun-wook carries her inside and sends the driver a text from Tae-ra’s phone to say that she’ll be staying the night. Oh yeah, she will.
Gun-wook tends to her all night, cooling down her fever and making her tea out of wine and oranges. I know he’s putting on an act, but there are moments like this one where he does seem to at least be genuine in his concern for her, as a person. I don’t doubt that he’ll use and abuse her in the end, but I hope she’ll actually get under his skin more than he’d like.
They head back (What, no sexy fun times? Waste of a villa, I tell you. Waste!) and on the way home, Gun-wook pulls the car over dramatically. He then does his trademark silence to prod others to spill their beans, and Tae-ra spills some mighty ones. She tells him that day…was no mistake. “That moment, at least that moment…” but she can’t finish, for fear of his response, judgment, her own flood of feelings.
Gun-wook takes her by the hand, and she leans into him, a tear falling from her eye. She becomes completely vulnerable in that moment, and Gun-wook knows she’s putty. Damn, you Sexy Bastard!
While Tae-ra goes home to flashback to the scene we saw two minutes ago, Gun-wook goes to the office and gets a call from his contact to check the story that he told him to leak the day before. It’s up on the internet, and the headline reads: “H Group’s Second-Generation Heir Suspected of Rigging Stock Prices.”
Here we go! Finally, some real damage! Down goes older brother Tae-somebody, who we don’t really care about because he was only introduced recently. What about the rest? What’s the ETA on that? President Hong is mighty pissed, and calls Eldest Son into his office.
Jae-in finds Gun-wook sleeping in the lobby, and Jae-in, honey, how come you sometimes come to work dressed as Heidi the Milkmaid in the Big City? It puzzles me. She assumes Gun-wook is asleep, but he pulls her down next to him and leans on her shoulder for a quick nap. She’s nervous other people will see, but Gun-wook assures her that Hong Tae-sung is out.
She apologizes to him for the other day, saying that they should eat together next time. She leans her head on his, and reaches over to touch him, then stops short yet again.
THEORIES & SPECULATION
The first domino is down, so I hope we don’t waste the momentum, and keep knocking Haeshin Group down from here on out. There’s no time to waste now that we’re wrapping at 17. I know revenge isn’t first on your list of priorities at the moment, but you’re starting to lose your credibility as a mastermind with all your dalliances, Gun-wook. Let’s get it together, shall we?
There was a serious dearth of Tae-sung in this episode, but I suspect that he’ll become more of a feature the closer we get to the end. I do miss the days when Gun-wook was his secretary, since the fact of keeping them together always meant some sort of shenanigans were in play. I hope that once the Gun-wook-Tae-sung-Number-1 connection is made, that these two will butt heads over everything—family, inheritance, bloodlines, and of course, Jae-in. I don’t mind the slow burn when it comes to this kind of story, but I’m itching for some direct conflict between these two right about now.
I certainly hope that wasn’t the end of the seduction of Tae-ra. She came over (emotionally) a little too easily for my taste, although I suppose we’ve got a ways to go if the affair is going to be more than making out in broom closets. It looks like a sisterly war is about to erupt, and I’m all for that, because both actresses are fiery. And who doesn’t love a battle royale between sisters? I hope there’s hair-pulling.
Jae-in is becoming more interesting mainly because her friendship and comfort level with Gun-wook has natural and easy chemistry here, whereas their connection earlier was too forced. I like them much better as ambiguous friends, and wouldn’t mind if they never crossed into true romantic territory, because that seems wrong somehow. Of all the people in the entire cast, those two seem the most like brother and sister, so it would throw me a little. Not that I don’t see where their story is going; I just see more friend-love than lover-love there. I also like her as the wrench, gumming up his works, if she ever puts two and two together about the scar.
My guess is that Gun-wook will use Tae-ra as his strike point from within the company proper, since Eldest Son’s company was just an offshoot, and Tae-sung isn’t really useful in that department. In that respect, I’d like to see Gun-wook spend more time with President Hong, since their relationship seems to be the most complicated and guilt-ridden, while at the same time the most potentially volatile of all.
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