Goddamn it. Santa Claus totally stole my thunder!
Go back to the North Pole, there’s no Christmas in August! Well, not unless you’re Selfridges, at least. But we’re not having that here.
SONG OF THE DAY
MC Mong – “죽을 만큼 아파서” (It hurts to death) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
We back up a little, to see that just prior to the president calling Gun-wook in, the housekeeper had made a confession. We don’t hear her explanation for why she advises him to let this go with Gun-wook, but we can speculate from his shocked reaction that it has to do with Madam Shin’s dastardly deeds — namely, that she killed Gun-wook’s parents.
Pleadingly, President Hong tells him, “Tae-sung-ah… you can’t do it. You can’t mess with Haeshin, or Tae-ra.” Gun-wook says harshly that maybe this would have worked for the real Tae-sung, but it was the president who stripped him of his name.
When the president makes another entreaty, Gun-wook yells back, “Father!” in a warning tone. He asks, “Did you think I’d say, ‘Thank you for saying my name. I missed you.’?” He knows everything, and why his parents died: “It’s too late. All you can do is sit back and watch.”
Still the president continues to call, “Tae-sung-ah,” and Gun-wook shakes him off coldly. But the older man sputters — the shock is too much for his health, and he collapses. (Oh, GOD. Korean dramas and your convenient old-man health complications!)
Gun-wook rushes to catch him, and calls out worriedly. There goes his bad-boy pretense of not caring. In fact, he looks downright stunned as the housekeeper and Madam Shin rush in, the latter glaring at him and asking if this is what he wanted.
Obviously this does not look good for Gun-wook even if his conversation were innocuous, which it basically was. Madam Shin is hardly one to give him the benefit of that doubt and assumes the worst.
President Hong is taken to the hospital, where Madam Shin tells Tae-sung he should have fired Gun-wook. She insinuates that Gun-wook purposely caused the collapse, and although Tae-sung had previously defended Gun-wook from his mother, now he starts to put the pieces together. He asks if it’s true that Tae-ra is dating him.
He exits the room as Tae-ra comes running up, and now he levels a disapproving glare on her, asking if it’s true she’s dating Gun-wook. Accusingly, he says that their father called Gun-wook in to talk about it, which led to the collapse. (As though he has the right to pass any judgment. What, you decide to end years of reckless behavior and now you’re the paragon of virtue?)
Madam Shin tries to convince Tae-ra to stop dating Gun-wook, to which Tae-ra defends him. That’s easy for her since she doesn’t know the whole story, and she argues that there’s no reason to blame everything on Gun-wook. What motive could he have? Mom can hardly answer that honestly without implicating herself.
Madam Shin gives instructions to Secretary Kim to take care of That Thing That Should Have Been Taken Care Of A Long Time Ago, hint-hint wink-wink. The secretary resists, stating that he cannot participate in things the president doesn’t know about, and even dares to ask why he must do this.
She bribes him with the “highest position” she can offer, and he agrees to consider it. Not really the answer she was looking for. She says, “Somebody has to do it. Why, are you scared?” Uh, yeah, lady? If you’re asking your underling to kill somebody so that you don’t have to dirty your own hands, I’m gonna say he’s entitled to a little manly fear.
As Gun-wook drives home that night, thinking back to his meeting with the president, a car approaching from the other direction suddenly switches to his lane, heading straight for Gun-wook. He swerves to avoid colliding with the car head-on, but moments later he crashes into a pole instead.
Badly injured, Gun-wook manages to text his location to Old Cop, who is TOO DUMB to think anything of it and brushes off the weird message as a mistake. (Seriously, idiot cops? He was Suspect Number 1 in a murder, which by the way you never cleared him of — you just decided he was a sympathetic soul you could save — and you ignore a cryptic message from him?)
Now convinced that Gun-wook is out to ruin his family, Tae-sung fumes as he heads over to Gun-wook’s apartment, intent to do some bodily harm. However, when he arrives at the address provided by his employee, he finds Director Jang there instead. Tae-sung bursts in looking for Gun-wook, not pleased at the men’s claims they don’t know where Gun-wook lives.
Meanwhile, Jae-in is also looking for Gun-wook and waits outside his apartment all day. All her calls go unanswered, to her growing concern.
As a badly hurt Gun-wook is loaded into an ambulance, his phone drops to the grass by the road.
In the hospital, the doctors shock him with defibrillator paddles, trying to revive him. As they do, visions of Jae-in flash through his mind, one after another, like still photographs, until he flatlines.
You’re just gonna kill him like that, loose ends and all?
No wait, you’re seriously killing him off?
That sound you hear is my brain exploding in outrage. I just spent 15 hours on this crap?!?
Anyway. Madam Shin gets confirmation from another henchman that “It has happened as you wanted.” She then tells the housekeeper that Secretary Kim checks out — that he did in fact kill Gun-wook, per her orders, and now his “loyalty” has been confirmed after she has had him followed.
She says this should have been done 20 years ago, and that she can’t be sure if Kim messed up on purpose or accidentally, where the “messed up” refers to letting Gun-wook live.
The housekeeper hazards a question after Gun-wook’s welfare, but is told to shut her mouth. Madam Shin figures she’ll be able to sleep well tonight for a change, because you know how MURDER takes such a weight off your mind!
Madam Shin dotes on her husband in a wonderful mood, telling the unconscious president that she took of that “troubling man,” who agreed to “disappear quietly.” Why all the pretty euphemisms now, Madam Shin? She says that taking in the boy who eventually killed Tae-kyun was her mistake: “I took care of my own mistake, so you ought to tell me I did a good job, that I worked hard.” BECAUSE I’M INSANE, is the unspoken implication. Just look at that smug smile.
Tae-ra’s husband moves out, having decided to comply with her request for a divorce. She brings up the impending investigation about Haeshin’s slush funds, and he warns her to prepare herself to handle the mess in her father’s absence.
Gun-wook doesn’t show up to work the next morning, on account of his death and all. This leaves his department in a crunch, so Jae-in offers to take care of the materials that Gun-wook was supposed to prepare for the presentation today. Which makes no sense because she’s an ART CONSULTANT, not a construction planner, but whatever.
Therefore Jae-in gives the presentation for the robot theme park, and everyone is keenly aware that Gun-wook’s chair remains empty.
Tae-ra calls her brother in to ask about Gun-wook, only to get a bluff in reply: “I met him yesterday and killed him.” Tae-sung smirks at her shocked reaction, then clarifies that he was going to kill him, but couldn’t find him.
Like his mother attempted to do, he tries to get Tae-ra to see that Gun-wook is dangerous, that he only approached Tae-ra because of Haeshin. He gets most of the details correct, though he misses a few details, saying that Gun-wook caused Tae-kyun to die and Father to collapse, thereby making Tae-ra the successor. That would enable Gun-wook to have Haeshin for himself.
Tae-ra reels from this information, ordering her brother to leave while she attempts to process all this.
A flashback takes us back to the Gun-wook/Sun-young conflict, as Gun-wook voiceovers, “Noona, I’m sorry…” In the memory, he asks why she is still dating Tae-sung when she said she’d break it off. She answers ruefully that she wants her own family with a husband and child, and urges him to forget his vendetta.
Gun-wook’s question from the first episode repeats now: “Is the place I’m headed to heaven? Or is it hell?”
The housekeeper asks Secretary Kim how long he has known that Gun-wook was Tae-sung. Is everything really happening because of that child?
Kim answers cryptically that the truth will be revealed after everything ends. God, if that’s a warning for this drama I’m gonna throw something. Also: Really, you two, you’ve both worked for the family for 30 years and this is the first time you’re sharing information?!
Madam Shin comes to work humming, perfectly content with the outcome of her hit job, but that comes to a swift end. When she heads to her desk to take a seat, her chair slips away from her grasp and she lurches back in shock to see the bloody cigarette lighter on her desk. She recognizes it as Gun-wook, and is mightily spooked, knocking it to the ground in a freaked-out gesture.
Across town at the hospital, this is the same moment that the unconscious President goes into some kind of attack as though symbolic. But I don’t believe in this supernatural hoodoo — not in this drama, at least — and we get an explanation for the lighter’s mysterious appearance when we see Gun-wook’s partner lurking around. Ah, so he’s picked up where Gun-wook has left off, has he?
At the hospital, the family is reassured by the doctor, who says that the president suffered a cardiac spasm. Although it could have been very dangerous, thankfully he’s fine now and will recover.
Madam Shin takes Secretary Kim aside to ask him furtively — with the door open, silly woman — whether he truly confirmed Gun-wook’s dead body. He did, but his answer does not satisfy her, and she warns him not to mess with her. Kim reminds her that they’re in the same boat now — there’s no reason for him to lie.
She wants to confirm the body with her own eyes, but Gun-wook has been cremated and his ashes scattered. And lo and behold, who should happen to overhear the conversation but Tae-ra, who notices her mother through the open doorway. She doesn’t seem to understand the severity of the conversation, however.
Tae-sung brings Jae-in to see his father and introduces her. Jae-in makes her greeting, and Tae-sung vows that he’ll turn into a good guy and marry her, which by the way is also his way of honoring the notion of filial piety, “So please wake up.”
Alas, there never was a party pooper even poopier than Madam Shin, who swoops in to put a damper on this moment. She scolds Tae-sung for bothering his ill father, casting a disparaging eye on Jae-in. Tae-sung bristles, telling her not to talk like that and says firmly, “She’s my woman.”
He moves to escort Jae-in away from this distasteful encounter, but to her credit Jae-in stands up straight and insists on saying her piece. Looking Madam Shin straight in the eye, she says calmly, “I’ll see you next time… Mother.”
As Tae-sung walks her home, he proposes that they marry as soon as his father wakes up. He was always such a troublemaker, but seeing his father like that gives him a lot of regrets, “But since I have you, I feel the courage to start over. Thank you.” Jae-in uses his father’s illness as a excuse to suggest not rushing too much, although we know she’s got other reasons to be dragging her feet.
He leans in to kiss her good night, and although she doesn’t pull back this time, she very slightly tilts backward. . After he leaves, she tries again to call Gun-wook. Again, no dice.
She’s growing increasingly upset and worried at this inability to get in touch with Gun-wook, so Jae-in drops by Director Jang’s restaurant to ask about his whereabouts. Jang doesn’t know any more than she does, but as coincidence would have it (of course!), the two cops swing by in time to catch her.
Jae-in pleads with them to find Gun-wook, too worried to care that she’s contradicting her earlier statement that she doesn’t know him. It’s been a week since she last spoke to him. The cops are perturbed to hear this, and it’s only now that they recall the text message received on the night he died. Young Cop takes a look and says that it’s a locator message — he’d sent them his location via GPS, and NOW the Old Cop is all interested. (Worst. Cops. Ever.)
Tae-ra’s husband finds her at the office to tell her that he sent the divorce papers to her as she requested. Tae-ra, like Jae-in, has been trying to get in touch with Gun-wook all this time and has been worried. Now she asks her husband — whom she knows investigated Gun-wook — for his address.
Thus with the aid of a locksmith, Tae-ra gains entry to his apartment, and takes her first look around his modern, sophisticated lair. She happens to spot the Polaroid photo of Gun-wook with Jae-in, just as Jae-in bursts in calling, “Gun-wook-ah!”
Well, this is awkward.
The two ladies face off, and in the absence of Gun-wook, what we get is a mind game and power play as they attempt, in turn, to one-up each other. First up is Tae-ra, who hardens at the sight of Jae-in and asks what she’s doing here.
Jae-in hurries to shut the door to the inner sanctum, aka the Den of Crazy, so that Tae-ra doesn’t see his revenge plans. That accomplished, she stands her ground against Tae-ra, who insinuates that Jae-in sure is cozy around here. By the way, how is her relationship with Tae-sung going, again? The threat to upset that relationship is implicit in the question.
Jae-in fumbles a bit, clearly on the defensive, while Tae-ra asks if she’s serious about her brother. She warns Jae-in to be careful and essentially tells her to back off. Rawr!
But now it’s Jae-in’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions, such as how Tae-ra came to be here. Tae-ra lies and says Gun-wook gave her a key, and that she sent Gun-wook away for a brief trip. She tells Jae-in to stop worrying about him, implying that she’ll take that place. And when he returns, she’ll marry him.
Jae-in is taken aback and this, and she has no reason to doubt Tae-ra’s lies, so the news is a strong blow. She’s relieved on one hand, since there’s an explanation for his disappearance, but also pretty hurt.
After Jae-in leaves, she reels a bit from this information.
Tae-ra waits in the empty apartment, thinking back to all her encounters with Gun-wook and how he confessed his love for her.
As a result, Jae-in comes home feeling crushed. This results in a short temper with her sister, whom she tells that she and Gun-wook can’t be together, nor can they even be friends: “That’s how we can both have what we want.”
Won-in assumes that she’s talking about money — that Gun-wook must have been in pursuit of a rich woman. She’s disdainful of their choices to pass up real affection for mercenary gains, but Jae-in isn’t in the mood to hear this and warns her sister not to mention his name ever again. She vows to forget everything.
The cops finally decide to earn their keep and do some real investigating, and arrive at the location of Gun-wook’s car accident. There they find his blood-spattered phone, and decide to look into all the accidents that occurred in the area on the night in question. Good to know those brains are functional — when they choose to use them, that is.
Tae-ra presents her divorce documents to her mother, who naturally doesn’t take the news well. Tae-ra says that it doesn’t have to do with Gun-wook, and that she wants to live her own life now. She asks her mother not to interfere with her relationship with Gun-wook, saying, “If we love each other, there’s no reason we can’t marry.”
Mom asks how she can marry him, given “who he is.” Tae-ra picks up on that odd wording and asks who he is, then, which makes Madam Shin realize she has slipped. Without a better retort on hand, she shrieks, “How should I know?!” Ha.
Tae-ra senses that her mother is hiding something and hones in on that. She presses for an explanation, saying that she loves him. So Madam Shin spits out, “He’s dead.”
Almost immediately she realizes she’d rather not have said that, and amends that she means Tae-ra ought to think of him as dead. I feel like Madam Shin is taking the very worst possible approach and is actually pushing her daughter further than she’d go on her own, like a rebellious teen would react just to spite her parents. Case in point: Tae-ra says that she can give up Haeshin and her family, “But I can never give him up.” She declares that she will divorce, then marry Gun-wook.
So Madam Shin pulls out her final card, and reveals that Gun-wook is Tae-sung the First.
Jae-in hears about the car accident from the cops. They inquire at the hospital, where they hear that a guarantor escorted the dead motorist in the ambulance. That’s odd, since Gun-wook has no family and nobody to be his guarantor — so who would have taken custody of the dead Gun-wook?
Jae-in’s first reaction is denial, and she cries brokenly that it can’t be Gun-wook. Old Cop pacifies her with maybes and It could be wrongs, but the Young Cop starts to protest. Jae-in, ever the sharp one, guesses they’re lying to her and wants to see his corpse for herself. However, that’s not possible because but somebody took it away.
Old Cop thinks aloud, musing that even if someone at Haeshin found out Gun-wook was Tae-sung, there’d be no reason to take his body. (You idiot cop, why are you talking about open investigations in front of a possible witness?) Naturally this cryptic speech piques Jae-in’s interest, and she asks for an explanation and hears the whole story about Gun-wook being the discarded Tae-sung.
Meanwhile, Madam Shin continues with her diatribe against Gun-wook, saying that he approached the family purposely, killed Tae-kyun, and sent her father to the hospital, bent on revenge. Tae-ra is stunned, uttering denials of why that’s ridiculous even as her devastated reaction shows that she believes it.
Madam Shin tells Tae-ra to get it together and realize the truth. She lies that once he’d been found out, he’d asked her for money and promised to go away.
As the news sinks in, Jae-in cries outside the hospital and asks, “You’re joking with me, aren’t you? Where are you? Come out quickly. Come quickly. Come out quickly, I’m sorry.”
The next day, Madam Shin arrives at work, chipper as ever, and heads to her desk. But once again she is greeted with a frightful sight, and shrieks in fear at the sight of the lighter. She’d tossed it out her window, and yet here it is, sitting on her desk yet again.
And somewhere far away, in some sort of institution, is a disheveled-looking figure looking blankly out the window.
Can exploded brains be put back together? I’m gonna need it back in order to sort all this out.
Wait, so Secretary Kim to the rescue after all? Or is this Gun-wook’s partner taking up the mantle in his absence?
I like the fact that Madam Shin ordered the hit(s) — finally someone’s actually EVIL, instead of just selfish! This drama has hinted at all sorts of shadowy demons lurking behind pretty facades, but we didn’t get any, till these past two episodes. So yay. Although I really wish we’d gotten it sooner instead of all that romance entanglement. (Not that I don’t like a good entangled romance! But this drama could have been better than that, and more than that, and it’s too bad that for a whole chunk of episodes it wasn’t.)
I think the problem I had with Episode 14 wasn’t simply the plot turns themselves but the suddenness of the events. Suddenly Gun-wook is a loose cannon and laughing maniacally? That might have been an intriguing turn of events, if only they hadn’t slammed into a brick wall with Episode 15. I wasn’t a fan of Gun-wook’s descent into madness, but if they were going to do it, it would have been far more interesting to see his descent carefully calibrated to increase from episode to episode (see: Story of a Man), rather than swinging in out of nowhere, then swinging back out of the picture just as quickly. It became really obvious in Episodes 14 and 15, and plot points that could have been perfectly serviceable seemed jarring and random. This drama has been characterized by a steady, slow, gradual build of tension, and an overnight burst of plot produces a very strange energy. Almost like producers woke up and thought, “Oh crap! What do you mean, we only have three episodes left? How do we cram all this stuff in?”
On the other hand, on the upside we get Madam Shin’s descent into madness (or at least paranoia), which ought to be fun. I actually think the drama misstepped in an earlier episode when they showed Madam Shin having those nightmares, hinting at a guilty conscience. Bitch HAS no guilty conscience, as evidenced by the way she was practically skipping and singing after Gun-wook died. It’s much better to reserve that Lady Macbethian disintegration for now, when she’s being pushed off the brink.
- Bad Guy: Episode 15
- Bad Guy: Episode 14
- Bad Guy: Episode 13
- Bad Guy: Episode 12
- Bad Guy: Episode 11
- Bad Guy: Episode 10
- Bad Guy: Episode 9
- Bad Guy: Episode 8
- Bad Guy broadcast cut to 17 episodes
- Bad Guy: Episode 7
- Bad Guy: Episode 6
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- Bad Guy: Episode 5
- Bad Guy: Episode 4
- Bad Guy: Episode 3
- Bad Guy: Episode 2
- Bad Guy: Episode 1