I would name this episode ‘The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of Jun Seol Hee.’ More push-and-pull between Seol Hee and her ex-Ji Wook. As others have mentioned in the comments, I do think that I Am Legend is trying to do a lot of things at once. But more on that later.
Seol Hee tries to convince the director of the market that she truly wants to help the people. He’s kind enough to believe her, but he urges her to find more hard evidence because if the people aren’t behind her, then there will be no lawsuit. She asks for three days – in three days she will have something to prove that Mujeong Development is trying to cover up their misdeeds.
Outside she bumps into Ji Wook (and Seung Hye standing a few feet away), so it’s time for a little face-off. The only reason why she’s doing this lawsuit is because of Ji Wook and his mother’s greed. Ji Wook scoffs – if “proper business” is supposed to be “greed”, then no one would really be working now, would they?
Seol Hee replies, “Getting gangsters to come to beat people and make threats and take other people’s land – do you call that proper business?” She shows him her recorder – everything she needs against Mujeong Development is recorded right there.
Really? You’re going to show off your recorder? It’s like showing everyone all your cards in poker.
In the car, Ji Wook asks Seung Hye if she knew about Mujeong Development’s gangster activities. Seung Hye says it’s impossible, but from the expression on her face it looks like she might have known something. Either way, if Mujeong Development really has done something underhanded, he wants to block it before the information is leaked out.
Jin Bae orders Seol Hee to work on Professor Jo Jung Pil; now with Eun Ji’s testimony on tape they need her father’s statement. That will take a lot of work, and it also means working overtime. To de-stress, Seol Hee takes a break to listen to some music – Tae Hyun’s version of “You.”
She is lulled into a state of calm and smiles like a school girl to herself as she listens to Tae Hyun’s deep, soothing voice… until she opens her eyes and sees Tae Hyun standing over her, leaning in to hear what music she’s listening to.
Seol Hee: OH MY GOSH! *clutches her wildly beating heart*
Tae Hyun: Why are you giggling to yourself?
Seol Hee: You should have made it known you were coming in!
Tae Hyun: I definitely knocked and rang the bell. You just didn’t hear it. What exactly are you listening to that’s got your attention so wrapped?
Tae Hyun grabs the phone before Seol Hee can get a hold of it, and listens. Seol Hee puts on a mask of complete calm and pretends to do her work.
Tae Hyun: I didn’t know my music could make someone giggle to themselves.
Seol Hee: I didn’t giggle. When did I giggle?
Ahh – don’t deny it lady!! But back to the reason why Tae Hyun is visiting: knowing that she’s been so busy with the case, he got worried that she wasn’t eating well so he brought her sushi. (I swoon over the memories of Seo In Woo bringing Ma Hye Ri sushi…)
And then he leaves. (The hell… dude – pick a page out of Seo In Woo’s book! You’re not supposed to leave! You’re supposed to feed it to her!!)
As if to prove that Mujeong Development is made up of a bunch of gangsters (or hired them), a couple of guys in suits force Eun Ji into a car after school and drive off. Another couple of guys meet Jo Jung Pil – he told Seol Hee everything she needed to know to build a stronger case against Mujeong Development, didn’t he? Well in that case – they hand him a cell phone with a kidnapped Eun Ji on the other line. That’s enough to get him to go along with the two guys.
Jo is reunited with his daughter, but is threatened that if he opens his trap once more, his daughter will be harmed. They throw him some money to take an “extended vacation.”
Seol Hee follows another lead – a former stall owner at the market place moved after the fire, and she was also one of the land owners. The owner opened a small restaurant outside of Seoul, and when Seol Hee goes to visit, she spots two more hooligans leaving. Seol Hee wants to know what caused the owner’s change of heart – before the fire she was completely against Mujeong Development taking over the place, but then afterward she cut ties with everyone and moved. Was she threatened to not say anything? Threatened or not, the owner stays mum.
And now back to the band! Min Kyu rushes into the studio hoping that Soo In can watch over Gun for a bit. He wants to attend the press conference and see Ah Reum make her official debut with Red Punch. However, Soo In is busy – she is off to meet a radio producer to give him a copy of the band’s “We Will Comeback” song.
With no choice, Min Kyu heads to the conference with Gun in tow. The manager has already warned Ah Reum to watch what she says, since it is of the utmost importance that her status as a mother is not leaked out. At first all goes well at the press conference, with the manager answering all of the questions. However, when Min Kyu shows up, Gun starts crying and disrupts the press conference. The manager seethes with anger, and a journalist notices the worried looks on Ah Reum and the manager’s face. He asks a very direct question: are the rumors about Ah Reum being a mother true?
The manager tries to play it off as ill-founded rumors, but the journalist wants Ah Reum to answer. He repeats the question several times. Ah Reum can’t stand the scrutiny and can’t ignore her baby’s increasing wails, so she says, “It’s true.” (Alright Ah Reum! Down with Red Punch!)
The photographers’ bulbs start flashing like nuts as they capture Ah Reum going up to her baby and taking him from Min Kyu’s arms. Min Kyu is flabbergasted that she would admit such a thing. (Really? You caused it, so how else did you expect it to end?) Ah Reum announces to the press, “If I can’t stand on the stage because I’m a mother, then I don’t think it’s the right place for me.”
Ooooh – now she must suffer the wrath of the manager. For breaking the contract and revealing her status as a mother, they will sue Ah Reum and also force her to pay back three times the contract fee, plus all the housing and living expenses they spent on her. Min Kyu calls up Soo In for some help, and soon enough she arrives with Seol Hee in tow.
As the most qualified legal counsel, Seol Hee says that having a mother reject her son and live in a dorm is an example of invasion of privacy. Plus, the contract is fishy because it stipulates all the things Ah Reum can or cannot do, but has no clauses on what the company has to do for Ah Reum. Soo In adds one more thing – either Ah Reum will be allowed to pay the contract fee OR she will spread the rumor that the entertainment company sucks the life out of its idols.
Now that would have been a fun court case to see. And Ji Wook could defend the entertainment company.
Ah Reum is free to go! Min Kyu is sullen that she gave up on a golden opportunity (even though it was his fault!) but Seol Hee and Soo In happily offer her a spot in Comeback Madonna Band.
Another success for Seol Hee awaits at Jin Bae’s office: Jo Jung Pil has decided to seek their help. He officially states that he withheld information on how much the stall owners would lose in signing the contracts and giving up their stores/land to Mujeong Development.
Jo also states that it’s not Mujeong Development who is solely harassing the market – it’s Shin Hwa company, which is headed by a President Hong (Ji Wook’s uncle). Now Jin Bae and Seol Hee have definitive proof that Ji Wook’s uncle is up to some dastardly deeds. They ask if Jo can testify in court, but he refuses to. He’d rather turn over all of his documents and records for fear of harm coming to his daughter. He also begs Seol Hee to not use Eun Ji’s recording in court.
Jin Bae fulfills one purpose, and one purpose alone: he is always there to tell Seol Hee that it “will not be easy.” Whether in regards to her divorce case, to the market place lawsuit, to facing Ji Wook again – everything is “not easy.” Argh!
So in regards to Jo, the case “will not be easy” because he refuses to stand as a witness, and so they will not be able to reclaim the land and compensation from Shin Hwa. But Seol Hee has a solution – she knows someone who works at Shin Hwa and will get the needed evidence.
This particular “someone” was a friend she managed to get a job for when she was still married to Ji Wook. The friend no longer feels welcome at the company now that Seol Hee is divorced, so she hopes to quit. Through her, Seol Hee manages to get her hands on particular documents, which attracts MoaE’s attention. MoaE’s faith in both Seung Hye and Ji Wook to handle the matter is quickly waning.
One rainy day, a goth girl comes into the office, freaking Kwang Yul, Soo In, and Hwa Ja out with her presence and lack of cheer. But as soon as the girl sees Soo In and Hwa Ja, she opens her poster tube and whips out a huge poster of the Comeback Madonna Band – she’s a fan!
The girl becomes all bubbly and excited in the presence of Soo In and Hwa Ja, and tells them that she wants to start a fan cafe for them. She came to the studio in hopes of getting a CD from the band, but her face falls when Hwa Ja says there is none. The fan is so disappointed that Soo In takes pity and says she will arrange for a CD to be made and sent just to her.
Meanwhile Seol Hee and Jin Bae are informed that Jo has been dragged down to the police station under (false) charges of demanding $50,000 from Mujeong Development and is being sued for fraud. Papers show that the money Mujeong Development was going to give the other stall owners was given to Jo instead, and it has his seal on it too. Jo insists that he left his seal with Mujeong and never stamped anything.
Of course, these trumped-up charges are all because of Ji Wook. But when Seol Hee meets her ex, he blames Jo’s current situation on her – if she had not gotten involved in the first place, Jo would not be sued for fraud. Wow – so Ji Wook is basically admitting that he will sink to almost illegal tactics just to win the case. He tells Seol Hee that the more she interferes in the case, the more people will suffer. Seol Hee goes home feeling more despondent and helpless than ever.
On to some good news (anything with the band ends up with good news) – the girls’ single is going to be broadcast on the radio! That night, Ah Reum, Min Kyu, Soo In, Kwang Yul, and Hwa Ja gather around the radio in the studio to listen to their first! broadcast! ever! They excitedly nod to the beat and sing along. Their excitement turns wistful as the reality of them being on the radio sinks in, and Kwang Yul becomes all teary eyed too.
Meanwhile, Seol Hee is moping in Jin Bae’s office. Good thing Tae Hyun calls her out and invites her into his car. He turns on the radio so that they can listen to “We Will Comeback” together. In contrast to her friends’ reactions, Seol Hee has no enthusiasm at all to her band’s success. Instead, her eyes well up in tears. Tae Hyun is confused as to why she’s so touched and asks what’s really going on – but that just makes her succumb to heart-wrenching sobs.
Seol Hee: How childish I was…how much of a fool I must have been…how many people I must have made it difficult for…I find myself so pathetic I don’t know what to do.
Clearly, she’s killing herself over the guilt she feels towards the people in the market. Tae Hyun replies, “Seeing how you don’t know how beautiful you are, Jun Seol Hee you really are a fool.” And he takes her hand. Seol Hee had been trying to control her emotions, but finally lets loose.
Can I just break into a big AWWW here? We haven’t seen Tae Hyun express his love in so many words (in eyes yes, but not in words). But I also like that the statement fits both her outer beauty and inner beauty. Even though he doesn’t know the entire problem, Tae Hyun recognizes that she is quite the fool for thinking she’s a horrible person, when she really isn’t.
Seol Hee calls Ji Wook later to say one thing: “You win.”
And my jaw drops at how easily she gave up the case. Then again, it’s not the first time she’s done it; she did sign the contract that Ji Wook gave her prior to the divorce.
Seol Hee returns to the director’s office in the marketplace, where all the stall owners are gathered. They’re all anxious over the news that Jo Jung Pil is now in jail, and do not want to get in trouble either. Seol Hee admits that she has done nothing for them:
“I came to apologize. I came here to perform and found out about your poor state. I thought you all felt wronged so I was thinking about filing a lawsuit. But the opposing lawyer is my ex-husband, and after finding that out it’s true that I couldn’t control my own feelings. But I never placed my personal feelings ahead and try to use all of you. Because I’m so incompetent, I wasn’t able to be of any help so I’m really sorry.”
She leaves the office, and everyone is stunned to silence at her heartfelt apology.
As she walks out, all of a sudden the stall owners start coming out and calling out her name. Jo Jung Pil is now with them (when did he get out of jail!?) and he explains that he revealed the entire truth to them. Some of the ahjummas apologize for misunderstanding the situation. Jo announces that he will stand as a witness in the trial.
Now that everyone knows for sure that Mujeong and Shin Hwa were trying to cheat them out of their money, they want her to file the lawsuit.
Well I’ll be damned – I was going to curse at the writers if Seol Hee’s heartfelt speech at the end made the stall owners all change their minds. It wasn’t the speech, but Jo’s sudden appearance and having explained everything to the stall owners in the span of ten seconds, between Seol Hee leaving the office to her nearly exiting the marketplace. Say what?! If that’s not a deus ex machina move right there, then I don’t know what is – so I’m still cursing the writers for that ending!
I think the law case is really dragging down the drama. I Am Legend is trying to do a lot at once with the law cases, the band’s success, and the romantic storyline. The divorce already took up half the series, and frankly that was enough “law” for me. I know that the writers had to find a way to keep Ji Wook and Seung Hye involved in the series, but I think there are better ways to include them. For example, I would have preferred seeing Seol Hee and Ah Reum versus Dawon/Daum Entertainment and Ji Wook; it has to do with music and it could affect the band’s success since the manager and Ji Wook are very influential people. Or, Ji Wook could have remained purely as a love rival to Tae Hyun and we could watch Seung Hye suffer in the sidelines.
I do see the value in the marketplace lawsuit though; it show how “dirty” the Cha family is after all their efforts to stay “clean” and keep Seol Hee in the family/servitude, and it also (supposedly) shows Seol Hee’s growth as a person. But we don’t learn anything new. We already know how hypocritical and horrible the Cha family is, which in my opinion is composed of wily manipulators (MoaE and Ji Wook) and stupid-heads who think brute force is everything (the uncle). And as for Seol Hee, all I have seen is that she is stubborn and will single-mindedly pursue something if she thinks it is for the better. Great, but I already know that based on how she dealt with her divorce case and her go-for-it attitude when it came to matters for the band.
There are only three episodes left, which makes me hope that the lawsuit will be wrapped up pretty soon. Because of the numerous story lines (we have to sort of address the SH-TH-SI love triangle here!) I feel like we are not nearing the end yet. For all the “balance” that I had thought existed in episode 11, the scales are tipping towards the “law” side, and for me, that’s not really a good thing – especially when I’m most engaged when the drama focuses on the band.