Yay, the brothers meet! And it’s not only cute, but I’m finally getting emotionally invested. It’s actually the brothers’ relationship that ends up pulling me in, go figure. Glad they didn’t go melodrama-on-melodrama with them, despite the tragic love triangle setup. It’s not without some melodramatic flair, but it’s kept realistic in its core relationship, which is something I can groove with. Now I finally have an in with this drama, and can feel the characters becoming people rather than just cardboard cutouts.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Ah-jung wakes up in her hotel suite with a hangover of the first order: from a night of champagne and crying. She’s startled by Sang-hee standing by the window, not remembering that she called him there.
He turns to her with a smile, “Do you really want to be married… and to Hyun Ki-joon? Do you want me to help?” She dismisses it, not realizing just how helpful he could be, and stumbles out, trying to get her bearings.
Even hitting her head against the wall doesn’t wake her up from this nightmare, and she rushes off to work, regretting her ill-timed bender. Sang-hee watches her, totally amused. Aw, they’re so cute.
Meanwhile, Big Bro Ki-joon gets a call from his secretary that Ah-jung has checked out of her suite… with a man. Ki-joon blusters that it’s a guest’s private matter and that he doesn’t care, but as soon as he hangs up, he starts to mull it over.
It niggles at him, the fact that she begged him to marry her (for pretend) just last night, and set off this whole con, all the while involved with some other guy. He’s clearly more bothered by it than he’d like to be. Oh, stirrings of jealousy!
He’s interrupted by a ring at the door. It’s Prodigal Little Bro, finally making his way back to the fold. It’s totally awkward at first, with Sang-hee smiling up at Ki-joon, and Ki-joon just standing there steel-faced in shock.
But seeing his brother smile breaks the ice, and Ki-joon smiles back. Yay! I was really hoping they wouldn’t make them mortal enemies over their first love. God, I would’ve broken out into hives from the melodramatics of that.
Ah-jung thinks better of crawling into work hungover, and cashes in some vacation days. Good girl. Going to work hungover is the WORST. She sneaks into Dad’s classroom and waits till he’s finished with his lecture, as she does her part and wakes up a student nodding off in front of her. Aw.
Dad chastises her for staying out all night, and she reminds him that he’s the one who said that a nearly-30-year old NOT staying out all night is weirder. Heh. Did you just out-lawyer your dad?
They eat in his office, and she asks “for a friend” if Ki-joon’s case against “her friend” would hold any water in court. Dad confirms that it’s exactly as she feared. He looks at her suspiciously, “What kind of trouble have you gotten into?” She throws her most innocent face and insists it’s not about her.
I gotta say, I love this relationship. It’s really rare to find a great daddy-daughter duo in a k-drama, not from lack of chemistry, but because dads are usually the source of much angst, either by way of spending, absence, or ideology. The biggest one is by far absence, so I love that this drama has Ah-jung raised by her single father, and that their relationship is both realistic and adorable.
Speaking of families, Ki-joon’s side continues their family reunion, as he calls his aunt to lunch and springs Little Bro on her. She immediately starts hitting him for disappearing for three years without so much as one phone call, feeling betrayed for raising him for twenty years.
Ki-joon just watches, amused, but then when he gets up to break it up, he gets hit in the crossfire. Heh. It’s kind of adorable over here too, because Sang-hee does exactly what a maknae would do—while she hits, he tries to hug the anger out of her. Aw.
They finally break out into laughter over their own histrionics, and have a civil lunch. I like that Auntie President is a hardass when it comes to business, but a big ol’ softie when it comes to her nephews.
Sang-hee informs them that he’s not moving back home, and his aunt yells at him to get it together and stop messing up his life over Yoon-ju, and the room crackles with tension at the mention of her name. Whoops. Thankfully, Ki-joon gets a call from work and leaves.
His staff reports that a major potential investor who’s headed into town is choosing not to stay at his hotel. He decides to greet him at the airport and take him to the other hotel himself, as a show of his confidence.
Dad takes Ae-kyung to the movies to make up for their unfinished date, and happens to run into Jae-bum, who recognizes the professor. Dude, seriously? Is Jae-bum just in all places at all times? He’s like a plot-convenient whack-a-mole. He just keeps popping up wherever our characters go, just to announce Ah-jung’s marriage. Wouldn’t it be faster if you just took out a newspaper ad or something?
Anyway, he totally outs Ah-jung’s marriage to Ki-joon, and Dad thankfully covers for her. He returns home and tells Ah-jung that if she wants to marry, she should just get married, and stop conning people. She tries to explain that she’s not trying to get married—she just wanted to say that she was. Alas, Dad does not understand her crazy scheme.
Ki-joon goes for a drive and ends up at Yoon-ju’s house, and remembers her running out on the balcony to accept an apology. He looks up at the empty house wistfully and muses that a lot of time has passed already, and wishes Yoon-ju a happy birthday.
When he arrives at home, he finds Sang-hee on his front stoop, armed with liquor and a devilish smile. Now I know what I want for MY birthday.
The brothers drink and reconnect, and Sang-hee apologizes for his part in causing Ki-joon to break his engagement to Yoon-ju. Ki-joon insists that it had nothing to do with him, and that it ended with her three years ago, and that’s that.
Sang-hee knows better and still feels bad, and without a word Ki-joon downs a glass of scotch. He flashes back to the day when Sang-hee found out about Ki-joon getting engaged.
He stumbles home drunk, and asks how it could be Yoon-ju. He confesses that he’s liked her since grade school, all the way till now… if it’s not him, then how can it be his own hyung?
He cries, finally landing on his knees and holding onto Ki-joon while he cries. Aw, it’s heartbreaking for both of them, because no matter which way it goes, this ends badly for all involved. And now we know what happened—the hyung gave up his relationship for his little brother.
Ki-joon wakes up and calls out for Sang-hee, worried that he’s run off again. He suggests that if he doesn’t want to move back home, to just stay here, but Sang-hee turns him down.
He overhears Ki-joon’s phone call from his lawyer, about taking Ah-jung to court. He offers a different solution, citing that he’s the expert in the arena of girl troubles, but Ki-joon just shrugs it off.
In the morning Dad finally asks Ah-jung to try and explain the whole marriage lie, and offers to help her. She tells him that she’ll handle it, and confesses that she knows it’s wrong. Her voice shaking, she tells him:
Ah-jung: I’m not at the age to fret over not being married yet, and I don’t even know that marriage is a good thing. But… she’s married. I’m not, and she is, and I can’t stand it. I have traits that are better than hers. If you think about it, I’m better. But when I’m with her, I feel so worthless. And I hate it so much it makes me crazy. I know it in my head. But my heart… says it can’t understand.
Aw, it kills me how vulnerable she is. The lie might be outlandish, but the source of her pain is so relatable.
The brothers go to pay their respects to their parents, offering up flowers and soju, musing that their parents probably never once drank soju in their lives. Sang-hee adorably tells his father that he ought to drink soju so that he doesn’t feel like an outsider “over there.”
They look back and realize that they’ve been orphans for twenty years now, and Sang-hee marvels that they managed to grow up so well. Ki-joon: “US?” Sang-hee: “Fine. YOU. You grew up well. Gah.” Hee hee.
That lands them in a play fight, till they’re literally rolling around on the grass, like two little kids. So cuuuuute. It’s what puts me over the edge with these two. Now I love them to bits.
Sang-hee gets Ki-joon to divulge some more info on the Chinese investor arriving today, and his plans to pick him up at the airport. He gets that evil glint in his eye and offers to drive, conveniently ditching Big Bro on the side of the country road… and driving off without him. HA.
He then calls Ah-jung, who has saved Sang-hee’s phone number as: “Weirdo.” Pfft. He threatens to out her con if she doesn’t come out to meet him, so she rushes out of the bank and greets him with a beating. He points out her similarities to his aunt, and ushers her into the car. I kinda love that this kid goes around town getting beaten up by everyone he knows.
He sees her bank paperwork and she tells him that she’s got to at least try to take care of this situation with money, if it’s at all possible. He asks how much she’s planning to offer, and she says she can scrape together about $10,000… and he snickers, not because it’s a small amount, but because to Hyun Ki-joon, it’s pennies. She sighs, knowing that it’s true, and mindlessly sticks her papers in the sunshield.
They arrive at the airport, and Sang-hee has to drag Ah-jung out of the car, insisting that all she has to do is greet his friend nicely. He keeps threatening to blow her cover to So-ran, so she lets herself get dragged in.
Meanwhile, Ki-joon’s secretary arrives ahead of them, but then gets stalled trying to write the investor’s name in Chinese characters. Sang-hee and Ah-jung wait by the gate, playing around with their sign… which is right when Yoon-ju walks past them, unnoticed.
Ki-joon’s secretary does see Yoon-ju though, and gets sidetracked trying to chase her down. That gives Sang-hee just enough time to greet the investor and his wife, and introduce Ah-jung as Ki-joon’s wife. Ah-jung just smiles and greets them, not understanding a word of what Sang-hee is saying.
Ki-joon returns to the hotel and flips his lid that they missed the investor’s arrival, and his secretary starts to tell him about Yoon-ju, but then decides against it for now.
Yoon-ju arrives home and starts uncovering all her furniture, and notices a red wine stain on the rug, which flashes her back to the day that Ki-joon broke off their engagement. With tears in his eyes, he tells her that it’s over for them, and that he’s breaking the engagement. Sang-hee has disappeared, and he can’t lose his only brother.
Yoon-ju pleads with him, that Sang-hee’s only ever been a friend to her, and that she’s never once thought of him as anything else. His voice shaking, he tells her that he can’t—that since their parents died, Sang-hee is all he has. She asks if there’s another Yoon-ju out there too, but he doesn’t budge.
So then putting together everyone’s flashbacks, Sang-hee found out about the engagement and left town, and then Ki-joon broke it off and Yoon-ju left town, and now it’s been three years and everyone’s back.
The Chinese investor and his wife are actually in town for a second honeymoon, and the first thing on their itinerary is… digging for shellfish in the ocean mud. Haha. Ah-jung complains to Sang-hee that this isn’t what she signed on for, but then she starts catching octopus and gets really into it.
The foursome sit on the beach and cook up the seafood that they caught, and they take to Ah-jung’s bright personality. They end up checking in to World Hotel because of her, though she doesn’t know it, and she takes her leave of them once they’re in the suite.
She mumbles to herself that there must be only one hotel in all of Seoul, as she makes her way out. Meanwhile Ki-joon gets word that the couple has checked in, so he heads up to greet them… running right into Ah-jung in the hallway.
She sees him and decides to try and hide her face (HA) and walk right past him, which he lets her do, at first. But by the time she gets on the elevator nervously, he’s turned around and caught up to her. He follows her down to the lobby, asking why she conned him if she’s got a man in her life.
She’s like, what man? And he asks if that’s what the whole lie was about, because this other guy wouldn’t marry her. He keeps following her, so in the lobby she shouts, “Stalker!” and rushes out the door.
He stops her from getting into a taxi and keeps asking about the other man, if he’s someone he knows, acting a little bit crazy. She pushes him off and gets in the cab, and sticks her head out of the window, shouting, “If you have anything else to say, you can say it to my lawyer!”
It’s exactly the kind of thing a couple on the brink of divorce would say, and I’m sure the rumor mill’s gonna have a field day with that one.
Ki-joon goes to meet the investors, and they greet him warmly. He apologizes for not picking them up personally, which is when they tell him how pleased they were to be picked up by his wife. He’s like, wiiii-ife?
They tell him how they used to think less of him because he was such a workaholic, but seeing what kind of person his wife is, whom they adore, they’ve changed their opinion of him. The expression on Ki-joon’s face when he hears his wife’s name: Gong. Ah. Jung… is just priceless.
He finds himself spitting out a lie before he even realizes it—that he’ll bring his wife the next time they meet, per their request. Aw, yeah.
Meanwhile, Ah-jung does So-ran a favor and accompanies her to the doctor’s office. I’m just about to yell at her to wake up and smell the backstabber, but she’s smart enough to know that So-ran’s got another objective in trying to play nicey nice.
Over coffee So-ran lies through her teeth that since she’s only got a month left before she goes abroad, she really wants to spend time with Ah-jung and be close again. Ah-jung rolls her eyes and tells her that they should do the opposite, and just cut ties altogether. Yeah, I’m for that one.
So-ran wants to know when she’s going to introduce her to “Ki-joon-sshi,” and Ah-jung scoffs inwardly at her feigning closeness all of a sudden. But to her dismay, in walks Ki-joon, and headed straight for them.
So-ran sees him right away, and Ah-jung ducks, horrified that her cover’s about to be blown… except he raises his hand, oh-so-delicately, and calls out, “Yeobo! I’m here!” HAHAHAHA. Awesome.
Omg, his terribly awkward attempt at being cute is just so funny. He takes on this cutesy voice, like he’s baby-talking to her, and says, “I’ve been looking for you.” He introduces himself to So-ran, who tells him that she’s heard so much about him from Ah-jung, which just makes Ah-jung cringe from the mortification.
Ki-joon: “I have to go somewhere with my Jung-ie.” Oh. My. God.
Ah-jung just mouths “MY Jung-ie?” to herself, totally confused at his strange outburst of cutesiness. Scared of his bizarre change of behavior more than anything, she tries to use her friend as an excuse not to go with him, but he acts the role of the doting husband and escorts her out.
So-ran fumes in jealousy, which is just so damn satisfying to watch, it makes me smile.
He drives her toward the river, and she puts down the sunshield in the car, which is when those papers she shoved in there yesterday pop out. She wonders what they’re doing there, but doesn’t really think twice about it.
They arrive at the river, back at the duckboats. He starts putting on a lifejacket, and she gets scared, asking what they’re doing here. He wants to speak in private, and snickers that she must be afraid of him, so she puts on a vest in a hurry.
Off they go, back in a duckboat, to the middle of the river. She wonders what all this is about, and when he finally leans in to say something, she freaks out, thinking he’s about to kiss her. Heh.
She comes back to reality and realizes she didn’t hear what he said, so he repeats it: “Let’s get married.”
Oh, HELLS yeah.
Finally, some movement in the main plot! That was a lot of setup in the last three episodes, and I wish we’d gotten here sooner, but things are shaping up nicely now. We needed this turn—for him to need the con as much as she does—and the reversal is going to be great for the hijinks. So far it’s been so one-sided (and therefore predictable) that it hasn’t been much fun, but from here on out they’ll be evenly matched in the I-need-to-perpetuate-this-lie department, and if Ki-joon’s outburst of cutesy-talk is any indication of the tomfoolery to come, I’ll be rolling on the floor in no time.
Drama really should’ve started with the brother relationship from the get-go, because so far it’s the first emotional pull I’m feeling, between two main characters. I definitely connect with Ah-jung, but she hasn’t really connected with any of the other characters in this capacity. Yet. I’m sure she will, because I already really like the stirrings of her noona-dongsaeng friendship with Sang-hee.
I also like that Ki-joon is still emotionally invested in his past relationship with Yoon-ju, and that there are still unresolved things there. It makes the relationship with Ah-jung a little slow in coming, but I appreciate a character with some depth, and his past with his brother and Yoon-ju is enough to make him more complex and interesting, beyond that surfacey chaebol perfectionist hotelier thing. Not that I don’t appreciate the array of suits with matching flower pins. That’s an endless source of entertainment.
I was concerned that this drama would just continue to circle at Go for way too long, but I feel like we’re finally out of the gate. Phew. Not a moment too soon.