Romance Town: Episode 4
Soon Geum finally spends her money! This drama isn’t perfect (there’s whiplash-like, choppy editing during Gun Woo’s changing scene that drives me nuts), and is full of tropes and cliches (cold chaebols, unreliable dads, etc). But it’s perfectly enjoyable, so I hope you think so too!
SONG OF THE DAY
Jessica – “Overflowing with Tears” – Romance Town OST [download]
While Soon Geum is burning up from embarrassment, Hwang Yong is driving home, admiring his new lottery ticket. He notices the phone number on the back, but thinks nothing of it. Soon Geum sees his car driving by and ducks down, but when she realizes that it’s Hwang Yong – with the lottery ticket – she starts banging on the window trying to get his attention.
Hwang Yong just drives on by, pretending he never saw her. They had made a deal that the two of them will never see each other again or discuss the loan.
But woops – another knuckle raps against the window. It’s Tae Won, Yoon Joo, and San. Why is she in the car and not coming out? Why is she with…of all people, Gun Woo!? Pow-wow in the living room time.
It’s cute that San refuses to let Soon Geum put him down from her lap, afraid that she’ll leave again. Soon Geum kneels in front of Tae Won and the family, and begs for her job back. Of course, Gun Woo explodes: “Who says you can!?” Tae Won tells him to shut up and get out; they can’t live without Soon Geum, but they can live without Gun Woo. Even San pipes up in agreement.
Tae Won shames his son: just as Gun Woo is desperately looking for Choon Jak, San has been desperately looking for Soon Geum. But Gun Woo is stubborn; he will definitely bring Choon Jak back to the household. Soon Geum says she’s not going to stay after Choon Jak comes back, since she feels unfairly treated by Gun Woo and has her pride to keep.
The decision is made; Soon Geum will stay. San excitedly hugs Soon Geum as Gun Woo looks on sullenly. Soon Geum goes around even greeting the dog, and then calls her father to make sure he’s at the hospital. When he asks where she is, she replies, “At the madam’s home (Kang Residence), where else?” That’s a surprise to her father, as he really did think she was lying about being employed.
At the Jang Residence, Mistress Boon Ja rushes to show off the rings to Wife Soon Ok. She shows her two rings: the big pearl that belongs to Hyun Joo, and her own pearl. (Boon Ja’s pearl is still bigger than Soon Ok’s, but not as big as Hyun Joo’s.) They speculate their husband must have another woman. Soon Ok bristles with anger, but she’s going to pretend she doesn’t know anything. Boon Ja is worried – if he has another woman, the two of them might be kicked out!
Later they watch TV with Jang Chi Gook, cramming him right in the middle. Boon Ja falls asleep, and her head leans against his shoulder. When he tries to get up for some water, Soon Ok warns him, “If your eye wanders one more time, Boon Ja and I are going to mummify you.” He-he-he…old man is trapped between his two ladies.
The next morning, Gun Woo is doing his morning run, and bumps into Joo Won. They smile in greeting to each other, and Joo Won looks particularly happy to see him.
Hyun Joo is in the market early as well, purchasing the freshest crabs, octopus, and squids. She tells the stall owner that money is no option; she just wants the best. The owner thinks that Hyun Joo must be the wife of a rich household. Methinks Hyun Joo is freely spending money as a form of revenge against Chi Gook.
She goes around to each of the houses and gives Da Kyum and Zar Lin her “extra seafood” purchases. She tells them to prepare good meals for their masters, and pretend that they actually woke up early to go to the market. When she serves octopus soup for her masters, Chi Gook praises, “You’re so diligent!” That praise doesn’t go unnoticed, so Soon Ok shares her disapproval over how the soup was made. Boon Ja pokes at Hyun Joo’s lack of education, but Chi Gook rises to Hyun Joo’s defense: both Soon Ok and Boon Ja graduated only from high school, but at least Hyun Joo graduated from a specialized college in Seoul. In your face!
Soon Geum oversleeps on her first day back, and so Yoon Joo angrily storms into her room to wake her up. As Soon Geum tries to blink away the remnants of sleep, Yoon Joo gives a tirade of all the things to do: clean the bathroom…do the laundry…boil the underwear and make sure it’s not in the same pot used for soup…clean out the fridge and do grocery shopping…clean the dishes…give San and the dog a bath. Oh, and make breakfast, because all the yelling has made her hungry.
When Yoon Joo leaves, Soon Geum musses up her hair – was she insane to go back to the household, or what?
Next visitor: Gun Woo. He asks her, early in the morning, what she did with the lottery ticket? Soon Geum: “I don’t have it…Aren’t you going to ask how much it was worth?” Gun Woo kneels next to her and tauntingly asks if she won first prize. Belittling her, he hits her forehead with a finger and asks, “Or second place? Or third place?” Soon Geum swats his hand away.
Soon Geum: Are you belittling me because I’m the maid? Or because I don’t have money? Or because you’re uneducated?
Gun Woo: All three.
Soon Geum: If I have more money than you, would you still belittle me?
Gun Woo: Do you not have self-confidence, (and so) are you trying to buy my affection?
He tells her he’s annoyed she lacks self-respect, because she chose to come back to such a demeaning job after being kicked out, and used San as an excuse. He gets karmic justice for his insults when he drives to work, because his gas tank empties out on the way. He’s forced to push his car to work, and arrives at the business meeting late.
His father tells him it will cost him $10 for every 10 minutes that he’s late. $10 – to every person in the room. That pretty much depletes all his cash and he’s left with only $5 in his wallet. Tae Won smiles to himself – his son is now a beggar! On top of that, Gun Woo’s stocks are going down.
Meanwhile, Soon Geum meets Hwang Yong in her storage locker for a “secret-sharing session.” He calls her out for being a fool and going back to work as a maid, even with her father acting the way he did. He tells her to make sure she keeps his secret, and she says he should do likewise about the money. She asks if there’s anything he could do to help her deal with her father, and he says, “Like what, cut off his hand?” His company’s motto is “Don’t give up a precious part of your body,” and Soon Geum mutters, “What kind of gang is this?”
BWAHAH! That’s the thing though – Hwang Yong is the anti-gangster!
Gun Woo talks to his father on the rooftop for a private chat. He wants to know why he’s getting such terrible treatment from his father. Tae Won says that he’s pushed him off the edge; Gun Woo will now have to climb his way back up on his own. He’s also added San to his registry and is about to break the news to Yoon Joo, so Gun Woo cannot threaten him with that information anymore.
Gun Woo’s all, “What the hell, man?” Tae Won has never shown him any love, so the least he could do is give him money. It’s not like he’s scared of being penniless, but he does think it’s unfair that his own father is not giving him a single thing (love, money, anything).
Tae Won: You know what I find the most scary in this entire world? Money. You don’t have to be scared of me, Gun Woo.
Soon Geum is busy cleaning the entire house, per Yoon Joo’s instructions. As she vacuums the steps, Yoon Joo offers up Hwang Yong’s handkerchief and asks that she wash it separately, and carefully. Soon Geum reaches over to grab it, but is a little too far out of reach, tumbling down the stairs instead. Aish – what a fool…
The pain in her back bothers her all day as she cleans. She puts on a patch while cleaning Gun Woo’s study, and takes a break – wailing about WHEN and HOW she’ll spend her money.
First up: paying off Shi Ah’s college tuition. She imagines telling Shi Ah to quit working at the bar and finish school instead. Soon Geum would also be attending college diligently, and getting A’s, making her mother proud.
Next: taking the maids to an expensive hair salon, where they can pamper themselves. Soon Geum promises to take care of them and their hair forever!
Soon Geum giggles at the thought of what she’d do with her money.
Da Kyum prepares a nice seafood soup for Young Hee, warning him that it’s hot. Not like he ever listens, and he bites into a juicy mushroom right away – squirting hot soup onto Da Kyum’s forehead. Young Hee apologizes profusely, and grabs petroleum jelly for her. He’s worried she’ll get a scar, because if she does, she’ll never get married!
As Young Hee applies some petroleum jelly on her forehead, she notices that for a guy who can’t even find something right in front of him, he sure can find something he hardly uses pretty quickly. You know that Da Kyum is going to read deeper into his acts of kindness. I just hope she isn’t disappointed in the end.
Gun Woo walks home from work that night, and Soo Jung catches him on the road. She informs him that she’s told Soon Geum the truth about where the money came from. That only incenses Gun Woo more: “She knows I gave her money and betrays me like that!?” Soo Jung is confused – wait, Soon Geum is back?!
Soon Geum is sprawled out in the middle of Gun Woo’s study, asleep. He nudges her awake with his foot, and then sends her out to buy some medicine for fever; he’s sick because of “someone.” Soon Geum follows him into his room, where he was about to change, asking for money. He tells her that she has money, and for a moment, Soon Geum is afraid he’s referring to her lottery winnings.
He asks if she used up all the money on the hospital fees, and she relaxes. She’ll know the total hospital fees when her father is released tomorrow, and asks if the money is something he’s lending to her, or giving to her. Gun Woo says he’s giving it to her, and she thanks him. He just wants to be rid of her from his room, but she keeps talking: “I’ll accept it. I’ll use it well!”
Gun Woo is so angry and annoyed, he loosens his tie violently.
Soon Geum purchases the medicine and bumps into Young Hee. He’s happy to hear that she got her job back, but then asks when she’s going to give her liver to him as promised. Soon Geum: “Ah…soon?” Young Hee smiles, and then reaches his hand up to her forehead to check if she has a fever. GAH! Guy needs to keep his hands to himself!!
Satisfied after checking her temperature, he asks for some ointment (presumably for Da Kyum!) and leaves together with Soon Geum.
Soo Jung calls up all the maids and informs them that Soon Geum’s back! But she has a hunch… Gathered at her front lawn, they all pester her about the hunch. Soo Jung starts to say it, but then stops! She’s always blamed for being a rumor-mongerer, and so this time she won’t say anything until she has more proof.
They spot Soon Geum coming home with Young Hee and all of them rush outside hugging her excitedly. Even Young Hee can’t help but laugh at the maids’ excitement. You can never break the Sisterhood of Maids.
The next morning, Hwang Yong receives a text from Soon Geum while he’s shaving. She’s asking for the number behind the lottery ticket. Hwang Yong mutters, “She thinks I’m so easy,” and lies that he doesn’t have the ticket anymore.
Joo Won visits Young Hee for some breakfast, and with the way Da Kyum plunks the tea in front of her, it’s clear Da Kyum dislikes her. Joo Won comments that Da Kyum seems to be quite the insolent maid, but he says, “Don’t look down on her. Don’t talk behind her back, and don’t come in to inspect when I’m not around.”
Ha! Joo Won is offended, and wonders if Young Hee likes Da Kyum. He says the girl is just family, and they’re 12 years apart. But he catches on fast, and confronts Joo Won: does she like him or something?
Joo Won makes it clear that Young Hee is sort of like her consolation prize since Gun Woo is now a father and no longer available. Young Hee tells her to go after Gun Woo instead, since he’s really not a father. OOOH! Scandalous rumor will now spread.
Without a car and money, Gun Woo goes to various banks borrowing lots of money, no matter their interest rate. Meanwhile Soon Geum has lots of money, and pays off her father’s hospital bill with her cash. She then goes to her father to complain more about her work, and says that she’s feeling sick from anger towards him. He notes that she’s becoming just like her mom; her mother used to say they never had any money, but she was just really good at hiding it from him. Soon Geum grows worried – will her father find out about her secret?!
Later that day she visits Shi Ah, who’s house hunting at an apartment building’s basement. Though it’s decent, Soon Geum doesn’t feel good about it. She passes by a high-rise apartment building and vows to purchase an apartment there for Shi Ah and her daughter.
She phones Hwang Yong again (who would rather not hear from her anymore), asking if she can buy a house without her father knowing. She’s only working as a maid to keep up pretenses with her father, but she wants affirmation that she can buy a house without his knowledge if she’s not going to live there. She grows teary-eyed and wistful, and spills her guts to Hwang Yong about her mother’s dream to own a home.
Hwang Yong is all, “Why the hell are you telling me all this!? Stop crying!” Heh! He’s like her unwilling confidante. He gets so frustrated he hangs up on her. But he gets a call back – and this time it’s Tae Won requesting a meeting.
Gun Woo has a few beers with Young Hee that night; apparently, he borrowed all that money to purchase a bunch of stocks. If it goes up, he’s going to sell them because he has absolutely no money. His father’s not even going to give him a salary. Young Hee asks if Gun Woo wants to borrow money, but Gun Woo just wants him to keep his trap shut about him being penniless. He says Young Hee’s lips are too loose, and Young Hee grabs him into a headlock. Though Young Hee is playing at first, the two of them break out into a full fledged tussle on the grass.
Tae Won and Hwang Yong have dinner together. Tae Won knows about what Hwang Yong does, and gets down to business. If Tae Won leaves an inheritance of 10 billion Won, half of it will be gone because of inheritance tax. He knows that Hwang Yong has the winning lottery ticket in his company. Tae Won wants to buy the ticket for 11 billion; the winner got 500 million more over the 9.5 billion in winnings, and Hwang Yong would get an extra 1 billion. Tae Won’s heir would get the lottery ticket – and the full 9.5 billion.
Hwang Yong has one question: Who’s the heir? Tae Won doesn’t have an answer.
Soon Geum is removing lint from some laundry when she hears Gun Woo stumble drunkenly into the kitchen. She hands him his envelope of money. Gun Woo yells that he just gave it to her (sort of as a way to preserve his pride), so Soon Geum swallows up her pride and just thanks him for it.
Gun Woo opens a new bottle of white wine and drinks straight from the bottle. He drunkenly spills some on the kitchen floor, and leaves it for Soon Geum to clean up. She notices his dirtied suit and goes up to his room, where he fell asleep without even changing.
Soon Geum tsks at him for being so dirty when she had just finished doing all the laundry. She uses the lint roller, grabbing all the grass stuck on his suit, and decides to use it on his neck too – just for the heck of it, since he’s dead asleep. But then, the roller gets stuck on his hair! Gun Woo stirs, and Soon Geum tries to pull the sticky roller off his hair without waking him. (He even winces in pain in his sleep!) He rolls over and traps Soon Geum under his arm and leg.
That wakes him up – “What are you doing here?” Soon Geum tries to break free, but then starts rolling the lint roller over his clothes. She’s just cleaning, you see… Gun Woo: “Are you trying to seduce me right now? Is that why you came back, to seduce the son of a rich family?”
Properly offended now, Soon Geum quietly gets up and leaves his room, tears forming in her eyes. In the darkness of the kitchen, she drinks a bottle of soju. In his darkened room, Gun Woo is pensive, clearly thinking about Soon Geum.
The next day, Soon Geum takes a huge stack of cash and hands it to the real estate office. It’s the contract fee for the apartment, and she smiles in excitement. It’s also the day that Tae Won and Yoon Joo leave for a mini vacation by themselves, so Soon Geum is stuck in the house with Gun Woo. She serves his dinner and cleans up after him, all the while feeling sick. Gun Woo notices, and he offers the fever medicine she bought last time. Ha – like she’s going to take anything from you.
Young Hee gets a call from the real estate office about the apartment being sold, and he says he’ll go over tomorrow. He sees Soon Geum heading into his house (to see the maids and Da Kyum), and notices that she’s sick. She brushes it off as just being overworked and tired, and he goes to find some medication for her (if he can tell the difference between sleep and pain medication). Back at her home, Gun Woo is puzzled as to why Soon Geum isn’t in her room, or anywhere in the house for that matter. He heads over to Young Hee’s to take a look.
The maids gather for some bibimbap in Da Kyum’s room, where they’re playing another round of go-stop. Soon Geum just takes the blankets and lies down to rest. The maids continue eating, and Zar Lin has a piece of rice stuck on her face. This little scene just emphasizes that people confuse their right and left sides based on whether they’re the onlooker or the subject.
Lottery drawing time! Zar Lin once again checks the numbers, and this time – they actually got four numbers in a row! They’re fourth place, meaning they get $50 in winnings. If they split it 5 ways, everyone gets $10. However, Da Kyum, Soo Jung, and Zar Lin don’t want to split it with Soon Geum – she didn’t even play in this lottery! Hyun Joo thinks that’s unfair, but she’s outnumbered. Then, Da Kyum remembers that Hyun Joo owes her money, and so she wants to split the winnings three ways, with Da Kyum getting more of it to signify Hyun Joo’s share.
Everyone turns against Hyun Joo at this opportunity for a bigger share of the pie. Zar Lin even mentions that Hyun Joo got a raise, and she doesn’t have to farm or take care of children. She’s got it easy, and therefore doesn’t need the money. Eventually, all four maids dissolve into a loud and petty argument over the money. Soon Geum weakly begs for them to quiet down, but they pay her no mind.
That is, until Young Hee crashes into the room and yells at all of the women to shut up. There’s a sick person in the room, and they’re all so cheap in quarreling over $50. Do they want the money? He’ll just give it to them for free right now if they could just shut up! He picks up Soon Geum in front of the cowering maids and walks out of the room. Even Da Kyum is shocked.
Except. Gun Woo’s standing at the door. And he just saw everything. He’s more surprised to see that of all people, it’s his maid in his friend’s arms.
Young Hee: “MOVE!”
And he brushes right past Gun Woo.
There’s one thing going for this series, and that is the endings. The writer knows how to make cliffhangers of the romantic comedy kind. Episode 3 had the confession; episode 4 had the declaration of a love triangle (or square, or pentagon).
It’s interesting to see the responses towards Gun Woo. I can see why people think he’s a jerk or an asshole. However, I don’t think he’s intentionally being a jerk. He saw Granny Choon Jak and Soon Geum as his true friends for not looking down on him because of his weight. But when he finds out that his family kicked out Choon Jak, that Soon Geum replaced her and works for the family he resents, he feels betrayed. He says in episode 3 that he thinks Soon Geum deserves to work at a better place than his home. In a twisted way, he too is thinking about her. As for when he accuses her of wanting to seduce a chaebol, I think he’s just become cynical. He can’t seem to understand why Soon Geum would return to his family because he can see through their facade. We know he’s capable of goodness from the way he helped Soon Geum in episode 2, so I just don’t buy that he’s a jerk.
As for Hwang Yong – I love his relationship with Soon Geum right now. While Hwang Yong would rather have nothing to do with Soon Geum, she constantly looks to him for advice on how to use her money. It’s cute, and he might be an awesome surrogate father – if only he wasn’t the father of Joo Won (her potential love rival).
The problems about money is a little confusing, but interesting. The drama has shown how too much money are a curse and a blessing depending on how you look at it. I think Tae Won is actually afraid his son will do better than he will, and is therefore taking away Gun Woo’s money as a way of controlling him. I fear the wrath of the maids when they find out Soon Geum is a billionaire. There’s gonna be a big, messy pay-off from all those blatant hints about what’s right or left.