Romance Town: Episode 6
I think this episode had a lot less going on. It provided more revelations into the side characters, and it’s the official formation of a love triangle. OH THE ANGST.
Sorry for the delay as well on this recap. There was something called a “Memorial Day Holiday” that I partook in…
He’s relieved that the gal he’s taking out is ‘Shi Ah’ and not ‘Soon Geum,’ Since trading is about to close, he doesn’t have to go back to work. Soon Geum’s stomach has perfect timing, and growls loudly. Smirking, Gun Woo takes her out to a small grilling place.
Soon Geum is not used to the restaurant, as it is a standing-only place, and seats cost additional $30. In exchange for some uncomfortableness, the meat is cheap and good. Gun Woo presumes that Soon Geum has never been to a small rib house before, only going to the expensive ones. That’s not true, but Soon Geum says she’s just never been to a small rib house since high school. Gun Woo thinks that she eats the cows raised at home; haha! He totally takes her for a rich snobby girl. Soon Geum: “Pfft – it’s not like it’s a dog.” Gun Woo: “You eat dogs!?” Soon Geum: “No! I.. was just kidding.”
She goes right up to his face: “You like dogs right? Is your dog’s name…Choon Hyang?” Gun Woo is surprised, and he just says, “It’s similar.” She starts guessing a bunch of names – Hyang Dan, Bang Ja, Wol Mae. Hehe – she’s making a reference to “The Legend of Hyang Dan,” where the rich boy falls for the servant.
The food arrives, and instead of eating, Soon Geum tears up. She blames it on the smoke from the grill, but she’s really just happy about this meal. Gun Woo wraps up some beef in lettuce and tells her to open her mouth. He feeds her an entire wrap, which is too huge for her, and she complains. But try talking with your mouth full – is anyone really going to understand you? She’s barely finished when Gun Woo presents another one to stuff in her mouth.
Soon Geum complains that they’ve only just met, and he’s already making a fool out of her by feeding such huge wraps. But Gun Woo says it’s OK – they’ll become friends faster this way. 😀 And she can do it to him too, y’know.
So Soon Geum grabs a large piece of lettuce, stuffs four big pieces of meat, and slowly wraps it up for the impatient Gun Woo. BAM! Her lettuce wrap is twice the size as his! Say ahhh! And she stuffs the whole thing in his mouth. His cheeks are so puffy and ridiculous that she can’t help but laugh out loud.
He asks her why she cried, and she says that the grilling reminded her of someone – who was also a maid and loved her very much. Gun Woo: “That’s similar to me.” Soon Geum’s mom = Granny Choon Jak. These two certainly have their similarities. We find out that Soon Geum’s mother died from heating charcoal fumes, and Gun Woo calls for the ahjumma of the store to take away the charcoal.
Soon Geum arrives home way late. She hides her face, where she had hurriedly removed the makeup, as she takes a yelling from Yoon Joo under the watchful gaze of Joo Won. Ugh – why must Joo Won be there? Joo Won is the one who also notices that Soon Geum had make up on. They grab Soon Geum’s bag, where they find the white blazer she had bought, and notice how nice it is. There’s a whiff of grilled meat on the blazer, and Soon Geum immediately runs away before she is questioned further. Yoon Joo sends the blazer off to the cleaners.
In the safety of her room, Soon Geum looks down at Gun Woo’s business card and smiles giddily to herself. Meanwhile Gun Woo is riding the bus home, thinking of when the two of them went to get coffee at the cafe. Gun Woo admits that he’s nervous of the chair he’s sitting on, because of the past memory when he got stuck in the chair three years ago. He lost the weight so that his father would recognize his existence. Besides, if he hadn’t lost the weight, she might not be sitting with him right now. Soon Geum: “That’s not true.”
He wonders if she went out with an overweight guy before, and Soon Geum smiles coyly – “Who knows?” He asks if she’s still seeing this guy. Soon Geum doesn’t reply immediately, so he presumes she is.
Soon Geum: I like overweight guys better, because the one I knew was friendly and kind, and generous with a pure heart.
AWW – please figure it out already!!!!
Soon Geum serves dinner to the family, and Gun Woo arrives late. She freezes at the sight of him, but he doesn’t recognize her at all, asking only for water. She studies him closely, to see if there’s any flicker of recognition, but there’s none. Tae Won wants to discuss with Gun Woo about San attending preschool and English lessons. In this world, kids need to study early.
Soon Geum suggests that they let San play a little more, and perhaps take up a sport like swimming. But Yoon Joo tells her to stay out of it and sends her back to the kitchen. Yoon Joo offers to find a good tutor, but then Gun Woo jumps in. He’ll teach English – and in return, he wants his father to pay $700. He can even teach Judo in English! (I’m suuuuuuuure he can!) Soon Geum claps excitedly from the kitchen, and the family glares at her, sending the message “Shut up!”
They bargain, and finally Tae Won agrees to $700. San pipes up, “$700!” What a good omen.
As for Da Kyum, she gets to wear the ruffled blouse the maids bought at the store first. She shows it off to Young Hee and asks if he likes it. Young Hee: “Did you get your hair done? It’s pretty. Do you have Soon Geum’s number?” What a way to hurt a girl’s feelings!
Young Hee calls Soon Geum out for a chat, and he grabs her wrist (gently) to a picnic table. He gets to the point – she has a lot of money, right? Soon Geum’s eyes widen – no, she has no money at all. “But what about the house?” – “What house?”
He admits that he’s interested in her. Soon Geum points out that he knows nothing about her, or even has her number, so how could he be interested? She thinks he’s acting weird, so she touches his forehead to check if he’s sick. Young Hee actually looks nervous at the touch – and he can’t sleep at night, replaying visions of Soon Geum over and over in his head.
Meanwhile, Soon Geum can’t sleep either – as she can’t stop thinking about her lunch date with Gun Woo. She sits up and slaps her face, trying to remove the image from her mind. As for Gun Woo, he’s unable to sleep, wearing a goofy smile on his face over meeting the perfect girl in Shi Ah/Soon Geum. ACK – LOVE TRIANGLE! And in case it wasn’t obvious, there’s even a tri-split screen showing the three of them unable to sleep.
It bothers Soon Geum so much that she runs to Hwang Yong for some guidance. She drags the whining, sleepy Master to a secluded spot on the street. She doesn’t know what to do, and he wisely tells her that people are pretty shallow creatures; just by changing her appearance, no one recognized her. Hwang Yong asks her the important question: Does she like Gun Woo? Soon Geum’s non-answer is all he needs to know; he tells her that she must defeat “Yoon Shi Ah” as “Noh Soon Geum.” Basically, if the man was a good catch, he’d pick Noh Soon Geum over Yoon Shi Ah. She should provide a point of comparison for someone like Gun Woo (by continuing the charade as both); if he’s really a good guy, he’ll end up choosing the frugal Soon Geum over the “heiress Yoon Shi Ah.” Then again, Hwang Yong also doubts any of this will come true.
The next morning, Zar Lin rides through town on her bike with some freshly baked bread and wearing her traditional Vietnamese dress, the ao dai. She wore it because she missed her hometown so much. Back in Vietnam, if she dressed in her ao dai and rode a bike, boys would notice her and say she looked like a girl.
Soo Jung scoffs and walks off, munching on her new baguette. In Vietnamese, Zar Lin lets out her frustrations. She was a studious girl who was the prettiest girl in town. If it weren’t for her siblings, she wouldn’t have come to Korea to work her butt off and be ignored. She cries that she could have had a normal life like her friends, dating and falling in love. Soo Jung looks back unfazed, wondering if Zar Lin is rattling on in Vietnamese because she said Zar Lin didn’t look like a girl.
Da Kyum clears out the recycling in her nice blouse, and sees Joo Won taking out her old fancy clothes for recycling. Da Kyum flaunts her blouse, and Joo Won smirks. She shows Da Kyum one of the shirts she’s throwing out – it’s the same white ruffled blouse! Da Kyum is stunned. Yep – serves you right for flaunting it too much.
She stomps back home, and throws the shirt on the floor. Young Hee can tell she’s in a bad mood, so he opens her door. He sees she’s only in her undershirt/tank, and quickly closes the door. But curiosity getting the better of him, he opens it again and this time, refuses to look inside.
Da Kyum swears to quit and go work as a hostess in some bar. Young Hee slams the door open. Damn if she’s wearing only a tank – he’s gonna look at her and tell her she ain’t going anywhere! He’ll be her traffic light, and will give her the green light when she’s ready to leave. She’s touched, and turns to look at him: “Am I sexy, Young Hee?”
Young Hee slams her door closed – “Not the least bit sexy!”
Gun Woo hangs around the locker area of the department store’s cleaning ladies, looking for Choon Jak. The supervisor and a coworker inform him that she quit, and cleared her house. It’s likely she’s going back to her hometown – and possibly running away from Gun Woo.
Soon Geum goes to buy a cell phone, purchasing the cheapest plan. The first number she dials? Gun Woo’s cell phone. However, he left it in the office, so Soon Geum texts him her number.
She heads over to the real estate office, where Young Hee is lounging around. He spots her and immediately ducks behind the desk. His realtor comes out from a back room and notices him there, but decides not to mention it. Soon Geum asks the realtor how much it would cost to rent an apartment every month, and he tells her it’s $7000. She gasps at the price, saying it’s too expensive. Pfft – coming from the girl who bought an apartment in cash…
Young Hee stealthily grabs his phone, getting an extendable pointer while he’s at it. He texts his realtor, standing above him – “is she moving in alone?” “No- it’s for two people.” Young Hee texts: “With a guy?!” Realtor doesn’t want to relay this message, but Young Hee jabs him with the pointer. “No – moving in with a woman.” Young Hee mutters, “That’s a relief,” which she hears but doesn’t know if she imagined it.
After she leaves, the realtor asks Young Hee, “Do you like the girl or something?”
Soon Geum goes up to the new apartment she bought, which gleams with shiny new-ness. She invites her friend Shi Ah over to check it out. Shi Ah gets all excited and gushes when (in the far off future) they can live there. Soon Geum: “You and Ji Min can live here.” She lies about a sunbae leaving for overseas and letting her live in it, as long as Soon Geum pays the rent on time. Shi Ah wells up in happy tears and hits Soon Geum in excitement.
But then, she wonders – who is Soon Geum’s sunbae that she doesn’t know about?
Soon Geum sends Shi Ah off, and she finds Young Hee behind her. He asks what she’s doing here. She lies that she’s just visiting a friend – a rich, non-maid friend. He grabs her by the wrist (again) and says they should check out houses together. He takes her up to another apartment, even though Soon Geum’s uneasy about going into an empty apartment with a guy.
He tells her to take a look around, and accidentally turns on some lights. Soon Geum is bathed in a warm glow, and Young Hee is amazed by her beauty. Soon Geum has a totally pragmatic question, wondering how they change the light bulbs of the chandelier, but he becomes entranced by her, as if he’s seeing Soon Geum for the first time in a different light (hee!).
Hyun Joo visits Yoon Joo, holding a plate of homemade snacks. Yoon Joo doesn’t want it, so Hyun Joo apologizes in informal language, calling her a friend. Yoon Joo replies that she’s not a friend, and that Hyun Joo ought to have some lessons on begging for forgiveness.
We get a flashback, to when the two of them were high school students. (And yes – it’s the 40-year-old selves dressed up as 16-year old selves.) Yoon Joo is having a memorial service for her parents, and Hyun Joo arrives bringing some memorial food that look like would have been too expensive for the both of them. They both pay their respects, and Hyun Joo cheekily asks the parents to let her enter Yoon Joo in beauty pageants since her friend is not that studious. Though Yoon Joo scoffs, she is touched at having such a good friend.
Back to the present – Yoon Joo admits she would rather not acknowledge Hyun Joo out of embarrassment. That hurts, but Hyun Joo doesn’t get angry. If their positions were switched, Hyun Joo would have felt bad at seeing her friend become a maid too. Gah – Hyun Joo is too understanding.
Soon Geum heads over to her storage room, where she calls Hwang Yong out again. (He’s so annoyed by the way.) She informs him that she’s finally bought the house, and he rushes her to move the money out. She’d rather keep the money with him, and take it out whenever she needs it; after all, he’s a “gangster” so no one would dare rob him. Hwang Yong: “STOP CALLING ME A GANGSTER!” Soon Geum: “Well, when you yell like that, you really DO seem like a gangster…”
She chases after him outside and hands back his handkerchief. She wonders if he did something to Yoon Joo that prevented her from returning it herself. Secret-sharing session ensues! Soon Geum catches on real quick that he likes Yoon Joo, despite his protestations. She can tell – because she too likes Gun Woo. She shows Hwang Yong two cellphones – she’s going to try living a double life.
When she returns home, she sees her blazer lying on the couch, the mistress having thought that it was hers. Soon Geum painfully hangs it up in Yoon Joo’s closet. (To note: Yoon Joo DOES wonder if perhaps she bought two of the same thing… perhaps she’ll realize that it’s not hers later.)
That evening, the other maids surprise Zar Lin with a birthday cake. Soo Jung had realized when Zar Lin wore that ao dai that it might have been her birthday. Since Zar Lin’s homeowners are away for a memorial service for Hwang Yong’s father, the maids all go in for a little celebration.
Gun Woo and Young Hee have their drinking session at a pojangmacha, where Gun Woo mourns having lost Choon Jak’s tail. He gets offended at Young Hee’s suggestion that Choon Jak is avoiding him, but then gets all happy again – because he found a girl! But Young Hee admits that he’s got worries too – over a girl. “Ahh! Who is it? Who is it?” Young Hee muses whether he should ask her out.
At Zar Lin’s home, Da Kyum tells them all that she doesn’t want to share the blouse they bought at the department store; she wants to wear it herself. Soo Jung thwacks her – was the blouse bought with only her money?! Da Kyum says the shirt is too old-fashioned, so she’s going to wear it as pajamas. Her attempts at “protecting the other maids’ pride” keeps getting sidelined though, because Soo Jung still gets on her case. When Da Kyum lies that she spilled something on the shirt, Soon Geum offers to wash it out. Frustrated, Da Kyum says she’ll just buy a nicer shirt.
She gets up to leave – she’d rather go to a karaoke place, but all the other maids are too tired to go out. Soon Geum moans that she had to watch her mistress Yoon Joo take away her 18 million Won shirt and not say a word. The maids are all curious – 18 million? Don’t you mean… 1800 Won? WHOOPS. Soon Geum backtracks and says it is 1800 Won, and the other maids blame it on her being too drunk. Hyun Joo also has her own worries about her relationship with Yoon Joo, and Soo Jung pushes her to go apologize. Hyun Joo just knocks back half a glass of soju, then kneels before Soo Jung.
Hyun Joo: “Do you want me to go and beg like this? To say, ‘Ma’am, I have no manners and pulled at your hair, so please take my hair and do whatever you want with it’?…. We’re the same age. Face? I’m not bad-looking either, right? Body – is that where we’re different? Fine, say I’m shorter. But she’s the one who’s taller than average, not me who is short. Furthermore, aren’t my temperament and speech superior to hers?”
Soo Jung says Yoon Joo the Trophy Wife is pretty impressive – but! Hyun Joo is way better. Hyun Joo huffs: “I was a way better dancer,” thus alluding that the two ladies have a longer history than any of the other maids could have imagined.
Back at the pojangmacha, Gun Woo eggs Young Hee to call out the girl on his mind. Young Hee refuses – he wants to tread carefully with this one, which is unusual for Young Hee the Playboy. Young Hee eggs Gun Woo on to get his girl out. They play the “But I asked first – so you call her!” game, but then settle for calling her at the same time. (Soon Geum doesn’t answer either of her phones, as she’s too busy being the strobe light for the other dancing maids.)
Soon Ok and Boon Ja are having a late night wine-drinking session when they hear a loud throbbing noise come from a house next door. (House partaayyyy!) They head over to the Hwang Residence.
The maids dance to exhaustion and Hyun Joo gets so angry that she’s ready to storm Yoon Joo’s home. She thinks that Yoon Joo is being contemptuous, and so she wants to set the record straight. Soo Jung tells her to restrain herself – it’s not the first time the mistresses have acted so despicably. The mistresses scorn them; some share a husband; some are wayyyy younger than their husbands; all in all, they’re much more pitiful than the maids.
Hyun Joo complains, “I suffer under the wife and mistress (of the Jang Residence), and am bullied by the neighbor’s wife (Yoon Joo).” Soo Jung tells her to just hold it in – besides, if one of Hyun Joo’s mistresses leave, Hyun Joo can step right in. She mimics the mistress and wife, and that becomes the last straw….
Water is splashed on all of the girls. Soon Ok and Boon Ja heard EVERYTHING. Soon Ok yells at them for being so loud at such a late hour, partying without the master’s permission, and belittling their masters behind their backs. Boon Ja justifies the Jang Residence living situation – though they have to share a husband, at least they have a husband to share, and they’re merely trying to protect what little family they have. She makes a dig at Hyun Joo: isn’t it worse to be a single mother kicked out of her home?
Hyun Joo steps forward to say something, but Soo Jung pulls her back. Soo Jung kneels down and apologizes on behalf of all the maids. She promises to never do it again, and the maids tear up at the sight of Soo Jung sacrificing her pride. The mistresses don’t really accept the apology, but they’re not entirely used to having someone sincerely kneel and beg for forgiveness either. Soo Jung is the master of restraint and respect – she’s tired of this life, but she’s not one to actively destroy it either.
The boys are moping – Soon Geum has called neither of them back. Suddenly, Young Hee’s phone rings first! Soon Geum asks why he called, and he asks her to come out to the pojangmacha. She still owes him her liver too. Soon Geum says that she just drank a lot, so her liver’s not in a good shape. She reminds him to go home, since it’s so late, and hangs up. Young Hee hangs his head in disappointment.
Gun Woo is sad that he didn’t get a call at all – but that’s when Soon Geum calls him using the “Shi Ah” phone. Whee! He invites her out to drink as well, and Soon Geum hesitates. She says, “Next time.” Young Hee’s so mad that both were rejected that he orders another bottle of soju. Before Gun Woo can hang up, Young Hee grabs the phone and kisses the speaker. Soon Geum’s eyes go wide.
Good job Young Hee – you just sent your girl to your best friend. Don’t smile so mischievously – you just screwed yourself over!!!! Gun Woo says he’ll get revenge on this. Why do you boys like screwing yourself over?!
Soon Geum greets Gun Woo as he comes home a little tipsy. He’s surprised to see her up so late, and she offers to make him some honey water. He wonders how she could have known he drank, and she blames it on his smell. He sends her off to bed, and Soon Geum can’t help but blush as she wishes him good night.
She tries to walk around him but he blocks her way, asking if she drank because her cheeks are so red.
Soon Geum: Why do you hate me?
Gun Woo: …….
Soon Geum: I like you.
Kaedejun: WHOA GIRL!
Gun Woo: …….
Soon Geum: I like you!
Gun Woo: *eyebrow raise*
Soon Geum: Is it because I’m a maid? of this house?
Gun Woo: *gulp*
Gun Woo is so dumb! The clues are all there for him to figure out that Soon Geum is Shi Ah, but he’s just not picking up on it. Aside from being unable to recognize her (which frankly, I admit, I can’t either with her long hair), the personality is the same. They even laugh the same way! Soon Geum doesn’t even try to hide her true self when she’s being Shi Ah. I hope that in the next episode, when she ups the ante by really living the double life, she’ll be snootier as Shi Ah. Otherwise, Gun Woo is a complete blockhead.
Oh – and Soon Geum just confessed her feelings, so really boy, put two and two together! The best relationship so far is the one between Soon Geum and Hwang Yong. Not only is he her fairy godfather, but he’s an unwilling one at that. (Soon Geum with Young Hee? Nah – I can’t take the fellow seriously.)
I noticed that in this particular episode, certain shots were framed within a box, as if we were looking into each of these people’s lives through a window. It just emphasizes that this drama is a character study, and I love that we’re getting insights into all of the characters slowly. I can’t wait to find out what Da Kyum and Soo Jung’s deals are; how did Da Kyum end up in Young Hee’s home? Where are Soo Jung’s masters? Everyone seems to be “trapped” in a box, either unable to get out of their current lives or under our scrutiny.
I hope things pick up in the next episode. The whole “slice of life” feel is great and all, but really – I want Gun Woo to figure it out already! (By the way, a confession – even if it’s a drunken one – in episode 6 of a 20-episode drama feels kinda fast, don’tcha think?)