Romance Town: Episode 9
Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Whee!
SONG OF THE DAY
너만 본다 by Howl from Romance Town OST [download]
It’s not a dream – because Young Hee walks in on his best friend kissing the person whom he assumes to be Shi Ah. He even stops a nurse from going in and disturbing Gun Woo’s happiness.
Post-kiss, the two of them sit awkwardly side by side. Soon Geum offers to get him water, but he tells her to stay put and act as his Statue of Liberty once again, and he’ll get the water for himself. Gun Woo declares, “I’m going to two-time you. The household ahjumma, and the ‘Statue of Liberty’.”
It’s so odd, but if that’s how he defines “two-timing,” he can two-time me any day!
Meanwhile Young Hee sits on the benches outside, giggling to himself. As soon as he lies down to rest, he sees Soon Geum leaving at the elevators. Soon Geum looks away when she notices him staring, so Young Hee doesn’t recognize her right away (she’s also pretty far). He can only question to himself if it’s Shi Ah, and notes that she’s extremely pretty.
He bursts in to confirm with Gun Woo if it’s really “the girl.” He starts firing a bunch of questions: Where’d he meet her? What does her family do? Where does she live? And by the way – she’s prettier than all the rich girls on 1st Street! Gun Woo is relieved Young Hee didn’t recognize her, and he answers all of Young Hee’s questions in his head: “She is from a family of maids. And now she is a maid herself. We met at my house. She lives in my house. Her name is Noh Soon Geum, a woman with no money.”
He turns it around and asks Young Hee about his girl. Young Hee admits he’s never met a woman who’s so cool to him, and he’s charmed by it. Oh boy…
In her fine clothing, Soon Geum takes the bus home. Because it’s empty, she feels like the bus driver is her personal taxi driver, and he finds her amusing as she declares that she’s super happy tonight – happier than winning first prize at a lottery, happier than receiving money. (Yeap – love does that to you, eh?) She blurts out that she wants to quit being a maid, and the bus driver looks at her with, “Why are you telling me that for?”
Gun Woo’s cell phone rings, and Young Hee grabs it to see it’s Shi Ah texting. Gun Woo snatches it away. It’s Soon Geum asking if he wants her to bring a change of underwear tomorrow morning. He texts back asking if he should tell Young Hee about the two of them, but Soon Geum tells him to hold it off. Things could get messy! Young Hee wants to know what Shi Ah said, but Gun Woo slaps his hand – no touching the cell phone!
While driving the maids home, Hwang Yong asks Soo Jung and Hyun Joo why they were at the hotel. Without naming names, they say they were just visiting an old friend, who ended up shunning them because of their different statuses. Hwang Yong mutters, “That’s a rotten friend,” which cheers the two ladies up considerably. He encourages them to curse that friend. Hehehe.
Hyun Joo finally lets out her frustrations. “We both didn’t do well in school. We both played around. We both disappointed our parents. Just because you met the right guy, you’re living like this. And just because I met the wrong guy, I’m living like this. We still have half our lives left, and the real thing comes during the second half. Let’s see how well you’ll eat during the second half of your life, you thick skinned woman!” Hwang Yong is amused by her rant.
Soo Jung is so delighted by this that she proposes a detour – sharing a glass of soju to commemorate the second half of their lives. Hwang Yong agrees; he’s the coolest master.
Young Hee catches up to Soon Geum (who’s changed into normal plain clothes) on his way home. She decides she can take this opportunity to talk to him (and perhaps admit her relationship), but he forces her into his car. He hasn’t eaten yet, so why don’t the two of them get dinner before going home? Eat, then talk.
He drives up to a hotel, which is super fancy for a simple dinner. Young Hee wants to introduce her to his family as well. Eh!?
That just means he shows her his grandfather’s most favorite painting, which hangs in lobby of the hotel. Soon Geum is amazed at the size, but then notes that the painting looks quite lonely – much like Kim Young Hee. Her assessment makes him like her more, and he takes her “liking the painting” to mean that she “likes him.” Soon Geum protests – she already has someone she likes! She’s busy liking this “guy” because she likes him more. Young Hee wants to know more about this “guy.” Soon Geum refuses to divulge, except for the fact that Young Hee makes more than her “guy.” But she’s not going to date Young Hee for his money, so too bad.
Rejection just makes Young Hee more persistent: “I thought you were going to be easy. If I just extend my hand, I thought you’d quickly grab it. I truly believed you wouldn’t say no. That’s how confident I was. I must be lacking, right?”
Heck yeah – you’re quite an ass to think she was easy.
Soon Geum rejects him flat out, but takes up his offer to drive her home. After all, she has no idea where she is. Young Hee finds her confusing, as she rejected him, but would still get in the car with him. (I see nothing confusing about that – I just think Young Hee likes to believe “No means Yes.”) Soon Geum points out that they’ve been neighbors for three years, and just suddenly he starts liking her? She finds him confusing because out of the blue he’s suddenly asking her out. Yeah! She totally puts him in his place!
Now, they’re both going to pretend this conversation never happened, since they’ve both been confused by recent events.
Back at the hospital, Gun Woo’s phone rings. It’s Granny Choon Jak! Gun Woo falls off the bed in shock.
Granny Choon Jak is worried to see him in such a state, but Gun Woo says she hurts him way more than the robbers by continually running away. Choon Jak only wants him to know that she no longer wants to be a housemaid; besides, she likes the current one.
Gun Woo: How do you know the current one?
Choon Jak: Ha! You came to Jang Bong Do with her! That housemaid loved you unceasingly for the past 3 years. You even received her love letters while you were in New York. Her love for you is overflowing.
WAHHH! Granny Choon Jak – you’re good. Thank you for ending this mystery.
He gives Choon Jak all of the money earned from tutoring San and makes her promise to call if she ever needs anything, and to pick up his calls.
Hwang Yong pours soju for Soo Jung and Hyun Joo, except Soo Jung is pretty drunk. She offers Hwang Yong some celery dipped in spicy sauce, but it ends up on his face. Hyun Joo immediately apologizes and cleans it gently with a tissue. *Ahem*Love Triangle Alert.*Ahem* Even Soo Jung thinks something might be happening between the two of them.
Soo Jung also talks too much when she’s drunk; she spills that Zar Lin is actually spraying fertilizer on his organic garden, causing Hyun Joo to gasp in horror. Except… Hwang Yong knew that already. He just feigned ignorance. Soo Jung then makes a special request: for Hwang Yong to purchase a mortar and pestle for Zar Lin so that her hands don’t get hurt from peeling garlic, because a housemaid is not a gangster!
Meanwhile in Hwang Yong’s office, the Truck Leader is getting beaten up by some of Hwang Yong’s men. They yell at him for betraying Hwang Yong after all he did, and ask where Min Guk (the lackey) is. Truck Leader has no idea, but insists he didn’t take the lottery ticket.
Hwang Yong and Hyun Joo now have to deal with a super drunk Soo Jung and bring her home. She even throws up in his back seat, and Hwang Yong even slaps her back to help her get it all out. He’s the nicest master ever.
Young Hee crawls into bed, still dressed, which naturally causes Da Kyum to check up on him. He angsts over Soon Geum’s rejection instead of answering Da Kyum’s questions. When she figures out what happened, she says that it’s a good thing it happened. After all, Young Hee spends all his time rejecting and replacing the girls in his life, so it’s a good thing he gets a taste of his own medicine.
When Soon Geum arrives home, Yoon Joo informs her that the police came by. Since nothing “seems” to be missing in Soon Geum’s room, Yoon Joo is going to say that nothing got taken away. Soon Geum has no choice but to agree, but once her mistress is gone, Soon Geum wails angrily at her bad luck.
Min Guk waits excitedly outside the Mong Hyup bank, where he would redeem the lottery ticket for himself, staying there all night.
The next morning, Tae Won takes the lottery ticket to bring it to the bank for safekeeping. Hwang Yong follows him (shady), but then gets a call from Tae Won. He just wants to know if Hwang Yong went to the party last night. Hwang Yong says he didn’t, and while Tae Won says he must have been mistaken, he doesn’t seem to believe it.
It’s a few minutes to 9 AM, and the bank finally opens. It can’t be soon enough for Min Guk, and just as he’s about to step inside, Hwang Yong’s men snatch him and prevent him from getting anywhere.
Hwang Yong appears before Min Guk, and the men back off so they don’t look too much like hooligans. Bong Yi sees the two interact from a distance, but it doesn’t look like anything suspicious so he ignores it. Min Guk lies, saying he was paying management fees but Hwang Yong points out that he’s coming to the headquarters of the bank early in the morning for something that could have been done electronically.
Hwang Yong wants the lottery ticket. Now.
How the hell is Fairy Godfather so freaking awesome and omniscient?
Gun Woo is released from the hospital, and is taken out by Soon Geum and Young Hee. Because Gun Woo’s broken leg will take up the entire backseat, Young Hee wants Soon Geum to sit in the front with him. Gun Woo sees reason in that, but Soon Geum is adamant about sitting in the back with him. She’s tiny, so she can fit; Gun Woo’s bag can be put in the front seat.
When Gun Woo gets in though, Soon Geum is squished uncomfortably against the door because of Gun Woo’s leg. Young Hee is all, “I told you so!” so Soon Geum gets out… and sits on the other side of the backseat, so that she’s side by side with Gun Woo. Yay – the happy couple rejoices!
They go out to eat fancy sushi, mainly because Young Hee wants to impress Soon Geum. He says he’s wanted to take Soon Geum out for a fancy meal since a long time ago – like, three years ago. (Pfft.) Soon Geum quips, “It’s more like three days ago!”
She takes a bite of the sushi, scoffing that it can’t possibly be worth the amount it is. But her eyes widen in surprise – it actually tastes so good! Gun Woo is amused and he places more pieces on her plate. Soon Geum gushes that it’s the first time she’s eaten something so good.
Now Gun Woo wants to pay, since the food’s made her so happy. However, he has very little money left in his wallet. When they get to the cashier, Soon Geum offers to pay since she ate most of the sushi. Young Hee is ready to let her take the bill, but Gun Woo is outraged – he’ll pay, and it’s because he WANTS to buy it for HER. Yep – Young Hee picks up on that, but he says he wants to pay since he saw Soon Geum enjoy the food so much.
Gun Woo has no choice but to resign the bill to Young Hee in front of his girl.
Joo Won is called over to the Jang Residence, where Soon Ok and Boon Ja present photos of chaebol sons for her to go on a blind date with. She rejects the two men’s pictures politely – she already has someone that she likes on 1st Street. The two ladies are all, “Who!?” I’m all, “Back off Joo Won!”
Hyun Joo asks Zar Lin for Hwang Yong’s car keys so that she can clean the puke out of his car. Yoon Joo watches jealously, but she also realized that “San Hee’s Mother” is Hyun Joo. She recognized Hyun Joo’s voice over the phone. She calls her out on the lie, and wonders if she should be thankful or mad towards her former friend. Hyun Joo: “Be both.” She doesn’t want to continue the conversation if Yoon Joo will be pulling her hair out though.
Hyun Joo points out that Yoon Joo is living a pitiful life; even though she may not have money, at least she has nothing to hide. She goes back to cleaning the car, but Yoon Joo pulls her out of it and Hwang Yong ends up witnessing the two of them fighting. Hyun Joo politely greets him, and Yoon Joo does not miss her tone of voice.
As Tae Won puts the lottery ticket in his safe deposit box, Hwang Yong muses how to get the real one back in Tae Won’s desk drawer. His men suggest using the housemaid to put it back.
Soon Geum finds her dad eating with his friend Bong Yi. Sang Hoon is still suspicious that she may have gone to the bank and retrieved the lottery jackpot, but Bong Yi tells him to stop thinking about it. Back in his small room, Soon Geum reveals that she now has a guy she likes, and is thinking of quitting her job. She wants her dad to stop playing Go-Stop for her sake, and he muses that he might go find a job as a security guard then.
He asks for her phone, and finds a whole bunch of recent calls from “Roasted Chestnut” (as 군밤 can mean “Gun-Night” or “Roasted chestnut”). He calls that number. Time for the men to meet!
Sang Hoon notes that Gun Woo is unreasonably tall. They take a good look at each other, and finally recognize who the other is from their encounter outside the Kang residence. Sang Hoon opens up the mat – it’s time to test with Go-Stop! He wants the bets to start at 500 Won, but Gun Woo lowers it to 100 Won, as that is all he has. He even addresses Sang Hoon as “Father,” which brings a smile to Soon Geum’s face. It’s so cute to see Gun Woo literally shaking in fear, since he’s not so good at Go-Stop, nor is he doing very well in impressing Sang Hoon.
At the end of the game, Gun Woo and Soon Geum lose to Sang Hoon. Gun Woo has to pay for both their debts though (which amount to 4000 Won), and so he gives up all his change and promises to pay the rest later. Gun Woo excuses himself to the bathroom, and that’s when Sang Hoon says he’s totally against him. Playing Go-Stop with someone reveals his true personality, and Sang Hoon doesn’t like what he’s seeing: an impatient, naive, broke man with no perseverance and who now has a gambling debt.
Soon Geum leaves the room to find Gun Woo outside the building. He’s feeling pretty crummy, and Soon Geum feels like he’s gonna start hating her because of her dad. She hadn’t intended to bring him to see her dad so early. Gun Woo just says, “Next time, I’m gonna bring a lot of money! Ahh – (all this) just because I didn’t have enough money!” It’s his way of not letting her feel bad about having a father like that.
That actually gets Soon Geum mad, and she storms back to her father’s room. His gambling habits embarrass her, and it’s preventing her from going out and dating. Sang Hoon doesn’t mind if she dates – just as long as it’s not him. He thinks his daughter is worth more than that, and wants her to marry someone more equal to her standing so that she doesn’t suffer when she marries up.
With tears in her eyes, Soon Geum says that Gun Woo is the only one who likes her even though she is a housemaid. However Sang Hoon points out that she shouldn’t be grateful that someone loves her, because that’s a love that isn’t worth it. Soon Geum would rather change her dad than change guys; even if he has nothing to give her, she can do the giving. Her dad thinks it’s absurd; besides, a guy who likes her would spend tons of money on her. But Soon Geum knows that spending money does not equate to how much he truly loves her.
All this while, Gun Woo is listening outside the door. 🙁
As they walk through the neighborhood, Gun Woo tells her to quit being the housemaid. She can study (Soon Geum: “No.”) or become a chef (Soon Geum: “No. You have to study for that too.”). She admits that in high school she wanted to work in an alcohol shop (Gun Woo: “!!!!!”) or get married (Gun Woo: “What high school student would pick marriage for a dream?”).
Gun Woo is amazed she doesn’t want to leave and do other things with her life, and she points out that she gets to make food for him every day. He wants her to get out of the very same house he wants to get out of. He’ll do his best to make money so that he can support the two of them.
Soon Geum tells him to stand in the middle of the street like the statue of General Lee Soon Shin, and to wait for her. (Poor guy has to look it up on his phone too.) Soon Geum comes back and sticks her head through his bent arm, holding two bags of chips.
Soon Geum: Do you want to eat snacks?
Gun Woo: What kind of snacks?
Soon Geum: Sweet? or sweet-ER?
He takes the sweet snack, and helps her open up her bag as well.
That evening Young Hee stumbles home drunk again, yelling for Da Kyum. She comes out of her room, and he pinches her cheeks: “I have to get you married, so that I can marry!” She has to support him up to his room, and they trip over a step. Da Kyum lands on top of him, but Young Hee is too drunk to make a romantic moment out of it. He gets up, and she brings him upstairs.
Another person who is awake late in the night is Hwang Yong; he calls Soon Geum to open the door for him. Soon Geum says it’s really late, but he says it’s revenge for her dragging him out with her Shi Ah/Soon Geum troubles. Soon Geum lets him in, even though she’s more afraid of President Kang Tae Won than Ex-Gangster Hwang Yong.
Da Kyum helps take Young Hee’s socks off and props a pillow under his head. However, Young Hee drunkenly takes his shirt off, and needs Da Kyum’s help in pulling it off his head. She’s about to leave, when she rethinks her situation: alone in Young Hee’s bedroom with him half-naked.
Inside the house, Hwang Yong asks Soon Geum to make him some food; Zar Lin already fell asleep so he feels bad waking her up. He wants bean paste stew too. Soon Geum thinks he’s being annoying, but she finally acquiesces. He makes her promise that she won’t tell anyone about his presence too.
When she goes off to the kitchen, Hwang Yong makes his way to Tae Won’s office. At the same time, Gun Woo gets up, the wound on his head feeling very itchy.
Hwang Yong takes a while trying to pick the desk drawer lock. Soon Geum finishes up the stew and crosses the living room in search of Hwang Yong. Gun Woo sees her as he makes his way down the stairs and follows her. Hwang Yong finally gets the desk drawer open – but that’s when Soon Geum opens the door and finds him. She calls him out to the kitchen, and that’s when Gun Woo appears behind her.
He’s more interested in knowing why Hwang Yong is at his home at this hour. Hwang Yong looks down at the desk, where he had placed the lottery ticket. Gun Woo watches as Hwang Yong smoothly slips the ticket back into his pocket. Uh-oh…
But we have another problem in our hands.
Da Kyum re-enters Young Hee’s darkened room, where he is now under the covers. She slowly, hesitantly, sits on the edge of the bed… and then gets in bed with him, a small smile growing on her face.
UMMMMMMM. What just happened?
I like Da Kyum, but I do NOT want her taking advantage of Young Hee. Making it seem like she slept with him is not the path I want her to go down. I dislike that she’s cheapening herself in this way, and that it was an unnecessary move on her part. I was screaming and kicking at my computer as she slid under the covers with him.
But the other ending – where Gun Woo catches Hwang Yong – I definitely like. Potential for many more mysteries to be cleared up – like, what’s with the lottery ticket? Did it belong to Soon Geum because Choon Jak’s number is on it!? I loved the way the ending for this episode played out. It hadd no soundtrack; the silence amplified the intensity of the scenes, and it made me more nervous than I probably had to be.
One thing about this drama’s huge cast is that triangles are being drawn everywhere at every opportunity. The new one between Yoon Joo-Hwang Yong-Hyun Joo is interesting (if it comes to fruition), because it pits ex-friend against ex-friend, and I wouldn’t know who to root for. The trophy wife who values money over love? Or the maid who doesn’t mind mixing business with pleasure?
My favorite moment was Soon Geum’s talk with her father. I found it interesting that he, who could not and would not provide for his own daughter, was intent on looking for a man who can basically fill his shoes and give his daughter everything she materially wants. I felt that Sang Hoon saw himself in Gun Woo (lack of perseverance, impatient and wanting quick wins, gambling debts) and that’s why he was so against the boy, even if his assessment isn’t necessarily true. I agree with Soon Geum’s philosophy – that money does not equal love – but I find her somewhat clingy, saying that she’ll provide for Gun Woo since he’s broke. As if Gun Woo hasn’t been emasculated enough!
I’m definitely enjoying how the writer is upending the theme of “money = power and happiness.” The people with the bigger troubles are the wealthy ones, trying to preserve their reputation and wealth. There’s too much responsibility when it can be taken away from you in an instant, like in Soon Geum’s experience. I’d rather be the maids – no power or money, but completely happy and free to worry about other things in my life, like love.