It’s the villains’ episode to shine, and Hirayama and Lee Hwa rock it. I really wish Hirayama had been in more of the drama from the start, instead of cooling his heels for so long. But hey, it’s worth the wait, since Miri has built up her tower, and now he’s here to both speed her inevitable fall, but also… to catch her when she does. How come even the villains have savior complexes in this drama?
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Yoo-hyun brings Hirayama in for a meeting. I like that since abandoned warehouses aren’t his style, he goes with abandoned office suite instead. Hirayama recognizes him immediately, calling him the prince, and Yoo-hyun keeps his polite smiley demeanor.
That is, until Hirayama relates Miri’s past, from the fifteen-year old girl who ran away from home, to the nineteen-year old bar girl, to the day she ran away from him. And then like clockwork, to prove his story, Miri calls him in a panic because she’s followed him there but can’t get in. He shows his phone to Yoo-hyun triumphantly.
Yoo-hyun looks away, and Hirayama answers the call leisurely. Miri tells him to keep his trap shut, which he repeats verbatim in front of Yoo-hyun. He coos into the phone that when you’re with someone so high up, it’s not opening your trap, it’s barking… and then he literally barks like a rabid dog and hangs up on her. Hahaha. I love Kim Jung-tae.
Yoo-hyun asks for the truth, the kind beyond what a mere background check will tell him. Hirayama retorts in his flowery way about the difference between love and sincerity for different people, adding pointedly that Miri is not what he thinks her to be.
He thinks people ought to be with their own “kind,” clearly thinking that she belongs with him and not up in the tower with the prince. Yoo-hyun doesn’t believe that truth and sincerity are relative things, and asks for the truth about Miri.
Hirayama takes a business card out of his wallet and passes it across the table. It’s the card for Club Hana, with Miri’s photo on it. Yoo-hyun sees it and then immediately shuts his eyes. Okay, I take it back—you’re still a puppy. Are you literally closing your eyes not to see it, like the way a little kid plays hide-and-seek? If I can’t see you, you don’t exist?
Hirayama delights in adding this little tidbit too – Myung-hoon had this card in his possession, and didn’t falter in his love. Ooooo.
Hirayama: Open your eyes and see. What you love is not Jang Miri. The person who can’t even look at this… loved Jang Miri? You see why I can’t help but laugh.
And with that, he leaves. I do sort of love that for all of Yoo-hyun’s power and position, Hirayama just sees him as a sheltered kid, which isn’t untrue.
Miri is downstairs waiting for him, and demands to know what he told Yoo-hyun. He makes mocking moony eyes at her, and says that Yoo-hyun is in loooooove. HA. But he’s in love with the woman who graduated from Tokyo University, is a hotelier and a university lecturer… “That’s not Jang Miri.”
Oof, he really does know exactly how to push her weakest spots. Her eyes start filling with angry tears. He adds, “Do you know the one thing in the world you shouldn’t mess with? It’s sincerity. But I think you messed with sincerity. Do you know what happens when you do that? You die. Love? It’s nice… but I think it’s beyond your capacity.”
She runs up to try and see Yoo-hyun, but gets blocked at the door. She spends the entire next day calling and calling, to no avail.
It’s because he’s busy playing hooky and angsting it out at the gym. Well if it’s for our benefit, I’m certainly glad you chose sweating over crying. Winner: us. He also visits his mother’s grave and asks her what is right.
Miri can’t manage to find him, so she visits his father in the hospital instead, giving him a hand-knitted blanket that makes him endlessly happy. My left eye if she actually made that herself.
Stepmom comes upon the scene with a stink eye and then takes her to lunch, where she displays her immense displeasure at the fact that they are still dancing this dance. Miri tells her that it’s true that she did look favorably at Yoo-hyun’s wealth and status… at first, but now she genuinely cares for him.
Stepmom just laughs that her acting’s gotten quite good, and you can’t help but side with her in this case. Because now Miri’s just the girl who cried wolf. Maybe if Yoo-hyun were the one and only, she could wriggle her way out of being perceived as a chaebol-hungry opportunist, but her relationship with Myung-hoon makes that nigh impossible.
Lee Hwa then puts her icy cold politeness back on, and tells her to eat. How could anyone digest food with you sitting across the table? Miri shakes so much that her chopsticks rattle, and she makes a haughty barb that using chopsticks is very difficult for those who were never taught properly. Damn, that’s tantamount to calling her a barbarian.
Meanwhile Yoo-hyun hides out in a country villa and waits for word on finding Miri’s birth mother. He rationalizes that somehow finding out about her past and why she ended up that way will help him understand her.
His assistant reports that the birth mother doesn’t want to be found out because she had her out of wedlock and then went on to marry someone else. Yoo-hyun tells him to follow up on the leads anyway, starting with the bank account that’s still under her name.
Myung-hoon gets called in by his friends for another Miri emergency – there’s an uproar online because people started to look into her after her first TV appearance, and already there’s a roster up of all Tokyo University graduates… and she’s not listed.
Ruh-roh. Nothing more swift and deadly than the internet. And just like that, she’s cut from her regular TV spot in a heartbeat.
And of course, who should have the graduate list in her hands as soon as it’s online, but Lee Hwa, who calls Myung-hoon to her office. He doesn’t deny that he knew the truth, and she in turn makes it clear that she knows about their romantic relationship.
Her instructions are clear: he is to get rid of her quietly. No public firing, no chance for her to turn it around on them, because they’re the ones with the pristine corporate image to uphold.
Hirayama decides he can’t wait around for the other shoe to drop, and storms into Lee Hwa’s office to demand a meeting. He tells her that he met with Yoo-hyun the other night to discuss Miri, and whips out the Club Hana card.
She reels. “Is this really Jang Miri?” He tells her that Miri was his woman before she came to Korea. She parses the situation quickly and asks what he wants, because he doesn’t seem to be asking for money.
Hirayama notes that a pro can always spot another pro. True, you can’t outfox Lee Hwa. He tells her frankly, “I came to claim my woman. You people are going to throw her away anyway.” He looks down on her and her people (awesome) who only treat Miri like a human being because they thought she was from a good family and a good school.
He notes that they all take turns looking for answers, and then they’ll all end up throwing her away, ripped up like a used rag. “You people always speak of two different things. A dream is just a dream, but you say there are unreasonable dreams. A person is just a person, but you say that there are people who don’t deserve to be treated as such.”
I love that in his way, he defends Miri, though when push comes to shove, he and Lee Hwa want the same thing—for Miri to return to “her world.” He makes one thing clear to her: if she lays a hand on Miri, she dies.
Yoo-hyun finally comes out of his angst cave to meet Miri, and she waits nervously for his reaction. He tells her that he’s asked himself countless times why he loves her, what he likes about her, and in the end the answer is: “I don’t know.” Way to instill confidence there, buddy.
He tells her that what really makes him mad isn’t the truth about her past (though he does admit to not being able to understand her), but the fact that she felt she had to lie about it. What? Is she supposed to walk around advertising it or something? It should be a given that she lied about her past.
What you should REALLY be concerned about is that she purposely dated Myung-hoon to get ahead, and then purposely traded up to you when she found out who you were. Or rather, how much you were worth. Hello, priorities.
He tells her that this is the extent of it though, and that their engagement seems like too much right now. Yoo-hyun: “I’ll wait…until you can accept your own reflection and come out into the world. If not…I’m sorry.”
Well at least he draws a line somewhere. I was half-expecting him to just roll over and proclaim his undying love, which would have been really lame. But I wonder what he’s doing with the other half of the information—the important half, about Myung-hoon.
Lee Hwa goes to look at young Miri’s picture again, while her contact (who knows about her child) meets with her husband. It turns out that he’s known about the child all this time.
Oh, so he’s the only husband, and marrying him was the reason she gave up Miri in the first place. He now wonders if it’s time to find her, since it seems like she’s looking for her mother. Won’t they be shocked to find that it’s their own son who’s doing the looking instead?
Miri receives a shocking letter at work, basically a subpoena from the university for falsifying her credentials. Oh, shit’s hit the fan.
She asks Myung-hoon if it’s his doing, and he tells her that it’s time she quit the hotel quietly. She acts outraged, thinking he’s still heartbroken and just lashing out at her. But he makes himself clear this time—”I know that you didn’t graduate from Tokyo University.”
Even when faced with the naked truth, she still balks, insisting that it’s not true. Wow. But he tells her that he knows everything, and she changes her tactic immediately: “You made me this way!” As in: he changed her life and made her who she is today… and so he’s to take responsibility?
The funny thing is, he really DOES feel the same way in that respect, and this is his way of taking responsibility—by cleaning up after the mess he’s helped to create. Only she thinks he ought to cover up for her because he loved her. Or, yunno, he could not, on account of your dumping his ass for his younger, richer boss.
He tells her that it’s too late—Lee Hwa already knows. Oh crap. She freaks out and begs him to lie for her, buy her time, whatever he can do to give her the chance to at least tell Yoo-hyun herself. He asks if she really loves Yoo-hyun that much. She nods, but he coldly tells her that he’s sure she made herself believe it… “like you did with me.” Ouch.
He tells her to come clean and turn herself in before it gets any worse. It’s interesting that both men are begging her to just come clean and are both willing to accept her as she is if she’ll only fess up to it… and yet it’s the one thing she cannot do. Tragic flaw, really, because if she’d only just let go, she could actually get what she wanted in the long run.
Yoo-hyun struggles with what to do, having postponed (or I guess prolonged really) his engagement, and feeling like he’d have regrets either way. Dad tells him that love is like digging a well, and that he hopes his is pure and deep. He adds that if it isn’t pure, he can wait until it is. Um…not to rain on your love metaphor parade, but is that true? If you dig a well to bad water, isn’t it just… a well of bad water?
Mondo has its 30-year anniversary banquet, and Miri shows up unannounced. Myung-hoon tells her that this isn’t the time or place, but she refuses to listen. Yoo-hyun sees her from the stage, but it’s Lee Hwa who gets to her first.
She takes her aside into a room and slaps her across the face. Miri immediately gets down on her knees and apologizes to her. She fesses up to lying about graduating from Tokyo University, but swears that she loves Yoo-hyun.
Damn, you are a Piece. Of. Work. She totally raced over here to fess up to the lie before being confronted by it. Scary smart, this girl.
But Lee Hwa only smiles bigger and broader the more she goes on about how sorry she is, and her sincere feelings for Yoo-hyun. She slaps her across the face again, and then tosses a stack of photos at her feet. They’re of Miri’s past life as a bar hostess.
Damn, now my heart’s been wrung the other way. When Miri is being crafty, she makes my blood run cold, but then when people treat her like she’s dirt because of where she came from, my heart breaks for her. Gah.
She crumples to the ground and picks them up, crying and shaking violently.
Yoo-hyun comes looking for her and sees his stepmother on her way out. He walks in to find Miri scrambling to get up before he can see anything. She clutches the photos and runs out.
He goes after her.
I’m disappointed if this is all of Yoo-hyun’s dark side, because after the big reveal in the last episode, I expected full-force puppetmastery goodness with a side of cool business-like efficiency, but it’s kind of stalled in the middle. Like right around steely puppy zone. There’s lots of angsting, but very little doing, which kind of lets the air out of the tires.
Thankfully Hirayama steps up with the action, both making waves (putting her entire plan at risk), but also in some sense very sincerely wanting to protect her from the eventual fallout. As much as he calls out the chaebol world for not treating his class of people as human beings, he doesn’t believe that Miri’s ascent into that world is possible either.
He’s as much a staunch protector of the status quo as Lee Hwa is, just on the other side. I love that they each look down on the other, but are two sides of the same coin. And she’s the weirdest one of all, since she actually succeeded in what Miri is attempting to do. Perhaps it’s a bout of self-loathing on her part.
Miri’s story is interesting if you separate her from her unscrupulous methods and just examine her in the sense that she’s trying to rise above her so-called station in wealth and class. In a broad sense she’s a dreamer who thinks that she can achieve whatever she wants, and that the privileges reserved for the wealthy are rightfully hers.
That makes people like Hirayama and Lee Hwa her greatest enemies, not because they are out to get her personally, but because they don’t believe that people can live outside that system or challenge it in any way.
Of course none of this is a defense for Miri’s actions, because hey, plenty of people rise above the same problems with their integrity intact. It’s just interesting that if she were to use honest methods with the same goals, she’d be the plucky dreamer who “deserved” her Cinderella ending. But as it stands, she’s the girl who’ll walk over your dead body to get what she thinks she’s entitled to.
I like that she has a tragic flaw in refusing to let the world see her as she is. This is where she starts to dig her own grave, because she has an out, even now… only she won’t take it. She’s so stuck in how the world perceives her (and thus treats her) that she can’t step outside of it to see that it’s making her lose everything. Even now I go back and forth—do I want to shake some sense into her, or do I want to see her epic demise?
And something tells me puppy’s torn too, and he’s just gonna wait for her, which kind of kills me.
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