Drama Recaps
My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 3
by | August 10, 2011 | 68 Comments

Love contracts are, practically by definition, illogical. How do you force someone to love someone else? I guess you can’t, which is why Rule No. 1 of most love contracts is that “Neither party shall fall in love the other party. Ever.” So maybe these contracts should be called “Don’t Fall In Love Contracts.” But that doesn’t solve the problem either, right, because you are still asking people to constrain their hearts. Oh, how silly are the young, who are so presumptuous as to believe they can control so fickle a thing called called love.


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Episode 3 Recap – “How Does One Write A Love Contract?”

Sam Soon’s mom (like Jin Heon’s mom) had more or less real-time information on the blind date that her child had gone on. K-drama mothers, whether they are rich or not so rich, apparently don’t have any time to watch dramas on television because they are too busy spending all their time plotting or devolving their child’s romantic relationships. And why not? It’s better to be part of the action than to merely watch, right?

In any case, Sam Soon’s mom appears to care not too much whether her daughter is playing the field or whether her daughter has has been made preggers or not, so long as she gets married off and out of the home. This seems rather crude, but Korean moms are judged by their children’s success, and like it or not, more often than not, superficial success for a woman begins with a successful marriage. Not that it appears likely that Sam Soon is headed in that direction.

Sam Soon’s toxic spew of 5 parts soju, 1 part chicken legs, 1 part eel, 1 part kimbap, 1 part noodles, 1 part omelet and 1 part alleged-but-unproven pee, has leveled the playing field. Jin Heon no longer walks 12 paces behind Sam Soon, but abreast. This is how it works. I mess up your potential love of your life, and you get to vomit and pee on me. We’re even, or as Koreans say, “same-same.”

Jin Heon wants to take a cab to work but Sam Soon would rather take the cheaper bus. Jin Heon says he’ll pay, but Sam Soon refuses outright. This is incomprehensible to Jin Heon (and at first, to me as well) because it wouldn’t have cost Sam Soon anything, but Sam Soon’s reply to that is very interesting:

Sam Soon: No, I’d rather not be part of that kind of dirty exchange.

Originally, I didn’t get it. What’s so wrong about getting a free ride? But from Sam Soon’s perspective, the ride wouldn’t be free even if Jin Heon would have done it anyway without her. This is a small point but one that I think bears repeating. What Sam Soon has learned from an early age but what Jin Heon has never had to learn, is that money is never free. It costs something to the person who gives, and it costs something to the person who takes.

Right before they arrive at the restaurant for work, Sam Soon asks a good question: there are so many women who would gladly pillage of a village to have the chance at a relationship with Jin Heon, fake or real. Why continually pester Sam Soon about it? Jin Heon answers that since they can’t stand each other, there’s no chance for a real relationship. Sam Soon is a little offended, and begins to reply that that while it is true that Jerky McJerks like him aren’t her type… and Jin Heon interrupts and says his type doesn’t include violent drunks who wet themselves. *chortle* For those keeping score at home, that’s Samsoonites 1, Jinheonnies 2.

Sam Soon turns to leave but Jin Heon grabs her again. How much money will it take to do the pretend-dating thing? Gaaah, Jin Heon, didn’t you read what I wrote like 2 paragraphs ago? You cannot buy a person without consequences. There is a steep price to be paid by the person who is bought.

Sam Soon enters the restaurant late and realizes it’s the first wine class day and she late.  She is chided by the former school teacher Manager Oh and by Chef Lee for being tardy.

But then Jin Heon strolls through and says, “Don’t be too hard on her. She’s late because we spent the whole night together.” Hehe! I think there is an important life lesson here. You can make it perfectly clear that you are not going to pretend-date your boss, but sometimes that doesn’t matter.

It’s not going to be easy working for Jin Heon, is it. Sam Soon is still flummoxed as she arrives at the bus stop near her home.  Sam Soon’s second older sister, Kim Yi Young, who was supposed to be happily married and living in America, is waiting for her. Hey, that’s the aisle-seat woman from the airplane!

Oh but she’s not here visiting. She is divorced. Wow. Yi Young’s husband was having an affair, so she ended it. He got the mistress and Yi Young got the Seoul condo apartment. Win-win for Yi Young, but Sam Soon’s first thought is that her pool of competitors for single men just grew by 1. Hee!

But as they are discussing how to break the news of Yi Young’s divorce, the mom appears from behind and says, “DIVORCE??!”  LOL! Like she probably has done her whole life, Sam Soon rats out her unni Yi Young to their mom within 0.01 seconds.  Yi Young is no dummy of course, and grabs her younger sister as shield while the mom throws hay-makers.

The mom’s reaction might seem a little odd – I mean, Yi Young wasn’t the one having the affair; she was the victim.  But the mom doesn’t seem to care about that.  On one hand, this seems like a very backward attitude to take – sure, blame the wife for the husband’s infidelities.  But I don’t think that the mom is blaming Yi Young for her husband’s cheating; rather, I think the mom is asking Yi Young to take responsibility for her decisions which included marrying a complete nimrod.  So maybe this isn’t a backward attitude at all, it is a liberating one.

And while we are adding additional characters to the story line, one new character joins the party and one old one returns to the fold.

Meet Jang Chae Ri, high school classmate of Sam Soon’s, has come to make reservations for her engagement party to be held at Bon Appetit. Her family is loaded, and so they can afford to pull out all the stops for Chae Ri’s wedding announcement.

Chae Ri and Sam Soon have a weird relationship that borders on friendship since they’ve known each other for so long – it’s weird because Chae Ri’s family is on a different socio-economic class than Sam Soon’s family, but Sam Soon is older and so Chae Ri still has to show some level of respect. Chae Ri wonders why she hasn’t seen Sam Soon around Bon Appetit, since she and Jin Heon oppa have been close forever. Chae Ri notes that since she is having her engagement party at Bon Appetit, it will be Sam Soon who will be making the engagement cake. Sam Soon wonders who the groom is, and she turns around to see…

Min Hyun Woo is back. And he has his new flame and fiancée Chae Ri.

Despite her shock, Sam Soon doesn’t reveal anything. And of course, Hyun Woo doesn’t say anything and rather cowardly pretends not to know Sam Soon.

Chae Ri skips to the back office room to meet up with Jin Heon, who plays it cool despite Chae Ri professing her first love being Jin Heon. Chae Ri even does a half-hearted OPW to Jin Heon, but Jin Heon doesn’t flinch (which proves NOTHING. A properly done OPW would have worked. I contend that Chae Ri didn’t do it right.)  Jin Heon notes that Min Hyun Woo looks familiar but can’t quite place him yet…

That evening, Sam Soon is called out by Hyun Woo and they meet up for the first time since the night he dumped her. But this time, Sam Soon isn’t backing down. After a bit, Hyun Woo asks if she is seeing anyone, and Sam Soon hesitates for a micro-second before answering.

Sam Soon: Yes.

Hyun Woo is floored. He starts flapping his mouth again and tells Sam Soon that when a person gets an arm or a leg amputated, there is a phantom pain even if the appendage is gone. And if you love someone and then it stops, how much greater would the pain be if the heart is the part that is amputated? (samsooki note:  isn’t it weird how can truth be spoken by a person who only lies?)

But Hyun Woo is right in that Sam Soon still feels pain.  That night, Sam Soon weeps the whole bus ride home, weeping for her lost years, her youth and vitality that was destroyed by her believing in Hyun Woo. Sam Soon weeps in sadness but also in anger at her lost confidence in herself and the fact that she is crying at all over a piece of crap like him.

Sam Soon arrives home but finds that all is not well.  Her father’s younger brother had gotten Sam Soon’s dad to co-sign a business loan and use the family home as collateral.  Then when the business went bad, Sam Soon’s uncle skipped town, leaving the debt to be paid by Sam Soon’s family.  The debt is big enough that even if Sam Soon, Yi Young and their mom combine their savings, they would fall around $50,000 short.  Yi Young’s apartment can be sold but not in time to stop the bank from taking Sam Soon’s family home.  This is a disaster.

Sam Soon takes off for work the next morning, but stops at the gate and looks back at her yard.  A montage of memories comes back to Sam Soon, and we get a glimpse of Sam Soon’s dad before he passed away.  The garden and the swing are all that is left of her dad now, and losing the home would mean losing her dad all over again.

Sam Soon is left with no choice but to awkwardly accept Jin Heon’s offer for cash in return for pretend-dating.  Jin Heon gloats only a little bit, but even a little bit of gloating is noticed by Sam Soon. Still, this is a time to swallow pride. A few clicks of the mouse, and Sam Soon is now hooked like a fish.

Jin Heon gleefully grabs Sam Soon’s wrist and drags her out to the entire restaurant staff where they are eating during their break. Jin Heon announces that they have been dating and its been two months. Jang Captain drops her spoon in shock and In Hye suddenly has a need to inspect her food with her forehead. Sam Soon is now officially the most hated woman in the restaurant.

Now it is off to Chairwoman Na’s estate, where Jin Heon and Sam Soon must convince his mom that their relationship is sincere AND convince his mom that Sam Soon isn’t a loser-moocher. It’s your typical mo-in-law quiz time – not for the faint of heart. The usual questions come up. How old are you. Where did you graduate college. Where do you live. What does your dad do for a living. What does your mom do for a living. Judgy-judgy!

Rather than being evasive, Sam Soon answers forthrightly and this confuses Chairwoman Na, who cannot believe that someone with so little would be so dignified about her comparatively poor background.  Switching tactics, Chairwoman Na asks a tricky question. How much do you love my son?  Get this one wrong, and you’re history, thinks Chairwoman Na.  Jin Heon, having been silenced by his mom, can only squirm. Sam Soon freezes for a moment.

Chairwoman Na (smugly): It appears that Sam Soon has no answer!
Sam Soon (composed): Dear Mother, there was this writer. She would write all night and then at dawn, she would leave the manuscript on her husband’s desk before sleeping. Day by day, the husband would be the first person that would read his wife’s words. Day by day, I want Jin Heon to be the very first person who would eat my cake. I want Jin Heon to be the person to eat the very first and the very best cake that I can make. I love your son that much.

Beautiful! Impressive! Eloquent! Sam Soon’s coup de grâce is a little heart she makes with her hands and I am dying with laughter. I LOVE IT! Chairwoman Na and her son are both initially speechless. LOL!

While Sam Soon is in the bathroom decompressing and dry-heaving, Chairwoman Na rather crudely tears into Jin Heon’s choice for a girlfriend. But surprisingly (and sincerely), Jin Heon defends Sam Soon, her work ethic and her personality, noting she is far better than the idiots that his mom has set him up with. His mom asks another killer question, tho: Does this mean you are over Hee Jin? Wasn’t that the reason Jin Heon has been sabotaging the blind dates?

Jin Heon’s face turns dark. After a pause, he answers that he is over Hee Jin and Sam Soon is the reason why. Chairwoman Na is impressed then, acknowledging that at the very least, Sam Soon has been able to do what all the other fancy blind date women could not – get Jin Heon over the black hole that was Hee Jin.

Sam Soon explores Jin Heon’s house and finds Jin Heon’s niece, Mi Joo, playing by herself. Mi Joo apparently doesn’t talk but Sam Soon gets along just fine with her. When Jin Heon re-appears and also plays with Mi Joo, Sam Soon finally catches a glimpse of a totally different side to Jin Heon. He’s not just a Jerky McJerk!

In an organic moment, Jin Heon plays with Mi Joo on the piano and follows that by playing on his own. Then with Sam Soon watching from a distance, Jin Heon plays an Elvis ballad, Can’t Help Falling In Love. Maybe it’s the arpeggios, or maybe it’s this new side of Jin Heon, but Sam Soon is touched. Maybe it’s because Jin Heon plays with passion, and passion knows passion? Jin Heon offers to play a tune by request. Sam Soon asks for “Over The Rainbow,” but Jin Heon’s mood suddenly shifts to angry at the mention of the song. When Sam Soon starts pressing for the song, Jerky McJerk leaves the piano.

Jin Heon drags Sam Soon to a bar to hash things out, but Jin Heon is too cranky to be civil. What he wants and what Sam Soon is willing to put up with are just too far apart. Sam Soon quits but Jin Heon pulls her back when a spy for his mother appears. It looks like both Jin Heon and Sam Soon will have to work to keep their respective sides of the bargain.

To prevent future flare-ups and to keep this organized, Jin Heon and Sam Soon lay out the terms of the pretend-love contract on the backside of beer coasters. Jin Heon’s and Sam Soon’s clauses are all rude against one another and reading the coasters later, Yi Young thinks it all crazy. Yeah, but this craziness saved their home and that’s all there is to it.

What is interesting is that as rude as Jin Heon is to Sam Soon personally, Jin Heon is far more respectful to Sam Soon the pâtissier. Unaware that Hyun Woo agreed to Sam Soon’s request that she not be forced to make the engagement cake, Jin Heon takes the initiative and puts Sam Soon on the challenge of creating the best engagement cake. At the very least, Jin Heon has believed in and respected Sam Soon’s ability and talent. Maybe that’s enough to build upon? Sam Soom agrees to do the cake.

It seems all is finally settled. Jin Heon and Sam Soon have their agreement. Jin Heon is freed from future blind dates, and the debt that threatened Sam Soon’s family home has been paid. All is well? Not exactly? While Sam Soon is hard at work sketching a design for the cake and Jin Heon away on hotel business, a visitor comes to Bon Appetit…


What strikes me early on is how weak of a person Jin Heon appears to be, especially relative to Sam Soon. Sam Soon might have been the one who was hurt and humiliated, but she is proving to be an extraordinarily strong person to bounce back. In contrast, Jin Heon can’t seem to do anything that requires significant will power. He cannot stand up to his mother on issues of his heart, resorting to passive-aggressive pranks get out of blind dates. And despite the passage of time he still hasn’t gotten over this mysterious woman named Hee Jin.

To paraphrase Hyun Woo, when people who are in love find themselves falling out of love, there will be phantom pain in the cavity where the heart used to be. What bears scrutiny in the future is to see if Jin Heon is able to fill that hole in his chest over the course of drama, because if he doesn’t, then I’m not sure if he would be worth the effort to hold onto him.


68 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. AL

    yehhh first……..best drama ever!!!! thanks for the recap

  2. Leona

    the other girl was stronger than SamSoon even she had all those problems
    SamSoon look pretty thin to me… for Korea not but for Europe she is a normal gal

    • 2.1 malta

      This was one of the earlier kdramas I watched so I didn’t know that much about Korea and their standards of beauty so I was very confused whenever someone called Sam soon fat.

      • 2.1.1 Kasie J.

        I was confused as well. Compared to the other Korean girls in the drama, yes she is a bit bigger but if you look at her full body she really doesn’t even seem to be that big. It’s the clothes and the haircut that makes her seem “large.”

        But I totally forgot there would be a recap tonight! Whoo~! Thank you so much!

        And I totally loved the scene when Sam Soon expresses the extent of her love for Heonie Boy. Clever comeback! XD

        • Alvina

          indeed. and I think she has more of a traditional sort of korean beauty, something that’s contrasting to the glam doll image that is so popular now.

    • 2.2 ixx

      i know even in south america she’s more than normal, she’s thin here ^^

    • 2.3 Chocobo

      True, but think about American television programming, or film: they have characters all the time who get poked at for eating too much or being “fat”, but they’re actually normal, even skinny. Like Ugly Betty, Bridget Jones, or Liz Lemon (30Rock).

      I think it has more to do with a skewed perception of what is “thin”, “normal,” and “fat” in Hollywood than it does with cultural norms.

      That’s probably what makes Bridget Jones and Kim Sam Soon so popular in their respective countries of origin: they seem so much more normal, and more relatable, than the rest of the sea of twigurines.

    • 2.4 INFINITElySHINee

      Sun Ah (the actress playing Sam Soon) said in an interview somewhere a few months ago that she had gained a lot of weight on purpose for this drama. But now she is unbelievably skinny….I don’t know how she did it. Someone please tell me ㅠㅠ

  3. Lala

    Haha! Love MNIKSS!

  4. Deasy

    Thanks For the recaps….

  5. jandoe

    aww this brings me back. thanks for the recap samosooki! i’m enjoying it 🙂

  6. Molly

    Samsooki, I love you almost as much as I love my Binnie.

    • 6.1 MJP


      Is this your first fangirl love? Hmm, I wonder what Mrs. Samsooki thinks of all your fame?

      *Mentally compares Samsooki to Cha Seung Won*

  7. malta

    Thank you for the recap. I think I’m gonna have to watch MNIKSS again!

    Does anyone know if the little girl who plays Mi joo is still acting? She was soooo cute 🙂

    • 7.1 samsooki

      The name of the girl who played Mi Joo is Suh Ji Hee.

      She is 13 now, and probably focusing on school more than acting. It looks like she still appears in dramas; her last drama was in the 2010 drama Three Sisters.

  8. Aliiiiiiiiiiice

    this is my all-time favorite. all the characters are rife with interesting little idiosyncrasies and I love, love, love how the love rival is not a snooty, heartless, greedy warlock of a woman. she’s actually attractive, got a good head on her shoulders and is deeply human.

    funnily enough, the only wooden actor in the whole series was Hyun Bin.

    aside from him, I love, love, LOVED each and every character, from mouthless Mi Joo to Sam Soon’s spitfire big sis, to the equally hilariously crazy mothers to even Jang Chae Ri, though it did take me 5 or 10 episodes to eventually warm up to her.

    • 8.1 skelly

      I always had trouble liking Hee Jin. As a character, I found her self-obsessed, wrapped in privilege and ingnorance, and with the arrogance that implies. And whenever she spoke in that flat California accent what little acting chops she had went right out the window.

    • 8.2 Dorotka

      I also liked that Hee Jin was “normal” …. and loved all the characters…

      …but for me the wooden one was Henry 🙂

  9. Mena

    Samsooki, thanks for the recap. I love MNIKSS so much I went and saw the whole series once again you remind me how much i loved it and do still. Daebak!

  10. 10 Yer Vang

    Thanks for the recap.

  11. 11 umalily

    I have to say that when the mom beats Samsoon and her daughter Yi Youngwith her purse it’s a brilliant piece of slapstick! I still laugh myself silly when I see it.

    • 11.1 umalily

      Maybe you should have made that into a gif but then Samsoon would be hit on an ending cycle.

  12. 12 happa

    Hyun Bin was so cute in this drama! Over the years he became kinda gaunt looking…

  13. 13 millaredwitch

    how great it is to have 4 recaps per week covering up Sun-Ah>???? love it~~~ love it~~~ love it~~~ thanks samsooki <3<3<3<3<3

  14. 14 Mia

    Samsooki thank you so much for the lovely recap! I enjoyed hearing your insight on the mother’s actions towards Sam-soon’s older sister. Even though I casually watched, and enjoyed, the drama before, hearing those bits of insight from your perspective makes reading the recaps truly lovely and something to look forward to!

    Thank you again!

  15. 15 langdon813

    You nailed it! What’s interesting about their relationship at this point is that, while Jin Heon has purely selfish reasons for entering into this love contract, he respects Sam Soon, even though he may not realize it himself. He genuinely defends her to his mother, and in doing so, earns Sam Soon a tiny modicum of respect from her, as well.

    Of course, he’s also the ass who painted a big ol’ target on Sam Soon’s back at the restaurant. I can totally see Jang Captain sneaking into the bakery in the dead of night, gleaming knife behind her back, Psycho violins screeching…

    By ep 3 I was already madly in love with these people (especially Sam Soon’s unni, she rocks) and dying to know what Jin Heon’s demons are…

    Thanks, samsooki!


  16. 16 Noelle

    I love her hand heart. It’s like she’s saying “Sarangae Bitches!”

    KSA is the bees knees.

    • 16.1 obivia


  17. 17 BJ

    Thanks for the wonderful recap and now I have to go back and watch this drama again!!!

  18. 18 grateful1

    “Day by day, I want Jin Heon to be the very first person who would eat my cake.”

    Join the club!

    Thanks, Samsooki~ these reaps are such a treat.

  19. 19 xiaoSxin

    I seriously need a MNIKSS rewatch.. your recaps are just fabulous. Makes me crave for more!!

  20. 20 zgznoona

    Thanks, after reading your recaps each week I feel desire to watch again this drama. It’s been a while since I first watched it.

  21. 21 asianromance

    Thank you so much for the recap!! It’s wonderful reading your commentary on this series! I love Samsoon’s older sister.

  22. 22 FaBe

    Ahhhh Binnie
    Oh how I miss my Oppa. Im still in love with this drama. It was so freaking good. I definitely fell in love with both of the lead characters for different reasons. If you like this drama, check out Scent of a Woman which has Sam Soon in it. I loved the whole cast and all the secondary storylines. Here’s to love overcoming even weight issues that we women are forced to conform to by “society and their crazy rules”. MNIKSS FIGHTING 4EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. 23 MJP

    A Reflection on Samsooki’s Comments, First Paragraph:

    I see many times in Korean dramas the writers have written the male as the stronger personality. I find it refreshing that the writers have made KSS the stronger personality than JH.

    In so many real-life relationships, the woman appears to be the stronger personality than the male. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. There is always one partner stronger than the other, but this does not mean that one person is consistantly stronger, just that they take turns. There always needs to be some give and take in relationships. If both are giving or both are taking, too often the relationship fails. Using the common relational analogy, two halves making a whole.

    It will be interesting to see the character development regarding this area that Samsooki kindly pointed out, making me very curious.

  24. 24 imoan.naomi

    What I love about Samsoon is that she’s very human and at the same time she’s someone that other woman would aspire to be. Heartbroken, yes, but passionate and honest, strong and open too.

  25. 25 Kasie J.

    Can I just say I really wished Samsoonie fed Heonie all those cakes everyday? Maybe we’d have a less gaunty / pointy chinned Hyun Bin who is still very hot and sexy but could use more meat on him. . . .

  26. 26 Nopi Yanti

    The first drama i saw is Fantastic drama, simple story but make me cry, laugh … & make me fall in love with korean drama …..

  27. 27 corn tea

    Binnie is so good looking…..too bad, he is in the army now…but there is the army body to look forward to.

  28. 28 laya

    Thanks for the recap, o Great Samsooki! *kowtows deeply*

  29. 29 Maddi

    Thanks! I can never seem to watch mnikss but thanks to this site I’ve been enjoying the recaps

  30. 30 hjkomo


  31. 31 Mzpakipit

    So many laugh out loud scenes! Thank you for the insightful recap SAmsooki! Off topic: are you watching Scent of a Woman?

  32. 32 yumi

    Thanks for the recap.

    What is OPW?

    • 32.1 omo

      Multiple expressions at one go :

      Oppa! Pout Wiggle

      Supposedly very effective to get your oppa to do whatever you want.

    • 32.2 samsooki

      OPW stands for oppa-pout-wiggle.

      When a girl does a proper OPW to a guy, the guy can’t help but do what the girl wants. Combination of the girl being totally cute and preying upon the guy’s manliness and his secret inner desire to be an oppa. Every guy wants to be an oppa.

      Every guy? Yes. Every guy.


      • 32.2.1 yumi

        @ Omo
        @ Samsooki


      • 32.2.2 Saima

        Can a married guy still be an ‘oppa’ to an unmarried younger female?!

        • samsooki

          Well, if you read the Dramabeans glossary for oppa, you’ll see that there are different meanings for the word.

          What kind of oppa are we talking about? Oppa by blood will still be oppa by blood regardless of marriage.

          It’s the romantic oppa that you’re referring to, right?

          Let’s say we have three people:

          Guy named A. He’s 28, a chaebol son, and just got married to B, a former golf/tennis professional.

          Gal named B. She’s 24, and struck jackpot by snagging Guy A and marrying him.

          Gal named C. She’s 22, young, not so rich, super cute and some may even say, smokin hot. She is not related to A but has known him for like 10 years.


          So, C has ALWAYS called A “oppa.” And being called oppa has always made A feel awesome.

          But when A got married, Gal B sent a voo-doo doll with pins and needles stuck in various places to Gal C, with a note that said, “HEY C, MY HUSBAND IS NOW AJUSSHI TO YOU. NO OPPA FOR YOU!”

          Gal C got the message, and from then on, only referred to Guy A as “ajusshi,” although in secret when they were alone, she would still call him “oppa.” The home-wrecker!

          So, there you have it. To answer your question, “yes, he can, but not if he wants to stay married.”

  33. 33 Elle

    Thank you soo much..
    m soo in LOVE with Korean Dramas
    I am planning a trip to Seoul…

  34. 34 omo

    These recaps are like icing on Samsoonie’s cakes. So many poignant moments. I can’t believe it’s six years already.


  35. 35 Rovi

    Fave scenes:
    -The whole scene with Mom, Sam-soon, & Yi-yeong – hilarious, from the moment Mom hits Yi-yeong with her night shopping, to Sam-soon doing the hoola-hoops in the garden while older sister gets sermoned at and hit by Mom (also, the dogs barking thru the night d/t “The Noise”). Also, the NG’s regarding the scene where “Mom Hits Older Sister and Older Sister uses Heroine as Shield” were hilarious; it took them 2 retakes, and the funniest was the one where Sam-soon was taking all the hits, and Kim Seon-ah was like hurrying her way out of the scene. (of course, next funniest was all of Mom’s night shopping going out of the plastic bag since plastic bag can’t take the weight of the shopping)
    -OMG, I still hated Jang Chae-ri until now for being such an obnoxious bitch
    -“That evening, Sam-soon is called out by Hyeon-woo” scene. I smirked when Sam-soon relabeled Hyeon-woo’s contact name as “그 놈이” or something similar…
    -“Yi Young thinks it all crazy”. The next scene was crazier than funny: Sam-soon: I think your rice is getting overcooked/burnt! 😛

    Questions, tho…
    -was this the scene where Sam-soon mistakenly labels a cake with “Son of a Dog/Bitch” (개자식)? That scene was hilarious, with In-hye being funny when she notes Sam-soon pensive and staring into the air, and their reactions toward the cake…
    -also, was this the scene where Sam-soon was being all senti and the bus lurched forward, and Sam-soon yelled, “Ahjussi, I don’t want to die yet, I’m still a virgin!” or something similar?

  36. 36 sleeplessinwgtn

    Although I have watched MNIKSS umpteen times, the recaps are revealing nuances that I did not pick up with the recaps and my lack of knwoledge of Korean culture. Thank you very much, samsooki, for recapping my all-time favourite k-drama.

  37. 37 SL

    Hi, I am recently watching MNIKSS too, for I am only recently attracted to KDrama after watching Queen Seon Deok.
    I hope to read more of your very interesting reviews–they are better than watching the show itself!

  38. 38 vannie

    i was expecting to read the recaps of scent of a woman bec. of the 1st pic even though i’ve read the title..for a second there i was lost. he he. we’ve always known the actress as samsoon, now i have to remember she’s kim sun ah!

  39. 39 Tram

    Thanks for the review samsooki. This is surely the best kdrama ever. Since you’re doing a recap of an old classic, can you please please review ‘something happened in bali’ as your next project? would love to see what your views on it are.

  40. 40 Qd

    That does it!!!!!!! Samsooki I am loving your recaps! Dont get me wrong, I watched this with my omma many years ago and both fell in love with it then but I havent watched it in such a long time that I have forgotten it. Your writing is fabulous and transports me back to my viewing days with my mum!!! *note to self* need to call mum!

    This episode just makes my itching too much to just read your recaps… off to get hold of my dusty MNIKSS! THANK YOU for doing this Samsooki! Cant wait for your next episode!!!

  41. 41 soomp

    so well written! i felt like i was experiencing for the first time all over. thanks for these!

  42. 42 Abbie

    An interesting turn of events. I’m still not completely sold on this drama. I hope it gets more interesting as it continues.

  43. 43 aravisalice

    I have a long winded non-MNIKSS related question for Samsooki (since you explain tidbits of K-culture so succinctly in these recaps) or any of the other wonderful people on this site who may be in the know: What is the deal with the hating on orphans/widows in dramas?! I’ve noticed it over the course of the past year of my drama addiction… I mean enthusiasm… and a recent episode of *to-not-be-named-for-fear-of-spoiling-for-others* mentioned it again so now my curiosity has been re-piqued. Is it just a plot device to give the hero/heroine a new obstacle to overcome (“the leading lady is –gasp!!- a widow! However can these two fall in love?!” / “You have no parents? You should be ashamed”) or is it an actual prejudice in Korea? I’ve gotten my head around some other drama quirks: I now know that cell phone battery removal is the fastest way to make a someone know you don’t want to be disturbed, the far right lane of any road is apparently for people about to have an angry conversation and/or good crying jag, and if I want to give someone hell I’ll need to take them to the waterfront under a bridge first but I just can’t seem to come to terms with the arbitrary loathing of orphans/widows. Please help!

    • 43.1 samsooki

      It’s not loathing.

      First tho, I am not an expert in Korean culture. I might have some insight, but really, cultural insight comes from one’s own experience. And since everyone’s experience differs slightly, cultural things can be more personal than it is global.

      Second, so much of what passes for cultural idiosyncrasies really are just bits and pieces of a larger tapestry. Nothing should be taken out of context, because then you get things like, “all korean guys are arrogant hot-heads” and clearly this is not the case.


      So, like, old school Korean philosophy can be traced to a few big influences like Confucianism and familial shamanism. And among the chief tenents of both Confucianism and familial shamanism is the importance of family continuity.

      See, the old ppl in one’s family is who kept the knowledge base. What you did for a living probably came from what your ancestors did for a living. And that knowledge base was extremely important for the family’s success. Not only that, but family ancestors also worked for the success of the family line, corporeally or in spirit fashion.

      So, one’s parents are that important.

      As a side parallel point. You know how there’s a phrase in Korean that is used as a mild-ish curse? Jae-soo up-da. Literally it means, unlucky. But that sort of speaks to what’s going on. The person is being cursed as unlucky.

      Okay, so now you have an orphan, who by no fault of his or her own, is parent-less. If that person is still a very young child, then it is possible or even likely that such a person will grow to adult-hood losing all of that familial knowledge-base, all of the advantages to being part of a nuclear-unit, and all of the spiritual defenses from one’s ancestors.

      Not only is such a person at an extreme disadvantage from an economic standpoint, but also from an ethical standpoint because the moral code that is based on family lineage has been absent. And, there is a spiritual deficiency as well. The person is just not whole.

      From a rather simplistic and “everything happens for a reason” point of view, such a person would be thusly damned because of some unknown cause or reason, and other people would be well-advised to steer clear of such an unlucky or damned person.

      Context is everything. And in a very limited context, one might be able to see how orphans may be seen in a different light than those who have both parents.


      As for widows, I’m not sure. I’ve never heard of widows being treated poorly because they lost their wives or husbands.

      Of course, in old Korea, wives who lose their husbands would generally be in far more difficult straits than a husband who loses a wife. It would be difficult or impossible for them to remarry, because they are part of their deceased spouse’s family now.

      And, the parents-in-law / family-in-law of the widow wife would probably not treat such person as well, perhaps, since even if the wife had nothing to do with her husband’s death, there would be blame to go around.

      And so all of this would make the widow wife’s life very difficult indeed.


      Of course, much of these kinds of things are remnants of a by-gone age. Still, there are elements of Korean culture that still echo those remnants, as family continuity and traditions are the last things to change even in a modern society.

      • 43.1.1 aravisalice

        At the risk of feeling like a total poser, omo-omo-omo is about the only thing that leaps to my mind at the moment (K-dramas having taken over my brain and what not). And in that phrase is a whole heaping helping of thanks and admiration- Samsooki, you rock! That was SO much more info than I could have ever hoped to get and helps to see the other side of it since for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why someone who got dealt a bad hand would treated like a pariah. And, strange as it may be, I feel like your asides in the recaps and answers like this help give someone with no point of reference (like me!) a more comprehensive picture when I’m watching a show. Because, you know, the addictive quality of these shows isn’t already bad enough. Thanks again! (and while I’m at it, thanks to Dramabeans in general… I’ve never needed any validation or any of my interests before but when I stumbled across the dramas and then further stumbled across this site shortly thereafter, my relief in not being alone in this with just my sister was huge!)

  44. 44 mud

    At the risk of sounding like a total suck-up…. but, man, the drama just sounds so much better through your words. Rock on, samsooki!!

    • 44.1 sunandmoon

      Wholeheartedly agree!

      Thank you, samsooki, for doing these recaps!

  45. 45 Ellie

    Jin Heon’s mother kinda reminds me of my mom. Of course my mom is way nicer to her kids but she seems to think that other people aren’t good enough. She can be tough to please in that aspect.

  46. 46 Monirah

    I laughed until my sides hurt when Yi Young was taking the beating of a life time from her mother and using Sam Soon as a shield XDD

    the reason why the mother got angry and beat up Yi Young is because of the divorce itself. for Koreans a divorce is always out of the question. and sadly the woman is always the one who takes the blame. it’s either she must’ve did something that drove her husband away from her or neglected something so he went looking for it outside of the marriage, or should’ve tried harder to fix her marriage instead of taking to the simple solution and that is a “divorce”.

  47. 47 Dan

    I just discovered this place! This is terrific. I’m about to move to Korea, probably permanently, after a long hiatus, and been watching Ktv to help get the language back in my aging neurons and to show me the scenery, both physical and how people are living nowadays (don’t worry, I have made a trip back every year since 2009, so I won’t be totally shocked). Anyway, a trivial question for you dialect buffs. In the scene where Samsoon is walking along muttering to herself just before bumping into her sister, she uses the word (and is it indeed a word?) “거시기” which I had always thought was 전라 dialect. Is this because she’s been working side-by-side with that girl from 여수, or has “거시기” gone mainstream in the years since I’ve lived in Korea?

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