HAHA, the wacky is back, and I love it. I was afraid that the drama would lose its screwball charm when the last few episodes went into more conventional rom-com territory — which is fine, it just loses the quirky humor that gave Myung-wol the Spy its freshness. But I’m enjoying the quirk too much to want it to go away.
SONG OF THE DAY
Myung-wol the Spy OST – “사랑 할 수 있을 때” (While We’re Able To Love) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Ooh, the slap. I suppose Kang-woo does it in that stupidly misguided sense of “I’ll hurt her a little to spare her greater pain later,” but I also think he’s being weak to the pressure of fame, not wanting to lose it over this, and thus he goes with his manager’s advice to squash the rumors definitively.
In-ah thinks he did it in defense of her and is all smiles. Until Ryu chides her for her behavior, and the princess can’t take anyone telling her what to do.
Myung-wol thinks to herself, “But I thought he was a good person.” It’s her heart that hurts more than her face.
President Kyung is pleased that the scandal has been nipped in the bud, but finds it odd that Kang-woo would bother about providing Myung-wol with sufficient severance pay — he’d fired at least 100 people in his career, and never once cared. She wonders whether he’s developed feelings for Myung-wol, while Dae-kang suggests that perhaps Myung-wol is privy to one of his weaknesses and he’s making sure to keep her mouth shut.
President Kyung meets with Myung-wol to tell her not to take it too hard, since it’s important to keep him scandal-free. Myung-wol tells herself that it’s best this way, vowing to not let herself weaken against him again.
She takes out her two DVDs, as if choosing her path: She dumps the classic romance and keeps Mata Hari as a reminder of the perils of falling in love.
Kang-woo meets with Chairman Joo, who’s not pleased with the recent gossip. We’re still not entirely clear on the nature of their relationship, other than the fact that Chairman Joo has been a generous supporter of Kang-woo’s career over the years, and that Kang-woo appears to be bound to the chairman’s wishes as a result of that debt.
Chairman Joo warns him that although he’s risen to quite lofty heights, it was Joo who brought him high, and he can bring him low.
On his way out, Kang-woo runs into In-ah and Ryu on their way in. In-ah clings to his arm and pouts for him to stay for dinner, while Kang-woo ignores her and thanks Ryu for his mountain rescue. Despite the formal thank-you, there’s tension between the men, especially when the subject of Myung-wol comes up, when both Kang-woo and In-ah comment that Ryu seems to know Myung-wol pretty well.
Kang-woo returns to his empty house and confirms that Myung-wol’s gone. Not quite sure on how he feels, he thinks back to their various bonding encounters, and it amuses me that their budding romance is pretty much defined by disaster. An explosion here, a perilous drop there. Ah, young love.
He sits on the couch, unaware of the tear in the leather. In a ghostly vision superimposed over this scene, we see how that tear got there — Myung-wol had preceded him to the house and took a vindictive blade to the sofa. Oblivious to her vandalism, he sighs, “But she seemed like a nice kid.” Heh.
Next he goes to the guest room she’d used and sits down on the bed. Lost in his thoughts, he misses seeing yet another act of petty vandalism left by a peeved Myung-wol. She’d scratched into the wood, “Kang-woo, you bastard — I curse you!” Hee. Not seeing this, he thinks, “And she had her cute sides, too.”
Hearing the front door, Kang-woo hurries out thinking it’s her, and covers up hastily when he sees it’s only Dae-kang.
Kang-woo gets in his car to go out, and the interior quickly fills with exhaust — Myung-wol had stuck an orange in his exhaust pipe. He mutters that this must be his karmic punishment, but the orange pops out soon enough and he’s able to drive off.
Team Great Wall of China worries about their fates now that their mission has failed and their futures look bleak. They’re safe for now because the higher-ups in Pyongyang don’t yet know their mission status, but Ryu warns them that they may have to prepare themselves for a worst-case scenario. That entails being shot dead, and they shudder at the thought.
Myung-wol can’t let that happen, and declares with new resolve that she will do everything in her power to fix this situation. That means…showing up at his house unannounced and resuming work as his assistant, whether he likes it or not. He likes it not.
As she’s dragged toward the front door, she tells him she’ll do anything he asks, short of murdering, if he’ll only take her back. He doesn’t budge, so she amends, “Fine. I’ll kill, too.” Hahaha.
He orders her out anyway. She exits, but just temporarily. Not easily defeated, she takes out her Rejoin Kang-woo’s Household Mission list and crosses off item #1 (appeasement) and heads into tactic #2 (negotiation). That leaves blackmail as her last resort.
To that end, she swipes every scrap of toilet paper from the house and holds it hostage, and calls when Kang-woo’s on the can to propose an exchange: her job for some TP. Oh man, that’s funny. Especially when she sends him a photo text of herself holding up a roll tauntingly. Hee!
Thankfully for Kang-woo and his I-don’t-negotiate-with-blackmailers stance, he’s brought a magazine into the bathroom with him. Well, I suppose any paper product is better than none, but that glossy’s gotta chafe.
Out she goes again. Time to bring out the big guns.
She sneaks back into his house (he wonders, “How does she keep getting inside?”) and asks for one last photo with him, promising to go once she’s got her souvenir. He complies, but she snaps the photo purposely early, catching his face in an unflattering expression, and threatens to put it online if he doesn’t hire her back.
The struggle to grab the phone from her lands them on the couch, with him on top of her, and the proximity affects them both. But he recovers faster, and her pounding heart distracts Myung-wol long enough for Kang-woo to take the phone and delete the image.
He tells her that her tactics won’t work, so she does the only thing she can think of: Clutching her head, she slumps onto the couch and complains of anemia, as she hasn’t eaten all day. He tries to drag her away, but she grabs the couch and holds on tight.
Kang-woo grabs her around the middle and lifts her away, struggling while she flails in his arms.
In-ah can’t abide Ryu admonishing her about her attitude, and complains to grandpa about Ryu’s wayward loyalties. Chairman Joo says that having somebody give her advice isn’t a bad thing, and chuckles while she pouts.
However, Joo harbors suspicions of his own, and tests one of them out. He casually mentions that Ryu’s entry to South Korea and Myung-wol’s job as bodyguard occurred around the same time — did they know each other before? Ryu denies it, but the old codger is pretty shrewd; we can suspect he’ll be looking into this more carefully.
Kang-woo drags Myung-wol back home to the parents, and tells them she’s been trespassing. Ok-soon and Hee-bok try to quickly figure out how to respond, and opt for hysteria.
Mom overreacts and wails about her thoughtless daughter’s misdeeds, and her assumption of the Bad Cop role places Kang-woo, oddly enough, into Good Cop territory — sure, he’s annoyed, but even he finds it excessive when Mom beats her chest and wails about the shame, the shaaaaame!
Then Spy Dad takes over, saying that the poor child must have felt so hurt after she’d saved Kang-woo’s life only to be cut loose so cruelly. He fakes a phone call from a loan shark, fake-pleading for more time to come up with the money, and makes allusions to trading his life for the debt.
Kang-woo watches this all with growing horror, buying every detail of their dire straits, although Dad assures him wearily that he’ll take care of it somehow. Then he asks Kang-woo hopefully, “Do you…perhaps…need any eyes?”
Hee-bok gives Ok-soon the signal to take over, and she fakes a dramatic bout of coughing, saying that there’s nothing left for her but to die. Spy Family cries together about their miserable fate and how they’ll go hungry and have to live on the streets, but at least they’ll die together.
Omg, this is freakin’ hysterical. It’s like K-drama cliche central, but twisted cheekily to subvert the norm. Hee! Figures the Hallyu star would fall for every Hallyu standby in the book.
Kang-woo returns home with Myung-wol in tow, and tells her firmly that she can only stay for the night since she’s got nowhere else to go. She’d better be gone by sunrise. When she reports to Ok-soon, she’s advised to drag this out as long as she can.
Ryu plans a handoff for the ancient book he swiped from Chairman Joo’s safe, and heads to the fish market for the rendezvous. He’s wise to the man on his tail, though, and gives him the slip. Chairman Joo is displeased to hear that the minion lost Ryu, and orders him to keep close watch.
In the morning, Kang-woo heads out for the day and finds, naturally, that Myung-wol is still around. He warns her to be out by the time he’s back; perhaps he’s aware that it’s not gonna happen, because even his warnings are losing their bite. In fact, when President Kyung asks if Myung-wol has bothered him at all since her firing, he covers for her, saying that nothing’s amiss.
Going over the day’s schedule with his managers, we’re treated to a Shinhwa meta joke; Kang-woo refuses to perform for a particular venue that’s been hounding him, and his manager comments that (Shinhwa bandmate) Jun Jin was likewise pestered until he ended up participating. She wonders if they’ll be equally forceful with Kang-woo, but he dismisses this Shinhwa talk as irrelevant to him, and they move on. Hehe.
He arrives home and looks around for Myung-wol, more disappointed than relieved when the rooms all turn up empty. He even grumbles that she should have at least told him goodbye before going, just as she pops up behind him.
Now that he’s assured she’s here, he gets to save face and slip into the familiar role of crankypants as he demands that she leave by the time he’s down with his shower.
Instead, he emerges from the bathroom to find her playing a shooter game, and she marvels at how lifelike the toy gun feels in her hands before realizing the slip and covering. He insists yet again that she go; she challenges him to a game instead.
He loses himself in the fun of the game and high-fives their victory…then remembers to get cranky again and tells her yet one more time to leave. Seriously, dude, I don’t even think you’re convincing yourself anymore, much less anybody else.
In-ah arrives at the door and Myung-wol leaps for cover — literally, by jumping up to hide herself in the ceiling’s recessed lighting. What, does this house have no closets? Bathrooms? Large pieces of furniture to duck behind?
Ryu is with In-ah and apologizes for the imposition, trying to escort In-ah away, but she’s insistent on having a drink with Kang-woo. Alcohol makes her even clingier than usual and she whines and pouts, ignoring Kang-woo’s dismissal.
Ryu spots Myung-wol right away, and both men do their best to divert In-ah’s attention while also trying to usher her out the door, because Myung-wol’s arms are shaking and she can’t hold out forever.
When Myung-wol loses her hold and falls to the piano with a loud thump, Kang-woo goes from pushing In-ah away to grabbing her in a hug to distract her. But In-ah spots the reflection in the window and whirls on Myung-wol, bitchface firmly in place as she gives a warning “to pieces of trash like you” about staying the hell away from Kang-woo.
She slaps Myung-wol across the face and moves for a second strike, which Ryu blocks. He tries not to take Myung-wol’s side too obviously and urges In-ah to leave this matter to him, and escorts her out.
In-ah turns her anger to Kang-woo and says that he’s encouraging her by not cutting ties cleanly, and he defends her, saying that Myung-wol is someone to be pitied: “You know she’s done nothing wrong.”
In-ah pouts, “What about me? And I’m not pitiful?” Well, yes honey, but not in the way you mean.
Myung-wol apologizes to Ryu for her failure. He decrees that this mission was a mistake from the start, and that she should have heeded his warning not to come. He tells her that her father wouldn’t have wanted her to follow in his footsteps, then lets his guard drop the teeniest bit as he adds, “And it’s not my wish, either.”
Without giving her a chance to question that, he says that they no longer have the choice to quit, and that they have to press forward.
Chairman Joo receives the report from his minion that his suspicions about Ryu were right — his identity was falsified using someone else’s name. He decides to abide by the adage to keep friends close and enemies closer, not ready to tip his hand just yet.
The Spy Team know they have to formulate a new plan, and mull over ideas. Myung-wol declares that they’ve got to use their final card: “If he won’t go obediently, we have to use force.” Gives new meaning to the term shotgun wedding?
Mission day: Kang-woo’s upcoming showcase. They know his habits, and plan for Myung-wol to abduct him just before his performance.
Ok-soon and Hee-bok will provide the diversion: Dressed as staff members, they direct the managers in the wrong direction. Or, they try to. Their hastily devised cover — as Kang-woo’s last-minute dancer and chorus singer (for a ’70s-style, Elvis-esque number, pffft) — gets blown when Dae-kang arrives and identifies them as Myung-wol’s parents.
Meanwhile, Myung-wol lurks near the car where Kang-woo takes his pre-show break, and slips in the driver’s seat to whisk him away. Unfortunately for her (and the cool getaway she had planned), Kang-woo ruins the whole effect by leaving the car right away and accusing her of fabricating this elaborate ruse to make him think he’d need a bodyguard again.
He demands to know her reason for going to such lengths, and she blurts the reminder, “Because I like you.” She argues that she just wants to be with him, and he hardens to say, “I don’t want to see you again.”
He stalks off, and moments later a car screeches up — but it’s Myung-wol these gangsters kidnap, drugging her with chloroform and whisking her away.
Ryu hears from Spy Mom and Dad that their plan failed and goes outside to check on Myung-wol. Seeing her dropped hat and the car peeling out, he guesses what’s happening and gives chase, while making a call to locate the car.
Myung-wol demands to know what the thugs are about, and they show her the newspaper picturing her with Kang-woo. They don’t want her, they want him, and she’s to be bait.
She tells them they’re wasting their efforts since she’s not his girlfriend, but they’re too familiar with celebrity gossip to buy that. The gangsters say that the denial is routine PR, and that she was probably fired because the agency wanted to save face. Hee.
The head thug calls Kang-woo to tell him to come after his girlfriend, and is surprised at the response: Kang-woo retorts that she’s nobody to him, so they’re free to kill her or not, whatever.
The head thug confirms with Myung-wol: “You guys really aren’t dating? You weren’t, like, having a really fierce lover’s quarrel?” She rolls her eyes as if to say, “I told you so.”
Just minutes before he’s set to take the stage, Kang-woo mutters to himself in his dressing room, trying to convince himself he doesn’t care but unable to shake his worry.
Ryu speeds along on his motorcycle, having received the location of the kidnappers’ car. They’ve arrived at an abandoned warehouse, and the thugs check their watches and figure that he probably isn’t coming. What now?
The leader has no use for Myung-wol, since he’s just a thug for hire and his objective was to get Kang-woo — these guys are working for that Shinhwa-terrorizing venue that apparently can’t take no for an answer. The boss tells his minions to take care of her — a toss into the water to silence her for good — and that’s when lights glare in their faces and a car arrives.
At the showcase, the excitement of the fans gradually dims as nobody takes the stage. Where’s Kang-woo?
Why, he’s currently busy hero-strutting to the rescue, to the shock of all. (The gangster hilariously crows that he was right about the gossip — there’s no use denying that they’re dating now! Ha. I love a pop-culture-savvy ruffian, don’t you?)
Kang-woo’s already annoyed with himself for coming, but the thing that pisses him off especially is seeing the leader mockingly touch Myung-wol’s hair. He yells at the bastard to get his hands off her, then launches himself toward the gangsters.
At first this looks like standard K-drama hero stuff, with Kang-woo charging in with fists swinging, taking on a whole group of gangsters singlehandedly. But Kang-woo’s only an actor playing a badass, not an actual badass — so he’s quickly overpowered and knocked down. Ha! I love this subversion of expectations. It kills me.
With Kang-woo in danger, Myung-wol hurriedly works herself free of her ropes, just as the gangsters saunter up to him wielding metal pipes, threatening to ruin his pretty face.
At which point Myung-wol interrupts, and now it’s time for the real badass to make her appearance. She takes down the gangsters with ease as Kang-woo watches wide-eyed and slack-jawed. Now this, he did not expect.
Myung-wol sends her thugs running, and Ryu arrives just as the fight winds down. He faces a fresh wave of backup gangsters, taking them down with similar ease.
Myung-wol rushes to check on Kang-woo, but more than anything her actions have aroused his suspicions. He peevishly asks who the heck she is, since there’s clearly something she’s not telling him.
She thanks him for coming, saying that she didn’t expect that he would. Kang-woo replies that he didn’t come for her, but because her problems always end up turning into his problems. Convenient excuse, that. But in any case, he considers them square now — he doesn’t owe her anymore for saving his life — so she’d better stay out of his sight.
Ryu comes back to the Joo mansion that night, and finds Chairman Joo awaiting his return. The chairman doesn’t give away his newfound knowledge, and instead informs Ryu of his intention to hold a secret auction of his own. He’ll put up his ancient book as bait to lure in possible holders of the other volumes, and possibly Ryu himself. Not knowing his cover has been semi-blown, Ryu approves of the plan.
Kang-woo comes home to a collection of upset voicemail messages wondering where he’s been all night. He thinks back to the warehouse fight, wondering again what Myung-wol’s true purpose is.
He flips on the TV, which is in the middle of airing Charlie’s Angels — only now, he imagines Myung-wol inside the movie as one of the characters. Flipping to a different channel, he comes upon Tomb Raider…starring Han Myung-wol. And then Sailor Moon, whose anime face bears her features. LOL.
Then 2D becomes 3D, and he imagines Myung-wol in his living room, showing off her fighting moves and beating up his stuffed animals. Oh man, why is this so funny? It’s so random and weird, and also such a quirky way to show his revelation occurring in real time.
What puts the icing on the cake for me is the conclusion Kang-woo arrives at: “No way… I can’t… not Myung-wol?”
PUAHAHAHA. I mean, after all those clues, his main takeaway from the realization that Myung-wol is a badass fighter chick is not that she’s a spy or a superhero or an undercover agent, but that…he…likes her? I giggle in glee. Kang-woo may be hot, but he’s not so fast on the uptake, is he?
I can feel the drama heading into one of my favorite parts of rom-com narrative, which is the part when the boy realizes he likes the girl, but isn’t yet ready to accept it, so he has to find ways to deal with his feelings in hilariously awkward and transparent ways. It’s not far behind the trajectory of You’ve Fallen For Me, which similarly gets me giddy whenever the hero acts in immature, silly ways because he’s trying to juggle feelings with pride.
This is one of the wackiest couples I’ve seen in a good long while — maybe ever? — so I’m enjoying the heck out of their interactions. So many times with romantic comedies, I hear of the fantastic premise rife with all sorts of comic possibilities and hope for lots of screwball antics, only to find myself disappointed when we’re fed cliche after cliche, which saps all the fun out of the humor because we’ve seen it a dozen times before, or maybe a hundred. But at least in this drama, I feel like we’ve got comedy worthy of the term hijinks. And shenanigans. And tomfoolery.