What would have happened if Henry got tired of being Hee Jin’s handmaiden and decided to turn his charms on Sam Soon? Or perhaps in a more likely scenario, what would have happened if Sam Soon decided that handsome surgical oncologists were better for dating than arrogant owners of French restaurants? We may never know…


Lee Hae Na – “고별” [ Download ]

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Episode 12 – What’s The Big Deal? I’ve Only Just Turned 30!

While we will never know that potential pairing, this much we know: Jin Heon likes Sam Soon. Initially, Jin Heon is the only one doing the hugging, but after a bit, Sam Soon starts hugging back. Aww! It’s taken a dozen episodes, but we finally have mutually hugging.

Then Sam Soon asks the question that’s been hanging over them like Fresh Linen scent air freshener: what about Yoo Hee Jin? Ah right, her. Jin Heon responds truthfully – “I’m thinking about it.” Sam Soon is astounded.

Sam Soon: You mean to say that you didn’t think this through before you started down this path?
Jin Heon: Look, this is all new to me and I don’t know what to do.
Sam Soon: If you don’t know what to do, then who can know? Should we ask Samsooki?

YAY! I’ve waited this WHOLE SERIES for Sam Soon to ask for my opinion! Ask me! Ask me! *Raises hand* I totally know the answer to this one too! Samsooki answer: Jin Heon, pick one and stop being a knucklehead. *sigh* Aeeeyoooo. Sam Soon is upset now. Since Jin Heon is in still-thinking mode, Sam Soon has officially become the “other woman.”

Jin Heon drops off Sam Soon at her house and watches her go inside. Sam Soon’s older sister strolls up from behind and asks Jin Heon for a little chat. Yi Young warns Jin Heon against seeing Sam Soon, who might seem neat to a guy like Jin Heon but that won’t last 6 months. Rather, Yi Young sees Hee Jin as the perfect fit for Jin Heon, who by the way, is a jerky mcjerk. Hehe, nicely done.

It’s all nice and good to have a protective older sister like Yi Young, but what happens when the older sister isn’t around? Sam Soon is apparently taking advice from strangers in mirrors. First advice from the lady in the mirror is to seduce Jin Heon, but her fantasy seduction scene ends in epic fail. Next fantasy option? Go through Dr. Henry Kim by getting him to seduce Hee Jin!

Fantasy Sam Soon heads over to Henry’s rental pad and starts packing his clothes as Henry stares in disbelief. Fantasy Sam Soon must get Henry to live with Hee Jin for any Pepero seduction to happen.

Henry (in English): Stop it. This is ridiculous, okay?
Sam Soon (in Korean): Ya, whether you take this as a pretext or a gift, it’s for your own good.
Henry (speaking Korean): Nae-ga bong-ee-nya? Nae-ga bong-ee-nya? (Am I a sucker?)
Sam Soon (in Korean): Jashik… where did he learn to say that.. You! Hee Jin! Lub, lub! Euh? Okay, ahn okay? (“ahn” means “not”)
Henry (laughing): What?
Sam Soon (muttering in Korean): Ahh, what’s with this ja-shik constantly flashing his beautiful smile at me like that. You’re totally inflaming this old maid’s heart, you know that… This is maddening! Ja-shik… cham… should I just pass off Sam Shik to another person and… hwaaak! hook up with this guy?

Sam Soon (in Korean): *sigh* Henry-ya.
Henry (puts on his thinking face): …
Sam Soon (in Korean): This is not the time for you to be laying back like this. Love through merely watching is no love at all. (in English) Platonic! Oh no! I am not platonic! No! Nebber! (in Korean) You are just too young to know this, but do you think that persons that exactly fit your heart just up and appear in front of you?
Henry (gesturing): Sophie. I’m not the man that Hee Jin loves. So. I’m satisfied, as long as she’s happy and healthy. It doesn’t matter who she’s with.
Sam Soon (mocking Henry’s gestures): What are you babbling about? You gotta talk in a way that I can understand. What about Hee Jin?

LOLOLOL! Oh my, this might be the funniest scene in the entire drama. This is funny on sooo many levels. For those who have clueless relatives who speak rapid-fire in a different language that you just don’t understand, Henry’s friendly efforts to make Sam Soon understand will be so relatable. And for those with parents or other relatives who speak fluent Korean but only a smidgen of English, Sam Soon’s frustration with the American Henry will also be spot-on pitch-perfect.

Now, Hee Jin understands “Platonic? Oh no!” and understands that if she weakens for even a moment, her boyfriend might be stolen like an unattended iPad. Hee Jin has pretty much been in continual semi-desperation mode since she returned to Korea, but her senses tell her to take it up a notch. Not only has she cleaned Jin Heon’s apartment and done the laundry, but she’s also made food for him.

Jin Heon is surprised to see her, and visiting penguin named Awk-ward seems to have decided to make his home permanent in their relationship. Jin Heon has something to say. But he can’t say it. Hee Jin can guess what it might be, but doesn’t preempt him. Why not? Because who knows whether fickle Jin Heon might change his mind later. If Jin Heon can’t say whatever it is that he wants to say, then maybe he’s not made up his mind yet.

Still, Hee Jin can’t leave it to chance. She calls up Sam Soon to have another face-to-face. As the title-belt holding, reigning girlfriend, Hee Jin tries to get Sam Soon to swear off all men named Hyun Jin Heon. Sam Soon defends her behavior though, saying that she never seduced anyone and never took anything that didn’t belong to her. But, if that man comes on his own to Sam Soon, she has a mind to maybe say yes.

Hee Jin brings up her fight with cancer as a reason why Sam Soon should back away- for pity sake? Oooh, sorry but Sam Soon is out of pity pastries. Sam Soon suggests they engage in fair play and then this time, Sam Soon leaves first. Of course, Sam Soon wouldn’t suggest fair play if she didn’t think she was going to win. And that confidence has got to be a bit disconcerting to Hee Jin, because Hee Jin is the current title-holder with an 8-year reign on top.

An agitated Hee Jin goes to hang with her platonic friend Dr. Henry, and who strums a love song to cheer her up. This is really an odd thing to do, because if Hee Jin is cheered up, it will probably mean that she’s dreaming that Jin Heon is playing the song for her, rather than Dr. Henry.

Hee Jin asks Henry what he would have done 3 years ago, if he were in Hee Jin’s shoes. Henry answers automatically – of course he would have stayed and fought through it together. He wouldn’t have left without a word. Just so it is clear, Henry would also have closed the barn doors before any cows have had a chance to leave the barn. Hee Jin sighs. Yep, the cows have left the barn, and closing the doors now seems a tad bit on the late side.

Perhaps as a prod to get her to move on, Henry notes that Hee Jin’s hindsight makes little difference now. Hee Jin rolls her eyes a bit at Henry, snapping, “Uh yeah, I see that.” Meoowwwwrrr! Ftt! Ftt! Little Miss Pepero Kitten flashing her claws? But wrong target! Where was Little Miss Pepero Kitten when Hee Jin was sitting with Sam Soon?

Of course, Henry is uber gallant and asks if Jin Heon did something to Hee Jin. Henry offers to beat up Jin Heon, noting he clearly has the ability to beat Jin Heon up. Aww! Every girl should have a devoted platonic and chiseled cancer surgeon friend like Henry who takes six months off of work to fly half-way around the world to country whose language he does not speak in order to be there to support you and beat up bad boyfriends for you.

The day has finally arrived! Yi Young’s apartment has finally sold! Two checks are drawn – one for $50,000, and one for the balance. Yi Young slides over the $50,000 check to Sam Soon, telling her younger sister to get back the deed to their family home from Jin Heon. The $50,000 check will mean that there is no more reason for Sam Soon to be tied to Jin Heon, and they can go on their separate ways.

Sam Soon reveals to her older sister that Jin Heon admitted he likes Sam Soon. Yi Young tries to yell some sense into her younger sister, but Sam Soon doesn’t like Yi Young’s tone or her negative references to Jin Heon. Yi Young sticks to her guns though – did Jin Heon break up with Hee Jin yet? No? Oh you silly girl! Get back our deed and stop dreaming!

So Sam Soon goes and presents the $50,000 check to Jin Heon, who is (1) surprised at the speed at which a poor girl like Sam Soon could repay the money and (2) disappointed because he just lost his last hold over her. In response, Jin Heon tears up the check in front of Sam Soon. Rather than touched, Sam Soon is shocked and enraged at the stunt. Why would he do that! Is this something that rich guys do to impress poor people??!

Jin Heon protests though – it’s his money, he can do what he wants with it – and he’s just showing Sam Soon that he cares for her more than he cares for money. You know, romantic-like. Sam Soon could not feel more different.

Sam Soon (distraught): I knew you were hopeless but I didn’t know it was this bad. You are selfish, immature, ignorant of the pains of the world… you make me sorry to my own heart. I’m so freaking embarrassed I ever felt anything for you. A person like you… I would never present to my Dad.

Initially, I was like, wow overreaction much? It’s one man’s money. If he buys an expensive car that he never drives, if he puts in premium gasoline rather than regular, if he doesn’t rollover his cellphone minutes nor subscribe to groupon, what’s the big deal? In Jin Heon’s words, stop twisting everything and just accept the fact that he likes you more than money. What is so bad about that?

Then a second later, I see it the other way. That money could have fed a family of 4 for a whole year. And some people work until their very bodies break down, all the while missing their kids and family, just to make a fraction of that money. And for that money, to save her family home, Sam Soon was willing to throw away her pride and her family’s pride. And here Jin Heon is, just ripping it up as if it didn’t matter. If it was bad enough that he ripped it up rather than using it for the common weal, it was 10x as bad that he failed to recognize what Sam Soon had to go through for that lousy $50,000.

Sadly and full of bitterness, Sam Soon turns to leave, and guess who walks in but Hee Jin.

Hee Jin: We meet again.
Sam Soon: Yeah. I had reason to be here.
Hee Jin: Oh, me too. See, we made plans to see a movie together.

Whelllp, that should be it. Sam Soon stares at Jin Heon, who can’t make eye contact. What was that about liking Sam Soon so much that he tears up money? If he would he tear up $50,000 for Sam Soon, maybe he’d tear up $500,000 for Hee Jin?

Sam Soon walks out of the office, running into the Bon Appetit staff who crowded at the door trying to listen in. They pretend to be staring elsewhere as Sam Soon passes by. Oh, is that something on my shoe? I never noticed that particular painting before, I must check it out closely right now…

Yi Young’s warnings must be ringing in Sam Soon’s ears as she walks through the restaurant. She stops near her former work station, and sees that she indeed has been replaced. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Sam Soon notices that her former assistant, In Hye has been tailing her, so Sam Soon asks In Hye to go and grab Sam Soon’s book of notes and recipes. It’s time to start over and leave nothing behind.

Sam Soon arrives home and finally receives some good news! What do you know, but her application for name-change has been processed and… it’s been granted! Woo hoo! All she has to do now is take the notice down to the government center and fill out the confirmation sheet and file it within 30 days. Sam Soon jumps around like prancing horse. You all have to call me Hee Jin now! Yi Young and Sam Soon’s mom stare in wonder as Sam Soon cries for joy and maybe cries with a bit of sorrow as well.

Meanwhile, Hee Jin and Jin Heon can’t seem to find any place to eat in Seoul. They eat at one place, but with Jin Heon being broody, Hee Jin blames the food as different than what they were used to. Hee Jin drives them to another place, a favorite of theirs back in the day, but the restaurant is not there anymore. Face it Heej, things have changed. When Jin Heon doesn’t seem to be bothered by this, Hee Jin mentions that Henry would have cared. Jin Heon stares at Hee Jin, who appears sorry but doesn’t retract the statement. The Jin Heon – Hee Jin relationship has officially become a love triangle between Jin Heon, Hee Jin and Awk-ward, the Penguin.

Back at the Kim residence, in another delightful scene between sisters, Sam Soon and Yi Young are sharing beer and snackie puffs (dried squid-y things – quite yummy with dry beer). Sam Soon mentions that it’s really over now between her and Jin Heon. Yi Young asks about what happeened but Sam Soon refuses to say.

Sam Soon wonders if she should go for a liposuction and Yi Young shoots down that idea immediately. It’s not your looks that stay with you, but your work and your skillz. They clink beer bottles and drink.

Yi Young (touching her size 0 waist) : Maybe I should get a lipo…
Sam Soon: Listen to this crazy woman talk… it’s always the skinny ones who act the worst.
Yi Young (threatening to slap): Oh you little –
Sam Soon: YOU KNOW I’M TOTALLY RIGHT! (muttering) All the skinny people of the world should be bound together and dropped off somewhere far away…

I won’t argue with Sam Soon here, except to say that if they took Yi Young and Little Miss Pepero away, they would also have to take Jin Heon away too… even pre-SG Binnie was just one or two skipped meals away from being told to stay away from sidewalk grates and window fans.

Anyhoo, Jin Heon has been doing a lot of thinking lately, and it appears most if not all of those thoughts revolve around Sam Soon. He even digs through the trash to find his ripped-up $50,000 check – perhaps he’s growing up a little bit now? That night he heads over to Sam Soon’s but she’s not there.

Sam Soon has left for parts unknown. Well, Yi Young knows but she’s not saying. Sam Soon’s mom appears, umbrella in hand, to swat away pervs and stalkers who might be lurking around. Yi Young hides Sam Shik until her mom leaves. Yi Young wants to know why Sam Shik continues to bother Sam Soon, but Sam Shik’s confident approach turns her off. She slams the door on Jin Heon, and he’s left to try to text Sam Soon.

Jin Heon starts with bluster, but then the bluster fades. Jin Heon finally texts, “I’m sorry.” Yi Young opens the door again, and asks what Jin Heon is sorry about. Jin Heon says, “for everything.” Well, it’s a start, and certainly, he’s got a sincere look about him. Yi Young, just tell him where she is, okay? Yi Young agrees, but on one condition, that Jin Heon promises not to make her sister cry anymore. Jin Heon agrees and Yi Young tells him that she went to Jeju to climb Mt. Halla alone.

The scene shifts to Mt. Halla, where Sam Soon has gone. Sam Soon starts climbing Mt. Halla from the east side trail that leads to the top known as the Sung Panak Trail, just like she heard that Jin Heon did when he wanted to let go of everything and start over.

Today being her birthday, the start of her 30th year, Sam Soon is starting over as Kim Hee Jin, pâtissière d’extraodinaire, with no more regrets or bitterness.

Well, maybe a little bit of bitterness. Apparently Jin Heon didn’t tell Sam Soon that reaching the top of the Mt. Halla would be a windy trek. Sam Soon sends a stready stream of curses down the mountainside as she struggles against high winds and rain to get to the top.

But she makes it, and at the very top, she cups her hands together like a megaphone and shouts:


But then a voice calls out from over the howling winds!

Sam Shik: Says who?!


You see over-the-top scenes like this and there’s a part of you that chuckles at the theatricality of it all. Like in the drama Greatest Love, where Yoon Pil Joo gives Gu Ae Jung not one but ALL of his immunity roses during the elimination round of a reality dating show, basically eliminating everybody but her. Total awww! scene.

Just about every romantic drama has one or more of these awww! scenes that just makes you wonder how Koreans ever get anything done if they go around thinking up and then pulling stunts like this. Don’t they work and sleep and eat?

But it works, doesn’t it? While a small part of me might chuckle at the absurdity, a (much) larger part says, “damn, I wish I thought of that.”