History of the Salaryman: Episode 15
This show toys with us in the best way, making us laugh in one scene only for us to cry in the next. Even with the funny interspersed, we never lose sight of what has happened or what is happening, so that we’re able to register the depth of our characters’ reactions to tragedy while appreciating how their relationships can change positively in its wake.
To those who wanted more Bang and Yeo-chi, we get that in spades. To those who wanted more Hang-woo and Woo-hee, this is your episode. The developing relationships are a natural progression of what we’ve seen so far, set amidst the growing war of what’s to come. It’s gonna be good.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Gabi had been shocked to find Woo-hee waiting outside the Chairman’s office at the end of the last episode, and now we find out what she was there for. She tells a rattled Gabi that she’s under orders from the Chairman to deliver something personally, and barely gets any words out before Gabi sends her away.
Outside, Woo-hee looks over the report she compiled on insulin. We see Chairman Jin in flashback, specifically asking Woo-hee to analyze the insulin he’d been taking, and the very same one that Gabi had been switching for a stronger dose. So Woo-hee knows, Gabi doesn’t know that she knows, and Chairman Jin probably knew the whole time. Or suspected it enough to get Woo-hee to run a report.
Gabi sits down to rewrite the will, once again bequeathing everything but Chairman Jin’s liquid assets and property to her name. She laughs and cries while she writes it, going through a range of deep emotion until she puts the finishing touch – the Chairman’s seal.
She goes to see the Chairman in his office, but not before placing a call to his lawyer to tell him that Chairman Jin has passed. She finds his body on the floor, his fingers resting on his phone. (So close!) When she turns him over his eyes are wide and unblinking – Chairman Jin is dead.
She at least has the decency to cry while she shuts his eyelids. Tears aren’t enough here, Mo Gabi.
In order to get Chairman Jin out of the building without anyone knowing he’s died, Gabi covers him up from head to toe and wheels him to the elevator. I imagine the pitch-black humor in this moment is intentional, because we’ve seen likewise dark humor from this show before. The fact that he’s died is sad, but this whole farce that Gabi is putting on? It’s weirdly funny while being sad.
Woo-hee is in the same elevator, unaware that she’s sharing a ride with a dead man. Hang-woo gives her a call while she’s inside and wants to speak to the Chairman, but the moment Woo-hee tries to hand the phone over Gabi snatches it up to keep up the ruse. Woo-hee looks slightly curious, but hasn’t caught on yet. Even when his lifeless hand falls out of the blanket with the painted nail in sight, Gabi just stuffs it back underneath the covers. Woo-hee is none the wiser.
In the car with Chairman Jin’s lawyer, Gabi plays the part of the recording that he’d made to start the will writing. The lawyer claims that there’s a problem, in that the Chairman didn’t state the time and date of the will. So if he has another copy floating around, and his family were to raise a lawsuit, Gabi would be done with.
She replies that the answer is simple – they just need to put a date and time on the recording, right? And with that we find out that the lawyer is in on the scheme, likewise entranced by Gabi’s superfluous use of her seductive wiles. Goodness gracious. I have to at least give props to her vicious tenacity.
Woo-hee finds Hang-woo in the gym, as usual, taking his anger out on a punching bag from losing the merger deal to Bang. I don’t know what this scene is for other than to be adorable, so they have an adorable working out montage where Woo-hee finds herself completely unable to keep up with Hang-woo’s rigorous training. She keeps passing out or falling over from the stress, but they both share lots of smiles regardless.
After the workout, Hang-woo drives her home. She’s passed out in the passenger seat, something that he takes notice of only once they’ve stopped. Acting on an impulse, he takes off his seatbelt, leans in…
…And steals a quick kiss. Swoon. Afraid of waking her, Hang-woo adorably pretends to act asleep in the driver’s seat, just in case she were to open her eyes. Once he realizes that she was genuinely asleep and unaware, he smiles to himself. A-dorable.
Switching over to our other lovebirds, we find Yeo-chi preening with a handheld mirror for Bang’s arrival. She’s happy to see him, even though he’s not so happy at first – but he warms up to the idea once he sees that she’s bought them Western liquor. Ha.
Yeo-chi cuts right to the chase, though in order to protect her own feelings (all while testing the Bang waters) she presents the following words lightly, like a joke. She says she heard this outrageous thing from her grandpa, “My Grandpa… it’s not like he’s senile. He said he’d make the winner between you and Choi Hang-woo his grandson-in-law.”
Bang doesn’t take it seriously, wondering why the Chairman would say something so odd. Yeo-chi asks if he doesn’t like the idea of marrying her. Bang wonders if he’s supposed to talk openly. “To be honest, Yeo-chi…”
They’re interrupted by Yeo-chi’s phone. Gabi’s on the other end, and she tells Yeo-chi in a serious tone that she must come to the hospital right away. She’s not to say anything to anyone. Oblivious, Bang starts talking again the moment she’s off the phone. “If I were to be honest about how I feel about you…”
She cuts him off, saying she’s sorry. He has to tell her next time, but for now she has to go.
Upon arrival to the hospital, Gabi immediately tells Yeo-chi that her beloved grandfather has passed away. Oh no. In shock, Yeo-chi asks to see her Grandpa and he’s wheeled out, covered in a sheet. She folds it back to see his face, and his hand with the nail she’d painted resting over his heart. (Oh no!)
She leans down to talk to her Grandpa, the last remaining family she had left. “Grandpa. You hear me, right? I’m Yeo-chi. Grandpa. You’re not someone who’d make me lonely, right? I’m scared. Please get up, Grandpa!”
He doesn’t, and the sheet is pulled back over him. Yeo-chi collapses to the ground with huge, heart-wrenching sobs. Gabi stays with her the whole time, and poor Yeo-chi remains completely unaware that the woman who took away her grandfather is sitting only feet from her, offering comfort.
I can’t help but feel like Gabi has gone into full-on monster territory when she sits with Yeo-chi in the hall later, claiming that everything was her fault… but only because she wasn’t quick enough. According to her, Chairman Jin while they were taking a drive.
Gabi is the only support system Yeo-chi has, and we’ve known for a while that Yeo-chi trusted her when Chairman Jin had his suspicions. So the moment Gabi is willing to offer her embrace Yeo-chi takes it, crying into her arms like a daughter with her mother. If Gabi had any sympathy it’s gone now, since we get a decent shot of her eyes that goes to prove she feels little to no remorse for what she’s done to Chairman Jin, or what she’s doing now to Yeo-chi.
It serves her right, then, that she smugly goes to Chairman Jin’s safety deposit box in hopes of getting her hands on his will… only to find that the box is empty. As it turns out, Chairman Jin came a few days ago and absconded with the will. Desperate, she orders some minions to search high and low through every bank Chairman Jin could have used, because his will must be found. All her plans will be ruined otherwise.
Chairman Jin’s funeral. Bang looks at his picture with an unusually somber gaze, and we flash back to reveal a conversation he had with Jang Ryang, where he was told that the money invested in his company actually came from Chairman Jin, aided by Yeo-chi. Chairman Jin and Yeo-chi are the reason he succeeded.
Hang-woo is present at the funeral of his mortal enemy. Both he and Bang level a look at each other, but neither of them say anything.
It seems like Hang-woo is much more of a softie than we’d initially believe, because he seems to get cold feet about taking any further action toward Yeo-chi, telling Bum-jeung, “Honestly, my father’s death is not that woman’s fault.”
Bum-jeung: “You know what the greatest mercy an executioner can award the condemned? A painless death in one stroke of the sword. If you have an ounce of sympathy for Yeo-chi, wield your sword accurately and swiftly. The CEO seat for Chun Ha Group is not for Yeo-chi to sit in regardless. The real war starts now.”
This sets Hang-woo back on track, so it’s back to the grind of corporate politicking he goes.
Even at the funeral, when Yeo-chi takes note of all the executives involved in shady dealings, Gabi tries to do some maneuvering of her own. She tries to reassure Yeo-chi that Chairman Jin wouldn’t have wanted her to get into this mess she’s witnessing, so she should just leave the work to Gabi. Yeo-chi refuses, and Gabi makes a face. Yeo-chi is bound to be a wild card for her.
Outside the funeral, Woo-hee hears something strange – a drunk doctor is being carried out, and he continues to blame himself for Chairman Jin’s death. It sounds like a normal “it was all my fault” until the doctor says that no, it really was his fault. He prescribed the Chairman’s insulin, and he thought that it was too strong.
Because it’s believed that Chun Ha will go to Yeo-chi, stocks begin to plummet. No one believes she’s fit to run the company, and Bum-jeung spearheads the movement by telling the bloodthirsty press that Yeo-chi is only a temporary chairwoman, and that they’ll have a board meeting in order to decide the official chairperson.
We find her at the board meeting, defending herself against a good deal of executives who accuse her of being too unqualified for the position. Gabi looks happy to hear this, but Yeo-chi works hard to defend herself. She only wants one year to prove her worth. No one wants to give her that year, and they already have a new idea for chairman in mind… Hang-woo.
Yeo-chi doesn’t look surprised to see him, saying that she expected him to be the first one to attack him. Hang-woo simply replies that if she expected it, she should have done something to prevent it, like this is all her fault. Yeo-chi decides to go to a higher power – a stockholders meeting – to determine who will be chairman.
Hang-woo warns her against fighting, claiming that it’ll only get harder from now on and that her selfish acts will affect Chun Ha’s stocks negatively. She takes offense to this.
Yeo-chi: “Choi Hang-woo. Don’t act like you care more about Chun Ha Group than I do. It’s revolting.”
Believing Gabi to be the only one on her side, Yeo-chi follows her advice on how to sway stockholders, but ends up on a wild goose chase. Gabi has rigged everything, and everyone, to work against Yeo-chi without her even realizing it.
Meanwhile, Bang hears about her troubles from Jang Ryang, who notes that Yeo-chi might also be suffering from depression. He asks Bang what he thinks of Yeo-chi, you know, from a man’s perspective… to which Bang replies, “To be honest, what kind of man can handle Yeo-chi in this world?” Jang Ryang: “You.” Bang: “See how you are right on the dot?! It’s true. I’m the only one. It’s exactly that! That’s why I’m going crazy! Why does it have to be only me?”
Haha. How cute, I love that Bang has already resigned himself to the fact that he’s the only one for Yeo-chi. His first plan of action? Get that legendary temper of hers riled up again.
Bang calls Yeo-chi just in time to save her from devolving into a pity party. What she doesn’t know at first is that it’s a video chat, and she’s in only a robe. This is already enough for her to curse at him, which only makes him smile. He wonders if she feels better now. Aww. He tells her not to cry and to meet him out front. They’re going on a bonafide date!
He’s got a shiny new car to his name with only thirty-six months to go in order to pay it off, and though Yeo-chi first enters the car with a frown on her face she’s happy to know that she’s the first girl to take a ride in his car, not Woo-hee.
Bang knows exactly what to do to lift her spirits, and they even adorably bicker over which music station to listen to. In the end he lets her play her station, and even turns it up extra loud for her. She can’t help but smile and laugh, leading to a dance party in his new car.
They go to the Han River, which immediately makes me nervous (good things don’t normally happen at the Han River). However, it’s just so that they can call out to Chairman Jin in the afterlife. Bang tells Chairman Jin that he doesn’t need to worry about Yeo-chi, because she’s his granddaughter and is made of stronger stuff. “Yeo-chi is not scared one bit! She’s unbeatable in this world!” Leave some cute for the rest of the characters, why don’t you?
With tears in her eyes, Yeo-chi also calls out to her Grandpa. She assures him that she’ll be fine, and that she’ll protect the company. She’ll do a really, really good job. She smiles, even through her tears, and Bang smiles to himself.
So much cute in one episode, how are we to cope? Yeo-chi entertains Bang at her house, and even goes so far as to make him ramen. She’s somehow messed up the dish, and Bang asks her what she’ll do after she marries if she can’t even cook ramen properly. (Hint, hint.)
She’s sure that it’s tasty, so she gets him to take a bite of it anyway. He does, and swiftly spits it out, chiding her for not being able to follow the instructions on the package. Yeo-chi admits that this is her first time making ramen, and petulantly takes the pot away from him.
More to himself than to her, Bang smiles. Wah, so cute.
It’s all about the Chairman’s seat, and tensions are amping up. Bum-jeung has taken care to organize a stockholders meeting ahead of Yeo-chi, handing out invitations to all the executives. Because Shin is working as a double agent for Bang, he’s able to steal this information from an overconfident Hang-woo in order to give to Bang. Like with the sugar monitor, Bang’s plan is to turn Hang-woo’s plot against him. To do that, they’ll focus on the individual weaknesses of the stockholders.
Yeo-chi knows that she’s being avoided by the stockholders, but doesn’t know why. Gabi is purposefully keeping her in the dark about the meeting so that she doesn’t have the chance to go and defend herself.
With Shin on their side, Bang is able to put phase one of his plan into motion: namely, to keep Hang-woo from getting to the meeting. Shin is acting as a chauffeur to Hang-woo and Bum-jeung, and makes it so that the car’s engine stops working in the middle of the road.
Luckily, Jang Ryang has been driving behind them and stops his car when he sees they’ve been having engine problems. I love that Bum-jeung just assumes that Jang Ryang will give him a ride, and is sincerely taken aback when the car doors are locked against him. Ha! Also, the face Hang-woo makes when he realizes that they won’t be getting a ride… priceless.
Gabi finds out that they’ll be late from a phone call, and busies herself with flirting with executive So Ha, in order to soften him up to her case. Man, she’s good. Manipulative, but good.
Because Hang-woo is now forcibly delayed, Bang makes his way into the meeting with Jang Ryang’s blessing in order to try and convince the stockholders to vote for Yeo-chi to be chairwoman. He first uses the tactic Jang Ryang suggested by airing out dirty laundry, as he brings up So Ha’s embezzlement, and another executive’s suspicious money from Jang Cho Pharmaceuticals, and so on. He’s certainly dug up a lot of dirt, and is surprised when all the executives start laughing instead of crying.
Gabi is the first to inform Bang that this information is useless, because all these matters have been settled already. It’s clear that this is a move Jang Ryang didn’t anticipate, judging by the look on his face.
So Bang changes tactics, and hands out copies of a magazine which featured him in thirty-four full pages. They all know about how his company, Paeng Seong, won over Chun Ha, right? What they don’t know is that Yeo-chi is the one who invested in his company, which has now hit the jackpot. If she could show that kind of foresight and intelligence as an investor, how can they deem her incompetent? Good job, Bang!
By the time Hang-woo and Bum-jeung arrive, the stockholders are already leaving. When Hang-woo asked Gabi what happened, she claims that no one will ever vote for Yeo-chi – but leaves a copy of Bang’s magazine with Hang-woo nonetheless.
We see Gabi go into Chairman Jin’s office and slowly sink into his seat in a state of bliss. From around the back a menacing hand reaches forward, grabs her by the throat, and launches us into Nightmare Lighting. It’s Chairman Jin, choking her and accusing her of being a murderer.
Unfortunately it was all a dream, but Gabi looks pretty shaken. She wants this over and done with at the official stockholders meeting – the one that decides the future chairperson – tomorrow.
Both Hang-woo and Yeo-chi are preparing for war, in their own unique ways. Yeo-chi prepares by having her makeup and hair done so that she looks killer – even though Gabi subtly encourages her to back out if she’s afraid. Yeo-chi admits that she is afraid, but she will go through with it until the end. Gabi doesn’t look happy to hear it.
Hang-woo’s preparation consists of holding Woo-hee and whispering something we can’t hear. It turns out to be some kind of incantation. “My own ceremony of sorts,” he says. “I’ve done it since I was little.” He’s relying on her for strength, which is cute. When she wonders what the spell actually is, he simply responds that he’ll tell her when the time is right.
The Big Meeting commences, although Hang-woo is first surprised to see Bang present… only to find out that Bang bought a whopping $750 dollars of Chun Ha stocks, which entitles him to attend a stockholder’s meeting. Haha.
Yeo-chi and Hang-woo are called upon to present their cases. Yeo-chi tells everyone gathered that she knows they have no faith in her – but if they give her one year, and still find her unsatisfactory, then she will surrender all her stocks to the company. It’s a hell of a bargaining chip. Hang-woo talks about his experience in Wall Street and how he plans to build a Wall Street for Korea.
Everyone gets to cast their votes, including Bang and Jang Ryang. Bum-jeung goes to the podium in order to give the results, and by the look on his face it seems like the victory has gone to Hang-woo. But before he can say so, the doors burst open… It’s Chairman Jin’s lawyer, who we know is on Team Gabi. He holds up a briefcase and exclaims to the crowd that he has Chairman Jin’s last will and testament. Dun dun dun.
There was a lot of maneuvering in this episode, displaying how each of our characters was getting from point A to point C(EO), while advancing every story line at once. Everything was handled wonderfully though, so that by the time we got to the final meeting, I felt like I’d worked as hard as our characters to get there.
It’s one of the few times that I’ve noticed padding in an episode, but liked it enough not to care. Some of the scenes were nothing more than amusing, but they still all worked toward a common goal. I loved the Bang and Yeo-chi interactions, I loved the Hang-woo and Woo-hee interactions. All of the cute helped to mitigate the very sad realization that Gabi successfully murdered Chairman Jin. (Moment of silence.)
Is it a little unbelievable that Gabi executed everything so perfectly and bribed all the right people so that no one raised a single suspicion once Chairman Jin died? Yes. But she’s cunning enough that I can buy her relentless pursuit of his position, even though I’m counting on Woo-hee to be the one to blow the lid on the whole situation. She’s the only one with most of the clues, so it’s up to her to put the pieces together. At this point, she’s the only one who can – Yeo-chi is too blinded because she trusts Gabi, and most of the men in the company obey Gabi because they’re taken by her. Now that we’ve got Chairman Jin’s murder for our characters to solve, and without knowing where his real will is, things are getting good.
The only thing I found troublesome was Hang-woo’s reaction to Chairman Jin’s death. His whole reason for integrating himself into Chun Ha was for revenge on the Chairman for the death of his father. He didn’t seem to really register that the object of his vengeance was gone for good, and simply put his efforts into becoming chairman. I understand that becoming chairman is simply a logical route for Hang-woo to take, if we take him as just a normal guy who wants to move up. But in the scope of the revenge element introduced so early on, I find myself wondering what he really wants, or if he’s gotten over his need for vengeance. If he has, bravo. I just want to know either way.
I feel like Gabi is turning into the Big Bad in this series, and though it’s not in keeping with the Chu-Han Contention, there seems to be a place for Bang and Hang-woo to fight together against a common enemy in this story. I’m always for unlikely alliances, so we’ll see if it happens.
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 14
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 13
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 12
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 11
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 10
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 9
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 8
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 7
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 6
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 5
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 4
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 3
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 2
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 1