History of the Salaryman: Episode 19
The funny is back! Granted, the funny never really left, but it’s been taking a backseat the past few episodes in favor of plot development (I know, right?). There’s romance, corporate plotting, and copious expenditures galore as Gabi teeters on the edge of her sanity and our heroines continue to be just as cool as our heroes. I think I’m in love with this show all over again.
Ratings took a bit of a dip today at 18.7%, but those are some solid numbers to grow on. There’s still time!
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Bang and Yeo-chi have their alternate, corporate-fooling personas on at full force as they share a tense meeting with Bum-jeung. Yeo-chi is acting drunk and only slightly belligerent, but she has some questions about her grandfather’s former chauffeur. Supposedly he sent a text to her apologizing for committing a huge wrong against the Chairman.
A nervous Bum-jeung declares that he’ll look into it, and by the time he’s gone we realize that Bang and Yeo-chi don’t know much about the text, either. They thought it might have been Gabi sending it to feel them out, but now they’re not sure. Acting on an impulse, Bang leaves first.
In his car, Bum-jeung connects with the chauffeur’s voicemail and proceeds to tear him a new one, demanding to know why he would send Yeo-chi that kind of text. Bang is more than onto what’s going on, and places a call to Shin so that they can locate this mystical chauffeur by the name of Yang Il-mo.
Hang-woo puffs out his chest like a rooster at the sight of Woo-hee opening the ring box, clearly ready for her to jump his bones on sight. To his surprise and dismay, Woo-hee doesn’t know the ring is for her. Hang-woo is baffled. “You don’t know? Are you that dense?” He gets ready to explain, except Gabi interrupts at that exact moment. Woo-hee carefully tucks the ring box back into Hang-woo’s hands before making herself scarce.
Of course, when Gabi puts Hang-woo on the spot by asking him if the ring is for Woo-hee, he hastily denies it. Woo-hee overhears and berates herself for thinking that Hang-woo ever liked her. Oh dear, not this again.
I do love drunk Woo-hee, though. We see her at the same bar that Hang-woo and Gabi have chosen to meet at, where Gabi asks him about his ties with an organization called the Golden Brothers. Apparently they were set to hire him if he ever left Chun Ha, but now she wants him to build a bridge with them instead for a future Chun Ha resort.
Hang-woo’s delicate moral sensibilities are offended. She wants to cover up her embezzlement with a backdoor deal? How scandalous! Hang-woo: “If you engage in a double deal, you will be brought to justice in the end.” (Really, Hang-woo? Really.) Gabi’s reply is that justice only happens when you don’t do it right. Regardless, Hang-woo agrees to handle the Chun Ha ledgers from now on. He’s the only one Gabi can trust, after all.
He sees Woo-hee passed out on her table, knowing that she followed him into the bar. We literally see his shoulders sink as he comes to the realization that he’ll have to piggyback her home. Again. Ha! He’s soon making the laborious trek with a drunken Woo-hee, accusing her of gaining weight just to punish him.
Bum-jeung meets with the chauffeur, who admits that he was drunk the day he sent Yeo-chi the apologetic text message. Bum-jeung orders that he get a new phone and move out of Seoul immediately so that Yeo-chi can never find him.
The next morning Woo-hee eats some Hangover Cereal that comes with a friendly note from Hang-woo telling her to lose weight, else how can she marry? I get why he’s telling her to lose weight in the context of the lols, but it still doesn’t sound right.
She gets a call from a friend at the lab with an interesting development: Mo Gabi’s fingerprint was found on Chairman Jin’s syringe. She wonders whether to tell Hang-woo or not, but we see a flashback where she tried telling him about her suspicions about Gabi only for him to shut her down.
However, even though Hang-woo and Chairman Jin were enemies, she doesn’t think that he’d cover this development up. Does this mean that she’s supposed to cover it up instead? But our girl is doing some thinking of her own, and declares that she can’t cover it up and that she’ll save Hang-woo from Gabi’s evil clutches. Yeah! Go Woo-hee!
Gabi is unhappy to hear the employees chant “Long life to you!” as she enters Chun Ha, because it makes her feel old. Funnily enough, they find Yeo-chi in Gabi’s personal elevator and she’s quick to tell Gabi the same chant, but she’s thinking more along the lines of Gabi living a long and miserable life in jail.
She’s also losing her grip on reality, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Well aware that employees and executives alike are discontent with her, she orders Bum-jeung to install hidden cameras everywhere to monitor what they say and fire anyone who speaks against her. When he tells her that’s illegal she scoffs, claiming that slandering her is what’s illegal. “That’s the way of this Mo Gabi and the law of Chun Ha Group,” she declares. Yikes.
Bum-jeung is thinking along the same lines and knows that Gabi’s sanity is slipping. It won’t be long before something happens that can’t be undone. He comes across Hang-woo in the hallway, who’s finally smartened onto the fact that Bang might be playing them with phantom bonds. Bum-jeung thinks it’s all to pay for Bang’s extensive gambling debts, though Hang-woo says that enough is enough.
Luckily Yeo-chi has been hiding nearby and overhears the conversation. What she’s most concerned about is that Bang’s still gambling without money, and vows to hunt him down for it.
She finds Bang in a gambling den and pulls him away just before he can reveal a winning hand. Hang-woo is going to turn in all the promissory notes for the company, so how can Bang pay the debts and save his company now? Bang doesn’t seem to care, which pushes Yeo-chi over the edge. She starts to strip down, declaring that she’ll throw herself into the Han River unless he comes to his senses.
Bang: “Are we one in body and soul? So I’m giving myself up to pleasures and entertainment, but why would you die? Just leave me be. What the heck is life anyway? Just enjoy and go. Fall in and die or whatever, just do what you want.”
Yeo-chi is flabbergasted. She doesn’t know that Bang’s ‘Versailles’ persona is a ruse, so his words come off as extra harsh. He walks away with a worried expression, wondering if he should just turn around and tell her everything.
But when he does turn around, she’s nowhere to be seen. Fearing that she’s acted on her words and jumped into the river, he runs to the water’s edge and cries out her name.
Yeo-chi is fine, of course, and merely slipped away to her car where she takes the time to curse the day Bang was born. She returns to the edge of the river to retrieve her gloves and scarf only to find Bang crying like a little girl, yelling to the world that he did wrong.
Bang starts stripping down his clothing, taking off his jacket and shoes as he readies to jump in. He even apologizes to his mother that he’ll be dying first. Haha! Yeo-chi makes it in time to stop him from jumping, amazed that he would have died because he couldn’t be without her. They both start crying like children, which is cute and funny all at once. Especially when she calls him “Versailles Yoo.”
So Yeo-chi gets a sit-down talk with Bang and Bun-kwae to discuss their strategy for taking over Chun Ha. I don’t have much of a mind for business as an institution, so I’ll try to get the facts as straight as I can: The idea so far has been to get Hang-woo to buy these phantom bonds for Paeng Seong, which Bang has now made into a money-sucking black hole. So then Bang will give Paeng Seong over to Chun Ha freely in order to snatch Chun Ha up as the result. How? By using the same trick Gabi used to steal Yeo-chi’s fortune in creating a phantom company, only their phantom company will be Paeng Seong. With the money Hang-woo is pouring into the phantom bonds (and thus going straight into Bang’s hands), they’ll effectively try to bleed Chun Ha dry, and use their money against them to snatch the company back. Phew! That’s a mouthful.
I like that part of Gabi’s downfall is all the little things – since even buying a lot of little things adds up eventually. As usual, Jang Ryang appeals to her vanity in order to get her to buy an expensive horse (even the horse’s name is a reference to the horse of Xiang Yu, Hang-woo’s historical counterpart) while they’re at some high-class stables.
Gabi can’t seem to let go of the idea that everyone must love her, and is unhappy to find Bang (in full riding regalia) chatting up some other business owners. They shun her, and Bang passively humiliates her with slips of the tongue. When Bang acts as though he wants to buy that horse, Gabi pulls the rug out from under him and declares she’s already bought it. Score another for Team Bang. She’s playing right into their hands.
Shin reports to Bang that Chairman Jin’s chauffeur is nowhere to be found, but Bang insists that they keep looking. Jang Ryang, meanwhile, convinces Gabi to give him more money to invest since her returns look promising. I wonder how much of those returns are totally fabricated.
Bum-jeung warns Gabi against the investment, claiming that she’s bleeding money as it is. She doesn’t understand how he can’t just make money into a slush fund, to which he wittily replies, “There’s a limit to how much creative accounting you can do.”
She sounds like a compulsive gambler when she claims that her excessive spending is all the more reason to make an investment. When they get the returns, all will be right again.
Even though Bang is going for the bigger fish (the stratagem ‘tossing out a brick to get a jade gem’ fits well here), that brick is still the company he built from nothing. He’s upset about losing Paeng Seong, but is reassured once Jang Ryang tells him that Gabi has no way out. Other than the Chairman’s seat she only has enough company stocks for management rights, which explains why she was so deep into the company’s liquid funds.
In order to find out what Gabi’s done with the stocks, Team Bang decides they need intel from within Chun Ha – and who better to provide it than Yeo-chi?
Hang-woo and Bum-jeung meet to discuss Gabi’s spending, and Hang-woo flatly asks Bum-jeung if his feelings for Gabi are still valid. “I’m just wondering if Chairwoman Mo ever liked you. If it were me, I wouldn’t trust the heart of a woman,” Hang-woo tells him. Someone’s pants must be on fire.
Bum-jeung seems keen on not discussing the subject and tells Hang-woo not to get himself too involved. Despite being specifically asked by Gabi to handle the ledgers, Hang-woo hands them over to Bum-jeung per his request.
Yeo-chi waits for everyone else to get off work to start hunting around the office, while Woo-hee plans on searching Gabi’s office for clues as soon as the Chairwoman gets off work. I love that these girls are putting two and two together, but mostly I’m proud of Woo-hee for taking some initiative.
Unfortunately for Yeo-chi, she’s unaware that Gabi’s already installed her anti-slander cameras. From her office, Gabi watches Yeo-chi searching with a pleased expression. It seems that Yeo-chi’s been found out. Oh dear.
Yeo-chi makes a beeline for Bum-jeung’s office, one of the only places within Chun Ha that lacks cameras since Bum-jeung was in charge of installing them. Gabi decides to take matters into her own hands while Yeo-chi starts snapping pictures of the ledger books he hid in his desk.
Gabi bursts through Bum-jeung’s door…
…To find Yeo-chi in the dark, pouring herself a drink. Yeo-chi innocently claims that she snuck in because Bum-jeung had good liquor, and throws herself at Gabi’s feet. This effectively works to get her out of a sticky situation but Gabi isn’t completely fooled, knowing that she’s either truly crazy or just acting crazy. Either way, she tells her minion to install a hidden camera in Bum-jeung’s office without him knowing.
So how did Yeo-chi know Gabi was coming? Woo-hee sent her a text to warn her. Aww! Yeo-chi thanks her once they meet outside.
Over some soju, the girls confide in each other and share secrets. Of course, instead of talking about boys they’re talking about the switched insulin that lead to her Grandpa’s murder, but them’s the times. Woo-hee pledges to Yeo-chi that she’ll help her take down Gabi, because she doesn’t like the Chairwoman either. One doesn’t like Gabi because she murdered her Grandpa, and one doesn’t like Gabi because she flirts with her man too much. Different reasons, but the same goal, at least.
I love that these two are getting to interact with each other, but an angry phone call from Hang-woo (“Where are you?”) sends Woo-hee off. Yeo-chi is left to stew in envy, and she calls Bang… except he’s already turned in for the night. Hee.
Woo-hee acts cold to Hang-woo when she finds him near her house, but he’s not to be denied. He uses a wrist grab to keep her still long enough to slip an engagement ring on her finger. Then he pulls her into an embrace.
Hang-woo: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t accept me, because I decided that I’m going to marry you. The proposal is so lame that you’re upset, right? You can take your revenge on me as we live life. I’ll take it all. I have that confidence.”
Never minding the fact that marriage is a two-way street, Woo-hee is moved. Hang-woo asks if he can kiss her, and she declines. “But your eyes already approve,” he says. (Anyone else feeling secondhand embarrassment over that line?) She closes her eyes so they can’t betray her when she says no again, but he swoops her into a kiss anyway. A long kiss. Here’s one:
And a freebie:
Hang-woo is the first one to pull away, and almost has to wrench Woo-hee off of him. Ha. He thanks her for accepting his proposal, which elicits a puzzled look from her. “Who said I accepted?”
Taken aback, Hang-woo is all, b-but we kissed! Woo-hee’s answer is hilarious: “If every kiss lands a marriage, then I’d be married a dozen times by now.” Ahaha. I love you again, Woo-hee.
But Woo-hee is nothing if not a tease, and tells him that she’ll accept him on a probationary period. She’ll let him know if he made the cut later. Leaving Hang-woo stewing, she smiles to herself as she leaves, even pinching herself in her apartment at the sight of the diamond on her finger. Is this a dream?
And then she erupts into cheers, dancing around her apartment in pure joy. Is it a little creepy that Hang-woo is watching her do this through her window? Yes, but we’ll roll with it. He’s not trying to be creepy so I’ll cut him some slack.
Yeo-chi hands her phone to Bang with evidence of Gabi’s fraud. He tells her that they’re sure to win with this, and laughs despite the fact that reporters have come to take his picture for an upcoming extra – Paeng Seong Enterprise Bankrupt, with Pending Acquisition by Chun Ha Group. Gabi smiles to see the headline gracing her morning paper, upset only at the fact that Bang is smiling in the picture.
Bang addresses his factory workers with an apology, and reassures them that he will meet them again under better circumstances. His employees are sad to see him go, and it’s not long before Hang-woo comes to crash the party. He rips up an employee’s petition for Bang to remain as president of Paeng Seong and declares that Paeng Seong is now an affiliate of Chun Ha Group. Those who want to work, stay. Or they can choose to leave with Bang.
Bum-jeung hands him a summons from the prosecutor’s office, citing a misappropriation of company funds. Bun-kwae attempts to explain that Bang used only his personal money to the employees but he’s stopped by Bang. Hang-woo wants to revel in the moment, though Bang assures him that the real criminal will be found by the law soon enough. Hang-woo levels him an evil glare.
Gabi thanks Hang-woo for taking down Paeng Seong, but her eagle eyes don’t miss the ring adorning Woo-hee’s finger. Hang-woo admits that he proposed to Woo-hee, which is something that takes Gabi by surprise. Well, what on earth was she expecting? Did she want that ring on her finger?
She attempts to invite the two of them over to her home for a congratulatory party, though it’s clear that other intentions are involved. Woo-hee looks very uncomfortable at the prospect, though it’s not as if she can decline.
Gabi takes Woo-hee shopping with the intent to demean her, speaking loud enough for Woo-hee to hear that she’s not fooling anyone on her level of class – and whether it be men or clothes, Woo-hee should choose what suits her. The barb isn’t missed by Woo-hee, and with tears in her eyes she tells Gabi that she doesn’t want anything from her.
Swooping in for the kill, Gabi asks Woo-hee if Hang-woo admitted that he loved her when he proposed. Speaking as a woman who’s lived longer, love has a limit. And loving beyond her means will only cause wounds later. Does she understand?
Woo-hee understands very well, and pointedly asks if she can try on another outfit. She asks the employee which outfit is the absolute most expensive in the store. Ha! That’s the spirit! Gabi gets a taste of her own bad medicine when she’s footed with the hefty bill. I’d say Woo-hee’s won this one, Gabi. Storming out, Woo-hee vows to herself that she’ll expose Gabi now no matter what.
Gabi notes that Jang Ryang looks gloomy during their dinner, and it’s for good reason – the recent report on her investment money shows that she’s got only ten million left from her initial twenty-five million dollar investment. Yiiikes. Jang Ryang urges her to let him handle the remaining ten million instead of pulling it out, or else she’ll just sustain a loss. He promises that he can get that money to work for her again. Of course that’s not going to happen, but Gabi is too blindsided to know that.
Yeo-chi has finally learned how to make ramen, and Bang digs into it with gusto. She asks him about his remaining funds from Paeng Seong’s bankruptcy, and he tells her he has thirty thousand dollars left. She doesn’t think that’s too bad, until he corrects her that it’s thirty thousand dollars left in debt. Hee.
She wonders where he’ll live now. He simply says that her living room seems large enough. At her surprised reaction, Bang asks if she was planning to kick him out. No? Good. Then they’re living together.
Bang shows up to court to answer to his official summons. Hang-woo and Bum-jeung are talking up the chief prosecutor, a conversation that Hang-woo relates to Bang with malicious glee. He’s very sure that Bang’s future is grim, and isn’t afraid to tell him so.
A phone call interrupts their friendly conversation, and it’s from Yeo-chi – she’s found her Grandpa’s chauffeur.
Dun dun… dun?
The cliffhanger was a little weak, but strong cliffhangers have never really been Salaryman’s forte so I can’t fault it for that. This episode certainly picked up the slack from last week – and while not a lot of huge plot moments happened (aside from Paeng Seong’s bankruptcy), we got a lot of great character moments setting us up for the conflict to come.
Mostly, I was happy to like Woo-hee again. I had never fallen out of love with her character, but I was feeling a little disillusioned these past couple of weeks when she took a passive back seat to all the action, choosing to misunderstand what she saw and cry about it rather than do something about it. Now she’s taking a proactive approach with all the information she’s been sitting on and using her wits to their full potential. It’s about time.
Hang-woo’s proposal scene was delightfully cheese-tastic, and while I’m happy for Woo-hee, their prolonged kiss scene sort of washed over me. I don’t know if this stems from my confusion regarding how I feel about Hang-woo, but I watched that moment a lot more passively than I had anticipated. However, Woo-hee pretty much stole the show with her lingering kiss and her teasing rejection, because dumbfounded Hang-woo is still the funniest personality out of the two predominant ones he has – Puppy Love Hang-woo and Corporate Tool Hang-woo. One could make an argument that everyone in this show is a corporate tool one way or the other, but you know what kind of tool I mean.
I thought it was interesting to do some reading on Hang-woo’s historical Chinese counterpart, Xiang Yu, who was described as a man who failed to learn from his own mistakes and one that possessed a soft underbelly. It would explain why Hang-woo has a tendency toward mercy, and also why he just can’t see Bang as a real threat – although we certainly made some progress on that front this time around. When Hang-woo began to wonder if Bang might be using phantom bonds, I was literally fist pumping the air. I know he’s technically a villain, but what can I say? If Bang is destined to fight him, I want the fight to be as epic as possible. Go big or go home.
(Also, today’s epilogue was extra cute: Bang watches Yeo-chi sleep and calls her an angel, all while ooh-ing and aah-ing over her beauty. He attempts to steal a kiss, and is met by Yeo-chi’s foul mouth – literally. She curses him to high heaven. Bang does an immediate about-face: “This is Satan! I almost fell into the devil’s temptation. Satan, go away!” Hee. I love me some Bang.)
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 18
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 17
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 16
- History of the Salaryman: Episode 15
- 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