People learn how to play nice this episode, but still do it while trying to one-up one another. You have to work for what you want most, and that’s not always possible alone. When you work together, you might find that you’re in for a surprise.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
The news that the kimchi proposition is off the table prompts both Gun-hee and Kang-jae to wait for the CEO outside his home. They receive a cold brush-off, unable to get an answer for the sudden shut-down.
The other marathon runners rest up at home. Jang-won asks if Sun-hee is feeling better, (“Of course I am. I have to get up and overcome it.”) Min-ji fawns over Jang-won about how he has that ajusshi “smell” (like wearing white socks with dark trousers) before Mom crashes the party.
The two arrive at Boardinghouse HQ, Gun-hee furious at the scrapped venture, and Kang-jae comments that the gruff response was similar to her mother’s. He muses if that means they’ll be on their separate roads – him to Alaska, she’ll resign.
But he has better idea – they can work to save the kimchi project – together. They shake on it, and both name the other parent to convince them to get onboard. Gun-hee takes offense at Kang-jae calling his father “that man,” whilst he pointedly remarks that she called her own mother by a nickname too.
He drives in that his father is really after Chinjung, but she pulls rank that they’ll do things her way.
They spend the next day roaming the markets, their plans to find a key ingredient (mustard leaves) constantly foiled. Flashback to Gun-hee’s major plan: they’ll MAKE the kimchi to convince Kang-jae’s father otherwise. I love his are-you-serious look.
It’s simple she explains – he’ll taste it, he’ll be moved, and he’ll believe in them. He plays along, and she assures him that she’s the daughter of a kimchi mogul. Well, you also have an aversion to it so I don’t really trust your palate.
Not only will they make an outstanding product, they’ll give a presentation on it. Kang-jae’s like, do you remember the last presentation? She assigns him to find out what kind his father likes, and he sits back, saying aloud: “He likes Chinjung kimchi.”
Earlier that day, Kang-jae nearly welled up in tears after finding a few bunches of mustard leaves, only to be knocked out of the way. Then in a distracted moment, he grabbed it and ran for his life. HAHAHAHA!
I never knew running with greens through the aisles would be so hilarious. Gun-hee rushes to take the greens to the cashier while the plump ajumma/ajusshi team crack their knuckles after they corner Kang-jae…
Min-jung whines at Se-won on a mountain peak – this isn’t what she was expecting when he said he was going to check out some “land” earlier. So he instructs her to vent out her frustration and she screams from the top of her lungs, echoing through the valley.
Gun-hee approaches her sister to find out Mom’s secret, but Sun-hee tells her that nothing has changed. She sweetly adds that her little sis can do anything she puts her mind to. It’s a cute little moment.
Dad cringes when his son calls, getting further aggravated when Kang-jae asks about why the kimchi project has been scrapped just mere days since its inception. Dad says that it’s essentially money down the drain.
Kang-jae insists that they’ll see through a successful merger to which Dad tells him it’s impossible, “over my dead body.”
He arrives home in a sour mood, just in time to observe Gun-hee recording their ‘how-to’ video to impress his father. She proposes that they’ll break into the online market with their kimchi (to Kang-jae’s raised eyebrows) and show their customers how to make it themselves.
That’s good and all if it weren’t for Kang-jae’s childish interruptions, joking that it’s not recording or that her ‘expression isn’t right.’ With threatening eyes, she seethes, “If you turn it off one more time, you’ll die.”
In mid-kimchi making, Kang-jae informs her that his father prefers his foods salty. Though it’s bad for his health, it will put them in his favor.
But Mom suddenly appears in the kitchen with a look of shock and disappointment – is it her plan to make food that is harmful to one’s health? Is that the kimchi she’ll make for the world?
Gun-hee starts to protest, but Mom furiously cuts in, “Is this what I taught you? Is your cooking going to be an imitation?” Gun-hee asks how they can make food that ignores others’ personal preferences.
Kang-jae swoops in before it gets too heated between mom and daughter, asking for Mom’s help so they don’t make any mistakes. Mom picks up that they’re talking about the merger and Kang-jae presents his argument: “Nowadays, kimchi is made by China who uses Chinese cabbage. Does that still make it Korean kimchi?”
All they’re trying to do is to preserve Korean kimchi, and asks to help them share Chinjung to the rest of the world.
Mom tells them to stop – once they go corporate, the taste changes and it’s all about the profits. “Moms don’t kid around when it comes to food their family eats. Food, she argues, especially one that people eat, must be honest. Thus, they’ll never see a merger between Chinjung and the business world.
There’s a reason they’ll never need to know. Uh Mom, if you say that, that only stirs curiosity, not nip it in the bud. The kids muse that there’s something else bubbling beneath the surface.
The next morning, Sun-hee sees Jang-won exercising in the yard on her way out. The guilt strings tug on her and she apologizes to him, saying that she voted against him moving in. But he tells her not to worry since it’s in the past. He pauses, and says, “Sun-hee…”
And they’re interrupted by the squabbling lovebirds, Min-jung and Se-won. But Sun-hee presses him to continue, “Sun-hee, you say that you can’t do anything, but you know how to do everything. You’re athletic, tech-savvy, and good at cooking.” Sun-hee adorably blushes at the compliment, her foot popping behind her.
Gun-hee drags Kang-jae out to the country for business and he gripes why she doesn’t have a navigation system. She bites that it’s been a while since she’s last been there, so he better pay attention to the map.
Soon they’re blaming each other for taking the wrong road, bickering over her taking directions versus his map reading skills. He gets out, declaring that he’ll walk the rest of the way.
But he jumps back into the car the next minute, too prideful to admit that the noises in the woods spook him.
By now they’re off roading, and their car gets stuck in a ditch. Gun-hee orders Kang-jae to push the car, which is when he finally admits that he’s too scared. HA!
He gets out there anyway, calling to the heavens. The wheel pops out of the ditch, but he falls flat into some kind of poop that ends up right in his nether regions. HAHA!
It’s no surprise that Gun-hee takes the opportunity to ride away and Kang-jae shouts her name. What’s with this guy and constantly being left behind? It’s like a running gag now.
Kang-jae calls for her to stop, and it miraculously does. When he runs to meet the car, he’s ready to shred her but she says, “We’re here.” Gun-hee catches a whiff of the poo and he hilariously points to it: “What are you going to do about this?” Hee.
Cut to: Kang-jae wearing flowery ajumma pants. I’m. dying. seriously.
After some teasing, Gun-hee explains that they’re here to meet with Chinjung’s cabbage distributor because there’s nothing that this grandma doesn’t know about her mother. She’s not at home, since Gun-hee called without notice so that her mother wouldn’t know about the visit.
She turns with a small smirk, and it’s a minor detail, but Kang-jae pulls up the ajumma pants higher, which makes me snerk.
Meanwhile, the emotional toll of betrayal weighs heavy on Mom, who can barely rise in her room.
They inspect and taste the kimchi, to Kang-jae’s great pleasure. He looks over at Gun-hee who is meticulously writing notes and stops to stare at her for a few moments. He looks away when her head turns in her direction, then sneaks in another glance.
Ah there it is – the Meaningful Glance. And if I liked Gun-hee more, this would mean more to me.
Night falls, and kimchi grandma is still a no-show. Kang-jae proposes that they eat dinner while they wait and isn’t dispirited when Gun-hee tells him that there’s nothing to eat.
He comes back with a huge array of food and Gun-hee explains that there’s nothing that suits her palate. So he lures her by drinking generous bowl of makgulli, singing an old rhyme about how if you can’t down your drink, you can’t get married, and the like.
He explains that it’s his right to offer liquor as a subordinate, and then stops himself, remembering the time he was drunk when he was her superior, she stuck seafood in his clothes. HA and eww.
That gets her to start drinking and he stews, “You did that then…” Gun-hee takes offense at the informal, almost rude form of “you,” slamming her drink on the table. He scoffs, and they both drink, infuriated with one another.
Gun-hee calls in to let unni know that they won’t make it home tonight, making it clear that nothing will happen. “You know how much I hate Lee Kang-jae!” (and he retorts that he hates her too in the background). As Sun-hee watches Min-ji and Jang-won cook, she innocently replies, “I’ll tell Mom that you’re sleeping together and coming back home tomorrow.” Pfffffttt.
Sun-hee comes into Mom’s room with a bit of Jang-won’s cooking in hand. Mom approves, noting that he’ll be a kind husband and Sun-hee blushes. Thankfully, Mom doesn’t pick up that Sun-hee’s starting to harbor a crush towards our stunt director boarder.
Drunken Kang-jae sways and asks Gun-hee, “Don’t you think we’re really different? Like opposites?” She replies that it’s true – he’s a man, and she’s a woman. He finds it strange that they always paired up together since she started working for them despite their differing personalities.
He continues, “Even now, we’re partners in a kimchi venture, working in the same room, living under the same roof.” She clarifies that they work in the same office, not the same room, and he’ll be out of her house soon enough.
He wonders aloud why they fight so much: “Is it because we don’t have anything in common? Because you’re bread and I’m kimchi?” Oh the metaphors – are you referring to the traditional breakfast at home versus her sandwich in the morning?
He pointedly asks, “Why do you work so hard?” Gun-hee takes a moment before she answers, “Because I don’t want to be ignored.” Kang-jae: “Are you afraid? Of being ignored?”
Kang-jae remarks that he reminds her of the kid who worked to the bone and afraid that one’s grades may slip. She counters that he’s like a grass-eating animal who’s afraid of getting hurt. “You’re always running away! You quiver because you might have to take responsibility for something. Isn’t it true that you’re so cold-hearted towards others because you’re afraid to make friends?”
He raises his voice, asking if that’s true about him and then concludes, “Then we do have something in common. We’re scared. Of the world.” He laughs when she claims she’s not and says that’s why he felt like they were on the same wavelength, “Because you’re a scaredy-cat too.”
When she leaves for the bathroom, he thinks aloud, “Scaredy-cat, Yoo Gun-hee. Scaredy-cat Lee Kang-jae. We won’t be lonely anymore.”
They gaze into the night sky together, a dark drapery of stars cast above them. Gun-hee comments on a star, but Kang-jae corrects her that it’s probably an unmanned satellite. He used to wish on it when he was younger, but what good was it to wish on something that wasn’t a star?
They both get a good laugh out of it, and he glances over to look at her again.
Dad comes down with the case of the empty-nest syndrome and we hear the rest of Gun-hee’s mother’s speech: she doesn’t curse him, but they’re too different, which is the reason why she can never enter a merger with his company. Way to get all cryptic, Mom.
Kang-jae adorably places a blanket on a sleeping Gun-hee so she doesn’t get cold, and then stops when he hears her mutter his name in his sleep. When he steps in to hear more clearly, she mutters curses at him, heh.
He calls her name to see if she’ll wake, but she’s out and he breaks into a small smile, watching her sleep.
They sneak glances at each other in the car the next morning, which is perfectly cute, until Kang-jae lets out an obviously awkward laugh. He comments on her sleeping habits, repeating the curses she muttered last night. Did she dream of him last night?
Gun-hee guffaws, why on EARTH would she dream about him? Kang-jae asks, “Isn’t it just like in the dramas where the main leads had different goals but ended up spending a night together, like a couple?” Har har – thanks for the meta joke, drama.
He adds that they’ll end up happily ever after… in the drama. Yyyeeaahhh wayyy to be sly there. They spend the rest of the ride in silence, smiling out the window.
After a few more sneaky peeks at each other in the office, Kang-jae offers that they act more friendly in the office – after all, they use the “same room” at the office and went on a trip together…an overnight one at that. And enter Su-ho.
He casually takes the energy drink Su-ho came in with, saying that he needed it since he was up all night. Gak, you petty man. But Su-ho’s here because he’s heard word that the kimchi project fell through.
Mom asks one of her staff, out of all of her daughters, who would be the best fit for the company? He’s alerted to ask if something is the matter, but she’s called away before she can answer. She’s on her way to inform the mystery friend of her decision, and tells Soon-dol to drive to the hospital.
Kang-jae calls out the president’s secretary and asks if he was the one who suggested that the kimchi project be scrapped. When he confirms it, he bursts out like a temper tantrum, “WHY?! Why would you do that?! We haven’t even started!” He did it for his own good, the secretary replies, seeing as it was impossible to achieve.
Kang-jae mulls over the last phrase, “It’s… impossible.”
In another part of the office, Su-ho helps Gun-hee lift her spirits, and role-plays to help her practice the confrontation with the president.
But Kang-jae one-ups that, declaring that they should go into the tiger’s cave anyway, to fight for their project. Aww, I’m so proud of you Kang-jae! They walk confidently down the hall, but quickly deflate when they run into the president in the hallway, only to hear that it’s a no-go.
He turns to leave, but she shouts back, grabbing his attention. They both argue that they’ve only just begun, and Dad asks the both of them a pointed question – did they originally want to do this project? He certainly wanted to and the only reason he turned this project over to them because he wanted to see a merger with Chinjung.
But now that’s off the table too and he’s learned his lesson that he won’t invest in something that will be impossible achieve.
They both resolve that it isn’t the end. Gun-hee asks what they should do. So Kang-jae wrist grabs (cringe) her and tells her to run.
They miss the president by mere seconds in the elevator and rush down to catch him, even running on foot to follow his car. Gun-hee starts to lag behind, but she takes off her heels to run barefoot in the streets.
Kang-jae (finally!) takes her hand and they run together, calling after the president. The car stops and out of breath, Kang-jae argues that there’s a reason that Dad should stay invested: “Us. Yoo Gun-hee and Lee Kang-jae. We followed you from the office down to the streets. It was crazy and impossible. But here we are, talking to you.”
Dad finally notices Gun-hee’s shoeless feet and she delivers: “We don’t know whether we will succeed or fail. But we think that there’s enough reason for us to try. Whether we get a merger with Chinjung or not, we want to see it through to the end.”
Dad says it’s too late – there’s already an influx of Chinese kimchi. But Gun-hee insists that a miracle can still happen late in the game: “Miracles don’t come for those who wait, but for those who make them.” That’s enough for another shot, albeit a short one.
They hug in celebration… until they realize that they’re hugging and awkwardly move away from each other (the music cuts out at the same time too – nice touch).
Afterward Kang-jae remarks how a woman could run in the streets barefoot. As he starts to take off his shoe, she demands that he take them off. It reverts him back to manchild mode, and she lifts his legs to get his shoes off (ha).
Kang-jae: “Where are you touching?! I was about to take them off anyway!” Gun-hee: “They’re not gross or anything, right?” Kang-jae: “Who do you take me as?!” HAHAHA.
They go out for drinks to mark their achievement and Gun-hee warns if he’s going to get all truthy again if he starts drinking. He asks to see the bald spot on her head again and the proximity makes her nearly jump out of her seat.
Kang-jae raises an eyebrow – is this the first time a man’s been that close to her? What of that femme fetale persona of hers? She blusters that she was caught off guard, but he’s got her cornered.
She’s got plenty of experience with men, she claims. Kang-jae nods his head playing along, and reasons, “Then a kiss must be no big deal for you.”
Which is when he grabs her by the collar, pulling her close. She instinctively closes her eyes, tightening her fists for what’s to come.
This episode was so metaphor happy that even thinking about it brings a smile to my face. From the kimchi, to the bread, to the satellite, ah – THIS is the stuff. The fact that Mom has her own language when it comes to her philosophies of life, that people are like kimchi, I totally eat it up. You can see from her face that when she caught her own daughter making her kimchi for someone else, that her hurt and disappointment ran deeper than selling her recipe, but a loss of family intimacy.
If you aren’t informed, there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to make a variety of kimchi. In short, recipes usually differ between families, and more often than not, you’ll admit that the kind your mother made you is going to be better than someone’s else – simply because you’re used to it and prefer it.
For Gun-hee, this isn’t the case and kimchi holds an entirely different meaning than it does for Mom – maybe it reminds her of negative memories towards her father, or a subconscious desire to keep her mother at a distance. To Mom, the fact that her daughter was trying to prep her recipe for someone else, and then try to change it to their needs drives a deep painful nail into their relationship. So it’s more what the kimchi represents, than the food itself.
Hmm, I feel like I’ve missed something this episode. Did anyone feel like that Meaningful Glance felt out of place? Don’t get me wrong – I get it – they’re our main couple, but I don’t really quite equate Gun-hee inspecting kimchi in the field to Kang-jae’s, “I’ve fallen in love with her.” The set-up feels a bit awkward, and we can see the first buds of affection from both parties. I’m rooting for Kang-jae (who had some pretty ballsy moments to stand up to Dad and taking initiative), but I still don’t feel the same way about Gun-hee. I’m waiting, albeit a little less patiently now, for her rude awakening.
What was nice to finally see was that our couple has finally realized that cooperation is the key for them to achieve their goals. They’re both obstinate but driven, blunt but frank, dutiful but assertive. Starting with the previous episode, it’s Kang-jae who stepped up to the plate to fight for the kimchi merger, and they’re beginning to work as a team to see where it will take them, If there’s a little romance sprinkled along the way, I won’t mind that.
- Marriage Plot: Episode 3
- Marriage Plot: Episode 2
- Marriage Plot: Episode 1
- An introduction to tvN’s Marriage Plot
- Kang Hye-jung returns to television in The Marriage Plot