Marriage Plot: Episode 8
We’ve hit the halfway point and it feels like both of our main characters have each taken a step forward that draws them away from themselves. There’s more petty bickering that you enjoy but there’s also plenty of heartfelt confessions. Gun-hee realizes that the person you thought you hated might be the one you miss the most.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Gun-hee rouses from her beauty sleep as Kang-jae’s smiling visage crystallizes in her eyes. The record scratches, she punches him, and they both scream – her in shock, him in pain.
Glancing under the covers, she gapes: “I’m not wearing anything! I don’t have anything on!” Kang-jae gives a did this girl miss health class that day look and remarks: “Why would you be?”
That ignites her temper and she kicks him out of the bed. Demanding to know what they’re doing stark naked, Kang-jae thinks before answering: “Instinct?” HA.
She chases him out the door with just a throw as a cover. Now noticing the ‘Do Not Disturb’ hanging from the doorknob she accuses that this was his plan all along. Kang-jae protests – he was here to help, remember?
She tries to shut him out and Kang-jae uses all his might to prop the door open, pleading for his clothes. Which is when she sends her knee straight into his family jewels. HAHA – it’s really Kang-jae who sells the moment here.
Gun-hee slumps onto the bed, trying to shake away the truth from her mind. But she lifts the covers once more and sobs, “You slept with him! You slept with Lee Kang-jae!”
Back at the boardinghouse, Sun-hee nearly jumps out of her skin as her younger sisters ask if Gun-hee was away last night. She shushes them for fear that Mom will overhear when they deduce that it means she was definitely out with a man.
It doesn’t take them long to notice that Kang-jae didn’t come home last night either…
Speaking of whom, at least the man was creative enough to fashion a toga out of his covering. The manager (previously thought to be Dad’s secretary. My mistake!) finds him standing alone in the hallway, teasing him, “Gandhi?”
In the car, Gun-hee imagines her co-workers’ reactions for coming into work in yesterday’s clothes, ranging from Kang-jae’s “I’m wearing yesterday’s too” to Hanna’s hurt to Su-ho’s disappointment.
Kang-jae stares at his brightly colored Hawaiian shirt and asks if Dad’s right hand man brought him spare undies. But he turns the question back on him – who’s the girl this time? How about Kang-jae try dating for once, like going out on dates, asking what her hobbies, her likes and dislikes, and experiencing the thrill of holding a girl’s hand?
Kang-jae calls it old-fashioned and he wouldn’t work on his wife anyway. Secretary lifts his nose that his wife’s got high standards anyway.
Gun-hee’s expression falls at her grandma like shirt since it was the only shop open so early. She encourages herself that fashion is all about confidence. But she wishes become invisible when the president steps into the elevator and comments that his mother had the same shirt… half a century ago. How embarrassing.
He asks after how well Kang-jae is getting along and she blusters that sometimes he’s warm, stimulating, and they move as one unit. The soft moans in the background nudge us towards the double entendres.
In their team meeting, Kang-jae pours on the innuendos. Sangcharim is currently naked to the public. Why are we exposing ourselves? Why are we shedding our layers? …are some of the questions he wants to address. They probably couldn’t match the consumer’s desire for delicious kimchi because they were so exposed. So they’ll need to take their time to perfect their kimchi.
Gun-hee sends him death glares that no, they won’t buy any more time and they’ll move ahead to launch the project. I’m sure she’s on the offensive just to spite him.
The young’uns slip away, knowing a storm’s brewing. Kang-jae asks if she knew what it took for him to escape the hotel after she left him there. She spits back why did he pounce a drunk woman anyway? He scoffs and retorts that she’s the one with the higher drinking tolerance, after all.
Staring straight at him, she asks why he can’t just pretend it didn’t happen and acknowledge it as an accident. The next moment we see Gun-hee beating herself up over again in the bathroom, “Why did it have to be Kang-jae?”
She contemplates quitting, but she’s worked too hard to do that. Her attempts to tell herself that she needs to act cool about it fall flat, eventually burying her head in her hands.
The gabby employees are back, this time mentioning that Gun-hee and Kang-jae must be a couple for sporting such godawful shirts today. Gun-hee steps out to give them a piece of her mind – should the kimchi project be a success she could be promoted to Director, so it’s best that they keep their gossip to a maximum of nonexistent.
Mom launches into a rage during her inspections, demanding to know why they’re using different ingredients in their kimchi. The manager explains that he changed them out since he heard rumors the company was unstable and it was getting harder to acquire their usual ingredients.
But Mom intends to keep to her high standards and orders all the tainted kimchi to be disposed of immediately. By the gate, a mysterious man jots notes.
Meanwhile, Su-ho hangs up after speaking to the hotel who has informed him that he’s left a few items in his suite. You can tell from his expression (well, barely) that he knows that something is strange.
He’s unable to Gun-hee who’s on her way out. Kang-jae literally squeezes into the elevator, intent on tagging along. He notices that she’s in a newly-bought shirt, deducing that there wasn’t any time to swing by the house.
But he notices the hanging tag and reaches to slyly remove it. And Gun-hee misinterprets that too and whacks him with her folder. He calls her thrifty after reading the pricetag (around $6.50 USD) and she gives him a smart whack. I also enjoy that his face almost gets squished between the doors too. Serves you right.
Kang-jae doesn’t understand why last night was such a taboo. “Everyone else sleeps together. Is there a problem with that?” Oh you smartass. She shushes him – that may be how he lived his life but she sure didn’t. He takes offense, as if she would know how he leads his life and Gun-hee tells him she’s not curious in the least.
He follows her into the car, figuring that they should head out to Chinjung together as a team.
Kang-jae spots Su-ho in the distance and taunts that he’s probably is in the dark about last night’s events. Should they let themselves be caught? “Nah, I should probably tell him.” But Gun-hee drives out of the parking lot before he gets the chance.
They run into Director Park at Chinjung who fills them in. Gun-hee expresses concerns that the company is in no position NOT to be asking for help. She offers to examine the kimchi herself to understand the source of Mom’s rage better.
It only takes her one whiff to tell the two apart which impresses Director Park, Kang-jae, and myself. The newly fermented kimchi already has a stale stink that will only become more apparent in the coming days.
Kang-jae calls her Daejang-nose, a play off of Daejanggeum, for her keen sense of smell. Gun-hee’s in no mood to play however, but she hesitates thinking about that stale scent. She then lets out a small squeal of excitement, having discovered what might be the answer to their kimchi problem.
Kang-jae acknowledges aloud, “Yep, she’s attractive.”
Min-jung and her friend sit in a café. Her friend points out a hottie with a sweet ride but Min-jung breaks him down in a glance that he’s an unemployed bum who’s trying to keep up with appearances, just like her (it’s doubly funny because her friend thinks she meant albuja aka rich). Her friend cautiously asks if Min-jung needs help finding a part-time job which she finds appalling, natch.
On the other end of town, Se-won throws down his gear and yells to the gods that he wants to go back home, tired of the back-breaking labor.
Gun-hee’s brilliant idea is to rid the stale smell present in other kimchi with lactic acid bacteria. Kang-jae asks if it’s possible and she tells him that it’s textbook. To which he teases: “Do you always live by the book?”
In response to his annoying behavior, Kang-jae compares it to grade school where the boy tugs on the girl’s pigtails and then proceeds to stare and smile at her. Gun-hee points out the creepiness and he turns his head to look out the window with a forced unhappy expression.
President Lee is confused when he hears updates on Chinjung’s current status. They’re reducing their production though their reputation is still positive. So if there aren’t any glaring problems, why is Chinjung preparing to sell off its land?
Mom is at the hospital for another checkup. She passes on the medication, citing that it will ruin her taste buds. With no determined successor and her ability to taste, the company will in danger of collapse.
Doctor Drunk Ajusshi doesn’t approve of her decision, but neither does he press her.
At the carwash, Kang-jae brings back the topic again – his memory is muggy but did she come on to him? Gun-hee points the blame right back at him. He’s trying to save face for the both of them so must she always do that? Or is she scared that she might actually give her heart away?
She answers with disbelief, “Scared? Heart? It was an accident.” Once the kimchi project launches, their obligated relationship will end.
So Kang-jae grabs onto the steering wheel, “Hey, let’s date.” He tells her that she can feel free to call him “oppa” and finishes it off with a wink. If you weren’t so darned cute I might wanna hit you.
They exit the car and Kang-jae immediately initiates the familiarity, calling her “Gun-hee ya” but she retaliates with a spray of the water hose before driving off, leaving him behind. He nicknames her “Yoo Gwan-soon” and then comes the inevitable sneeze and shiver.
Kang-jae returns to the office coughing and runs into Dad by the elevators. Dad chides him for his casual Hawaiian attire. In a confident, slightly cocky tone he replies: “There must be a reason for all of this.”
But Dad’s heard enough and wrestles him to the ground while the secretary keeps watch.
He continues to cough and refuses to leave early. Kang-jae reminds Gun-hee that if he dies from this cold, it’s considered an occupational death and she can use the insurance money to bury him in Hawaii. HA.
She steps out for a moment, bothered that she’s growing concerned about his health. She waits for him at home, checking outside his bedroom door to see if he’s arrived yet.
Kang-jae naturally thinks that it’s Gun-hee when he hears the door open again. But it’s Su-ho who asks why Kang-jae’s clothes were found in his hotel room last night. Kang-jae looks up at him, but we don’t hear his answer.
He finds Mom waiting for him at home, only to hear her requesting for him to leave the boardinghouse. He replies, “I’m sorry, but I can’t. I like it here.”
Mom assures him that she can refund his money and help him find another place, but he’s adamant about staying, “I don’t intend to leave here. I don’t have another place to go to and I don’t want to go anywhere else. So even if you chase me out, I won’t leave.”
He means of course that he genuinely likes it here whereas Mom hears it as a defiant speech. But Gun-hee swoops in that Kang-jae’s right – there are housing laws for a reason. If anything she should be the one who leaves first.
Mom glares back at Kang-jae but it’s clear that he’s been given permission to stay. Gun-hee peeks her head out from the corner to make sure everything’s fine.
Sun-hee asks Jang-won about the other men who are missing at breakfast the next day. He explains that it looks like Se-won has packed his bags and returned home while Kang-jae was already gone when he awoke.
He’s missing at work as well and Gun-hee learns from Hanna that he’s out to taste a sample from another kimchi company. She sighs, trying her best not to admit that she misses him.
Su-ho finally gets the chance to talk to Gun-hee in the hallway but she cuts the interaction short by explaining herself away before Su-ho can get a word in.
On a lighter note, Sun-hee and Jang-won enjoy each other’s company eating one of Sun-hee’s homemade cakes when Min-jung calls unni to handle this month’s credit bill because she’s going to find a way to handle it.
Looks like her friend as brought her to wedding consultant company and Min-jung’s personality might fit right in when she tells an approaching woman (who she thinks is a customer, but my bets that she’s the manager) that she can do the job well.
A driver cuts Gun-hee off on the road and her road rage lashes, telling Kang-jae to tell the guy off. Only that she realizes that he isn’t there and is gone for the rest of the day which aggravates her annoyance.
Mom instructs her employees herself, reminding them of the importance of using fine ingredients and not using substitutes. She even tastes their batches personally to make sure they have the recipe down pat.
An employee approaches her afterward to inform her that she has a visitor who only described himself as “family.”
That family is Kang-jae who claims that he was just in the area. Though initially unsettled by his visit, her maternal instincts take over when they grab for the same glass and notices he’s running a fever.
She takes out a small pot of godeulppaegi kimchi (lettuce greens) that treats fevers and increases one’s immunity.
Kang-jae asks if Mom hates him for sticking around when she asked him to leave. She wordlessly places the kimchi on top of his rice and replies, “You said you were family. And I don’t starve my family.” Aww, Mom.
Those words ring in Kang-jae’s head on the bus ride back and he rests his head against the window. At the same time, Gun-hee drives home, looking over at the empty seat beside her.
The ride home is harder on Mom, however, who has trouble masking her pain. Near home, the street light ominously flickers out to Gun-hee’s annoyance.
She yells at the lamp, complaining that their tax dollars aren’t being distributed properly, What if someone attacks her here in the dark?
As if on cue, a mysterious hand appears on her shoulder and she warns in a frightened tone that she has a taser, and a gas gun so he better watch out okay?! The hand drops from her shoulder and turns around to see Kang-jae’s smiling face back at her.
He jokes that she’s threatening unknown attackers now and says nothing while Gun-hee complains that he scared the living daylights out of her.
Kang-jae pulls her back when she tries to leave and leans in close. Examining her face, he observes: “So this is what you look like. I didn’t see you all day and I forgot what you looked like.”
He was confused on whether she was Gun-hee or Gwan-soon and decided she was the latter. Gun-hee is puzzled – is he suggesting that they participate in the 1919 Independence Movement together?
He drills her with questions like her hobbies, her favorite movies along with my favorite, “Do you always look so pretty when you sleep?” He suggests they go see a movie that she likes and before she can respond, he asks, “What do you think of me, as a man?” Aww are you trying to take the old-fashioned route? ‘Cause this girl is totally on board if you are.
She tells him to stop talking nonsense but he counters if there’s time to speak senseless things when they’re so busy.
Gun-hee looks at him and asks if she looks easy just because they slept together. Fair and very good question. He asks in turn how she could seem easy – it’d be easier to take on President Obama or Kim Jung-eun (the North Korean leader not the actress) instead.
He hands her a vial that contains he lactic acid for their kimchi project. She laughs, surprised that they’ve acquired it so soon. Kang-jae warns her that he’s going to kiss her – will she hit him again?
She tells him that the vial is one thing and the kiss is another…so she might. Kang-jae takes her up on that dare and draws her in closer to him as Gun-hee closes her eyes…
…and he collapses into her arms while Gun-hee does her best not to fall under his weight. She piggybacks him but then throws him down at the sound of him coughing, thinking that he’ll throw up again. Gun-hee then proceeds to kick him to knock some sense into him.
But she finds her hair free of vomit and kneels down, “Are you really sick?” Kang-jae coughs in response.
She drags Kang-jae inside, calling for anyone’s help. But she finds the house empty, everyone out of the house for various reasons. Gun-hee initially complains as she hoists Kang-jae onto his bed, but stays with him during the night, eventually falling asleep by his bedside.
Morning comes and Kang-jae’s awake, feeling much better now. He watches her sleep by his bedside and places hand on her head. When she stirs awake, he flinches: “Are you going to hit me again?” HA.
Thankfully, Gun-hee asks if he’s okay and he nods. He notices that he’s nekkid under the covers. Did they–? But Gun-hee explains that his fever wouldn’t break. Kang-jae looks at her: “Is it because I’m sick? You look so pretty.”
Gun-hee can barely hide a little smirk and then tells him, “It’s a good thing the medication worked then. It was a little difficult, but I was able to put it in.” Think suppository… and Kang-jae thinks so too once he sees the empty wrapper.
He laughs/cries out why it HAD to be a suppository and Gun-hee breaks into a huge grin.
But just when you thought that Gun-hee’s extremely evil, we flashback to see her taking care of Kang-jae all night – feeding him medicine and making sure his body stays cool by regularly placing a cold towel on his forehead.
She breathed a sigh of relief when his fever finally broke. After a long moment, she traced the outline of his face with her finger and watched him sleep… finally seeing him in a different light.
Aw yeah, I loved this episode. It might be the first episode I loved Gun-hee as a whole person – it took a while for me to break through that prickly exterior but now I’m starting to see her in a different light. She’s kept her family, her co-workers, the audience at a distance, but thanks to Kang-jae’s forthrightness, that barrier is being barraged and slowly but surely each brick is crumbling down. We’re seeing more that she’s uncomfortable when someone encourages her and isn’t afraid to challenge her.
Kang-jae is continuously forcing her to expose who she really is and I’d love her to do the same for him. Up to this point, we’ve really seen him pouring out, investing a lot of himself in her and her nursing him in the night is hopefully the first of more actions. Even if it took an Instant Cold to do it.
I love that Kang-jae’s so earnest when it comes to Gun-hee. It was so sweet to watch him ask her all those questions about the things she liked, that he wanted to get to know her better. It might feel backward because they’ve already been driven so close physically, mentally, and emotionally that it may not seem ‘appropriate’ but when has anything been ‘appropriate’ according to society’s standards for them? They don’t necessarily transcend them, but when they’re together, you can’t help but get sucked in by their conversation as if nothing else in the world existed.
I failed to mention that Kang-jae was likely Gun-hee’s first, which explains much of her confusion and attempts to mask her mixture of emotions by lashing out to Kang-jae, even confronting him about his intentions. What I like is that Gun-hee doesn’t immediately fall to her knees to Kang-jae’s words and neither does Kang-jae let her words stop him from seeking the true answers of her heart.
Then I almost lost the other wonderful exchange between Kang-jae and Mom. Mom’s got the right reason to be suspicious – he’s an employee of a rival company that is trying to overtake Chinjung. But Kang-jae’s loyalty to the boardinghouse runs deeper than mere landlady to boarder – he considers himself a part of the Kimchi Cellar, part of a family he doesn’t have elsewhere.