Our couple finally gets to express their feelings for each other with lots of cute coupleified moments. Hidden truths start to emerge and wedge themselves into the budding relationship. From Cloud 9, you can start to see the edge of the oncoming storm on the horizon.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Kang-jae’s face grows more concerned, nervousness washes over his face as he continues to call. He stammers, “If you pick up in 3 rings, then I’ll pretend that you came to me. No 5, no 7, no 10!” Trying to hide his pain, disappointment, and anger, he bursts: “Fine, don’t pick up!”
He scoffs at his own ridiculousness and clutches his heart: “My heart is beating so fast, but was yours made of stone? Am I the only one who was crazy?” Maybe, but you’re also so loveable.
He rides the bus and a nearby couple triggers his annoyance. As he walks home as images of Su-ho and Gun-hee take the place of other couples, his mind even concocting them out of thin air.
He wonders aloud if it’s a manifestation of his jealousy and slaps himself to keep his head on straight.
We catch up with Gun-hee wandering the streets, clearly in no rush. She sighs at the countless missed calls from both men. She pouts, stuck at a crossroads on where to go. Watching a nearby vendor make bbopki (made of caramelized sugar and baking soda), she comments about the taste of nostalgia.
Oh and Su-ho drinks alone in a bar. In case you have a care.
Min-jung tips over at Round 2, asking Su-ho if he knew her nickname was “Polaroid.” Because once she sets her eyes on something, it becomes hers (The verb she uses can mean both ‘to target’ and ‘to take (a picture’). Soon-dol listens patiently to her drunken, convoluted rant until she reveals that was Gun-hee trying to flirt with Lee Kang-jae, Sangcharim’s heir.
That bit of news about the Kang-jae: chaebol link is news to Soon-dol. Min-jung loses her balance while stumbling to her feet and Soon-dol catches her. Meaningful Glances for both, but then Min-jung mumbles, “This isn’t it.” HA.
Now that Sun-hee’s gained some confidence, she has no qualms of asserting that she’s not a maid so Min-jung can get her own hangover soup. Nice.
She asks where “Kang-jae sshi” is, Gun-hee notes that she’s not calling him ‘oppa’ anymore. In an attempt to throw her scent off his trail, Gun-hee recounts the single dad banchan upbringing bit from Kang-jae as reason that he’s not her type.
Min-jung scoffs, since she’s well aware of his true lineage. She jumps to Soon-dol’s defense when Sun-hee is surprised to see him at the boardinghouse. He’s been here a week, how could she not know?!
Everyone is legitimately surprised but Gun-hee spins into a smile as well as Soon-dol to Min-jung’s perplexed expression. Aw, has she fallen for him and doesn’t know it yet?!
In the car, Gun-hee cautiously mentions that it looks like Kang-jae hadn’t slept well given the dark circles under his eyes.
Kang-jae retorts that even if the person who gets punched sleeps with ease, the one who punched him can’t. Then he comments that it seems that she looks quite peaceful and rested.
He likens Gun-hee to a revolving door: she lets anyone in, and allows those who’ve already left to come right back inside. She asks if that mean she’s always half-open and he considers that as a possible interpretation as well.
Gun-hee takes offense at the metaphorical insult and declares that he’s barred from entering her door. Is this still a metaphor or an innuendo?
Kang-jae finally gets to the root of the situation asking why she ran away. Was she with Su-ho? Why did she go to Su-ho and not him? The questions drive Gun-hee to a point of rage and demands that he gets out.
Sun-hee rolls her eyes at the pile of dishes. But just when rolls her sleeves to tackle washing them, Jang-won steps in. She gives him a surprise back-hug in thanks and asks what his ex-wife was like and the reason why she left him.
He blusters that she was just an ordinary woman and he wasn’t good enough. Sun-hee poses whether he’d take her back if she came back to him. He honestly answers that he’s not sure, never having asked that question himself.
She gives an annoyed sigh, telling him outright that it wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear. He tries to apologize but she interjects, “Let’s get married.” Does everyone propose marriage after their first kiss?
Jang-won adorably hiccups in response. Min-ji must have found out about the proposal too because she kicks his shin before storming off in a huff.
Back to the bickering couple, Kang-jae demands an answer – is it him or Su-ho? He’s annoyed because they’re both being spun around her revolving door but she doesn’t feel any better about the situation.
Kang-jae shouts that he’s having an identity crisis because he used to be a carefree ass but he’s different now, thanks to her. Well, you can still be an ass when you want to be one. Maybe it wasn’t because he was a jerk but because he’s scared, Gun-hee challenges. Ooh.
She yells that she’s never dated anyone until she suddenly found herself with poop like him. She tells him to admit that he’s scared since it’ll make him look more honest and less annoying. Does he enjoy digging at others?
Gun-hee drives off and he fixates, “Poop?!”
Dad is in no mood to tolerate his son’s childish whining in his office. Kang-jae mutters about how ‘she’ called him “poop” and stutters when Dad asks if ‘she’ is Gun-hee.
Shocked, Kang-jae asks, “How did you know?” More like, how could anyone NOT know. He plays off this moment, asking if they should pay Dad a formal visit (like permission of marriage), but Dad shakes his head no – he and Gun-hee cannot be.
Kang-jae raises an eyebrow to ask a question he’s been dying to ask: Has Dad’s hairline been receding or has his head gotten larger? It’s enough to provoke him to throw a tissue box that he catches by the door. By the way, is that dress work-appropriate?
On the rooftop, Su-ho states that he can’t remember a thing last night that he was too drunk. But then he says that he tried to call… did he do anything stupid last night? She assures him that he didn’t and asks instead, does he remember dalgona/bbopki?
Finally we’re clued in to a glimpse of Kang-jae’s mother. She packed her bags when he was younger, explaining that she and Dad don’t love one another and would be forever unhappy. One day he’d understand when he was older.
Dang you broke his little heart and his toy airplane on your way out, Mom? That be cold.
The elevator doors open and Kang-jae reluctantly steps in next to Su-ho. He scoffs at the sight of the bbopki in his hand, the same one from Gun-hee’s car.
In an accusatory tone, he asks why he met Gun-hee last night – does he know what he interrupted? But Su-ho gives the “If you hurt her, I will hurt you” speech and pulls rank on him, instructing him to greet him properly from now on.
What the? Are you trying to fill that protective ‘oppa’ role in her life? Kang-jae is just as confused as I am but now he’s certain that they weren’t together last night.
So he leaves the office the next moment with Gun-hee’s hand in his. Dad drives in with a disdainful expression.
We see the rest of the rooftop conversation as Gun-hee explains that Su-ho reminds her of the dalgona they frequently bought at school. He’d be sweet as he is bitter and bitter as he is sweet. So she used to depend and lean on him in those times.
But now, she wants to face things head on, without fear. Gun-hee confesses, “I like Lee Kang-jae.” FINALLY! She continues, “I worry about him, my hearts flutters because of him, I grow curious about him, and I like him.”
Su-ho rests the candy on his desk, possibly putting his own feelings to rest as well.
Kang-jae and Gun-hee roam the streets on their date, munching on street food, and perusing the shelves for a new dress. A guy who actually likes to go shopping? Voluntarily?! Kang-jae, when did you become so perfect?
He follows a few steps behind as they walk home. Kang-jae calls her to say that she looks pretty, so would she like to date him? She replies, “We’ll see,” with a playful smile.
Taking a few steps forward and gazing into her eyes, he confesses, “Yoo Gun-hee, I love you.” After the initial shock wears off, Gun-hee informs her phone admirer that she’d rather hear it in person.
He tenderly tucks her hair behind her ear and opens his arms for a warm hug.
Kang-jae awakes the next morning with a goofy smile like the lovesick puppy he is. His attempts to sneak upstairs are thwarted by unni, and resorts to waiting for Gun-hee downstairs.
Gun-hee shows her new earrings to Kang-jae in silence as to not draw attention to themselves. She tells Mom that she looks a little sickly so she should go get it checked out.
In the car, Kang-jae whines that it’s so hard to be driving with such a pretty passenger. Did you pull that from your Cheesy-Line-of-the Day desk calendar buddy? He gives a solid President Lee imitation that gets her to laugh and she comments that it sounds like him.
More good news at work as Dad checks in with the kimchi project in their big staff meeting. He isn’t discouraged to hear that the first sample kimchi project bombed. Rather, he encourages them to keep at it – to dig other holes.
He’s still hopeful and approves the project to continue, even giving them a suggestion to look into how to appeal to a younger demographic.
The doctor, whose name is Jang Duk-pal, visits Chinjung to drop off some meds for Mom. Even though she swears she can still handle it, it’s too much for the Duk-pal to see. Mom reluctantly gives in.
She’s surprised to see Kang-jae pop out from the jar field as she walks the doctor out. She doesn’t believe that he was just helping out and asks pointedly, “Are you here because you’re hungry?” Without hesitation, he nods, “Yes!”
He nearly sends a jar tumbling to the jar but flashes a huge smile that it’s a relief. It elicits a genuine deep laugh from Mom.
Inside, he discovers the prescriptions and reads it over, googling the specific medication. And given the list Mom either has psoriasis or leukemia. My bet’s on the latter. ‘Cause this is Kdrama world.
Mom follows up about Kang-jae’s father and the banchan store. She interprets Kang-jae’s withdrawn response that he might be ashamed of it. He chuckles that he is a little ashamed. When she asks about his mother, he shares that she left because Dad was too busy at work.
He calls her, “Mother” which stuns Mom for a moment and he quickly apologizes that it’s been so long since he’s called anyone Mother. To him, a mother is a distant memory.
Mom’s face hardens when Kang-jae discloses that he likes her daughter, Gun-hee. But later in the car, she smiles over his confession. She beams with pride that he called her ‘Mother,’ and acknowledges that it was nice to hear since she doesn’t have any sons.
Soon-dol, however, can’t bring himself to inform her of the truth about Kang-jae.
As soon as Jang-won sits down, Min-ji blurts out, “I like you ajusshi! No, I love you!” She demands that he takes responsibility for the heart he stole.
He takes a moment to assess the best way to let her down easy. Jang-won gently explains that he’s much older and that he has a past that she’s unaware of.
But his words sounds patronizing to her and the free-spirited youngster whips out phrases from Sun-hee’s confession that if he doesn’t like her, he should just say so.
She storms off, allowing a single angry tear to fall from her eyes. Oh young one-sided love.
Back at home, Sun-hee is confused at Min-ji’s cryptic message that she too likes him and that it’s love for her too. Then a mystery woman appears at the door with a package in her hands.
She identifies herself as Jang-won’s younger sister and rattles off that her oppa is always so secretive. But one look at the gift she’s brought (boxers) and Sun-hee knows – she’s Kyung-joo, isn’t she?
Kyung-joo casually tosses out that he must have changed since he doesn’t share that with just anyone. Sun-hee asserts that she’s not just anyone. Nice. Once she confirms that Sun-hee has feelings for Jang-won, Kyung-joo laughs…because she still does as well.
Sun-hee argues that it’s in the past and Kyung-joo just nods with a small chuckle.
Things are looking up for Min-jung as she’s promoted to a full-time wedding planner at her office. She gives her reflection a small pep talk about how one’s aptitude is more important than their personality in the workplace.
The next customer is a larger woman and I get afraid that she might turn her down when she asks if there’s a dress that would fit her. I’m pleasantly surprised by her answer, “We have to find you a dress that makes you beautiful, not just one that fits you.”
Jang-won rushes home as soon as he hears and Sun-hee brightly tells him that his younger sister left him a letter in his room. He tears it to pieces without reading its contents and Sun-hee asks why he did so – does he think that she won’t trust him? Or does Jang-won not trust her.
She assures him that she’s fine. Taking his hand in hers, she tells him that she can handle it.
Gun-hee drops by Chinjung and catches Director Park off guard, who pushes a pile of documents behind him and stammers to ask why she’s here. She came to see Mom and turns to leave when she learns that Mom’s away.
Director Park sinks in his chair and lets out a huge sigh of relief. Mm, something fishy’s going on here.
Gun-hee acts on her hunch that something strange is bubbling under the surface makes a call for someone to investigate the Chinjung’s finances.
She gets a few winks in Mom’s office and she dreams of happier times with her father when she was a child. In voiceover, she dreamily mumbles, “Dad, you’re always on Gun-hee’s side right? Dad, you’re not going anywhere right?”
Kang-jae’s mouth drops when his informant reports that the list of medications is prescribed for cancer patients. He calls Gun-hee repeatedly (who has now saved him under ‘Lee Kang-jae’ with a heart) but she’s fast asleep.
He backtracks to Chinjung and finds her in Mom’s office where she’s still sleeping. How cute is it that he wakes her with, “Gun-hee ya, let’s play~” He smiles when Gun-hee tells him that she had a good dream, and he caresses her cheek lovingly.
Mom declares that she’ll hand Chinjung over to Gun-hee. Though she doesn’t like that she’s an employee at Sangcharim but she’ll be able to continue the legacy. But then Soon-dol finally speaks up.
She mulls over at home, reeling from the news.
Meanwhile, Kang-jae and Gun-hee spend time in the kimchi jar field, teasing each other. He sighs, asking why Gun-hee is so pretty and she prides herself that she’s got a brightly shining heart as well, just like the stars in the sky. He reminds her that they’re satellites.
Kang-jae tells her that he loves her, making sure to note that he said it in person this time. Then he says it again. They sit there underneath the night sky, holding hands.
The camera cuts to the sky and back to our couple, now children as they hold hands, telling each other that they love each other.
They exchange quick pecks (what a tease) outside the boardinghouse and Gun-hee sends him inside first. He replies taking a firm hold of her hand, “I don’t want you. I’m going to take you home.” Aww.
They find Mom on the front porch and Gun-hee nervously takes her hand away from Kang-jae’s. She heads inside first.
Kang-jae approaches Mom first and comes clean to discovering the meds in her office. He expresses his concern for her health that he understands that Mom had reasons to keep it under wraps, but she needs to receive treatment.
But Mom’s got another gripe with him – he loves her daughter, yes? Kang-jae says he does and Mom tells him, “Break up.”
His voice wavers for a moment and calls Mom by her CEO title and asserts that his intentions for Gun-hee are serious: “I truly love your daughter, Gun-hee.”
So Mom plays her card, “Are you Lee Hak-goon’s son?” Kang-jae’s eyes fall, unable to answer, and Mom tells him to ask his father as to the reason why he cannot pursue a relationship with her daughter.
Mom ends up spilling the truth anyway: “Your father killed Gun-hee’s father.”
We already knew how Gun-hee’s father passed away and from the clues we know so far, as well as in Mom’s eyes, President Lee did kill Gun-hee’s father. So the dramatics of this scene and what makes it so powerful is how this knowledge will affect Kang-jae’s relationship with the key people in his life. You can see the mix of shock, betrayal, guilt, anger, hurt, and disappointment wash over his face and it just about kills me.
And it comes right at a time when he won Mom’s approval of not only of his relationship with Gun-hee but of an adopted son. I previously thought that Mom’s reaction was a plot hole since she asked President Lee an accusatory question of why he sent Lee Kang-jae to the boardinghouse. So my natural logic was that Mom was smart and she knew to suspect President Lee’s intentions. Then I realized it was possible that she knew that Kang-jae was a Sangcharim employee and perhaps nothing more.
Our main couple is super cute in this episode and though I enjoyed all their sweet moments together from their street date to watching the stars at night, it took a great leap of faith to buy into how they fell in love with each other in the first place. A few of you out there have mentioned that he was nice to Gun-hee when she first started at Sangcharim and was mean to her again, but niceties don’t always mean affection. And I still don’t get how examining kimchi jars equate to stirring romantic feelings.
Cloud 9 never lasts for very long in kdrama land, and I’m surprised that Gun-hee hasn’t made the father-son link yet. There was a moment she gasped at the similarity of the names but then that dropped off the face of the Earth and she reverted back to naivety. I’m left to wonder if Kang-jae will show the same kind of affection towards her or if he’ll be gripped by fear and guilt that he’ll pull off some act of noble idiocy. Because of course, there’s always some form of noble idiocy involved.