Who knew that a suppository could be the root of such confusion and hilarity? Other truths come crashing down and the kimchi project needs a superhero to come and save the day.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Kang-jae googles the “how-to” to put in a suppository and cries in his hands over the process, particularly about how one must remain in the same position for 20 minutes to ensure proper insertion. His mind fixates on the “20 minutes” portion, repeating it aloud.
He looks half-dead at breakfast which Gun-hee points out as much. Though wary at first, he’s impressed that she went through the trouble to make him food.
Gazing into the bowl, he mutters, “I love you.” Woah, way to start off the morning with random professions buddy.
Looking up to her eyes now, he repeats himself, “I love you…” and then adds, “… porridge.” Hahaha. Gun-hee takes the joke in stride and they both laugh.
In the car, however, Gun-hee wonders why Kang-jae is so uncharacteristically silent. Her mind fills with random concerns like his health, or the awkward silence. Now that she’s begun to see him in a different light, she comments wordlessly on his attractive appearance.
Curious on what could be occupying his mind, we cut to Kang-jae who clues us in on the sole thought that consumes his brain: “Suppository.”
Which makes their subsequent conversation more hilarious since Gun-hee remembers taking care of him all night whereas Kang-jae can’t get over the verbal prank.
He uncomfortably thanks her for her efforts to which she shrugs off that she would have done the same for anyone. He stutters, “Were you that kind of woman? Do you do that to any man?!”
It leaves her confused and him clamoring to cover up his embarrassment.
In a deadpan tone of voice, he exhales, “Let’s get married.” She scoffs at his demand that she needs to take responsibility (for his vulnerable exposed state last night). And then he sticks his bum at her and smacks it for good measure. HA.
Not yet willing to give in, she smiles, “But you survived because of it.” Kang-jae retorts that he’s better off dead. He could never meet another woman with his now tarnished record so they should just get married. They would inherit Chinjung Kimchi automatically by doing so, killing two birds with one stone.
But Gun-hee’s still opposed to the plan and argues that she doesn’t need Chinjung and she doesn’t need a bbong (which can mean either to milk something for as much as it’s worth possible or a bra pad in Korean). Kang-jae’s eyes naturally fall about 8 inches south of her eyes, much to her horror.
The lab seems to progress on some positive developments to make a more delicious kimchi but Kang-jae seems to just be ecstatic that they’re finishing each other’s sentences now.
The manager’s eyes widen in shock when President Lee orders him to acquire fishing equipment for two. He hasn’t been fishing since ‘that incident’ but he agrees to follow his orders.
Kang-jae tiptoes behind Gun-hee (while staring at her ass?) and swipes the keys from her. There’s no point to heading back to the office when they need to be back at the lab later, he says, so they might as well take the afternoon off.
He drags her to the amusement park. Gun-hee has a grumpy face but Kang-jae simply takes her hand, telling her that this all becomes a part of her memories.
They enjoy their afternoon riding various rides, driving around in bumper cars, and hitting some pitches in the batting cages.
They eventually end up at the pier. At Kang-jae’s prompt, Gun-hee admits that she hadn’t been since she was ten, just a few days before her father’s death. It was her first and last time.
Kang-jae asks after how he passed away and Gun-hee shares that he drowned while fishing with a friend. Despite the fact that he was an excellent swimmer; he died before the doctors could revive him.
He nods that he understands and asks if she ever intended to search for her birth parents but Gun-hee coolly replies that you can’t choose your parents; it’s a game of chance like bokbulbok (loosely translated to “blessing-curse blessing”).
That naturally leads her to ask Kang-jae what his parents do. She takes his silent response that they may be deceased but he answers that they’re alive and own a banchan (side dishes) shop.
During lunch, she comments that it must have been hard on his father to own a small shop on his own to which Kang-jae can only cough in response. She says worriedly that small businesses can’t thrive in a failing economy.
He smiles, thinking that she’s concerned for him and his family until she cuts in to instruct him to be more frugal. As the only chaebol son of the conglomerate you’re working for, I don’t think he needs to be.
He raises an eyebrow at her, asking if she’s digging at the bottom of the barrel. So Gun-hee accuses him of being a burden on his folks but he disputes that it was the other way around.
Kang-jae isn’t surprised to hear that Gun-hee was a strong child, believing her for being a fighter at school. But she corrects him, “I didn’t hit them. I didn’t get hit. I didn’t depend on anyone. Like a tree.”
Ever since she was younger, she took care of everything herself: clothes, school supplies, and allowance. With a smile on her face, she says, “I like trees. They don’t lean on anyone and do just well.” But trees flourish in a forest, my dear.
Adorably, Kang-jae moves to sit next to her, saying that trees bend because they want to lean on something too. “You never know if you want to lean on someone. Both you and myself.”
Now we see the other side to Su-ho’s previous confrontation with Kang-jae. He asked Kang-jae if he spent the night with Gun-hee in the hotel room. Kang-jae responded that it was none of his business. But Su-ho put his foot down that it was his business… because he’s called off his engagement.
Oho, look who’s trying to march into second lead territory! Though I have to dig down pretty deep to find any sympathy for you—nope, can’t do it, wall of no emotion.
They trudge home later that evening and Gun-hee gives another kick to the flickering street lamp. Will the city take responsibility for the women who are attacked in the dark?
Kang-jae just smiles at her mini-rant and silently slips his hand over hers, interlocking fingers. Swoooooon.
Staring straight at her, he tells her that she needn’t be afraid of the dark anymore because they can walk home hand-in-hand. He gently invites her to lean on him from time to time.
Her voice falters that their approach to all of this has been out of order so she’s confused Kang-jae recognizes that he needs to take a different course of action, the old-fashioned way, because she’s Yoo Gwan-soo and prefers things that way.
As if on cue, the street lamp flashes on and Kang-jae gives his formal introduction: “Hello, my name is Lee Kang-jae. I’m the son of a lone banchan store owner. Is that still all right? Is it okay if I approach you in this way?”
He draws in close, closing the gap between her lips and his… when her reflexes kick in and she pushes him away with the palm of her hand. She blusters nervously that his fever broke and that pill must have done wonders before she rushes inside, clutching her heart at the proximity.
Kang-jae sees right through the façade. His expression dampers for a slight moment at the mention of “suppository” but laughs like a giddy boy outside, his mood uplifted with a skip in his step.
How much do I love that Kang-jae is actually straight-laced but uses excuses like he’s ‘at the club, drinking’ as an excuse to avoid Dad?
It doesn’t work and he’s dragged into the car Dad is waiting in right in front of the boardinghouse. Kang-jae’s jaw drops at the fishingwear – are they going shrimping? And then he cries for help that a father is trying to kidnap his own son. HAHA. You’re so ridiculous.
Gun-hee tiptoes outside her room to check if Kang-jae came inside and nearly jumps out of her skin when Mom whispers to ask what she’s up to. Once more she asks if Gun-hee can stop working at Sangcharim.
She reassures Mom that she’s not looking to take over Chinjung but Mom insists that she doesn’t want her daughter working there and getting close to those at Sangcharim, namely Kang-jae.
Gun-hee asks her mother why she hates the company so much. In a moment of flared anger, Mom mentions President Lee and stops herself before she reveals any more.
We flashback twenty years ago when Mom ran into the hospital with one of her daughters in tow. She watched as they reeled out a gurney and younger President Lee called out to her husband, now dead. Mom broke down, crying over his body, sobbing that he wasn’t dead.
Mom simply answers that she doesn’t like him but Gun-hee defends that he’s a warm man once you break through his cold exterior. She says that he’s similar to Dad – they were friends, after all. Um, and you don’t connect him with his drowning accident how?
Gun-hee’s sharp enough to know something else is going on and teasingly asks if President Lee is Mom’s first love. Mom barks at the absurd question, calling it implausible.
Kang-jae pretends to stretch his legs, inching away from Dad, who just drags his butt back onto the chair. He whines that it’s boring which earns him a smart smack on the head and Dad assures him that he can leave after one fish.
Taking him literally at his word, Kang-jae zeroes in to reel one in. Dad sighs – is spending time with him is like being kept in prison and Kang-jae honestly agrees.
This time he protects himself from a beating, using a cast iron pan in defense.
Once they settle down, Dad declares that he’s going to make the merger with Chinjung happen, even willing to resort to force if necessary. Kang-jae’s face hardens at the mention of this, but playfully retorts that he’s just jealous about Mom’s cooking skills.
But before they can continue their conversation, Kang-jae’s line tugs and the fish flails on shore. His promise now kept, Kang-jae zips out of there without another word.
Dad watches the fish struggle on land, his memories flashing back when Gun-hee’s father was drowning in the water. Those be powerfully haunting memories there.
The kimchi team continues their research in the lab, and once they narrow their selections, they bring the blind taste test to the streets. The clear winner is still Chinjung kimchi and the team’s faces fall at the abysmal results.
They turn to Gun-hee for their next steps, but she lets out a deflated sigh.
Min-jung, who now sports a new haircut, appears to be pretty good at her new job. Her friend drops by with big news – Kang-jae is the chaebol son of Sangcharim. Min-jung finds it hard to believe but realizes it must be true when the friend rolls her eyes at her.
Outside, Kang-jae encourages her that she needs to rescue the team from danger like Wonderwoman or Superman would. She’s not in the mood for his jokes. However, he tells her that the new Superman doesn’t wear panties over his spandex and laughs which is more embarrassing – that he had underwear or doesn’t now?
Gun-hee just wonders aloud that the public found their kimchi delicious, but it can’t seem to beat Chinjung’s. The answer? “They’re probably not used to it.”
Kang-jae admits that though they went around tasting other competitors, he was always reminded that he wanted to go back to the boardinghouse and eat Chinjung kimchi.
Gun-hee gapes, asking why he never mentioned it before and he replies that she never asked.
Sun-hee wakes Gun-hee to come join them for dinner but the nicety is the last stinging nail in Gun-hee’s day. In annoyance, she tells unni to drop the act – she’s sick of being taken care of. Why doesn’t Sun-hee live her own life?
But Sun-hee’s voice breaks that Gun-hee must know then that she’s an abandoned child. She runs downstairs to confront their mother, unable to hide the truth any longer and tired to act like she’s her biological daughter.
Mom is stunned at the sudden confession but Gun-hee appears at the top of the stairs that it’s her who’s the abandoned child, not Sun-hee.
Gun-hee shows an old photo to prove her case: the oldest girl is Sun-hee while the baby is Min-jung. She and Sun-hee are only one year apart, but she’s missing. She looks to their mother to clarify things, but Mom looks on utterly bewildered at the present situation.
Slapping on a strong face, she excuses herself, running into Jang-won outside (who adorably grabbed some extra beers and ramyun to share with Sun-hee).
Kang-jae searches high and low for Gun-hee while she sits with Su-ho, apologizing to him that she had no one else to call. He dissuades her from calling Ja-young, and admits that he’s relieved that she called. He stays silent until Gun-hee gives him the green light to ask if she’s all right.
She tells him that it feels like two bombs have been dropped on her tonight. With a heavy heart, Su-ho asks if he can drop a third, “It can’t be anyone else but you.” Wait – shouldn’t you tell her that you’re NOT engaged anymore first? No? All right…
And Kang-jae stands watch outside the restaurant.
The younger sisters analyze at home about how they always found Gun-hee a little bit different. The bickering sets off Mom’s emotional fuse and she sends them both away.
Jang-won knocks on Sun-hee’s door after getting permission by Gun-hee to look after her sister. He notices her tears and rushes to her side, gently brushing the tears away with his hands.
He cups her face in his hands and pulls his hands away the next moment. He tells her, “Don’t cry, Sun-hee. If you cry, I don’t know what I can do.” Aww.
Min-jung screams awake the following morning, having found Soon-dol sleeping on the couch. He stutters that this is his home now and he’s now a boarder. Min-jung runs away in embarrassment but Soon-dol smiles, lost in a daze.
Before they drive to work, Gun-hee asks if Kang-jae had ever experienced being hit with three bombs at once. He jokes that he hasn’t, given that he’s still alive, but he can sympathize with how it feels.
She asks how he knows and he replies that someone doesn’t necessarily have to taste poo to know what it is. He muses that it’s possible that someone could not know.
This morning, Kang-jae bears a gift and reveals his own packed porridge – if she doesn’t want to die (because both words contain the same sound jook) then she needs to eat it. He can’t give her a suppository after all.
The sticker chart looms over her head and Kang-jae catches her looking at it every spare moment.
At lunch, the manager confides in Kang-jae that he thinks something is off with President Lee. Kang-jae tells him that it’s most likely Plan B. When the manager presses for more details, Kang-jae warns him that knowing any more can lead to a tortuous night spent fishing with Dad.
President Lee asks Gun-hee what she plans to do now that the sample kimchi wasn’t a success. Gun-hee confronts him that she knows his eye was always on the merger so she asks what he plans to do with Chinjung.
He answers if Chinjung becomes a subdivision, he’ll hire the workers. He’ll respect the managers that sue, and work towards a common good of the company.
At the same time, Mom is being pressured by Director Park that things are becoming increasingly unstable for Chinjung.
Kang-jae visits Mom at Chinjung again, this time to talk business. Once he grabs Mom’s attention, he reveals that Sangcharim intends to pursue the merger aggressively and to make Chinjung Kimchi their own.
Mom asks why she’s being told all of this but we don’t hear Kang-jae’s answer.
The house is an utter mess, with mountains of dirty dishes and clothes sprawled everywhere. Sun-hee sits in her room and we see her leave the house in its filthy state, her bags packed.
Kang-jae finds Gun-hee contemplating alone in the office. She comes clean that she didn’t find the answer, wondering aloud if this was all she was capable of. Gun-hee decides that they’ll go with Plan B, the merger, and her mother will come to understand her decision someday.
But Kang-jae questions if they have to do that. “Chinjung Kimchi is really Chinjung Kimchi when it is Chinjung Kimchi.” In other words, its true essence is best left untouched. He argues that if it joins Sangcharim, its taste will change for the worse.
Gun-hee defends her stance in the practical sense – they can keep the workers and preserve the original Chinjung taste. He answers that he’s decided to become Superman with or without the underwear over the suit. “I’m going to become Chinjung Kimchi’s Superman.”
We’re hitting an interesting trajectory now because the halfway point can usually indicate where a drama can make it or break it for me. It’s when you start thinking if there’s enough plot to carry the story for the rest of its run. We still have a few key questions left answered, but there are other answers that have been unveiled already.
Additionally, like I said before, because so many serious conflicts are being thrown in, I really do miss some of the funny. Right now, Lee Kyu-han is doing a spot on job with a balance of comedy, swoonworthiness and drama, that he’s overshadowing the other characters, mainly the sisters. I keep asking for this, but where are the boarders? Where is the cohabitation funny?! Drama gods hear my plea!
Speaking of serious conflicts, I was pleasantly surprised that the sisters confronted the abandoned child issue so quickly and that it was so quickly wrapped up with Gun-hee’s discovery of an old photo of the girls. It’s difficult to tell whether this is a red herring, for us to forget about this plot point for now for it to be picked back up later, but it would be a shame if the rest of the plots points were tied up with a neatly tied bow like this one. I thought that this conflict provided an interesting twist, and we got a smidgen of how it affects the sisters’ relationships with each other, especially Gun-hee and Sun-hee.
I seriously hope that Sun-hee doesn’t stay away too long, now that she’s packed her bags. She was a wonderful beam of sunshine in this drama and I couldn’t help but squee at her scenes with Jang-won. But Gun-hee does bring up a fair point – so far, Sun-hee has lived for everyone but herself and I hope that the break does wonders for her character.
One of the elements I love the most in this drama is the parent-child relationships between our main couple and their parents. Their interaction with their own parent is such a stark contrast when you compare them with each other’s parents. For Kang-jae, Mom fills in that maternal role that appears to be absent and President Lee does the same for Gun-hee. They hold a perception of respect and understanding of where the other parent is coming from whereas it may not be the case with their own. Gun-hee was willing to contemplate the merger when things seemed bleak whereas Kang-jae resolved to become the superhero to save a falling kimchi empire.
I can’t wait until they eventually realize they need to become each other’s superheroes to support each other when the world is going to crumble from underneath them.