Haeundae Lovers: Episode 7
More progress is made on the story front, as Tae Sung slowly realizes that it’s not the family that’s keeping him in Busan, but he also can’t help himself but want to stay. After all, how do you leave Uncle Hello Kitty behind, and a pair of fuzzy former gangsters who believe in the religion of “tough love”? While I wish more progress happened on the “How are Sora and Joon Hyuk siblings?” front, I think a few more important complications have to occur first. Like… Se Na finding her husband?
Having been ditched by Sora and the uncles, Tae Sung drinks alone in front of a convenience store, sipping soju from a straw, and waxing poetic over how miserable his life is. “I’m… a bodybuilding poet?!” he muses. Yes Tae Sung – you’re just one hell of a brilliant bodybuilder.
One of the ahjummas who owns a store nearby and had first informed Sora of the resort expansion project spots Tae Sung outside the store. She warns him that Uncle’s Fishery is made up of former gangsters, and so they’re going to abuse Tae Sung and work him to death. It would be best if he leaves without their knowledge so that he won’t fall into their trap and be sold off as a shrimp fisherman. Tae Sung feels like his worst fears are confirmed – so that’s why they made him pull the large truck instead of a small car! They were just trying to make him stay with them longer by injuring his face, thus making him unrecognizable, and so no one would be able to find him!
Oh the logic.
Incensed, he tracks the family down at the funeral home and witnesses Sora get beat up by Tam Hee’s henchman. The sight of Sora hurt is enough to set him off, and he joins in on the fight, beating everyone up. The camera focuses on Man Ho’s lopsided portrait – boy, the man must be proud of his son. But Sora has had enough.
Taking a fire extinguisher, she literally extinguishes the fight. “This isn’t why we came,” she says breathlessly. “Even though I can’t forgive [Man Ho], this was just our last farewell.” Fair enough, and thankfully they can leave in peace without Tam Hee hassling them further.
They head over to the hospital, and an ER doctor tends to Sora’s cut on her forehead. But Tae Sung tells him to call down the head of the plastic surgery department to do the stitches. Pulling him aside, he tells the doctor that the uncles are all grumpy old bachelors who will make his life a living hell if he can’t make Sora pretty enough for her wedding in a couple of days. If a scar is seen, then they’ll make the doctor their slave, and then sell him off to be a shrimp fisherman.
Doctor goes back to the nurse – and asks her to call up the head of the plastic surgery department! The uncles are impressed; Tae Sung is as smooth as a lawyer!
Once Sora has been treated, Tae Sung has a word with her. He wants to remind her that as soon as his debt has been repaid, he’ll be leaving the family. He refuses to stick around just because they all act like former gangsters. That description touches Sora’s nerves. There’s a reason why they’re former gangsters, and why her father is mentally ill. But Tae Sung doesn’t care to hear her out. It’s none of his problems; he’d just rather they not bully him into staying.
Because the uncles look like a mess, they’re too embarrassed to go out. Luckily Kwan Soon works at a public bath house part time, and they manage to get the whole place to themselves. (Every other guest is too freaked out to be in a bath with former gangsters.) Tae Sung refuses to join the uncles in the pool, opting to take a shower instead, and letting the uncles see his star shaped scar on his butt in full glory. Dong Baek: “Hey, I think Haeundae Hotel is looking for a person with a star shaped mark on his butt.” Eh?! But the uncles don’t say anything. Are you not going to put two and two together?!
Tae Sung joins Sora in one of the smaller pools (fully clothed, of course). She doesn’t know why he thought they’d never let him go, but they will. They don’t care when he leaves, but they do feel bad over the fact that he lost his memory in an unfamiliar place. They really just want to help him, but will not stop him if he wants to leave. That’s some food for thought for Tae Sung, and he realizes they’re not so bad after all.
They all head home after a long day, and suddenly a shower of fireworks from the ground shoot up! Tada! It’s Min Gu! He’s come to surprise them (while wearing a squid mask) because he wanted to give his gifts to the bride before the wedding. The big sack he’s been carrying looks like a huge box of gifts, and they invite him inside happily.
Min Gu unwraps his sack to reveal a nice piece of luggage. Out comes forth a set of wedding rings! They’re ugly and cheap-looking, and while others pretend to be somewhat impressed, it’s really nothing. The next gift – a kiddie watch with a slap bracelet! Omigod are you kidding me!? Min Gu raves about the cuteness of the design and how it can withstand 50 meters underwater.
Kwan Soon is shocked over the state of the gifts, and she grabs the luggage. There’s nothing left inside! What happened to gifts for the family, and her bag?! Tae Sung smirks over the lowliness of the gifts, and so Min Gu makes up the excuse that he needs to be a model civil servant and not spend so extravagantly. The uncles agree hurriedly, and go to make some sashimi, telling Min Gu to invite his friends.
While Min Gu is relieved that it doesn’t seem Kwan Soon has said anything about the apartment, he’s confused over the presence of Tae Sung. Kwan Soon boasts that Tae Sung is their biggest asset with his good looks and strength. He’s also their guest at their home. Min Gu is outraged – a hot man in a home with two single women?! But Tae Sung says he’s got nothing to worry about – he would never be interested in a short woman as “tall as three palms’ length” like Sora, and stomps off.
Min Gu then gets a call from a loan shark, but he can’t avoid picking it up because Soon Shin is watching. The loan shark is actually right outside of Uncle’s Fishery and will barge in if Min Gu doesn’t show up. Min Gu pretends it’s his uncle and hurries outside to “greet” him. He gets dragged away by the two loan sharks – and only Tae Sung happens to be outside to witness this.
The loan sharks give Min Gu a nice beating, even though he cowers and promises to pay it all back. But Tae Sung happens upon this scene – what is going on? Min Gu quickly covers up this “possible misunderstanding” by saying that his friends have come to surprise him and are giving him a friendly beating for being the first to marry. But then Sora and Soon Shin show up and assume that these men are Min Gu’s uncle and relative! Tae Sung: “But you just said he was your friend!” Min Gu: “An uncle who’s like my friend!”
Unable to respond, the loan sharks end up having no choice but to follow along with the charade as Soon Shin drags the “uncles” inside for a meal. Tae Sung pulls Sora aside however and asks if she knows Min Gu well. His instincts are telling him that Min Gu is a con artist, and the men are loan sharks. Sora can’t believe that – how dare Tae Sung assume her man is a gangster!? If he’s going to talk bad about him, then Tae Sung cannot stay at Uncle’s Fishery anymore!
Pissed off, Tae Sung swears he’ll get his memory back and leave, even if she begs him to stay. And she can live a rotten life with that scammer! He’s back at the convenience store, drinking his bottle of soju. But this time he doesn’t finish it, and asks the clerk to save it in the back for him for the next time he comes back. Ha! The clerk’s all, “Am I a bartender or something?”
Back at home, Sora massages her father so that he can try and go back to sleep. Joong Shik thinks that his wife Young Sook will love Min Gu too, but that makes Sora wonder why her mother left them. If her mother was her father’s great love, why didn’t she feel the same? And why was her photo in Joon Hyuk’s wallet? Dad suddenly becomes serious – he apologizes to Sora, as it must have been difficult to grow up without a mother. Sora’s eyes widen – is her father coming back to her?
No – he crawls under the covers, all sleepy and wanting a lullaby to put him to sleep. Sora sings to him until he’s asleep, and then she admits that she’s not sure if she’s doing the right thing in marrying Min Gu. Does she really know Min Gu well? She’s really only marrying him because her father liked him.
Tae Sung returns home all drunk, and asks Sora to give him a massage to treat his insomnia. But she’s still annoyed with him for his accusation, and refuses to help him. So he’s stuck tossing and turning during that stormy night. He tries to recite things he knows about himself, but he ends up listing things about Go Sora, like her cute personality but how she seems to have rocks for brains. Tae Sung moans – can he stop thinking about Sora, and just think about himself?!
No my poor boy – that’s what love means.
The thunder and lightning scares Joong Shik so much that he starts running outside and turning off the lights so that none of them will catch fire. “My hotel almost caught on fire, and we almost all died!” he cries out. Hmm – is he thinking that his home is the hotel, or is there a more tragic occurrence that occurred while he still owned Haeundae Hotel? Because of this deep-seated fear, Joong Shik runs around, closing off all power in all the neighbors’ stalls and storage areas.
The next morning, the sky is calm, and the uncles are making Tae Sung do all the work in unloading the fish from the boat. They tell him to hurry up so that they can go and take care of wedding business, but Tae Sung bitterly looks at them lounging in their chairs, drinking iced coffee. This is really the uncles’ way of torturing Tae Sung after he insulted Min Gu, heh. Out of revenge, Tae Sung takes a crate of fish and dumps it back into the ocean – how do they like that!?
Dong Baek cries out, “Do you know how much all that was worth!?” But Tae Sung doesn’t care – he’s been abused enough! Uncle Hello Kitty doesn’t understand – what abuse?! They had iced coffee waiting for him and Sora if only he finished his work sooner! Tae Sung’s eyes go wide – they were actually going to give him refreshments!?
But this little spat is interrupted when all the neighbors come running to their boat with Joong Shik in tow. They’ve found Joong Shik having turned off all their power last night – thus ruining their fish stores! This is also not the first time he’s done it, and one of the ahjummas is sick of having to deal with Joong Shik. She wants to send him to a mental institute already, but Sora can’t let that happen.
She gathers the uncles together – do they have any money saved up that they can use to pay back their neighbors? They’re currently broke, having paid for numerous expenses on Tae Sung’s part. Uncle Hello Kitty realizes that they can use the money they receive as gifts in the wedding tomorrow to pay back these neighbors! Brilliant idea – and Sora proposes it to the neighbors.
The neighbors agree, and procure a pre-made contract that the ahjumma had written (because she’s that sick of the situation). If Sora can’t pay them back, then Joong Shik has to go to a mental institute. They have Sora sign it with her thumbprint, and now, whether she likes it or not, she’s legally bound to fulfill the promise.
As Sora cleans her father up in the public bathroom, she complains over how much she has to take care of him and make up for his mistakes. She’s tired of it, and has thought of running away numerous times. If only her father would just behave for once! But Joong Shik barely takes in what she’s saying and whines about going home so he can play with his kindergarten friends. Outside of the bathroom, Tae Sung can hear everything and, feeling bad for her situation, offers to take Joong Shik home so that she can go to a spa and take care of her skin for the wedding the next day.
To the spa she goes! She’s thankful for Yong Do coming along with her, and then bumps into Joo Hee there! Joo Hee just brought Se Na for a spa trip. For Yong Do it’s love at first sight as he sets his eyes upon Joo Hee. For Joo Hee, she’s completely uninterested in this “Busan Style” oppa.
Sora is taken into a room, and she ends up in the same one as Se Na is in. Both are happy at the coincidence, and Sora is impressed with Se Na’s knowledge on anything related to spas and massages. Se Na admits that she also is already married, but unfortunately her husband is no longer around. She feels that perhaps her husband “Tae Sung” sent a husband Sora’s way, and so she wishes Sora a happy marriage. She wants to even come to the wedding to congratulate her, considering that Sora did save her life after she collapsed earlier.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Joon Hyuk catches Tam Hee coming back and asks her if she knows anything about the hotel’s expansion into Sora’s neighborhood. Tam Hee feigns ignorance, so Joon Hyuk calls up the police station: “Hello? I think someone is committing fraud under the name of the interim president at Haeundae Hotel…” Tam Hee rushes forth to hang up. That’s all Joon Hyuk needs to help confirm his suspicions, since he never actually called the station in the first place! Rather, he had asked around and found out that the store owners all had a contract with Tam Hee over giving up their land. Now he’s just going to find hard evidence and put a stop on all this.
Oooh – he’s becoming a serious enemy to Tam Hee.
It’s the day of the wedding! The uncles practice with Joong Shik over how to walk his daughter down the aisle, while Tae Sung complains over his waiter outfit. He only agreed to help out the wedding in this capacity because the uncles promised to treat his work as double his usual pay, thus knocking off more of his debt more quickly. He thinks he’s too good looking for this, but goes off to pick up more beverages.
Soon Shin suddenly remembers – who on earth is driving Sora over from the salon? Just then – Sora very nearly crashes into Tae Sung in the garage. She’s not used to braking in heels! Though Kwan Soon went to go with her, Sora is the one driving in her wedding dress. Tae Sung is ready to yell at her, but his voice is caught in his throat: Sora in her wedding dress is just. so. pretty!!
Kwan Soon reminds her that she’s late now, so they hurry off into the wedding hall. However, they are all stopped by some unwelcome visitors: Tam Hee’s henchmen. Min Shik isn’t too happy over how Sora had caused commotion at Man Ho’s funeral, and so it’s payback time for her wedding. Man – are they that petty?
They even start pushing Sora and Kwan Soon around, which is quite low considering they’re dressed so nicely that they are kind of defenseless. Tae Sung puts down the crate of beverages he’s been holding, ready to defend her honor, but someone else interrupts! A car comes driving up to the gangsters, scattering them all over. The driver is… Joon Hyuk!
Immediately the henchmen stand at attention, since it is their boss. Joon Hyuk thought Min Shik was off to meet one of the hotel’s buyers, so what is he doing at Sora’s wedding? Is he really congratulating her in the middle of a garage? He threatens that Min Shik might be getting paid too much just for being Tam Hee’s errand boy, and that his position isn’t really as safe as he thinks it is. After all, Joon Hyuk’s found evidence of Tam Hee misappropriating the company’s funds.
That’s enough to send Min Shik away, and he and his men quickly leave the scene. Sora is surprised at seeing Joon Hyuk there at her wedding, but he reminds her that Uncle’s Fishery and the hotel are “one family” now. That phrase triggers Sora’s curiosity; once the wedding is over, she wants to ask Joon Hyuk something she’s been curious about. Watching all this from afar, Tae Sung is only surprised to see that Sora doesn’t look all to excited to see Joon Hyuk all of a sudden.
Joon Hyuk sits at his seat, and Tae Sung quickly avoids pouring any actual water for him at the table. Too bad Joon Hyuk actually calls him out, asking for water. He’s surprised to see Tae Sung as a waiter all of a sudden, and Tae Sung pretends he just saw Joon Hyuk. He says that it’s all Sora’s fault, because her fickle nature led him to work like this to earn his keep. He tries to remind Joon Hyuk to not chase after Sora since she is going to be married, but Joon Hyuk is pretty aloof about that. After all, he’s probably not interested in Sora that way.
Joo Hee and Se Na arrive at Joon Hyuk’s table just as Tae Sung moves away. Of course, Se Na doesn’t get a good look at him and so she doesn’t recognize him just yet. Joo Hee pretends to be all surprised that Joon Hyuk is here to congratulate Sora, and comments on the emptiness of the wedding hall to show how much Sora doesn’t maintain her friendships well. It’s like people are all painting Sora in a bad light for Joon Hyuk for very different reasons.
Suddenly Sora’s friends do show up! They were led to the wrong wedding hall because Joo Hee (purposely) gave them the wrong address! Joo Hee pretends that she was confused about the location too; Se Na pipes up that Joo Hee knew her way here very well. Haha – awesome. The friends can see right through Joo Hee’s tactics, and they angrily knock over a drink. It ends up on Se Na’s dress however, so Se Na has to rush out to the bathrooms to clean it. Joo Hee is only embarrassed, considering that it ends up being her who is painted in such bad light in front of Joon Hyuk.
In the back room, the uncles, Sora, and Kwan Soon are nervously waiting for Min Gu. It’s nearly time for the wedding, but neither he nor his guests have arrived yet! They ask Kwan Soon to check in with Dong Baek, and see if he’s arrived at Min Gu’s place. That sets off Kwan Soon’s suspicion, and she ends up admitting that she saw Min Gu selling their newlywed apartment.
At the exact same time, Dong Baek arrives at the apartment to find that it’s been emptied out, and Min Gu has completely disappeared. That scammer!
Sora starts breaking down – this is bad! What if her father finds out about Min Gu’s betrayal!? What would he do? Kwan Soon also breaks down in tears, apologizing for not having said anything sooner. She had bought Min Gu’s lies. Soon Shin wants to punish his daughter by “burying her” but Yong Do reminds him that they all bought Min Gu’s lies. So Kwan Soon is left to sit on her knees and put her hands over her head.
Meanwhile, the guests are getting restless, wondering what’s going on with the wedding. The neighbors all arrive at the wedding hall as well, and they hound Tae Sung with questions over what’s going on. They’re worried about not getting their money back, and so Tae Sung misdirects them the wrong way as to where Sora’s room is so that they don’t go attacking her.
Tae Sung rushes into Sora’s room, informing them that all their neighbors might just drag Joong Shik away to a mental hospital if the wedding doesn’t start soon. He finds out that Min Gu ran off, and that he really was a con artist. Tae Sung just wants to scream, “I TOLD YOU SO!” but he’s too frustrated at this point, and he notices that the family is already pretty angry about being fooled.
There’s only one way to solve this problem: grab a stranger and go through with the wedding! They can’t cancel it, or say that they were conned. They must find a fake groom now! Yong Do’s eyes light up – find anyone right? Well then… can Tae Sung be that groom? He and Soon Shin beg Tae Sung; he’s seen how fragile Joong Shik’s mental state is, and they promise to clear all of his debt in one shot. Everyone starts begging Tae Sung – can he please do this for them!?
And the next thing we know, Yong Do is out on the podium, apologizing for the delay int he wedding. The groom was apparently in an “accident” but he was unhurt. They will now start the wedding, and he introduces the groom. In comes Tae Sung, all dapper in a black suit now. Woohoo!
Everyone applauds, but suddenly Joon Hyuk and Joo Hee’s eyes widen.
Joon Hyuk: (inner monologue) That Nam Hae waiter who refused to let me get near Sora is the one marrying Sora? No way!
Joo Hee: (inner monologue) Isn’t that… Tae Sung, Se Na’s husband!?!
And then Sora is introduced, walking down the aisle with her father.
And then, Se Na leaves the bathroom, her dress all cleaned up, and heads back into the wedding hall just in time for the start of the ceremony.
Oh please – not another fake-out! My heart won’t be able to handle it!
I want to do a running count on how many drama cliches we can hit in this series, because this writer seems to have a whole checklist of them, and is just ticking it off with each episode. We have 1) Amnesia, 2) Love-Hate relationship between leads, 3) Faux Incest, 4) Fake death, 5) Poor female lead who lost everything but is still happily working, 6) Birth secrets, and now 7) Fake marriage (contracts)! I’m probably missing a couple, but these are the most glaring ones at the moment. Feel free to add to this wonderful checklist!
I didn’t expect the fake marriage route to be the way to sort of resolve this love triangle. This love triangle is already treading on thin ice because it’s a fine line between morality and immorality, and liking a main character, and disliking him. But this fake marriage will help get to the narrative point that hey, Tae Sung is falling for Sora and will marry her – but it’s all done to save her face, and while he’s under a different identity. It’s not like he’s outright betraying Se Na just yet, which is a good thing. I don’t know if I can root for an immoral husband like that! What’s more painful for this love triangle is that everyone seems to be closer to each other than I would think they would be. Se Na and Sora seem to get along better than just friends; they clearly know each other through Joo Hee, and that experience of saving Se Na when she collapsed brought them closer together. While their closeness feels a little forced, either way, this fake marriage will complicate the existing emotions.
Hearts are gonna be shattering into a gazillion pieces in the next few episodes, just as how everyone may become 10x more confused as well by the revelations of Tae Sung’s identity.
As many have suspected, I also do fee; that Joon Hyuk might know about Sora’s relationship to his mother, especially since everything he says now holds greater meaning. However, I find his intentions quite inconsistent towards Sora. I want to believe that he’s someone who will be on her side, but I can’t help feeling he has his own agenda regarding Haeundae Hotel. Is he really going to be that magnanimous and return it to Sora’s family? And if so, why is he helping the search for Man Ho’s heir? And really – what’s with the unfavorable contract that he initially proposed?
In a way, I kind of want Joon Hyuk to be evil, especially because Jung Suk Won has such a happy face all the time, and I’d love to see him get all serious and broody.
But broody and angsty is what we’re going to get! Oh Se Na – I hope you get a good full look at your “dead” husband’s face!