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Nice Guy: Episode 1

There’s No Such Thing As Nice Guys is off to a fantastic start, and hits the ground running. The production feels assured and comfortable as it takes us by the hand and leads us into the hell of our characters’ own making. How far would you go for love? How much is too much?

I love that ‘love’ in this drama is such a questionable thing when it blurs the line between true love and obsession, making for some rich character conflicts right out of the starting gate. Another refreshing quality? The story starts now. Not later, not after a two to four episode backstory, not after breakfast. We’re thrown right into the deep end, and I’m loving it.

Also, Song Joong-ki. Need I say more? (Read below to see me say more.)

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EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open as an eager young man in white doctor’s wear halts at the sight of a news report, unable to suppress a smile as he watches. His name tag tells us he’s KANG MARU (Song Joong-ki), and he playfully tsks at the screen, “My ajumma is causing trouble again.”

That same ajumma ends the report with her name – HAN JAE-HEE (Park Shi-yeon) – just as Maru is called off to work.

After the opening sequence, we return to Maru scuttling behind a large group of doctors led by SUK MIN-HYUK (Jo Sung-ha). They go from patient to patient while Maru takes notes, until he finally raises his hand to ask why he and the other doctors-in-training are being ignored.

Min-hyuk’s the prickly type, and swiftly puts Maru back in his place – just because he’s wearing a doctor’s coat doesn’t make him a doctor. Maru protests, but Min-hyuk remains firm in his belief that none of the students could give him any useful answers, so why bother with questions?

Their attention is drawn away by a sick boy causing a fuss, though tests have been unable to diagnose the problem. Min-hyuk takes this opportunity to test Maru’s worth, and finally asks him a question he so wanted to hear: “What is this patient’s cause of illness?” Maru gets two hours to find out.

All the signs point to head trauma, though there’s no history of it. Maru agonizes over what to do, until the boy wakes up and tries to pull his IV out. Maru stops him, and the two adorably bicker, even though the subject matter is grave – the boy wants to be discharged since his brother has no money to pay the bill, and Maru eventually agrees to take charge of his hospital bills.

He gives the boy a playful hit on the head, only to have the boy start vomiting. Realization dawns on Maru’s face as he marches back to Min-hyuk with his diagnosis: a brain hemorrhage.

This doesn’t fit with the negative test results or the boy’s insistence that he’s fine, though Maru uses his younger sister as an example of how strong a child’s will can be.

Their escalating disagreement is cut short when the results of the boy’s angiogram come in, with no trace of an arterial tumor to be found. With no more ground to stand on, Maru backs down and admits that he must have been wrong.

The boy gets the all-clear for a discharge, and Maru gets some privacy as he stares at his reflection in a bathroom mirror.

Later that night, the boy is readmitted to the hospital, and new tests confirm Maru’s earlier diagnosis. Min-hyuk asks a fellow doctor to get in touch with Maru: “I need to tell him that, ‘I was wrong and you were right.’ Tell him that, as a teacher, it is very humiliating.”

Having earned his senior’s approval, Maru heads to his very humble home with chocolate in hand, calling for someone named Choco, who turns out to be his little sister.

…Who he finds barely conscious on the floor of her room, running a sky-high fever. He goes into crisis mode and prepares to take her to the hospital until he gets a phone call from ‘Jae-hee Noona’.

Jae-hee is in a panic, as she cries into the phone: “I think he’s dead. No, no. He is dead.” Maru is caught off guard as Jae-hee screams at him to come right away, and though he’s momentarily torn between Jae-hee and his sister, he picks Jae-hee. Ouch.

To rub some extra salt in that wound, Choco desperately begs for Oppa not to leave her alone while she’s sick. He presses a bar of chocolate into her hand and promises he’ll be back before she can count up to five hundred.

Sick and crying, she tells him that she’ll die from her sickness if he goes to Jae-hee. Maru’s conflicted but not conflicted enough, as he leaves her with the promise that he’ll be right back. Famous last words – no one’s ever ‘right back’ when they’re in dramaland.

He sends his home one last lingering glance before he rushes to a motel, and collects himself before he cracks the door open. The first thing he sees is a man lying in a pool of blood, with Jae-hee huddled near the bed.

“Is he dead?” Maru asks, and a shuddering Jae-hee replies that she doesn’t know. He slowly kneels next to the body and checks for any sign of life, and when there is none, Maru sinks back as Jae-hee parrots his same question: “Is he dead?” Maru nods.

She seems genuinely confused, or genuinely in denial, when she asks why he died. It’s a dead (har) giveaway that Maru only has to look at her for her to break down as she proclaims her innocence over and over again, each time with more conviction than the last.

After covering the body, Maru kneels in front of her as she shatters the broken bottle she used as a weapon. His voice is nearly shaking when he tells her to turn herself in – if she was just acting in self defense to keep the man from hurting her, then the police will understand.

This isn’t a viable option for Jae-hee, who knows she’ll lose everything she’s worked for even if that’s the case. Maru doesn’t see how losing her reporter status would be the end of the world, claiming she could just start over – a thought that gets her screaming and reaching for the glass shards to kill herself.

In hysterics, she cries that she can’t go back to the hellhole that she came from and would rather die instead. Maru tries to grapple the glass out of her hand as she cries that her world is over – she’s endured fifteen hard years on her road to being an anchorwoman, and without it, she has nothing.

Maru ends up with a cut on his wrist during the scuffle, but his face has changed. “Can’t I be a reason?” he asks. He claims that he’s spent thirteen years living only for her, like the light at the end of a dark tunnel. “A guy like me… can’t I be a reason for you to live?”

It’s a little eerie that the two of them can sit so close to a corpse, but now that she’s calmed down, they talk a little about God while Jae-hee resigns to turn herself in. She’s barely able to eke out a few words to the police before Maru, looking dead ahead, grabs the phone away from her.

He grabs her in a deep and desperate kiss before he starts to clear the room of fingerprints. Is he doing what I think he’s doing? “I killed this man,” Maru says in a shaky voice. No no no. Snap out of it, man!

“Don’t ever turn back,” Maru tells her, but she doesn’t want to leave him. He tells her that it doesn’t matter to him if he doesn’t become a doctor, but she can’t live if her dream is shattered. Wait, so he’s taking the fall because he thinks he’s the only one who can?

To add insult to injury, he smiles in the face of such a bleak future and reassures her that he’ll be fine. “Just go, Noona.”

We cut to SEO EUN-KI (Moon Chae-won) as she picks up a reluctant man she calls Director Choi for carpooling. There’s a weird, nervous energy around her, like crazy just waiting to happen.

When asked why she doesn’t have a chauffeur, she replies that she’s too temperamental, and when he keeps calling her agasshi, she wonders if he’s purposefully looking down on her. There’s a juxtaposition with the words she’s saying and the tone in which she says them, kind of like sugarcoating a pile of barbed wire.

It doesn’t seem like Director Choi means any offense, even though she’s become his supervisor at the mere age of twenty-three, with only a Harvard MBA. At least, that’s the sort of talk she knows he’s been doing behind her back. Eek.

As they near a tunnel, Eun-ki basically tells him to hold on tight as she starts aggressively driving and talking business statistics at the same time. Whoa. This girl is hardcore.

She accuses him of skimming a little off the top as far as business dealings are concerned, and displays her knack for road rage when another car forces her to skid to a stop. This is almost bipolar, since she yells at the other car before returning to her sweet-yet-not tone with Director Choi.

They finally come to a stop, but the home they’re in front of is where we find Jae-hee standing in Maru’s clothes. She hands a file over to a man she calls ‘Chairman’, and it becomes clear that the murder (or at least the meeting gone awry) might have been something he ordered.

Jae-hee fights back her tears as she asks him, “To the man as precious as my life… Do you know what I have done to him?” He embraces her, while Eun-ki glares from the car.

Maru waits for the police to arrive in the hotel room, with Jae-hee’s words about repaying the debt for the rest of her life echo in his mind. The sound of sirens engulfs him as he calls his little sister, and fights back tears as he tells her: “I’m sorry. For not being able to keep the promise.”

Everything finally starts to seep in once Maru hangs up, and his struggle to hold back his own tears is equally heartbreaking and… well, strange. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for him or whether to give him a good shake of the shoulders. I think I want to shake him, but in reality I feel only pity.

In voiceover, we hear a judge sentence Maru to five years in prison. (Five years for murder? Seems a bit light.)

Six years later. Maru stares soullessly from a Tokyo hotel window as he gives the woman he spent the last night with money instead of warm and fuzzy feelings. She’s an infamous gold digger, and Maru coolly explains that he just doesn’t have the kind of money she’s looking for.

She tries to stop him from leaving with a confession of love, and instantly falls into his arms the second Maru says, without expression, that he believes her. With frighteningly dead eyes, he returns her embrace.

Eun-ki’s in the suite next door, dreaming fitfully of her mother before the man keeping vigil at her bedside accidentally wakes her up.

Turns out she’s slept in because he was concerned for her health, especially with a pre-existing medical condition. Needless to say, she’s pissed, and fumes at PARK JOON-HA (Lee Sang-yeob), who is revealed to be her lawyer.

She springs out of bed and gives him a cold warning – if the business negotiations fail because he let her sleep in, it’ll be off with his head.

Unable to get business off her mind, Eun-ki emerges from the shower wearing nothing but a towel and a poker face as she discusses a cosmetics complaint with a nervous Joon-ha, who tries to keep his eyes averted.

In an interesting turn, Eun-ki reveals that Joon-ha is gay (orrrr is he?), and assures him that she’ll carry his secret to the grave.

Eun-ki meets with the Japanese woman who filed a complaint against their cosmetics brand, and bows formally in apology. She hands over an envelope of money that helps to butter the woman up as they share a meal and dessert, but Eun-ki’s demeanor turns cold as she gifts the woman with the cream that supposedly ruined her face, claiming that the same cream was in their dessert.

It sounds gross, and it still is gross even when Eun-ki claims that their products are so organic, that they’re edible. And if the cream contains metals as the woman said, Eun-ki promises that they’ll both be in the hospital by tomorrow morning.

Eventually Eun-ki gets the woman to drop the act, and reveals her as a Korean immigrant trying to act Japanese. Joon-ha is present as she hands over proof that their competitor paid the woman around $40,000 to file the bogus complaint.

The woman blusters at Eun-ki’s biting remark that she ruined her face for such a tiny sum, but the odds are no longer in her favor. Eun-ki swears to Joon-ha that she’ll make their competitor pay, and if I were them, I’d start running.

She walks outside, barely missing Maru and his lady friend having a one-sided smooching session underneath a tree. Again with the dead eyes. Maru, there is a soul in there, right? *knock knock*

Eun-ki’s vision blurs and she stumbles, though Jae-hee is right there to catch her and fuss over her. Jae-hee is at the resort with Eun-ki’s father, and tends to Eun-ki like a mother even though they look more like siblings.

Once the sweet act is dropped, Eun-ki accuses her of acting concerned only to put on a show. A child comes running out and latches onto Eun-ki, his noona, who’s none to happy to see him. “I guess it runs in the family,” Eun-ki coldly tells Jae-hee. “You both are tactless. And you cling to whomever you see fit.”

Jae-hee just claims that her son, Eun-suk, just likes his noona. Is that such a crime? Eun-ki holds him at arm’s-length, looks him straight in the eye, and says, “What older sister? I don’t acknowledge you as my younger brother. I’ve told you more than one hundred times. Do you still not know what’s going on? Are you stupid?” Harsh.

Jae-hee asks how she can say that to a child, but Eun-ki reminds her that before he’s a child, he’s her son first and foremost. She holds a grudge against Jae-hee for becoming her father’s mistress when she was young enough to be his daughter, and accuses her of driving his wife away.

And because of that, she’s scared of Eun-suk, who could one day try to take the company away from her. She leaves, and Jae-hee is left to comfort her son, only a hop skip and a jump away from Maru.

Maru has his own crying person to care for, friend PARK JAE-GIL (Lee Kwang-soo), who was totally not just sobbing over a girl. Weirdly enough, Jae-gil asks if Maru succeeded when he hands over a bank book.

Ah, so the gold digger originally stole Jae-gil’s heart and money, and Maru sexed the money right out of her. I guess… that’s a cool thing to do for your friend? Does sleeping with someone to get your friend’s money back make you a good friend, or a weird one?

Maru sleeps on the plane ride back to Seoul, and Jae-gil catches a girl eyeing Maru. Hilariously, he writes a warning and holds it next to Maru’s head, replete with pointing: “He’s a pervert and player, and he thinks women are servants.” He also writes a note singing his own praises, heh.

When Maru gets up to use the bathroom, Jae-gil takes the opportunity to hit on the girl, only to be stopped by an imposing gangster, who she reveals to be her boyfriend by writing it on her palm and flashing it his way. Jae-gil immediately backs down. Hah.

Eun-ki emerges from the bathroom only to fall into Maru’s arms, and I love that Maru’s just like, Sigh. Another one? He must get this a lot.

But Eun-ki’s sick and dripping with sweat, and Maru gently lies her on the ground before he checks her pulse. I’d almost forgotten he was a med student once. Is my short-term memory that bad, or is Song Joong-ki’s acting that good?

He leaves her to the flight attendants, who use the loudspeaker to ask if there’s a doctor on board. Jae-hee is in first class too, and worries over Eun-ki’s waning pulse. “Nothing can happen to her,” Jae-hee frets.

Maru’s content to leave his headphones on until Jae-gil jabs him to do something – he was in med school once, after all. Maru’s still not biting, and it takes Jae-gil forcibly removing his headphones and declaring that his sister, Choco, would have died long ago if everyone acted like Maru and passed her by.

Maru finally gets up to escape Jae-gil’s rambling, and Jae-gil smiles: “I knew it. Choco always works for you.”

Eun-ki’s still unconscious and sweating when Maru goes to take a look at her, and he declares that the situation is serious. He asks for her guardian… Oh, crap.

None other but Jae-hee herself emerges, and the shock of recognition registers on both their faces. He looks her in the eye and tells her that he dropped out of medical school, almost like an accusation. Or hell, it’s probably a flat-out accusation, considering the why of it all.

He demands to know their relationship, and Jae-hee admits that she’s her daughter… not biologically, but from her husband’s previous marriage. That’s already a big ouch for Maru, and to add insult to injury, Eun-suk is traveling with them and calls for his mommy.

You can just see Maru’s world crashing down as he struggles to control himself, but things aren’t looking good with the closest airport being thirty minutes away.

He douses his hands in alcohol and begins an emergency procedure to remove the excess water and air out of Eun-ki’s lungs, by sticking a huge and very scary needle into her chest.

Eun-ki starts coughing, and Jae-hee starts freaking out. Maru asks her if Eun-ki’s ever been in a car accident, though Jae-hee can’t focus enough to tell him. He snaps at her, “Has she ever injured her ribs from an accident? You said that you are her mother.”

And damn, does he have a nasty bite to his words. He’s both fishing for information and taking jabs at her, making for some awesome subtext.

He sticks another needle into Eun-ki’s lungs even as she’s coughing up blood, and Jae-hee is nearly hysteric as she tries to stop him. But she says the very un-magic words: “You’re not even a doctor! I told you to stop!”

And Maru just shoots her this look.

 
COMMENTS

Hold me, I think I’m in love.

Putting my Song Joong-ki bias aside, this was a really solid opening. The whole production feels very assured, and we can at least sit back knowing we’re in good hands. The talent is certainly up to par, and I love when a first episode leaves my head spinning with all the juicy dramatic possibilities. There’s just so much to work with.

If I’m relieved about one thing, it’s that we have two characters with a long history and we’re not shown, in excruciating detail, a long flashback of their childhood and how they grew up together. It leaves a lot to the imagination as to how Maru and Jae-hee grew up, and I like the fact that we don’t know everything right off the bat.

For instance, we don’t know or understand why Jae-hee ended up murdering a guy in a motel room, but we know that it’s maybe somehow connected to Eun-ki’s dad. Why? We don’t know. How? We don’t know. We can guess, maybe that Jae-hee was doing whatever it took to climb up the social ladder, but it’s hard to know for sure. Why was Maru none too surprised to see her in a shady motel in the first place? How far does this go?

Maru is a pitiable character for sure, which is something that’s both not surprising (because who doesn’t feel sorry for a martyr?) yet still somehow surprising, because he had a moment where he could choose between his sick sister or his desperate girlfriend, and he chose the latter. But I almost felt bad for the guy, because he looked so conflicted about it, while at the same time he seemed simply unable to fight the invisible pull Jae-hee had on him.

But then we enter a conundrum on how far our pity should go when he brought this upon himself, no matter the reason. It’s like, either he’s the best boyfriend ever or a complete masochist with a martyr complex, someone simply incapable of living just for themselves.

Which makes it doubly interesting that it’s been a year since his release and the plane meeting seems like the first time he’s seen Jae-hee since prison, so we’re left wondering what all transpired in that time between. Or at least I am. That vicious look he gave? Oh man. He is going dark, and I love it.

I thought it was interesting when Jae-gil called Maru out for being a selfish bastard, because all we saw him do before his prison sentence was give, give, give. Granted, the giving was mostly going in Jae-hee’s direction, but something seems to ring false about his facade of Not Caring. Especially when he went out of his way to get Jae-gil’s money back by sleeping with his gold-digging ex. I mean, if that’s not friendship, then what is?

So far, Eun-ki is the character that emits the least sympathy compared to the rest of the characters (though this is pretty debatable with Jae-hee dumping Maru to marry up), but I don’t find her character either too bitchy or too annoying. I kind of like the manic quality she has about her, and how she can turn her Evil-o-Meter from a two to a ten all in one sentence. She’s got her eyes on business, and it’s hard to blame her for disliking her incredibly young stepmother, especially if Jae-hee had something to do with kicking Eun-ki’s biological mom out of the house.

So I guess she does warrant some sympathy, maybe more so than Jae-hee, since it’s hard to get a read on her. I wonder if she sleeps well at night knowing that Maru served an (admittedly shortish) prison sentence for her. I wonder if Maru sleeps well at night knowing he threw his life away for a girl who’s left him. I wonder how well I’ll sleep at night waiting to find out more.

Either way, I’m stoked. Bring on the pain, Nice Guy, because it hurts so good.

 
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o wow is all I can say Song Joong Ki can act I never knew I've seen him on running man but Tree With Deep Roots bored me after 5 minutes, I haven't gotten around to watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal yet and never seen his other works but so far very impressive.

Then there's Moon Chae Won who I started watching for, loved her since Shining Inheritance, once again awesome.

Park Si Yeon never did like her still don't.

this show is going to live or die on the very capable backs of Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won

supporting cast I don't know yet though Kwang Soo is apparently going to provide some much needed comic relief.

as for the characters only seen one episode but Eun Gi is the only one I have any empathy or sympathy among the main three

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It's like drama just started and BAM we're in the middle of the story. I like the pace. Also Song Joong Ki FTW.

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I Luff this Show already. Although I am employing the whole wait and see premise, In case the Writer-nims hit us with Makjang Madness (Say No To Birth Secrets... PLEASE).

Moon Chae Won. Girrrl, I better be singing your praises when this thing is over. She is so very deliciously evil. Sigh... I luff her.

With that said. Tissues. Check. Wait and see attitude. Double Check. Therapy for the After effects the show promises to put us through. Check, check and check.

Let the PAIN begin.

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Loving it. Definitely will keep watching Nice Guy. Song Joong-Ki is doing a great acting job. I never took him seriously before but he's proving me wrong. Park Shi Yeon has always been a favorite of mine. She's so beautiful!

I had a huge smile on my face when I saw LEE KWANG SOO!!! I Just love him. RM<3

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True true! I never really took song joongki seriously for he was ever so kiddy and flamboyant in his previous roles, particularly yeorim :) Now he's just so friggin awesome! :D am seeing him in a new light!

And yeaah it's like a The Princess's Man reunion for moon chae won in here, with seryung's parents being part of the cast and all, ahaa love it!!!!

Love Love Love Moon Chae Won the most :D

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I just watched 15:50 minutes of ep 1 and I had to just comment here.

BTW... Thank you for the recap. Haven't read the whole article but will do after I finish watching the whole episode.

I love Song Joong Ki but my goodness, you NEVER leave your sick sister for a girlfriend.

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I hate melodramas but for SJK... sigh, am sucked in. Thank you for the recap.

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Hm, I actually find Eun-ki to be the most sympathetic character of the three leads, perhaps because she has the least control.

The other two made their own choices and are where they are due to those decisions, but she seems somehow trapped and... desperate.

Maru elicits no sympathy from me whatsoever, because as I've already said, he is where he is due to his own choices – no one forced him (as far as I know) to leave his sick sister, or to take the rap for murder and if he hates Jae-hee for moving on while he was in prison… well then, he really is the classic Nice Guy (doing something for her, something she never asked him to do, and then expecting her to be with him forever because he deserves payment for that unasked for deed - granted, going to jail for someone is a step beyond the norm, but still). I really hope there’s more to it than that, because otherwise his revenge is just going to piss me off.

Thanks for the awesome recap, Heads! :)

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I am ever glad that you guys are recaping this. I saw the drama and I was blown away at how Song Joong Ki portray the character - bias aside. I have never seen so much hate and hurt in someone else's eyes until that scene where he was questioning Jae Hee as he's trying to save Eun-ki. That was heartbreaking that I do feel like crying at the sight of it. This show definitely had my heart from the start, gimme all the aghast!

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Omo! I've always thought Song Joong Ki has it in him to be one of the best actors of his generation. I know all these actors in dramas are stars but with the young generation...well, some of them are still growing or in apprentice stage. Joong Ki nails it. He's not over-the-top. Everything is so subtle. And yes, we can't quite figure him out. Who leaves his weeping kid sister to help his girlfriend? Apparently he always wanted to be a doctor so is there some notion in his head about sacrificing himself? I know that the Noble Idiocy thing is grating but there really are people out there in the world who seem to think that they must be martyrs to help others. So I'm okay with that. I just don't know where it came from. And yeah, he's a great doctor-to-be and a decent guy but he seems so chill with girlfriend being in hotel room that it's like he understands thug-life really well and isn't going to judge her.

I did find the illness of Jae-Hee's step-daughter a bit much. I was like, "Dang! Why must there always be some illness?" But am holding out.

Re: gay assistant. Call me cynical but I'm already wondering how far Avenger will go to seek vengeance. Would he, for instance, sleep with gay assistant or play on/use gay assistant's emotions to triumph over Jae Hee? Yes! I think he would. I want to see how dark he will get...but yeah, in the final episode I want to see his soul saved and redeemed. That's one reason why I like Korean dramas a little more than I like Japanese Dramas. Nihilism is kinda optional. So there's hope for him in the end... in this life and the next (at least I'm hoping.)

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Oh Lord that doc/prof guy, been in love with that ahjussi for days! Damsari who? He he pity his cameo was too shortlived.

I didn't like that Maru left his sis to cater to his 'ahjumma', family comes first in my book esp when the said family member is just a wee girl, i think the writers could have come up with a better idea. And am also a wee bit disappointed cuz i assumed LKS was gonna be this well mannered chaebol and not the comic relief he's turning out to be (typecasting typecasting!)

That aside, oh SJG how i adore thee! And the supposedly gay dude? Gorgeous! I somehow get the feeling the girl told him that as a warning not to even think about having feelings for her, c'on hes too fyne to swing that way, pretty pls writers?!!

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been a follower here for quite some time but first time commenting >__>

I've always had a soft spot for SJK :) i always find myself smiling at screen when he's on ! x)

anyway i lose interest in dramas quite easily.

but i agree with everyone.. he made a bad choice to leave his sister to go to the gf >:(

but then again... he did check his sister's condition and all and knew she wasn't really in a life/death situation (i guess)...

whereas the gf was screaming on the phone saying someone is dead. .... so as a doctor he probably felt that he should go to the scene to check things out??

as for taking the responsibility of his gf's murder .... it was one stupid move there. she was already calling the cops to confess already ! aiiish... unless she manipulated him in such a way to make him feel really sorry for her ....

meh i dunno.

can't wait for ep2 to be subbed !!

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In my mind, Maru definitely falls on the side of "complete masochist with a martyr complex." For that reason, I almost checked out of the drama. Seriously. I can't quite side with a protagonist who is supposed to be the victim in the drama when I found his decisions of leaving his sick sister for Jae Hee and taking on the murder charge (for what?!) to be not-so-nice and just foolish.

Eun Gi, on the other hand, I found captivating. She's harsh. That's for sure, but it's because she knows what she wants and what she wants is definitely not human relationships. I look forward to seeing her cold practicality develop throughout the series, whether it means her persona thawing out a bit or whether it means her no-nonsense but straightforward demeanor turn twisted as a result of Maru.

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I am so happy that you are recapping this. I loved loved loved the first episodes because it was so dark. But mostly I loved how fast paced the whole thing was. There was no languishing in jail scenes... no trail... nothing... yet we got the sense that he had lost sooo much.

And of course the heroine is so so untypical. I loved (or should i say i was confused? or maybe turned off? no not really... ok taken aback is the right word) the way she was so mean to her poor little brother. but i can understand her completely because its quite likely that he will grow up to throw her out of the company. And she's quite upfront in her dislike. Very interesting.

Cannot wait to see what's up next.

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Yes. what i like about this writer is that she doesn't drag out these scenes in order to draw out some angst from us.
Nothing is too over-done. The director probably is a major hand in this one as well. I'm hoping the combo of this team will serve us a not too angst-y melo.

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HeadsNo2 I love you! (But not in an obsessive way where I'll turn myself in for your crime.) Thanks for the wonderful recap!

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LOL!

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thanks for the recap. this drama is awesome. the acting is awesome. with just 1 ep, we're all onboard! and you're right. i don't know if i can sleep at night waiting for next wed again...

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Song Joong-ki and Moon Chae Won are proving to be among the best of their generation in acting.

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I've been thinking all day whether this will be recapped on DB (my bet: for sure it will be, based on the many articles popping out before its release), and wondering who might be recapping it since clearly both Javabeans and Girlfriday are not recapping the series.

My best bet is HeadsNo2, who despite not knowing her personally, I do think has a penchant for angsty melo drama with sheer brilliance. Love her recaps of TWDR. And sure enough, there it is right here. Thank you so much. I love your recaps.

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JOONG-KI-YA!!!! <333333

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, thanks for the recap. I haven't watched this to the end yet... I found myself hyperventilating when I got to the sick sister vs. Jae-hee part and thought I'd better read the recap instead just to save my blood pressure.

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I wonder if Maru sleeps well at night knowing he threw his life away for a girl who’s left him. I wonder how well I’ll sleep at night waiting to find out more.

How on earth did you not manage to plunge straight into the 2nd episode after that fantastic cliffhanger (which IMO was the whole point of the 1st episode, the fateful encounter that was going to irrevocably change all three's lives forever, even more so than the motel murder)? :) I envy your willpower.

I waited a year for SJK to come back to the small screen, and this was everything I've ever wanted and more. Oh my lord, so much more. He's not only one of the best actors I've seen, he's also one of the smartest, and he proves it yet again with Nice Guy. What a pleasure it is to follow his work and career. And it's so fitting that you should be the one to recap NG, when this time last year you were to embark on your first recap project with Tree With Deep Roots. What a wonderful bonus for those of us who have fallen for NG. Cannot wait for your review of the 2nd episode.

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Hmm...I don't pity Ma Ru--yet. Or rather, I don't pity him for the decisions he's made. I pity him for the consequences of those decisions, for having clearly lost so much. He was fine with not becoming a doctor (I've met people studying to be doctors, and none of them would give that up so easily, btw) but he lost more than that; he lost time, he lost his world view, he lost crucial parts of himself. It seems like he wasn't aware of the enormity of what he was doing. He saw it only from one perspective, that of "saving" Jae Hee from a horrible future which she wouldn't have been able to handle (according to her own admission, although I'm sure his romantic view of her enhanced that impression for him). He even thought of his sister (as an afterthought) but he didn't consider the realities of being in jail, of having that much of your life wasted away in such a messed up environment. I don't think he has a martyr complex. After all, his initial reaction was to tell Jae Hee to turn herself in. I do think he's bossy, though, and he has a habit of taking on more than he should. Like, he offered to pay for that child patient's medical bill, and that's not exactly orthodox or typical hospital procedure, is it?

I want to know more about Jae Hee, especially about what she did after Ma Ru went to jail. Like, why didn't she keep in contact with Choco? What is the full extent of her relationship with the director? Did she kill that man on purpose (was she the one who killed him?) and did she suspect that Ma Ru would have reacted the way he did?

But what really concerns me is the status of Ma Ru and Jae Hee's relationship when he decides to take the fall for her (which according to all the episodes of Law & Oder I've watched is completely ridiculous; where are the folks in the adjourning rooms? where are the street cameras that show he was coming to the hotel after the time of death?). Jules addresses this above, (comment 58), about Ma Ru being a Nice Guy* TM, meaning that he did this...let's call it a favor, for Jae Hee with the expectation that she'd be in debt to him romantically, that now that he's done this for her she owes him her love. That would make Ma Ru an asshole right from the start. Especially if their relationship is one where his romantic intentions were unrequited, where they were friends but Ma Ru wanted something more. (Like, was that their first kiss? 'Cause if it was, then ew.) But if they were already dating, if this was already a consensual romantic relationship where both parties were fully involved, then that changes things. Did they have any plans for their future together? I think the "betrayal" is really what happens after he goes to jail, not with taking the rap for her in itself, coupled with how bitter he is about how incredibly reduced his life choices become, what with being a convict and all. And another thing: I'm not all that convinced that his going to jail for her is all that wonderful a thing. Isn't it a bit infantlizing? And this isn't just a condemnation of Ma Ru, because Jae Hee accepts his offer after refusing to confront her own actions.

Anyway, really loving the pace of the story, the acting, and how pretty everything (and everyone!) is. And this recap is just so awesome; I can't wait to read more of them!

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Sounds really good. I can't wait to watch it! I wonder why he got only 5 years? Did they shorten it for some reason?

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Well, they probably reasoned it like this:

If he did more than 5 years,
1. he'd be old and his cute face wouldn't fit the age of the character
and
2. The story wouldn't move.

That's how I see it anyway.
Normally, in tv shows, people being convicted of murder get 20 years, at least. So he'd be ~40yo...

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True! I was just wondering if they wrote a reason into the show. Like, if it was justifiable homicide [link below] (as Jae Hee seemed to make it out to be--maybe Maru used the same excuse) and he still got charged.

http://www.attorneys.com/homicide/will-i-still-go-to-jail-if-my-homicide-case-involved-self-defense/

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I won't extol the acting too much cuz everyone has already commented. I've long since enjoyed all three mains so I def enjoy all of their interactions. The story was well paced and the directing was very good. Nice start. Now for some things that have been bothering me...

I just...don't hate Jae Hee. I know a lot of people keep calling her names but I'm just over here wondering why everyone is blaming Jae Hee for something Maru did of his own volition with no prompting from her at all. She never asked him to do it. Hell, she never even mentioned taking the fall for her in passing. She was just hysterically suicidal after killing a man. (Understandable.) Then she calmed down, listened to reason, and was about to call the cops to confess.

He's the one who did all that crap to cover up the murder and then had the balls to get butthurt about it afterwards. Jae Hee better do his ass real dirty again for me to be on board this revenge trip cuz voluntarily taking the wrap for your GF's murder charge when she never asked you to is not enough.

Also the relationship Jae Hee has with the Director seems...off. Perhaps even coerced, for lack of a better word. Not because he's so much older than he but because she angrily cried in front of him about her love for Maru and what he did so he must know how she feels about Maru. The question I have is why he would marry a woman who boldly and plainly told him to his face that another man is the most precious person in her life. And, of course, why Jae Hee would marry him too. While money is the short and easy answer, something about her behavior tells me there might be more to the story. Plus there is the mysterious package Jae Hee perhaps killed that man over.

Anyway, lots of mysteries as well as layered characterization for all our leads. Can't wait to watch episode 2.

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I only read the re-cap but I don't hate Jae Hee either. I was expecting a majorly sly/back-stabbing bitch to be honest and she doesn't seem that way. She even seems to care about Eun-Ki...sooo hmmm

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Watching for moon chae won. I fell for her after watching princess's man!

I was a little confused with the story line, I jumped in expecting our lead to be framed and he's sitting there turning himself in for a crime he didn't commit while abandoning his sick sister. Does that even make logic sense??

If that's what his revenges based on, then I'd suggest the writers rewrite the scripts.

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LOL, I know...I read it and was like wait....he turned HIMSELF in to jail? For a crime he didn't commit...? It seems like he's about to get revenge because she didn't wait for him to come back (so he's dangerously, hopelessly romantic?)...but it is only the first episode so we'll see.

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eun ki's brother is not maru's son right...

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I'm so surprised his sister didn't die in the beginning - I was totally planning for that to happen.

MCY is doing pretty well I think - her character is interesting and I'd like to see more. SJK as usual is....amazing! I'm not sure what KwangSoo is doing here - he just seems like he's extending his Running Man character...but I don't mind it at all haha. It's also nice knowing that the two of them are buds in real life too.

The storyline is pretty dark as it is - I'm just really confused at the logic of it all.

Just because he confesses do they not check the with the security cameras or witnesses? Obviously the dead man entered with a woman....It's like all logic flew out the window for the case. All motels have CCTV pointed at the entrance in Korea.... >.<

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Thank you, heads, for recapping this!

I am already getting those giddy lurve feelins for this creative team that I did for TWDR. You really feel that the people making this series know exactly what they are doing. No mysterious ladders showing up, overbad music, big surprise eyes, or bad edits.

What this writer does amazingly well is put the main hero in a lose lose situation over and over, but I never feel like I am being manipulated.

For example, the idea that he has to choose between his beloved sister and some woman that he obviously adores….I want to scream, “Choose your sister, you dope!” But I understand that he is processing this: My sister will always love me. OK, it may take a long time for her to forgive me, but she’s a known quantity.
Whereas his relationship with the girl is unsure and fraught with anxiety.

I always have a problem with the beautiful first love who cannot be forgotten no matter what shit she pulls. This type of female lead crops up every now and then to completely piss me off. BUT, I have also been there – obsessed with a guy who no longer loves me.

Of course she doesn’t deserve his love. Of course her selfish ambition or instinct for self-preservation (or whatever we find out caused her to kill that guy) trumps any love for poor Maru.
Is she to be pitied as a walking wounded who never caught a break in her short sad life and who as a mother needs to protect her son at all costs, or is she some self-absorbed wanna be princess who thinks the world owes her?

Looks like the folks on this board are split on this opinion. That’s interesting to me.

I don’t like her, and would have cut her off pretty quick if I were Maru. The only reason I want her to be forgiven by Maru, eventually after he is able to work this all out, is that is the only way HE will find peace.

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I don't care about Eun Gi even a little bit. She engages her formidable brains and financial powers to squash Jae Hee, bully a little boy, and basically make people around her miserable. Smart, cold, ruthless bitch tramping everyone because she was betrayed by the ex-boyfriend? Please.

I think she hates herself as much as she hates the world. She wasn't grateful to a stranger who saved her life but wanted to sue him. She clearly abuses her body and does not give a damn. She derives pleasure in hurting Jae Hee and the child, so petty and low. Many people get hurt in life but they don't instantly replace their broken hearts with evil calculators and become psychopaths.

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All true. I think we need to throw in some serious Daddy isses, too, which I think may be the biggest factor in her effed up ness.

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I think there's much more to her than that. I think much of what you allude to is addressed in the second episode.

[Possibly spoilery?]

Her father is verbally and physically abusive, and I'm sure he engages in covert abuse, maybe even ambient abuse, whereby he controls every aspect of her life. She's always paranoid, and with good reason. Jae Hee and Eun Seok really are threats to her. They threaten to overtake a life that she's been molded for from the second she was born. (She was raised to be the way she is, btw.) She should fear them. Add that to the fact that she's undermined by her professional subordinates and her mother (who I assume was a source of comfort for her) has left her behind with her abusive father, who uses that as a way to taunt her, and you've got much more than someone being hurt by an ex. As for not being grateful to the person who saved her life, is that not because she doubts that he was, in fact, trying to save her life? And I don't think she's mean just for the sake of being mean: she uses it as a tool to protect herself, professionally and emotionally, and it's something Jae Hee does, too. Because the fear that others have of you can protect you. Only to an extent, but it can.

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On no, she enjoys her winning over the little boy very much. It looks like she keeps a score, "One small kid down, yeah!"

When people are abused in their youth, I think they can differentiate and understand that abusing small children, making them cry for reasons they cannot even properly comprehend, is evil. That's what I meant, psychopathy.

It's a game, against the entire world, undifferentiated. Use your mind to find their weaknesses, hit where it hurts the most, calculate your steps ahead of the game, ignore your own discomfort and pain. Victory, power, and humiliation of the weak are the ultimate prize. Well, she learned it from her father but she is her own person and could have made different choices.

I don't believe she can even recognize and reciprocate sincerity and kindness at this point.

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actually, in the second episode, you're given a better understanding of why eun-gi is the way she is. it's only episode 1 so no way in hell could we fully understand why our characters are the way they are. sure, that's what we see, but the good part is to dig deep into someone's past and peel back these layered characterizations. This writer has been known to write such 3-dimensional characters. it's amazing. let's wait and see!

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And i don't think you can possibly judge other's actions when we haven't gone through remotely what eun-gi has. We can never truly understand one's past,pain, etc. We can come close, but we'll never understand. Which is why people try to reserve judgement.

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Yeah, I got carried away.

I have this human crap-o-meter calibrated on how you treat little kiddos.

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I had no intention of watching this, but I think I'm going to have to now that I've read your recap, thanks!

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Where can I watch subbed episodes of Nice Guy?

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Try Dramafever!

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Viki, dramacrazynet, Gooddrama, also.

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I LOVE IT! Right from the beginning I was hooked!

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Huzzah! I'm so, so thrilled you're doing recaps for this show! And also SONG JOONG-KI!!!

I would say "that is all" except, lovely as he is, there seems to be so much more. I'm still in giddy first episode mode so I'll leave it at that. Otherwise the gushing will be epic. ;)

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I was really looking forward to this show, but I'm left with a feeling of "That's weird". I don't know why either.

I liked that this episode didn't have too much backstory, other than the murder. And I wonder about the five year sentence. Was Maru given that because he confessed, or did the police doubt his confession? But, I doubt it matters. I hate that Maru left his sister. If it were me, I'd put family first, but I guess this just shows the hold Jae-hee had/has over him. It's a bit disgusting.

I really like Eun-ki. She's awesome in a borderline-crazy way. If she hates Jae-hee so much (and I would too, in her position, but I wouldn't hate the child. That's just too harsh) why doesn't she just team up with Maru for revenge? I'd understand that. But whatever.

Song Joong-ki is wonderful, but I don't think I've seen anything else he's been in. I may have to now.

Looking forward to the next episode.

Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2!

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I think given some mitigating circumstances (helps reduce the penalty) is that Maru probably never commited a crime before, turned himself in, &is a medical student.
These are stuff they factor in when deciding upon how severe a punishment.

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and if we also assume that he plead self-defense, that also lessens his sentence by alot.

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AHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
So many comments, I think my head will explode at any moment.

Anyway, I'm a sucker for melodramas, so you can guess I was really into this, but in reality I'M.SO.INTO.NICE.GUY!!! It made up for the really, really shitty day I was having.

And also, I love Girlfriday's post and all (ohh, and having fun with Gummimochi's TTBY recaps), but this recap? Exactly how I felt watching it.

"No no no. Snap out of it, man!" + "Joon-ha is gay (orrrr is he?)" + "This girl is hardcore" + "Maru, there is a soul in there, right? *knock knock*" = "Hold me, I think I’m in love."

You said it all for me. Thanks Heads!

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this THIS THISSSSSSS is aaaaaaaaaah MAZING from the first episode and i can telL... MCW is just GOD she's awesome and SJK! i want to watch episode 2 so bad ! i hope this feeling for this drama lasts for centuries i just love it already OMG !!!!

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Thz HeadsNo2 ... great recap. Luved SJK in RMan and luvin "Same-Age BF's".... together again in "Nice Guy".

Also very strong cast....especially enjoying Moon Chae-won's cold/bit*hy Eun-ki (I approve of her reasons) and looking 4ward 2 the wonderfully soul-less Maru going viciously Dark. SJK!

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Thanks, HeadsNo2~ A yummy drama ep. is so much more delicious when consumed with just the right recap.

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Hi guys, so my thought on why Eun Gi is mean to her little brother:

I believe she knows about her stepmother *******SPOILER

having an affair with the their lawyer (this was show in the teaser, so is it a spoiler?). So she can think that maybe the kid isn't her fathers'. END OF SPOILER****

Plus she hates her stepmom so much she is cold to the kid too. I believe she doesn't want to get too much close to her half brother because she is afraid of in the future he stabs her in her back. Because the stepmom is a gold-digger, and is good at manipulating, she will of course try to make her son be the next heir and put him agaisnt Eun Gi. Being the only male son he can steal her spot in the future, so I think she puts a wall between them, it is better for her never really care/grow close to her half brother because later she'll suffer to go agaisnt her younger brother or if he does stabs her in the back.

Well maybe I'm wrong about it.

But then again, to not make her brother hate and want to get her place, being good to him, being the best Noona the little brother could ask would be the best thing to do, maybe this way the brother wouldn't want to steal his noona place/spot. Even if the faked it, but still, she shouldn't be this mean to the kid who can be competition in the future. Is better having an ally than an enemy!

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acting is awesome..,Directing was so beautiful.,writing was strong..,but what i love the best absolutely OST..
NG Ost freaking amazing...really siut for melo type..
I love it!!..

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Agreed. The OST really meshes with the pathos of the drama. Clearly a lot of someones know what they're doing.....

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Music director Choi Sung-Wook (who's worked on a lot of melodramas, Lee Kyung-Hee's incl.) knows his stuff obviously... I love the guitar/string-based scores, like the one used in the scene when Eun-Gi faints into Maru's arms.

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Talking about OST. In the second epi, I love the song that played when Eun Ki was in her office staring at the window right before the transition to Maru leaving the police station.

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That's the music from the opening (and, for now, ending) credits, or a variation thereof. The tango-based theme. LOVE IT.

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I mentioned the wrong portion. What I'm talking about is the song that played right before Eun Ki threw her phone on the fish tank.

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seriously! i was trying to youtube some of the osts but weird stuff kept popping up. could be that the title is so generic..
I kept replaying this 30 second trailer i found that had the ending song which i find so sick.
although i feel like some of the music can be overused at times, i find it completely captivating, which definitely adds to the tone.

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Thanks HeadsNo2.

I need help also because I've fallen for this drama.

Will the lawyer dude bring on the sexy once she loses her memory and makes a play for her affections? If he's gay ok, but I seriously doubt it.

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whoaaa...
I didn't really like the premise of the story from the blurbs.. but after reading this first episode! I think I'm game!

I usually avoid dramatic stuff like these.

Thanks Heads!! Awesome recap!

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DramaBeans! Which music player do you use? I'm so jealous. >__< I've always loved the simplicity of it.

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this drama will ended w/sad story. i dont knw shy, but ikinda feel that way. well 2 ep still far enough to conclude that. I'll watch this show easily. so i wont ended up crying.

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omg..thanks for the recap...just reading this is depressing...man I think I am hook already emotional.

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Hm.... i started out watching for Song Joong-ki but I don't I like his character very much. Anyone who leaves his sister that's THAT sick to go tend to his lover is blacklisted in my book. I hope he gets better as a character cuz even tho I want to like him, i really just can't. I kinda feel bad for him, but it was his choice to take the blame, and she never asked him to either. MCW is pretty awesome in the drama though.

However, I just have one bone to pick with this drama. It's about the revenge plot. Now granted, we obviously don't have all the details and stuff, but I kinda think their motives for revenge are like... stupid? I mean, I'm assuming that Maru wants revenge cuz she dumped him after he went to jail, and that Eun-ki wants revenge because she thinks that Jae Hee is a gold digger and her son is here to take everything away from her. So a few things about that. First, Maru volunteered to take the blame. Now I know, its not like the poor guy knew that she was going to dump him, and you kinda can't blame him, but it was his decision in the end. Two, for Eun-ki, maybe I got this wrong, but although Jae-hee was being a gold-digger and stuff, isn't she still nice to Eun-ki?? I mean, I know that the situation that they're put in might not be so nice(the whole step mother/daughter) but its not like Jae-hee's purposely mean to her or something. In the end, she is truly worried about Eun-ki. And then her son. I get that she doesn't like him because she's the son of Jae-hee, but I mean, assuming that one day he grows up and actually does get the company or whatever, what good does it do you to be in a bad relationship with him? And plus, omg that kid is sooooo cute!!

Granted, I'm assuming that there's going to be a lot more story coming up on why the want revenge/how they do it, but I sure hope it's just not for these reasons.

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I think I like your recap more than the show itself. You are brilliant. Really enjoyed your writing....your thoughts about the drama etc. Thanks so much.

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Actually I hope Jo Sungha (Maru's senior) will have a main role in this melodrama. Somehow I've got a feeling that there isn't gonna be a happy ending for these three main characters. Well HOPEFULLY Eun-gi stays as the uptight, cold woman the same after having her amnesia.

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Finally I get to see Lee Jun ki again. This time in a meatier and a challenging role. His eyes are killing me! The two actresses are also awesome.

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otokaji...i hate the character Eun ki but the actress is great; is it me or am i wrong to want a happy ending for ha jee and maru?

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The 1st I watched this guy from Sungkyukwan Scandal, I like his role in there and he did well on his role, it was comedy....But when I watched him id Deep Rooted Tree (correct if I am wrong about the title) I was so amazed because it is a different Soon Joong Ki a serious guy his acting on this Kdrama I could remarkable even short appearance. And Now I am watching this Nice Guy let's find out your performance here... so far I am satisfied and feel excited to finish watching this movie.

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Is it weird that is seriously bothered me how easy it was to shatter the bottle? If the bottle shattered that easily it would have shattered on impact with the man's head and it would have chunks of glass stuck in his head. I know, I know this is a KBS drama not CSI but I can't help being a little curious about it.

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All glasses that break are made from sugar, water and various additives.

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