Nice Guy: Episode 13
This episode is a nail-biter, and one which reminds us why Nice Guy is unique among melodramas. With every character desperate for something, whether it’s Maru’s desperation to shield Eun-ki, Eun-ki’s desperation to find her memories, or Jae-hee’s desperation to prove that she doesn’t have her Terrible-o-Meter turned up all the time, we’re in for a surprisingly thrilling hour.
Ratings are up again at 17.1%, and I’ve convinced myself that those numbers coincide with Maru’s will to live. The more he wants to, the higher they go.
SONG OF THE DAY
Rob Dougan – “Born Yesterday” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
A surprising turnaround already – instead of a Brooding Shower Scene, Maru gets a Happy Shower Scene. He’s so happy that he even writes “Happiness” in the condensation on his mirror.
Eun-ki’s humming along as she makes breakfast downstairs, though she’s unable to get Doctor Suk’s words out of her head and struggles to remember the most painful memory that’s caused her to be this way.
She manages to remember the very moments leading up to the accident, but seems to stop herself from going further. When Maru comes to lend some skinship and some supportive words for her cooking, she admits, “I’m scared.”
It’s not her memories she’s afraid of, but the fact that Maru could grow bored with her and leave her, to which he replies that he won’t ever do that. Eun-ki sighs that you never know a person’s heart.
But Maru replies that he knows his heart the best, and that it will never falter, become bored, annoyed, or bothered. And we’ve seen exactly how much it took for Jae-hee to break that bond, so short of Eun-ki killing his sister, Maru means what he says.
Prosecutors bearing a search and seizure warrant interrupt their peaceful morning, since Maru is being sued by Taesan Group for corporate theft on top of leaking confidential information.
We know this is Min-young’s plan in action even before we see him relate the news to Jae-hee. He has a folder of “evidence” that’ll make it hard for Maru to wriggle out of this accusation, and seems a little let down that Jae-hee doesn’t want to see the contents.
Of course, she’s probably feeling guilty. But it’s not like that’s ever stopped her before.
The prosecutors search through Maru’s house until they find a thumb drive that contains what they want to see.
They’re prosecutors with a heart, at least, since they wait outside to arrest Maru so he has enough time to eat the breakfast Eun-ki made, since it’s her first time cooking. Aww.
He devours Eun-ki’s soup, totally unaffected by what’s happening since he knows what Taesan is trying to do. Eun-ki’s not as easily comforted and wonders how he plans to clear himself from being framed.
“Like this,” he says as he dials Jae-hee’s number. There’s a little moment where his face falters, just slightly, at the sound of Jae-hee’s voice.
Outside, Maru evades arrest by pointing out that there’s no arrest warrant. And besides, it’s not like he was caught in the act, so there’s nothing the prosecutors can do to stop him from driving away.
He goes straight to Jae-hee’s house, and smirks when she receives a well-timed call breaking the news about Maru giving company secrets to their rival. She acts surprised and asks him if it’s true that he was hiding company secrets in his home.
She knows it isn’t, and Maru knows it isn’t, because they found that thumb drive all too easily. (Meaning that they planted it.) “I may have been kicked out of school,” he tells her. “But from my memory, I know my IQ is greater than yours by thirty points.” Hah.
He calls her act foolish, so much so that even she’s too smart for it. “Did you think a genius like me would not see through it?” he asks. So is this conversation a bashing session on Min-young being a terrible villain? I love that he asks who’s the “brains” in their operation, because they might need some.
Jae-hee isn’t shaken, and saunters up to Maru as she croons that his past of corporate spying will make it difficult for him to climb out of these false accusations. There’s plenty of evidence pointing to him, and none of it pointing away.
“That’s why, Maru, you should just leave everything behind and walk away while you can,” she says. If he does, she promises to use her prosecution connections to stop the charge from going further. She can’t go easy on him, but he can’t go to prison either – what would happen to Choco and Eun-ki then? Omo. Them’s fightin’ words.
Jae-hee uses the remainder of the conversation to try cutting him down to size. I’m sure there’s a term that applies here… counting your chickens before they’re hatched? Depending on another plan that has a 99.9% chance of going awry when your track record is pretty dismal? It’s like she’s setting herself up for Maru to pull yet another grand “I told you so.”
Eun-ki goes over her Wall of Personnel, focusing specifically on Jae-hee and Min-young. The spark in her eyes is just like the old Eun-ki.
Joon-ha storms into Min-young’s office to demand answers on the Maru debacle, knowing that he manipulated evidence to frame him. Min-young claims that Maru’s already accepted the truth and chosen to leave Taesan, though Joon-ha isn’t so convinced. “Should I use it? My last card?” he asks.
Again, Min-young preys on what he thinks is Joon-ha’s possessive love for Eun-ki as he tries to convince him that it’s better for him if Maru’s out of the picture, that way he can have Eun-ki to himself. Joon-ha: “Do I have to have her? If I love someone, do I have to have them? I don’t think so.”
This throws Min-young for a loop, especially when Joon-ha adds that the two of them aren’t that different, save for the fact that Min-young met Jae-hee, while he met Eun-ki.
And though they may be on the same road now, Joon-ha wants to make the road different so they never have to meet again.
Jae-hee tells her personal prosecutor that they’ve dropped the charges against Maru, and is taken by surprise when she finds out that Maru’s turned himself in to the police for investigation.
There’s the one prosecutor under Jae-hee’s thumb present, and he’s clearly uncomfortable with the turn of events as he tries to dissuade Maru from bothering the prosecutor – after all, the case was dropped.
But Maru’s there to clear his name, since his innocence wasn’t proven. And even though he has an unsavory past of cheating retired workers of corporate secrets, “I did it because I thought I could die quickly if I lived like that. I couldn’t end my life, leaving behind my younger sister. I thought that if I lived that way I would get punished, and end this crappy life early.”
However, now Maru explains that he wants to live. In fact, he now has a reason to live.
Cut to: Eun-ki, his reason for living, as she dresses in business attire and heads to her old home, running her fingers along the brick wall as she reassures herself that this was her home, her father’s home, her mother’s home.
Though she’s hesitant to even ring the doorbell, Eun-suk and the maid arrive to greet her happily and usher her in. She remembers their names and faces from her Wall.
She touches everything once she’s inside, desperately trying to remember what’s what. Eun-suk starts copying what she says and it turns into a “Don’t copy me!” “Don’t copy me!” “Hey!” “Hey!” So. Adorable.
Eun-suk asks her if she’s a rock head, which is what she’d insulted him with before. Eun-ki realizes this but quickly turns it into a joke, and they’re back to playing. I love love love this, since it would have never happened without Eun-ki’s memory loss.
Maru rushes home once Choco tells him Eun-ki’s gone, and calling her proves useless since she left her phone. They desperately search the nearby streets calling her name like they’ve lost a dog.
Jae-hee’s in for a big surprise when she comes home to find Eun-ki and Eun-suk happily playing video games together. Eun-ki seems to remember to be on her guard once Jae-hee enters and loses her playful demeanor instantly.
Meanwhile, Maru finally returns home after a fruitless search and even gets angry at Jae-gil for walking through the door, because he’s not Eun-ki. Ha.
Luckily Jae-gil knows she went to her house, because the doctor told her to go to familiar places in order to regain her memory. That’s all Maru needs to hear before he’s off.
Eun-ki looks like she’s barely holding it together at dinner, and doesn’t even notice Eun-suk copying her every move. She tries a little of every side dish (which Jae-hee already notices as strange), and ends up eating a clam dish she’s allergic to, which the maid notices by the hives appearing on her arm.
While Eun-ki excuses herself, Jae-hee asks the maid to bring every dish that Eun-ki used to ban from the table. The only reason she thought about it in the first place was because of the maid noticing that Eun-ki seemed like a different person.
Maru arrives while Eun-ki’s still in the restroom reminding herself of what she’s allergic to (having had to study these things, I’m sure). Jae-hee manages to keep him around for dinner despite him wanting to GTFO, and asks him why he turned himself in when the lawsuit was dropped.
He responds with the obvious answer: To clear his name, and to bring the real culprits to justice. Jae-hee: “Do you think you’ll be able to prove your innocence that easily?” Maru: “It will not be easy, but… I don’t think it’ll be hard either.”
Jae-hee looks rattled at that declaration, though she’s intent when Eun-ki returns to the table to take the allergy medicine Jae-hee’s set out for her.
Luckily Maru’s quick enough to pick up what’s going on, even though they’re interrupted by the maid – Eun-suk can’t stop vomiting. She thinks it’s from indigestion since he’s been eating nonstop, most likely because he was copying Eun-ki’s every move, even down to eating.
Jae-hee goes off to tend to him while Eun-ki explains her sudden disappearance to Maru. Not wanting to stand idly behind him and just wait for the inevitable, she chose to take a proactive role in regaining her memories. “I want to recover quickly and help you, Maru.”
The maid tells Eun-ki that she’s so different from her pre-accident self, since she plays with Eun-suk now and eats a side dish she abhorred before. At the mention of that, Maru takes notice, perhaps realizing that Jae-hee is onto Eun-ki’s real condition.
Jae-hee tucks Eun-suk into bed once he’s feeling better, though he pleads for Mom to ask Eun-ki to stay, and she agrees.
She’s therefore offended when she finds no trace of Eun-ki or Maru in the dining room, and only a note Eun-ki left behind, accusing her of playing tricks with Eun-suk and the flounder side dish. My guess is that Maru told her what to write, and good thing, too.
On the ride home, Eun-ki expresses shock at hearing how she used to yell at people just for putting a dish she didn’t want on the table. “Didn’t I tell you that you were a bitch?” Maru replies casually. Hah.
She admits that the more and more she finds out about herself, the more surprised she ends up being. “Once I find out what I really used to be like, will I be disappointed?”
Maru’s solution consists of her just living like she is now, without the memories of her past. He’s sincere about it, and Eun-ki laughs the thought off – she may not want to remember everything, but she wants to remember every moment she had with him. Which is exactly what Maru doesn’t want her to remember.
She turns on the car radio to the San Francisco song, and surprises him by remembering the role this song played in their past. Okay, this only works if Maru has only one CD in his car, and that one CD has only one song. Otherwise, the radio station they’ve been listening to is clearly the one they play in hell.
Whatever the case, Maru looks crushed that she’s beginning to remember.
It’s another day at Taesan, and Joon-ha thinks Maru made a big mistake by admitting that he was once a corporate spy. Maru reminds him that risking his life is the least he can do when Joon-ha’s got half of Taesan on the table for him.
Team Maru and Team Jae-hee meet, though she gets a run for her money when Maru informs her that they’re checking the CCTV from his house very carefully, to see every movement the prosecution team made while they were in there.
He’s even got cyber police checking out the drive and computer, and announces his plans to go to the media that afternoon to make overturning the charge even easier. Basically, he’s threatening Jae-hee and Min-young with revealing lots of stuff they’d rather leave behind closed doors.
During a checkup with Doctor Suk, Eun-ki brings up what she does remember about the accident – changing lanes, her expressions varying between sadness and revenge. Only, she doesn’t know who she was driving toward.
He tells her to try remembering why she changed lanes as part of her homework, along with who she saw and ran into.
Meanwhile, acting on a suspicion that Eun-ki’s medical records have been fabricated, Min-young charges Secretary Jo with finding the truth.
Eun-ki tries to remember the accident, except she can’t remember who was behind the wheel of the other car. We see both cars heading toward each other, but nothing more than that. Drat.
Maru calls to check in on Eun-ki just as Jae-hee shows up at the front door. He instructs her not to open it until he gets there and scrambles to get home, but she decides to open it anyway.
Jae-hee acts motherly and apologizes for serving food Eun-ki didn’t like, but she catches Eun-ki’s interest when she asks about Jae-gil and Choco, since Eun-ki didn’t know they knew each other.
She shrugs that she’s spent a lot of time with them before telling Eun-ki to go home with her. “Even though you hate me and I don’t like you, even then, this isn’t right,” Jae-hee says. She cites Eun-ki and Maru living together as a problem for the public, seeing as they’re not legally married yet, though Eun-ki reaffirms that she’ll be staying with him regardless.
Maru is doing some aggressive driving to get home as fast as he can, while Jae-hee asks Eun-ki why it has to be Maru, of all men. “Just because you hate me. Just because you want to run your stepmom’s life, why are you ruining your own life?” Jae-hee asks.
This triggers a deluge of memories for Eun-ki, most of them revolving around Jae-hee warning her against Maru in the past.
Jae-hee: “Even though I don’t like you, I don’t hate you either. If you had just treated me more as a human… If you just noticed Eun-suk like you do now, then we wouldn’t have come up to here. I don’t want you to get hurt because of me. I don’t want you to bleed because of me.”
The weirdest thing about all this is that Jae-hee seems completely sincere, which is one of those qualities that keeps her evolving and above Screeching Villain territory.
Eun-ki’s getting paler by the second as more memories come back to her, and she ekes out a question to Jae-hee: “Why do you disapprove of him?” It’s like she has barely enough breath just to speak, and Jae-hee notices that she looks unwell right away. Still, Eun-ki needs an answer.
Jae-hee’s bewildered because she’s sure Eun-ki already knows why Maru approached her. “I don’t know…” Eun-ki breathes, her chest caving like she’s about to faint. “I don’t know. Please tell me,” she begs.
Except Jae-hee doesn’t even need to, because Eun-ki remembers her coffee shop conversation with Joon-ha, where he’d told her that Maru approached her for revenge against Jae-hee. She starts practically seizing, and Jae-hee’s nearly screaming with worry as Eun-ki drops to the floor gasping for air and holding her head.
This is when Maru arrives. He throws Jae-hee off to get to Eun-ki, and turns on his old flame with a dangerous expression as he tells her to get lost. Jae-hee remains in a state of shock even as Maru leaves to take Eun-ki to the hospital.
Secretary Hyun tears into Choco and Jae-gil at home for leaving Eun-ki alone. We’ve never seen this side of her, so it’s kind of hilarious to hear her country dialect come out when she’s angry as she marches straight up to Jae-gil like a general reprimanding his troops: “I heard that you were a jobless bachelor. A jobless bachelor like you should stay home. Where are you wandering off to?”
Jae-gil towers over her in height, but can barely stutter a reply. Oh, this is too funny. I really hope Secretary Hyun gets more comic relief scenes like these.
Maru doesn’t let go of Eun-ki’s hand for a second while she recovers in the hospital. A memory of the crash wakes her up, and this time she almost got to see Maru’s face.
She loses consciousness before she can say anything, and Joon-ha arrives in the meantime. He stops himself from going to Eun-ki’s side once he sees how Maru is caring for her. Aww, this is why you’ll never get the girl, Joon-ha… If you are, in fact, into girls. (Hey, we still don’t really know. It doesn’t seem like the line about his sexuality in Episode 1 was a complete throwaway.)
Min-young finds Jae-hee in her perpetually dark office and hands over Eun-ki’s notebook along with evidence that the hospital records they had of Eun-ki’s were fabricated, most likely with Joon-ha’s help.
“From my speculations, Director Seo must have suffered a serious brain injury,” Min-young tells her. He believes Eun-ki is getting help to put on an act even though she’s had memory loss and cognitive difficulties, something that Jae-hee doesn’t accept at first – until she remembers all the strange things Eun-ki’s been doing, like not remembering her father’s room or that she was allergic to clams.
Now he reveals his plan to find concrete evidence of her brain injury and invalidate her claim to any inheritance by proving her an incapacitated beneficiary. Eek.
Eun-ki slowly comes to in the hospital while Maru stays asleep at her side. When he wakes up, she’s gone.
He goes on another mad search for her and finds her huddled up on a bench outside. He begins to scold her for making him worry but immediately apologizes and tries to get her inside… except she throws off the coat he gives her.
“Who are you? Eun-ki asks. Oh no.
Maru blinks at her, further confused when she again refuses his help. “I asked you who you are,” Eun-ki demands to know.
Whaaaaaaaat? I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, but I definitely wasn’t expecting that. I was more expecting an “I know who you are” rather than a “Who are you, anyway?”
This development certainly throws a wrench into the works, since this was the first episode since the amnesia where I really found myself missing Old Eun-ki. Despite that, I like the trajectory her character has been taking ever since the amnesia, and no scene brought that home more than her sibling bonding time with Eun-suk. It’s nice to see positive things coming from her absence of suspicion, and that’s one relationship that wouldn’t have fixed itself otherwise.
And though earlier episodes allowed her to be proactive in terms of finding her memories, the Eun-ki we saw this episode was more like a lost child than anything we remember her to be. There are sparks of Old Eun-ki that flare up now and again – like when she chose to go to her old home to try and find her past – but most of the time she’s wide-eyed and wandering. It’s not unrealistic, but I do feel plain terrible for her and wish she could get some of her faculties back. If we’ve now reset back to square one that’s even worse, even though it is narratively interesting. (But terrible on my nerves.)
In that vein, it’s interesting to see that Maru almost doesn’t want her to regain her memories because of what it might mean for them. But that line of thinking has me wondering if he remembers Old Eun-ki, who probably wouldn’t have left him if he wasn’t constantly pushing her away. She was just as in love with him then as she is now (if not more so, because she knew everything), so happiness between them with her memories in tact doesn’t seem like such an impossible goal, right? I can’t be alone on this one.
This was the episode where Maru showed the most desperation, but it’s not hard to see why. Protecting Eun-ki has become a full-time job for him, even though one gets the feeling that part of his newfound purpose lies only in the fact that she literally does need him, and can’t subsist without him. And he needs her too, since without her he doesn’t have a reason to live (according to him). But I’m beginning to wonder what will happen to their relationship dynamic when he’s no longer struggling to keep his house of cards from falling, and when Eun-ki no longer needs him to act as her human shield.
This Protector Role is something I’m not sure will ever change with Maru, since it seems to be what defines him. When he has no one to sacrifice for, like the year Eun-ki was missing, he wandered around with no will or purpose other than to die. As we’ve seen with Jae-hee, he seems to feed on need and whatever sacrifices he can make for his Love’s happiness, leaving me curious as to whether his own happiness is merely derived from utter selflessness, or whether part of it stems from a selfish desire to keep Eun-ki in her childlike state so she stays with him, needing him, always.