Nice Guy: Episode 14
This episode is chock-full of some really wonderful character moments, as Eun-ki’s journey to find her past proves to be a bumpy and unsurprisingly dramatic ride. It’s probably not helpful when the people around her want her to regain only her least painful memories, with none of them realizing that trying to pick and choose which memories an amnesiac should remember is not like programming one’s DVR. And even if it was that easy, I’m pretty sure her memories would come in an all-or-nothing package anyway.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Despite repeated attempts to get Eun-ki to come back to her senses, she fends off Maru’s advances and chooses to wander on her own. She’s not playing around like Maru would hope – she really doesn’t seem to remember him.
Secretary Hyun runs to Doctor Suk for help while Maru trails Eun-ki as she walks through the city in only her hospital slippers. Anxiety is written all over her face as she soldiers on, and we hear Doctor Suk in voiceover telling us that shock can cause repeat memory loss.
Apparently it’s Eun-ki’s way of protecting herself from pain and fear, and if she can get over this last hurdle all her memories will return. Well, I’m glad he’s confident about that prediction.
Maru saves Eun-ki from getting hit by a car, and she finally asks him, “Do you know me?”
He brings her home and shows her the picture of them together at Aomori, but this Eun-ki is not the sweet flower girl of her first post-amnesia self. This version is angry and confused, as she calls the picture a lie before proceeding to destroy the room.
Her screaming wakes up Choco, and Maru tries to subdue Eun-ki just by physically overpowering her, and holds her still until she faints.
Naturally, Choco is frightened by what she just saw, and cries to Jae-gil for comfort. Both of them are worried about Eun-ki, since they consider her one of their own.
Jae-hee drinks alone and thinks over what Min-young said about disinheriting Eun-ki. Now that she’s seen firsthand what Eun-ki’s like, there’s no telling what she’ll do.
Maru’s spent the whole night holding Eun-ki exactly where she fainted, like he’s been too scared to even blink in case she might disappear. Jae-gil brings the bad news that Jae-hee’s at the door, and that Choco’s been assigned to keep her outside.
I love that she gives Jae-hee the most sour of expressions the whole time, and calls her a traitor for abandoning Maru for her chaebol husband. “You must be very happy,” Choco remarks sarcastically.
But Jae-hee seems to have a sincere moment when she says, “I thought if all my wishes came true, I would be very happy. But…”
She trails off for a moment once Maru comes outside, though she finishes her thought as she looks straight at him: “I am not really as happy as I thought.”
And it’s even better when Choco calls shenanigans on Jae-hee blaming her unhappiness on not having Maru next to her. Ha.
Once Choco is inside, Maru shoves Jae-hee against the wall menacingly, blaming her for Eun-ki’s meltdown. She fires back that they only talked about him, and she has no idea why Eun-ki was so frightened.
Maru isn’t buying it, and gets dangerously close to her as he grits out, “If you try to mess with her again even once, you will see for once what Kang Maru is capable of doing, and how far he can go.”
Jae-hee is unfazed. She sees through him and calls his “love” for Eun-ki a matter of conscience, just because he wants to return things to how they were before. To her that’s sympathy, not love.
“Love is what you gave me,” she says. “That was love, right? After I lost that, I realized how important it was. The reason why I’m now here in regret. Regardless of what happens, the determination to have it again… That is love.”
Her words have an effect, since Maru backs off. For what it’s worth, she seems sincere as she tells him that even with him coming back as Eun-ki’s fiancé, she was just happy to see him again.
Maru says nothing, and Jae-hee just smiles at him as she says that a world without him is no fun at all before leaving him with a flirty farewell.
She gets a call from Min-young on her way home with the real records from Eun-ki’s brain scans. He’s already on the case to disinherit Eun-ki, and after she hangs up Jae-hee says to herself:
“Don’t worry, Eun-ki. I will take care of you till you die. I won’t ever kick you out without a penny, just like the Chairman. As long as you know where you stand, as long as you stay stupid, pretty, and nice like now, then I won’t hate you. Why would I hate you? Because of Maru and I, your life became a mess. You’re the biggest victim. I am sorry. I am sorry with my sincere heart.”
There are so many things wrong with this speech that only point to Jae-hee’s dangerous state of mind when it comes to culpability for her actions. But damn if it isn’t a nicely loaded bit of insight into her psyche.
Eun-ki sits vapidly in her room, and throws a smoothie Maru brings to her across the room. He only expresses patience and brings her another one, which she throws again.
Again, he offers to bring her another one, and even changes the recipe up. Again, she throws it. At least when he gets up this time, Eun-ki tells him to stop trying because she won’t drink it. Maybe she’s starting to feel bad for him?
This scene is so simple, but so good. Choco and Jae-gil remain downstairs to try to talk Maru out of his cycle of repetition, and there’s something kind of frightening about exactly how removed Maru is from their conversation. They could say the house is on fire and he probably wouldn’t notice.
When he brings the next round, Eun-ki tells him she won’t drink it, and when he replies she has to eat in order to live, she throws the glass and shatters it.
Nothing but a small smile graces Maru’s face as he tells her that he has infinite patience, more than enough time (now that he’s on hold with Taesan), and that there are more than enough markets in the area to replace the supplies she’s throwing.
Choco’s had enough and wants to give Eun-ki a piece of her mind, but Jae-gil intervenes to physically cart her out of the house.
Up goes the next round. Eun-ki at least seems to think about it before she shatters the glass, leaving me commending Maru’s patience because I’ve already lost mine.
This time, she stops Maru from leaving by grasping his pant leg, her hand covered in cuts from the glass. As he treats her he tells her that he’s happy she’s lashing out instead of being always bright and happy, since it’s normal for her to be furious in a situation like this.
He asks her what she and Jae-hee talked about, as though she’d remember. He also seems aware that it’s because she’s running from memories of him that she’s punishing herself, and so he tells her, “Stop hurting yourself and hurt me, Eun-ki. Stop inflicting pain on yourself, and hurt me like this.” He takes her hand and holds it to his chest, showing her exactly where the metaphorical knife should go.
“You need to live properly in order for me to leave,” he says. “You need to get up properly so I can, without worries, disappear from your side.”
Eun-ki says nothing, and Maru goes to get yet another glass. By the time he makes it back upstairs, Eun-ki is sobbing pitifully and screaming. Well, Maru, you got what you wanted.
He leaves her alone this time, but his hematoma flares up on his way down, causing him to grasp his head in pain before vomiting. Lordy, these two. Free pain for everyone, come and get it.
She’s calmed down by nightfall, and an empty glass proves she drank the milk he left her. Huzzah, one glass survived – although you’d think by the third time he would have started bringing her drinks in a dixie cup.
By the next morning she’s all smiles again, and tells Maru that she had a dream where he was different than he is now. In it, he was a bad guy.
So, how much does she remember/not remember? Either way, he asks her what she’ll do if she regains her memories and finds that he really is the boogie man from her dreams.
“I won’t be able to forgive him,” Eun-ki replies. “He is the person I chose even after abandoning my father.”
Maru seems pleased with this answer, and urges her not to sway from that decision and never forgive him if it turns out to be the truth. Which, of course, it is.
Joon-ha meets Eun-ki in the coffee shop to ask her what Jae-hee said to her to cause her nervous breakdown, though she only remembers that she talked to her and not what was said.
However, she did regain some of her memories – like their last coffee shop conversation about Maru’s revenge. Eek. Except she doesn’t remember who he wanted revenge on.
You can see Joon-ha struggling on whether to tell her or not, though she’s desperate to know what kind of person Maru really is.
Maru’s back to work, and Jae-hee calls him inside her office to apologize for framing him. He doesn’t seem keen on accepting that apology, and Jae-hee’s face turns sober as she asks if she should kneel for him. “In front of you, I can kneel a thousand, or even ten thousand times.”
He seems to think it’s a bluff and waits her out with a smirk. But when she actually starts to kneel, he can’t stop her fast enough. There’s venom in his words and gaze as he tells her that she disgusts him, and he leaves her crying.
So it seems like Joon-ha doesn’t want Eun-ki to remember her past, since he denies ever having that revenge conversation with her. He even calls her memory a dream. All right, guys, I get that she’s fragile right now, but we’ve all got to shit or get off the chamber pot on whether we want Old Eun-ki back. You can’t be confusing her with “Oh, you dreamed that” when she’s actually trying to remember some pretty important details.
Whether she accepts his explanation or not is up for grabs, though she declares that she’s determined to regain her memories and will stop at nothing to achieve that goal.
Min-young updates Jae-hee on the Disinherit Eun-ki Mission, noting that it’ll be difficult to get to her with Maru acting as her shield. So Jae-hee proposes that they break the two apart and keep Maru once it’s all over.
Of course, she says it’s because his talent is too valuable to lose. Jae-hee: “I want him. I want all of him.”
They get a surprise visit in the form of Eun-ki, acting much more confident than before as she informs them that she’ll be returning to her company, and her people in order to do her job.
She assures Maru that she’s doing this to regain her memory, and that she can handle the work. Jae-hee doesn’t give her any breathing room when she calls with a task for Eun-ki to perform – meeting with the CEO of a cosmetics company she’d started brokering a deal with last year. This is their one meeting and one shot, so it’s all on Eun-ki now.
Secretary Hyun and Maru are there to help her, even though it’s going to be complicated with the Chairman from that company knowing Eun-ki so well. Maru urges her to get out of it but she refuses to back down, totally done with saying that she can’t.
She’s scared, but tries to pep talk herself into thinking that it’ll be all right as long as she memorizes everything about Chairman Min.
Maru drives her to the meeting while she struggles to remember all the facts Secretary Hyun gave her. She chooses to go inside alone.
Eun-ki recites the facts she’s learned to the Chairman politely, like how she hasn’t seen him in a year, and how his son is doing. He seems a little uncomfortable at that last mention, and a cut to Jae-hee reveals why: She lied to Eun-ki about who she was meeting. So she memorized facts about the wrong guy.
I have to give points to Jae-hee on this one, even though Min-young isn’t all that pleased since Eun-ki could end up ruining business ties with the chairman she is meeting.
But, that’s what Jae-hee wants. The more mistakes Eun-ki makes, the more reason they have to kick her to the curb.
Eun-ki keeps going on as though nothing is wrong, talking about a family that the man in front of her doesn’t have. He’s finally had enough and demands to know if she’s drunk before tearing into her over what she’s said.
By the time Maru makes it back to the room, Eun-ki’s alone. She tells him what happened with Chairman Nam, and how the chaebols were switched. To make matters worse, she’d been talking about his son (well, Chairman Min’s son) when Chairman Nam’s only son recently died. Eek, I’m cringing for her.
Jae-hee calls right on cue to tear Eun-ki a new one about her spectacular fail. Because of it, Chairman Nam’s pulled out of investing in one of their resorts. “How will you take responsibility?” Jae-hee demands to know.
Eun-ki’s eyes fill with tears as she starts defending herself by telling Jae-hee that she gave her the wrong information, but Maru hangs up before she can say more. “I think we fell into a trap, Eun-ki.”
Min-young tells a satisfied Jae-hee that the news is already making its way through Taesan, which will provide them a perfect opportunity to bring up her dismissal at next week’s board of directors meeting.
Even though Jae-hee finally won something, she sighs that taking down Eun-ki was too easy, and therefore no fun. Jae-hee, have you learned nothing from your string of karmic retributions throughout this show? Don’t tempt fate and just take this one quietly.
Eun-ki laments her inability to do anything right with Maru, more depressed than anything about how she failed her one attempt to be self-sufficient. She’s that much further away from finding her memories, though Maru wants to know why she’s in such a hurry. It’ll all happen in time.
“Because I want to remember you quickly,” she replies. “How much you knew me and loved me… Because I want to remember quickly.” This seems like Old Eun-ki, with Old Eun-ki suspicions. I like.
This failure has really got her down, and she cries that she’s ready to give up everything. She’s tired of trying only to fail.
Maru forces her out of bed the next morning to fix the mess she made, even though she’s adamant about quitting. He won’t let her quit until she remembers everything and reclaims her rightful position – if she doesn’t want Taesan after that, she can abandon it.
No matter how much Eun-ki says she can’t, Maru says she can, and that he’s proof that she can do anything. To prove it, he drops her off in front of Chairman Nam’s house without any warning and leaves her there.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t act quickly enough to get a word in before Chairman Nam leaves for work.
Joon-ha meets with Maru to confirm his suspicions that Jae-hee got ahold of Eun-ki’s medical records, and that they’re exploiting them to oust her from the company. It’s cute that Joon-ha looks to Maru for guidance on how to retaliate.
We know Eun-ki’s got a stubborn streak a mile wide, so it’s not much of a surprise when we find her in the same exact place outside Chairman Nam’s house when he returns home that night. However, he still ignores her.
Jae-hee goes home in a great mood and promises Eun-suk that she’ll buy him anything he wants in celebration. His answer? “Eun-ki Noona.”
Her face falls just a bit, and she asks him to name something other than Eun-ki. I love that his reply is: “Then, ice cream and Eun-ki Noona.” So. Cute.
Jae-hee can’t understand her son wanting something as simple as that when the world is so full of other, more luxurious and wonderful things. “I said I’ll buy you everything, that I’ll do anything. But that’s all you can think of?”
Her tone and words are too harsh, and Eun-suk starts crying. The maid comes to take him upstairs as he cries, “I hate you, Mom.” Ow.
Chairman Nam finally goes out to meet Eun-ki later that night, if only to tell her that her standing around won’t change anything. She tries a method she knows – honesty – and tells him about her amnesia and brain damage.
This news doesn’t move him to reverse his decision to pull out of Taesan, though she earnestly claims that she only wants his forgiveness. He’s curious as to why she’s trusting him with information that, if spread, could completely ruin her, and she replies that she told him because she’s sure she will recover.
“I came here, risking everything,” she admits. “Even if you spread the news, I can’t do anything. And… I did wrong.” She bows in apology.
And when she returns home that night she smiles, finally at peace with herself.
Min-young’s got everything ready to roast Eun-ki at the next board meeting, though their celebratory party of two is interrupted when Chairman Nam calls to resume the deal.
When Jae-hee sputters about his last failed meeting with Eun-ki, Chairman Nam acts like it never happened, and even wants to make Eun-ki his sole counterpart on this deal. “The late Chairman Seo really raised his daughter well. With Director Seo, whom I feel I have a connection with, I would like to start this deal again.”
This only pushes Jae-hee to disclose Eun-ki’s medical documents to the board of directors sooner.
Eun-ki’s present at the meeting, and Jae-hee wastes no time in bringing up her position for discussion. Before she’s able to go on she receives a note that reads: Let’s talk about your previous plans to murder Seo Eun-ki. Right now.
Those few words strike terror into Jae-hee’s heart as she calls for a break, only to see Jae-sik and Maru hamming it up outside. Oh, honey. You had to know your plan was going to fail.
Jae-sik saunters up to his sister and lets her know that he told Maru everything about her plan to make Eun-ki disappear, and how he only has to go into that boardroom and tell them the same for Maru to set him up for the rest of his life. Because Maru keeps his promises, and she doesn’t.
He leans in to deliver his next bit, about knowing how Maru took the fall for her murder and has kept quiet since then. Maru didn’t tell him, he was just able to pick it up from multiple signs, and wags his finger at her: “And this is exactly the kind of thing you would do.”
He’s terrible, but boy is he fun to have around. He certainly knows his conniving sister well, seeing as how they’re cut from the same cloth.
So it’s with resignation that Jae-hee announces to the board members that she wants to make Eun-ki… the public CEO of Taesan. Good gracious, that’s a huge concession.
Only compliments for Eun-ki’s business sense come out of her mouth, but Maru’s presence in the room as well as Jae-hee’s tense expression remind us of what’s actually going on.
She formally asks Eun-ki to accept the offer, and sends a dirty look Maru’s way in the process. He’s all smiles until he meets her gaze directly.
Then the smile fades.
That look gave me goosebumps. Yikes. I mean… Bravo, Maru. Yours is a bad side I’d never want to find myself on.
I’ve been struggling with how I feel about Jae-hee, and though each episode reveals something new about her, it was this one that brought home the fact that it’s the antagonism Jae-hee constantly faces that makes me feel bad for her, even though most of that antagonism is a product of her creation. Which makes it one of the most vicious cycles ever, since she never gets to reap anything good from her villainy. I was pretty sure I was done with her after she tried to sell Eun-ki into slavery, but there’s just something about her that seems so unrefined, like she’s just trying to do right by herself without realizing that she does terrible, awful, truly unforgivable things to others.
We got some great character moments this episode all across the board, though Jae-hee took the lion’s share this time around. Her monologue in the car was especially telling and off-putting, just as much as last episode’s “If only you’d been nicer to me and Eun-suk, this wouldn’t have happened” bit. Jae-hee makes me want to believe that she wouldn’t be so bad if everyone around her did exactly as she wanted, like Eun-ki staying harmless and sweet, except she doesn’t realize (or doesn’t let herself realize) that the world is never going to work in just such a way that it will leave her with no choice but to do good.
As we’ve seen time and time again, plans she cooks up on her own rarely go her way. The sooner she realizes that, the sooner she can (maybe) start taking responsibility for her actions. I found myself strangely believing her when she told Choco that she wasn’t a bad person – not because she isn’t a bad person, but because she doesn’t believe herself to be bad. It’s an interesting conundrum for a character to be in, and it’s what makes it both gratifying and kind of sad whenever her plans go awry. Eun-ki was crying about being unable to do anything right, but it seems like that should be a realization Jae-hee comes to. She’s the one who really can’t do anything right.
Eun-ki’s re-amnesia left me pretty confused as to exactly which Eun-ki we’re seeing, and why she changed overnight from being sweet and shy to angry and sad. I get the trauma, I get the anger, but it feels like she went to bed one night not remembering who Maru was only to wake up and remember and I missed the step in-between where we either figured out that she completely forgot him or that she was just blocking him out.
She’s a little more like her old self in terms of being suspicious and wary of the world, especially when it comes to Maru. Though I’m not sure if it’s because she’s finally returning to herself or whether her breakdown caused a personality switch. Brain damage is bad enough, but Drama Brain Damage™ is an unpredictable and volatile thing. I’m just going to take a wait-and-see attitude on what exactly she’s figured out and what she hasn’t.
Here’s hoping that we get a little less broken glass and a lot more spunk from her, and soon. I want the cool, dirt-bike-riding, heart-on-her-bitchy-sleeve Eun-ki back already.