Nice Guy: Episode 9
We all knew it was going to happen, we just didn’t know when. Surprise! Now we do.
Amnesia hits Nice Guy‘s shores, finally, and it’s a relief to get that hurdle over and done with. Not because it’s the greatest story turn ever, but because we can finally stop looking over our shoulders wondering, “When is it going to happen? I don’t want it to happen. It’s not going to happen, right?”
But on the bright side, we have a time skip. And with any good time skip comes that most joyous of cast events: New Hairdos. Let us rejoice.
SONG OF THE DAY
Nice Guy OST – Lee Soo-young – “Nice Girl” [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Waves crash on the shore as Maru asks Eun-ki how long she’s known about him and Jae-hee, something she just shrugs off as not being of any consequence. She never said anything because she claims she didn’t want to lose him, which sends Maru into a So you know I know and you know and your mom knows that I’m going to use you for revenge.
Eun-ki’s fine with that, “Because what you feel is not important, but what I feel is important. Regardless of how I do, it is okay as long as I have you.”
Maru doesn’t seem to want her depending on him, and repeatedly tries to warn her away. First when she wonders if they should sleep together and he shoots her dow by saying he’s only got eyes for Jae-hee, and then when he tells her that an Eun-ki who has nothing is worthless to him. He needs the ‘Heir of Taesan Group’ Eun-ki in order for his schemes to work.
She then asks him if everything on his part up until now has been calculated, but I love that she calls him out when he claims the doll incident was planned and literally scolds him for risking his life over a girl.
Eun-ki: “Why did you lie? The Kang Maru that I’ve seen and the Kang Maru that I know are different from you who is standing in front of me right now, trying so hard to act bad. That’s why I came to you like a crazy woman, throwing everything away in the process. Did you know that?”
But then there’s an immediate reversal – as if feeling bad for getting upset, Eun-ki then throws her arms around him and begs for them to just run away and be together. Where he goes, she’ll follow.
Maru has to pry her arms off of him as he looks at her coldly, practically clucking his tongue at how easy she was. By pretending to risk his life for her, he nabbed her too easily.
We don’t know how much of this is true, or how much he’s saying just to warn Eun-ki away. But, there’s no denying that his words are hurtful, and Eun-ki finally has no choice other than to leave. As she walks away, Maru looks ill at ease, and swallows down his feelings, whatever they may be.
Meanwhile, Chairman Seo seems to have regained some strength and works with Joon-ha to tie up any loose ends relating to Jae-hee, while she tucks her son in bed. He’s drawn a family picture, which includes Eun-ki despite, well, everything. Aw.
While on speakerphone with Chairman Seo, Joon-ha asks one more time if he wants to think about things a little more. He interrupts him to ask about Eun-ki’s birthday tomorrow, meaning that he’s hearing Joon-ha’s warnings, but is choosing to ignore them.
The phone stays on when Jae-hee enters with a dangerous look on her face. Chairman Seo’s heart is giving him trouble again, and he grapples with the pain as she hands over all the evidence of his fraud, which she’d kept a copy of just for a moment like this.
While Joon-ha listens on the other end, Chairman Seo looks legitimately heartbroken that Jae-hee would bring this to him. Jae-hee: “In order to protect you, I sacrificed my whole life. Even to a point of ruining the life of a man I loved with all my heart.”
Chairman Seo is still in disbelief, until Jae-hee fires back that he never trusted her for a moment either. She knows the woman he always had in his heart was Eun-ki’s mother, but it’s all the same – she never loved him either, and always had Maru in her heart.
Another wave of pain hits him, and the pill bottle he reaches for falls out of his grasp. Jae-hee holds it hostage as she breaks down, her cold facade fading as she begs him just to give Eun-suk the same amount that he’s giving Eun-ki.
She wants nothing for herself, and seems to mean it when she asks for just this one favor. She seems to only realize how dire the situation is when Chairman Seo falls over in his wheelchair, all while Joon-ha listens.
While in the midst of dialing for help, Min-young arrives and takes the phone away. She resolutely takes it back, and when he does it again, she takes out her cell phone instead. He takes that too: “He’s going to die anyway. Just think that he passed away a few months earlier.”
This was not part of Jae-hee’s plan, and she looks disgusted at his actions before she tries to call for the maid – and this time, Min-young clamps his hand over her mouth as he all but croons, “Didn’t you ask me for help?”
Well, when you put it that way… yeah, she did. But his version of help is leaving Chairman Seo to die so he can protect what’s most precious to him (Jae-hee) and so she can protect what’s most precious to her (Eun-suk).
She seems to realize the horrible genius of Min-young’s plan as she sinks helplessly to her knees, with no more thoughts of calling for help.
Joon-ha’s heard everything and sends Eun-ki a text while she drives, the reading of which almost causes her to get into an accident. Yeek. It reads simply that her father just passed away (that’s a nice way to put it) and to call him back.
Eun-ki finally makes it back onto the road just as Maru belatedly leaves their beach spot, but she makes a U-Turn Of Decision at the last moment. They end up in the same tunnel together driving toward each other, but Eun-ki swerves her car into his lane. What what?
They recognize each other, yet neither crazy person decides to get out of dodge. In fact, they both seem to be at peace with driving headlong into each other. Hooray for romantic joint suicide? No, wait. That sends a bad message.
Maru and Eun-ki smile as their collective headlights engulf them, and we hear the sound of cars crashing.
Fade to white.
Jae-sik sits in a restaurant as the news reports on Chairman Seo’s death earlier that day, along with Eun-ki’s car accident. Both her and Maru are reported to be in critical condition.
Meanwhile, Jae-gil attends a memorial for his father, who’s recently passed away. He ignores all requests for him to return home, especially with word that his brother is an even crueler mob boss than his father ever was.
As for Jae-gil, he just shakes his head and sighs. “You can’t take all that money when you die anyway.”
Eleven months have passed, and a much more dapperly dressed Jae-sik finds Taesan employees handing out flyers in an attempt to find Eun-ki.
It seems like she disappeared while receiving hospital treatment and no one has seen her since, and Jae-sik glances at the flyer before looking up at Taesan, wondering who’ll be in charge if Eun-ki doesn’t come back. I’m sure he knows exactly who.
Cue Jae-hee, sportin’ some new presidential hair as she and and Min-young strut down Taesan’s halls. Joon-ha watches them warily as we flashback to the moment Min-young realized he’d been listening in as they’d let Chairman Seo die.
Despite Joon-ha’s attempts to hang up, Min-young had picked up the phone and addressed him directly. In a surprising twist, he blackmails Joon-ha against taking what evidence he has to the police, because he has evidence that Joon-ha’s father is the one who orchestrated Eun-ki’s mother’s fatal car accident. Uh oh.
So he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place – either go to the police and risk losing Eun-ki forever if she were to find out the truth about his dad’s involvement in her mom’s death, or keep everything a secret. Seems like he chose the latter.
It’s not clear yet whether Chairman Seo ordered the murder, but Min-young claims that it was all because Eun-ki’s mom threatened to take her away forever. Iiinteresting.
Jae-hee is doing business on Taesan’s behalf for the time being, and while she has a friendly chat with a representative from a rival group outside, their talk in private is much harsher.
The woman, Representative Cho, quickly puts Jae-hee in her place by telling her that she’s nothing more than a dog guarding an empty house. Until Eun-ki returns, Representative Cho warns Jae-hee to watch her back, since she’s acting as a friend of Eun-ki’s late mother. Jae-hee seems surprised, but can’t muster up a defense.
Later, a nervous man with glasses gets sucked into some street gambling, where it looks like the odds are literally stacked against him in the form of a rigged game. He even bets all his paycheck only to come up with nothing, but Maru makes a surprise appearance to intervene and coolly prove that the gambler was cheating.
He gives Glasses Man his money back, explaining that his father was a gambler and the games aren’t made to win. He even takes him out for a nice dinner, and the man profoundly thanks him for stepping in, because he’d planned to hang himself if he lost the money.
However, Glasses Man grows increasingly uneasy as the conversation wears on and he realizes that Maru isn’t just a good samaritan, but a man that knows too much about him and his finances.
Turns out that Maru is a hired man with an agenda to get Glasses Man to divulge company secrets in exchange for money to cure his problems. He’s a cheeky bastard, but at the end of the exchange he drops his glass and doubles over in pain. We find him vomiting in a bathroom stall next. Jeez, who isn’t sick in this show?
Jae-gil and Choco are having to wait with a high school kid in Maru’s yard, one who claims that Maru scammed his father and caused him to attempt suicide. Choco tries to get Maru to deny it when he arrives, but is shocked when he instead turns on the kid and asks, “Why are you complaining to me about how stupid and weak your father is?”
Ouch. He launches into an almost introspective speech as he tells the kid that his father trusting someone like him was his own fault. When the kid almost raises a fist against him, Maru again tells him that he’s too weak, but if he gains strength, he can come back and get his revenge.
Choco expresses her disappointment in her brother’s actions: “It was better when you flirted with girls. Flirting with girls, playing with them, and getting their money… I prefer that over this, Kang Maru.”
Maru retreats into his darkened room, but Jae-gil follows to tell him that it’s like another person has been living in his body since the car accident. But he knows his friend enough to realize that Maru must have been shocked to hear that a man almost died because of him, despite all outer appearances.
Jae-gil: “When I look at you these days, I think of a lifeless desert.”
He’s staging an intervention of sorts, or at least, telling Maru to hurry up and die if he really has no will to live. But it’s just a plea for him to come back to his senses, since Jae-gil reminds him that he wasn’t even this bad when Jae-hee left him. “After overcoming all those hardships, how can you be like this now?”
So he cries at Maru’s side, holding onto his friend even though Maru won’t say a word to him.
Jae-hee is unhappy to find her brother outside her house, especially since he’s sniffing out more money. She’s been paying him off only for him to gamble it all away, but she’s not having it this time and forcefully dismisses him without handing over a cent.
Representative Cho’s words about Jae-hee merely being the dog that guards an empty house while the owner is away haunt her once she’s inside, and she takes one look at Eun-ki’s room before ordering the maid to have it cleaned out by tomorrow. She’s going to make it into Eun-suk’s playroom.
Her insecurities from her earlier put-down are showing as she jumps on the maid the second she expresses any trepidation. It’s been almost a year since Eun-ki’s been missing, and they’ve spared no expense to try and find her, so is the maid still waiting? Jae-hee: “But Seo Eun-ki is nowhere in the world!”
Meanwhile, Maru stares at Eun-ki’s ‘Missing’ poster and thinks back to her confession in the rain and her scolding at the beach. Cue brooding session.
At the spa where Representative Cho tried to have Jae-hee banned for being too low class, Jae-hee finds the woman in the midst of a facial and hands her a picture of her husband with a young girl on his arm. Representative Cho shrugs it off, no biggie.
Then, Jae-hee hands her another picture of her husband… only she’s in the picture too, having dinner with him. Oh damn. Time for some revenge.
Jae-hee calmly dangles the woman’s husband in front of her eyes, claiming that there hasn’t been a single man who said no when she wanted him, Representative Cho’s husband not excluded.
I have to hand it to Jae-hee, since she’s probably right about being able to usurp Representative Cho as the lady of her house with little to no effort. “I even seduced Chairman Seo, who is much more faithful than your husband,” Jae-hee sneers. “I gave birth to his son. I’ve become the director of Taesan. Seducing your husband would be easy to do, don’t you think?”
Representative Cho doesn’t have much choice but to give up and agree. As for her list of demands, Jae-hee wants bidding rights to a duty-free store and, more importantly, an apology from Representative Cho.
Choco’s still working at the coffee shop, and can’t help but cry when she thinks of all the good things Maru has done for her over the years. Jae-gil shows up outside with written notes, telling her that his father passed away and though he’s still sad, he’s trying to smile. Aww. Now this scene is cute.
His last note reads: “If we believe, Maru will come back to us again.” What, like Tinker Bell?
But when Choco rushes out to hug him, Jae-gil eventually has to push her away because his heart is beating too fast.
Jae-sik looks like he’s in Maru’s neck of the woods as he begs for a bathroom, while a woman (is that Secretary Hyun?) leads another up the precarious steps. She goes to find something she forgot, and the other woman turns around…
And it’s Eun-ki. So that was Secretary Hyun. (Also: Eun-ki! I missed you!)
She smiles brightly and draws on the walls with the neighborhood children, and starts writing a name… but instead of ‘Kang Maru,’ she writes ‘Kang Ru Ma’.
It’s just at this time that Maru passes her (on his way to con another man into possible suicide) that he hears his name spelt strangely, and how the kids make fun of Eun-ki for not knowing the alphabet. She tries again, this time spelling ‘Ru Kang Ma’, completely unaware that it’s not ‘Kang Maru.’
Maru’s face is agape with shock as he recognizes her, but he’s still able to pick up a crayon to write his name correctly. Eun-ki smiles as she sees it, noting that she knew that name from before.
It’s only when she looks at his face that recognition passes over her features. “You know me, don’t you? You are the one, Kang Maru.” And she produces a camera with pictures of them together from Japan, explaining that she lost all her memories in a car accident. She even had to relearn her own name.
But she knew his name from the woman taking care of her, and claims that she didn’t know who he was from the pictures. However, now that she’s seen him, she remembers who he is.
Eun-ki: “We were very much in love. Weren’t we?”
And as she gazes at him expectantly, a tear falls from her eye. Maru’s eyes are red as he stares back at her, silent.
It’s a little early to pass judgment on the amnesiac story turn, but my only hope is that we do something fresh with it from this point forward. There’s certainly no denying that amnesia is a well-worn trope, and I don’t know whether to be more critical because we’ve known about this plot movement since the promotional materials, or just to be glad that it finally got done before the end of the first half.
There’s some hope to be had in that this was a planned maneuver, and not something thrown in at the last minute to add extra drama. (Yeah, as if we need any more of that.) Basically, I have to hold myself back from speculating before I see more than five seconds of Eun-ki as an amnesiac. We’ll check back in with this tomorrow.
As for the rest of the episode, things ran smoothly except for one big hiccup: The Accident Scene. If I’ve got the sequence of events right, Chairman Seo died, Eun-ki got the text from Joon-ha, made a U-Turn Of Decision, and presumably either recognized Maru behind the other wheel of the car or just didn’t care what car she ran into. Maru might have maybe seen that it was her behind the wheel, which is maybe possibly probably why they both smiled as they were about to die together.
Which, what? Just… what? A whole new character realm opens up as soon as characters become suicidal, and for all intents and purposes what we saw (or heard) was a death attempt, not a I-Hope-I-Just-End-Up-Slightly-Maimed attempt. Granted, we didn’t see the crash so anything could have happened, but if it was anything except a crash I’ll be calling shenanigans on the sound editor.
It does take a bit of wind out of Eun-ki’s sails for me, especially if she was raring to die because events had just become too much to bear. She’s a passionate, impulsive person, and while I could believe her near-suicidal efforts to save her doll from the edge of a cliff, it gets a bit trickier when she’s not in it for a greater good or personal gain. What did she believe in in that moment? That the company no longer meant anything to her, and life without Maru and her Dad was just not one worth living?
I’m looking forward to all that being explained, as well as who was involved in what and to what kind of degree, especially in the case of Eun-ki’s whereabouts for the last eleven months. For a second there I thought Maru had been squirreling her away this whole time, which would have been pretty fun. But, I suppose a good ol’ lover’s reunion is just as fun, too.