Lee Joon becomes quite the jackass in this episode with all his flip-flopping – not like he wasn’t already. But we get a few more revelations about Tae-ik, and a little bit of cute. The cute moments between him and Man-ok are necessary, because a whole lotta drama is to come. Especially when our main trio is given crying scenes – and they deliver.
Man-ok sees Se-ryung hugging Tae-ik. Tae-ik sees Man-ok as he tries to push Se-ryung away. Se-ryung keeps on hugging. Awkward? Well, Man-ok makes it more so by excusing herself to go check on the laundry she hung outside earlier. Tae-ik pushes off Se-ryung; he didn’t reveal the photo because he wanted nothing to do with her. Pretending to be gay with Kang-hwi was easier than dealing with her.
Se-ryung turns into that cunning witch we know so well: “I’m the world star Jin Se-ryung. If I want something, I’ll get it. If I’m sick of something, I’ll throw it away.”
Clearly, she’s not going to let go of Tae-ik anytime soon.
Man-ok stays outside in the cold, gardening a bit to keep busy and not think about Se-ryung confronting Tae-ik about his “everlasting love” for her. She huddles against her knees… and a small kitty cape is draped over her. It’s Tae-ik! Yay! He’s come to save her from the cold, scolding her for leaving. Se-ryung who? Man-ok happily follows him inside.
Se-ryung won’t have any of this. When she conducts her interviews the following day, she reveals that she returned to Korea to “get something of hers back.” She keeps it a mystery of course, and then promises to come back with a good project. When her next interviewer – Reporter Nam – arrives, Se-ryung sends Bum-soo out on an errand so that she could have some privacy with this reporter.
Rather than giving her usual spiel about why she returned to Korea, she hands him the studio photos taken of Man-ok and Tae-ik. This would be more juicy, no? An idol and his stylist in a contractual relationship? Ohhhh boy…
Tae-ik is later called into Lee Joon’s office, where Se-ryung is waiting for him as well. Sheesh – can’t get away from her, can we? Lee Joon wants the three of them to go out for lunch, but Tae-ik declines. He heads out, leaving Se-ryung feeling slighted. She pushes Man-ok out of the car and demands to know why Tae-ik won’t eat with her.
It’s nothing professional, it’s purely personal. Tae-ik: “I’m really sick of you.”
And with that, he steps out of the car and catches a cab, with Man-ok following him. Se-ryung phones Reporter Nam to make sure that the article goes out.
Tae-ik doesn’t want to go home, and as they go down the street, he notices all the couples walking down the block. Man-ok suggests some fun activities to cheer him up, and he surprisingly agrees. Why not do all the activities they took fake pictures for?
First stop – hiking! They arrive at a mountain wearing totally-not-appropriate-clothing, and Man-ok doesn’t really believe Tae-ik could climb all the way to the top. He takes that as a challenge and quickly heads up.
Only… to end up faltering and gasping for every single breath, tripping over the steps and begging Man-ok to go back down. Man-ok practically has to push him up by his bony butt all the way to the top.
When they reach the top, she takes a picture of them together to commemorate the moment, and encourages him to scream at the top of his lungs. For example, she starts screaming, “Bastard!” Heh. Tae-ik gets annoyed and starts yelling at her, and she tells him to yell louder. An adorable smile creeps up on Tae-ik’s face. He’s enjoying venting his frustrations.
Next up – bike riding. Instead of getting a tandem bike like they did at the studio, Tae-ik firmly insists they have separate bikes – because Man-ok is so heavy. They have a blast riding around the park, and at one point both get caught by a bunch of fans. Their faces are snapped by camera phones, and Man-ok suggests they get some caps to cover their faces. Tae-ik: “Did you forget we’re engaged? We don’t need to hide our faces!”
Back at Reporter So’s makeshift office, he tries to get Ga-ryung to dish on Man-ok’s personal life. Ga-ryung is a faithful and loyal friend, and refuses to bite. But then – No-ra discovers a nasty article online: Tae-ik’s engagement is a sham. She faints again, and Ga-ryung ditches her loyalty. Man-ok’s betrayed her with Kang-hwi, and now Tae-ik? She’s going to spill the beans on everything about Man-ok.
The news spreads quickly and fans around Korea become incensed. But Man-ok and Tae-ik remain oblivious – they’re enjoying their cafe date sitting back to back with huge cups in hand. Man-ok leans back on his shoulder, completely relaxed, and notes how it feels like they’re really secretly dating. Tae-ik tells her to put her hand down through the back of the chair, and he intertwines his hands with hers.
The intimacy brings momentary happiness, followed by awkwardness. Tae-ik pulls away first, and Man-ok suggests sitting face to face, since they’re having coffee together. She moves over to his table, and Tae-ik slyly observes her blushing face. He gets up… and leans right into her face.
An onlooker takes a snapshot on her phone of this intimate moment between the two “lovebirds.”
Tae-ik teases her for thinking he’s going to kiss her, and then heads for the bathroom. That onlooker posts the picture online with the location, and some irate students take note and head over to the cafe. They start throwing food at her, and drag her into the street to beat her up.
Tae-ik gets held up inside the cafe by some adoring fans who want his signature, so he doesn’t hear the news until it’s too late. Go-dong calls him about news of his contractual relationship, and that’s when he notices Man-ok being beat up. He comes to her rescue, pushing the students away. One girl falls back on the pavement so hard that she passes out.
He is immediately concerned over Man-ok’s injured face, and angry she didn’t fight back. He leads her off to the hospital, but then they notice that the girl still hasn’t woken up. Uh-oh…
So it turns out the two of them have to wait outside the emergency room for the status on the girl’s condition. Go-dong comes out to report that everything’s fine. The girl merely fainted from anger (is that possible?) and will be fine in no time. He suggests Tae-ik go in and apologize, but Tae-ik chooses to leave instead.
Man-ok follows him home, and he heads to his room for a rest. But he barely gets a moment’s peace when Lee Joon barges in, furious that the news of his fake engagement leaked AND Tae-ik had “beat up” a student. This media frenzy is going to negatively affect the debut of his solo album, so Lee Joon orders him to use Man-ok as a scapegoat.
Lee Joon is going to spin it so Man-ok was the one who seduced Tae-ik. Tae-ik can’t go along with this; Lee Joon is the one who put Man-ok up to the engagement, and now he wants to take it back and blame her? Lee Joon doesn’t care – he’s spent so much on Tae-ik that he can’t let him go to ruin. Besides, Tae-ik can’t stop him.
That taunt makes Tae-ik ball up his hand into a fist, but he refrains from punching Lee Joon in the face and the balls.
Unfortunately, Man-ok overheard everything outside. She escapes to her room, afraid to know what fate lies in store for her. Grandpa calls her at that moment to check on her, and he says goodbye with their oft-repeated phrase, “If you put your mind to it, there’s nothing that can’t be done!” Poor Man-ok – she takes it especially hard because she just might fail her grandfather’s expectations now.
The following day, Kang-hwi excitedly searches for Man-ok, as they have to get his cast off today. He only finds Se-ryung in the house, who gleefully informs him of the new scandal that has erupted. Kang-hwi storms into Tae-ik’s room and confronts him on his inability to protect Man-ok, and getting an innocent girl all caught up in this mess. Kang-hwi swears to protect Man-ok instead, because Tae-ik is nothing but “Lee Joon’s puppet” and can’t do anything.
Tae-ik’s hand balls up into a fist again. Yipes. But poor guy – no one believes he can do anything.
Kang-hwi finds Man-ok in the garden trying to pep herself up and convince herself she’s happy. He tries to join her in the singing without asking why she’s singing, in an effort to cheer her up too. He then reminds her that he needs to go to the hospital.
Kang-hwi is so joyful at getting his cast off and suggests going out for a good meal to celebrate. Bui Man-ok fears another fan backlash in the event someone sees them, so she prefers eating at home. Kang-hwi sadly touches the dressing over Man-ok’s facial scratches, hoping she won’t develop scars from it. He just cares…
At that moment, Go-dong calls Man-ok, and frantically asks her if she’s with Tae-ik. They have a press conference at 2pm regarding his new album, but they can’t locate him. The reporters are getting quite antsy as well.
Where in the world is Lee Tae-ik!?
Tae-ik is actually far from the K-pop world, visiting his father’s ashes. He remembers a time when his parents surprised him with their new home, and Tae-ik was so excited that he was going to be living in such a big house. His father had said the house was for him and his mother. But now… that’s no longer the case.
Tears stream down Tae-ik’s face as he apologizes to his father for not being able to protect the house.
Everyone’s in a frenzy trying to locate Tae-ik while Lee Joon does some damage control with the press. Quite dramatically, Tae-ik arrives fashionably late, and he announces to everyone that he will not be discussing his new album in today’s conference. Instead, he wants to confirm the reports on the false engagement.
Gasps all around.
Lee Joon watches this impending train wreck loom ever closer as Tae-ik says that Man-ok is not at fault for any of it. He will bear all the responsibility for it, and for that, he will resign from U Entertainment.
He is no longer going to be Lee Joon’s puppet! Even though he’ll be breaking the contract, Tae-ik says that the guest house should be enough as payment. He’s not giving up on Full House, but he’s going to get it back all on his own, without any help.
Man-ok and Kang-hwi arrive at the press conference when everything is over, even though Go-dong had advised her to stay far away. They overhear a reporter mention Tae-ik resigning, and Man-ok rushes to Full House to see if she can find him. Kang-hwi is thus left to face Lee Joon on his own.
With no one to make money for him anymore, Lee Joon now wants Kang-hwi to return to the company. He’ll help him make a comeback. Kang-hwi finds this all a joke – first he gets rid of him, then he wants him back? But Lee Joon then reveals that Kang-hwi will lose his vision soon. Kang-hwi doesn’t want to end his career like this, in shame and then blind on top of that, does he? Lee Joon will help him come back.
Kang-hwi refuses to accept his help.
Back at Full House, Tae-ik takes one more look at the house that once was his, and then drives off with all his things. Man-ok arrives just after he leaves and runs through the house. Tae-ik’s things are all gone.
To add to Lee Joon’s troubles, Bum-soo is now furious that Take One is now finished. Has Lee Joon ever treated them with respect? He should stop thinking those boys are his property. Lee Joon throws it back at Bum-soo: “Your sincerity always made you mess up your work. If you want to stay under me, forget about that sincerity crap! Shut your mouth and do what I tell you.”
Bum-soo is no longer going to accept any of Lee Joon’s crap. Besides, no one ever knows what will happen in life; Lee Joon may not stay in his position forever. Bum-soo advises him to stop acting so ruthless and stepping on other people for money. And with that, he quits.
Se-ryung visits Lee Joon, and she doesn’t believe for a moment that Tae-ik could have done all this to protect Man-ok, who’s a nobody. But then Lee Joon asks who could possibly have leaked to the reporters about the contractual engagement. I think he’s starting to suspect Se-ryung!
Kang-hwi spends the night drinking away his sorrows. He visited his eye doctor, who confirmed that he will start losing his vision. There’s a high likelihood that he will end up blind. Kang-hwi stumbles outside onto the streets and sees a Take One performance playing on a storefront TV. A few people stop to watch the performance as well, and soon Kang-hwi drunkenly starts singing along with the TV. That attracts the onlookers’ attention, and they start screaming excitedly and taking pictures.
What they don’t notice is that Kang-hwi is superbly drunk, and they don’t even care that he’s breaking down as he sings. He falls into tears, all by himself.
At a pojangmacha with Man-ok, Go-dong is depressed that Bum-soo quit the company. He wants to quit too, but Bum-soo won’t let him. Man-ok also feels bad that Bum-soo quit, but she wants him to help her find Tae-ik. She finds it all her fault that Tae-ik ran off. Bum-soo doesn’t know where he could have gone, if he has anywhere to go, but Go-dong promises to help – once he’s sober, I’m betting.
And then we get a totally sappy interlude of Kang-hwi wandering around the streets of Seoul, drunk and crying. Oh drama, don’t make me laugh when I want to feel bad for Kang-hwi!
The next morning, Bum-soo calls Man-ok up and tells her to bring some clothes and a passport to the airport. He found out where Tae-ik is.
Tae-ik has actually arrived in Japan, and heads to Ritsurin Park for a particular teahouse. There, he is greeted by a server… who is none other than his mother.
Excuse me while I fully process that his mother is alive!
But before you think that all is well because his mother is alive, it turns out she’s suffering from memory loss. She remembers Tae-ik, but thinks that he’s come to bring her back home, and that the father is still alive.
Tae-ik’s aunt tells his mother Min-ah to go get some tea, and then reports that his mother is doing much better these days. There are more days when she’s being sane. She wonders why he came over to visit, thinking it’s for vacation. She takes him to his favorite room, and there he sees newspapers with headlines about him resigning. Ah – so the aunt definitely knows why he’s in Japan…
And we dig a little deeper into his past…
Five years ago, Tae-ik had brought his barely lucid mother to his aunt’s place. Min-ah had no sense of where she was, and wanted to go back to her husband. She keeps asking for him and where their house is, and clearly, she suffered from some severe trauma that she has no idea what has happened to their broken family.
Tae-ik’s heartbroken that he must leave his mother here in Japan, but he can’t let her go back to Seoul, despite her constant pleas to return to his father.
As Tae-ik passes by the teahouse, some of the patrons there recognize him as Tae-ik of Take One. He tries to tell them that they’re mistaken, but they all start mobbing him for pictures.
Min-ah passes by and sees this swarm of women pulling and screaming around Tae-ik, and she freaks out. She starts screaming for Tae-ik, frightened that they’re here to take away their house.
Oh crap – so they must have had a nasty run-in with the debt collectors back then…
The fans get all excited when they realize Min-ah is Tae-ik’s mother, but he quickly shields her and angrily yells at all the fans to stop taking pictures. At least they understand anger, and they do pause in taking pictures.
Fans. So ridiculous.
To help her calm down, Tae-ik and his mother start feeding the carp in the garden’s little pool. He’s not scared of carp in general (they’re not furry), but he doesn’t like seeing all of them crowding around their feet, eating the crumbs. Similarly, his mother doesn’t like seeing so many crowds of people.
They head back to the teahouse, and find none other than Bum-soo welcoming customers into the shop. And then Man-ok runs out to announce that the place is full. Tae-ik’s stunned – Man-ok and Bum-soo in Japan?
Lee Joon is such a jerk that he and Se-ryung deserve each other. They’d make each other’s lives a living hell. I hate how he flips sides just like a coin whenever it’s advantageous for him, kicking members out and then inviting them back in. He should get Jay back at this point at the rate he’s going. I shouldn’t be surprised about his actions in each episode, but everything he does helps refresh my disgust for him episode after episode. Thank goodness for a lack of Se-ryung in the part 2 of the episode. Every time she comes on screen, I want to punch her in the face.
But that would not bode well for my poor computer screen.
I seriously hate these two characters more than the hair. Permed Hair just got on my good side.
I really feel bad for Tae-ik now, and it’s amazing how he can manage to hold in his temper for so long. He’s been told repeatedly be everyone around him that he can’t do anything, and it’s worse for him because he carries the baggage of what happened to his family five years ago. He couldn’t stop his father from dying (perhaps it was suicide?), or from the debt collectors taking his house away, or his mother regressing in his memories. He seems to be working for Lee Joon only to try reassemble the pieces of his broken home, and yet he’s repeatedly being told that he has no control and can’t do anything. That’s got to be a lot of bruising on one’s ego, celebrity or not.
Tae-ik and Kang-hwi are truly perfect matches for each other. They’re both working to escape a certain trauma in their past, but while Tae-ik is trying to pick up the pieces, Kang-hwi seems to be running away from it. I’d like a bit more confirmation on Kang-hwi’s past to see why it is he’s escaping his mother and his stepfamily in China. Maybe he should go back to being a chaebol for a bit, get some money, then help pay for Full House and live happily ever after with Tae-ik. And they can be Take One again. Who cares about UEnterLJ? No one wants to enter “LJ” anyways…