Nice Guy: Episode 16
It’s time for some truth up in here, and that truth comes with its own dose of forced smiles and infinite levels of deception. Maru’s finally embracing his inner nice guy and pulls on our heartstrings while he’s at it, which somehow makes the cute moments in this episode the saddest thing ever. And then the actual sad moments end up feeling like a relief, because at least we knew they were coming. It’s that in-between time of wanting to be happy for our couple all while bracing for impact that’s hardest on the nerves.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Eun-ki’s on cloud nine as she and Maru walk home, fingers firmly intertwined. It’s with a smile that she tells him she’s remembered who he was to her: “The one I placed all my bets on and loved. The one I liked so much that my heart would burst. Before I lost my memory, you were that kind of person to me.”
And Maru, struggling under the weight of his guilt, fights to hold back his tears.
They circle back to his old house where Eun-ki asks if he remembers her confession in the rain. After taking a moment to flashback to that exact moment, he finally answers that he does.
Eun-ki poses the same question now that she’d posed during her confession: “Is it possible?” As in, is it possible for them to grow old together, have children, and live happily ever after?
Maru doesn’t answer, and kisses her instead. She’s not one to be distracted as she blurts right after: “Let’s get married. I want to marry you, Maru.” She’s actually proposing? Oh, Eun-ki. I luff you so much, brain damage and all.
She’s on pins and needles as she waits for his answer, and practically cries with joy once he gives the okay.
I love that she wastes no time and takes him straight to a bridal boutique for some window shopping – she’s already picked out her ideal dress. Her head is spinning with all the things they need to do – plan the wedding, find a honeymoon spot, decide on how many kids they want, etc.
Maru’s bright smile during all this is somehow heartbreaking, but what really gets me is Eun-ki’s “how many kids should we have?” talk. When he suggests having one son and daughter, she scoffs at the idea – she wants nine. “And then we can set up our own baseball team.” So cute. SO CUTE. So why is it making me so uneasy?
But then, she decides against the baseball idea, because they should give their children the freedom to be whatever they want to be. Aww. She even has plans for how Jae-gil and Choco can participate, and we just know that all this talk means it’s never going to happen. Because dramaland, especially melodramaland, is a cruel mistress.
Jae-hee drinks alone in a dive bar surrounded by drunk ajusshis, and loses it when one tries to hit on her. She addresses the whole room as she shouts, “Do you think any of you are worthy of being in my company?” Spoken like a true elitist. Or someone who just really, really wishes that they were.
Min-young arrives to take her home, and it’s with a sneer that she wonders how many spies he’s got following her if he knew where to find her. He’s emotionless as he punches one of her drunk suitors away, but she’s lost in her memories. This was a place she and Maru would come to often, before she gave up everything for Taesan.
Eun-ki’s still high on marriage talk, and unsurprisingly wants to discuss how they’re going to be making their bed now that they’ll be in it together. Maru finally puts a stop to her: “Let’s get married after you recover your memory.”
He wants to make sure she won’t change her mind after she learns what a bastard he really is, even though she’s adamant that nothing could change her mind.
“Either way, now is not the right time,” he stresses. “After you recover your memory, if you still want to marry me… If you still want to marry a punk like me, have children together, and grow old together, then let’s get married at that time. If you still feel the same way you do then, I won’t let you go either. I won’t ever let you go, then. No matter what happens, no matter what anyone says.”
He pulls her into an embrace to make his point, and this is the first time a confession of his has brought me comfort. At least he’s finally giving us a sign that he’s not just going to go off quietly into the night once Eun-ki remembers, and that he’ll let her make her own informed decision when the time is right.
Min-young helps Jae-hee home and tucks her in bed, but when he tries to go in for a kiss, she turns her head away.
She’s still hung up on the Eun-ki thing, seemingly unable to wrap her mind around the concept of leaving Taesan for Maru when she left Maru for Taesan. Her eyes and words scream desperation as she struggles to convince herself that she’s the right one. She made the right decision… right?
Min-young sees right through her: “So you want to go back? Like Seo Eun-ki, you want to give up all of Taesan to go back to Kang Maru?” A tear slips from Jae-hee’s eye at his words because they hit home. That’s exactly what she wants to do.
However, he’s not going to let her waver. Because she wanted him to, he betrayed Chairman Seo and played a part in his death – there’s no coming back from that now. He really loves his car/road analogies as he tells her that he hopes Chairman Seo will be the only roadkill they come across: “Let’s not add Kang Maru to that list.”
Cue shivers of horror. When she demands to know what he’s planning, he throws back that Chairman Seo isn’t her only casualty. He knows Maru took the fall for her other one, and reminding Jae-hee of this works to keep her docile better than physical restraints ever could.
Maru and Eun-ki have flashbacks of the accident at the same time, only she still can’t recognize him as the other driver. With Doctor Suk’s words about finding out the truth to her accident still ringing in her head, Eun-ki uses Choco’s computer to google-equivalent the accident.
There are news articles detailing the scene of the crash, but Maru’s name is kept anonymous by the media calling him “Person K”. Choco grows increasingly more nervous as Eun-ki reads on, and doesn’t volunteer any information when Eun-ki asks her who Person K is.
Jae-gil comes home looking like death, because he met up with Maru’s neurosurgeon sunbae and found out everything about his hematoma. Medical ethics don’t exist in this universe.
He crumples to the ground, overcome with sadness. Maru has to beg him to keep quiet about this and not tell the girls, and takes him out for soju in order to try and explain that he’s not going to die.
Jae-gil is breaking my heart with how utterly and completely crushed he is, but he still manages to see through Maru’s front and threatens to tell Eun-ki and Choco everything if he doesn’t get surgery.
But Maru claims that it isn’t because of them that he’s refusing surgery. He’s done horrible things for Choco, and he figures he’s paid Eun-ki back for about half of what he owes her. The other half is up to her, because she chose to trust someone like him and needs to take responsibility for that.
He explains to Jae-gil that the surgery isn’t without its risks, and that he could die on the table, lose his memories, or become paralyzed.
Jae-gil: “Why do you always think the worst?”
Maru: “Because that’s the story of my life.”
With Choco in better health, and with Eun-ki having returned to him, Maru couldn’t be happier. He wants that happiness to last just a little bit longer, and promises Jae-gil that he’ll get the surgery afterward.
Jae-gil doesn’t believe him, and starts sobbing in the middle of the restaurant while Maru just pours himself another drink.
The next morning, Eun-ki and Choco stand face to face with a bowl of live loaches they want to cook for breakfast. Eun-ki puts up a tough front like, Oh, it’s so easy, but both girls scream when Jae-gil grabs one and chases them around the kitchen with it.
It’s so cute, and so family-like, which Maru realizes as he pretends to be asleep in the next room.
Maru [in voiceover]: “I hear the laughter of my friend, my sister, and my love. They are part of the most beautiful, delicious, and fascinating dream in the world that I could ever dream of. I’m afraid that if I open my eyes, I’ll wake up from my dream. So I can’t open my eyes out of fear. For this beautiful morning, thank you for gifting it to me.”
Eun-ki sneaks into his room and plants a kiss on his cheek. He smiles, his eyes still closed.
“I won’t be greedy and ask for more. I won’t expect any more. Right now, I am happy.”
Hey there, Tears. Wasn’t expecting you to show up before the half hour mark.
To contrast this warm and happy scene, we find Jae-hee sitting alone in her ginormous and very empty dining room.
She’s not alone for long once Jae-sik forces himself inside, and she coldly refuses him attention besides asking what she needs to do to kill him. “Hey, how would I know that?” Jae-sik replies. “Only you, who’s actually killed someone, would know.” Buuuuuurn.
He tries to play brother to her now, and passes off the blackmailing incident from before as an automatic reflex. If there’s one good thing about Jae-sik it’s that he’s honest, since he flat out tells his sister that Min-young wants him to kill Maru.
So, he’s come to see whether she wants him dead before he acts? How sweet.
We find him next at Maru’s house, and while Jae-hee refused him even one grain of rice, Choco feeds him the stew they all made for breakfast. Jae-sik takes one look at her with Jae-gil and declares that she’d be taken care of. You know, if Maru were to disappear.
Dude, these people are feeding you out of the kindness of their hearts, and you’re still thinking about killing Maru? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, and Jae-gil isn’t either. His suspicions have been raised, at least.
Jae-hee follows through on her deal with Jung-hoon, in exchange for him spreading the word about Eun-ki’s amnesia through the media and stock markets.
Luckily, Joon-ha has put a countermeasure in place by announcing Eun-ki and Maru’s impending marriage. Which means (as Min-young explains to Jae-hee) that even if they oust Eun-ki on the basis of being professionally incompetent, everything will go to her husband.
Jae-hee brings this issue up with Maru, and threatens to tell Eun-ki about their past if he doesn’t call off the wedding. He takes it a step further and suggests that they take a picture while kissing and send it to her. Which, he realizes he’s already done, right?
Telling her that Eun-ki doesn’t live in the past but the present is what really hits Jae-hee hard, causing her to change tactics. This time, she pretty much begs him to reconsider.
He leans in close to make his point: “I’m telling you, I need Eun-ki. Now, without her, I can’t even go on for a day, Noona.” He drops his speech to call her that, and the once-endearing term has Jae-hee crying.
Once he switches back to calling her “Chairman”, the discussion is over.
Jae-hee catches Eun-ki in the hallway, curious as to whether she’s done any research on Maru. Eun-ki replies that she’s researched all she’s needed to, but is thrown for a loop when Jae-hee asks whether Choco still cries at night, or whether Jae-gil is still claustrophobic. Eek. Bad news bears.
Joon-ha pulls her into a meeting with Maru to explain the wedding announcement as well as the upcoming board of directors meeting, where her professional competency will be discussed. He hands over a cheat sheet of questions and answers she can memorize.
Before he leaves, Eun-ki asks him about the other driver in the accident. Joon-ha hesitates a bit before lying that the other driver was female, and that she was fine and compensated well and moved to another country so they’ll never hear from her again. Which, ugh. I’m disappointed in you, Joon-ha.
Eun-ki doesn’t believe him, mostly because the blurry outline in her memories is distinctly male (and distinctly Maru, but let’s roll with it). So she asks Secretary Hyun to do some fact checking for her.
Jae-gil paces outside of the audition room Choco’s in as he tries to digest Maru’s surgery postponement. Inside, Choco finds herself unable to work up the courage to sing and is ready to quit, but Jae-gil’s entrance stops her.
He explains to the judges that Choco’s voice is like Mariah Carey’s, and that she’s just shy around new people. So he asks for permission to help her out a little, and takes to the piano to play the accompaniment for “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.
Choco starts out faint at first, but eventually belts out the song with all her might. As Jae-gil watches her, he thinks to himself, “Choco… Maru is having a hard time. From now on, let’s live a good life. Let’s live well.”
As Maru grows more anxious about Eun-ki getting closer to the truth, Secretary Hyun confirms that same truth with Joon-ha: Maru was the person Eun-ki crashed into.
But Joon-ha tells Secretary Hyun to withhold that truth from Eun-ki, and works with her on corroborating their lie.
…Not that it does them any good, since Eun-ki finds a mysterious folder on her desk containing the accident report. Driver one, Eun-ki. Driver two, Maru.
This instantly triggers a memory of the accident, and this time Maru’s face is clear as their cars rush headlong into each other. Eun-ki sinks to the floor in shock.
Maru comes into her office… to find her sitting calmly at her desk? Yikes. So now she’s hiding the fact that she knows?
As they walk to the board meeting, Maru’s words of encouragement are juxtaposed by Eun-ki’s returning memories of him – specifically, all the harsh things he’d said to her at the Breakup Beach. Things like “Do you think there was anything I wasn’t willing to do to get Jae-hee Noona back again?”
And as he pats her shoulder for support in the present, Eun-ki remembers how he’d patronizingly patted it at the beach, when he was chastising her for falling in love with him so easily.
Eun-ki’s face looks like it’s about to crack at any moment from the smile she’s forcing, but she manages to fool Maru and make it into the board meeting where she’s pelted with questions about the state of her brain.
Instead of using the script Joon-ha and Maru prepared for her, Eun-ki announces to the board members that she is in fact suffering from amnesia and brain damage due to her car accident.
“Like what everyone here is thinking, I have no intentions of hiding behind the person representing me,” she says. And if they determine that she’s not capable of running Taesan, she’s willing to step down and start from scratch as a member of the company. All she wants is a chance to prove herself.
Afterward, Maru praises her for doing well, because “That was the Seo Eun-ki I know.” As in, that’s the Eun-ki everyone knows. Maybe because it IS the Seo Eun-ki everyone knows.
There’s this moment where she fixes a smile on her face before turning toward him, quite literally putting on a mask. He just got his paycheck and offers to buy her anything she wants, so she asks for flowers, a purse, pork belly, and a kiss. Complete with a little eyebrow wiggle, which is cute.
So Maru goes out to get her all of those things, and you know it’s love when he even stops by the only coffee shop in Seoul just to get her specialized-yet-generic coffee.
It seems like she just sent him on a wild goose chase so she’d have time to visit her father’s ashes, and she tearfully apologizes for being late. This spurs a flashback to her childhood, where Dad had placed unreasonable responsibilities on her because of her future in Taesan.
“You cannot show your weakness to others,” Dad had warned her. “Do not trust anyone in this world. You shouldn’t show the real you to anyone.” He does mention her mom and how she betrayed him (I’d really like to know more about this), which might explain why he went a little crazy with trusting Eun-ki Lite. No wonder why she grew up with so many trust issues.
In the present, Eun-ki cries as she apologizes to her father, saying, “I did you wrong. If only I had not gone to Maru that day, if only I had not gone to see that bastard, maybe you wouldn’t have passed away.” Ouch. That’s a lot of guilt to shoulder.
Maru ends up waiting a long time for Eun-ki to finally show up, and when she does, she has to plaster another smile on her face.
He happily shows her the gifts he bought her, before giving her the last one: A kiss.
And though Eun-ki closes her eyes for just a moment, she eventually opens them and stares ahead, with Maru none the wiser.
Ding dong, the bitch is back. I know that’s not quite how it goes, but I’m just so happy to have Eun-ki back again. Even if I’m not really sure what exactly is going through her mind.
It’s not hard to see why she’d be angry with Maru for playing her, though in this case it really does take two to
tango attempt a double suicide. Unless she was just trying to kill him and didn’t care about herself, which would technically make it a murder-suicide attempt… but Maru knew what he was doing. Heck, they both knew.
And while Maru’s conversation with Jae-gil seemed to be made of half-truths (I’m not sure I trust him on this ambiguous surgery deal), there was an interesting line in there I latched onto, about Eun-ki needing to take responsibility for trusting him. Whether he honestly believes that or not is up for grabs, even though we’ve heard lines of this ilk from him before, though they normally seemed to be his way of shirking responsibility. Like, It’s their fault because they knew how terrible I am.
It doesn’t seem like he’s trying to wiggle out of his own misdeeds this time around, but it’s worth noting that Eun-ki had both eyes open when it came to Maru (toward the end, anyway), and made her choices with the ample knowledge she had. But, I admit I’d probably be much more on board with her newfound anger if she hadn’t instigated the amnesia-causing crash, something I just haven’t quite been able to get over. Despite all that, Maru got a hematoma for his trouble and has spent X amount of months rehabilitating her. That’s got to count for something eventually, right? If someone’s tallying up karmic points, please share Maru’s score with the rest of the class.
One of the relationships that’s really had time to blossom (even though I feel like “blossom” denotes something good and not unholy) is the perverse and psychologically abusive union between Min-young and Jae-hee. Surprisingly, he works in making her more sympathetic just by virtue of being more evil than she is, yet at the same time, he’s a product of her creation. But like all things Jae-hee touches, this one’s come back to haunt her in a bad way.
What’s most curious about their interactions is whether Jae-hee might be moved to make some right choices… if, and this is a big IF, Min-young wasn’t there to constantly remind her that she’s no longer fit for the rest of society. The fact that he now feels he has to continue steering her down the dark road of evil just because he gave up everything to join her on it is a thought-provoking one, and one I’m not sure I have the answer for. Is she partly responsible for what he’s become, or was he always this way and just needed the right opportunity?
But that ending? So perfectly cyclical. And so, so frightening. Maru did say that he looks at himself when he looks at Eun-ki, and nothing brought that home more than her forced smiles and her eyes-open kiss. Seeing as how she doesn’t have a whole drama to navigate the arc of vengeance-to-redemption, it’ll be interesting to see how she operates from here on out. No one’s going to come out of this fight smelling like roses though.
- Nice Guy: Episode 15
- Nice Guy: Episode 14
- Nice Guy: Episode 13
- Nice Guy: Episode 12
- Nice Guy: Episode 11
- Nice Guy: Episode 10
- Nice Guy: Episode 9
- Nice Guy: Episode 8
- Nice Guy: Episode 7
- Nice Guy: Episode 6
- Nice Guy: Episode 5
- Nice Guy: Episode 4
- Nice Guy: Episode 3
- Nice Guy: Episode 2
- Nice Guy: Episode 1