Production finally casts off, but a plagiarism scandal comes to rock the boat and shake our team’s trust in Go-eun. At least, the less steadfast members of the team. Go-eun has a small but dedicated fan base in her World Productions boys that just makes my heart melt. In fact, all the cute moments of teamwork in this episode are enough to have you wishing you worked on a drama set just for the camaraderie. And okay, maybe for the fun in seeing Siwon swimming in the ocean. In winter.
King of Dramas saw their highest ratings yet with this episode, even though they’re still not breaking double digits. But hey, 8.9% is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope they keep it up.
EPISODE 10: “Fated Lovers”
Kenji gives Anthony his limited options in paying him back, and decides to wait until midnight at Anthony’s request. Either the money is delivered by then, or else.
So it falls to the odd couple of Go-eun and Hyun-min to find the briefcase, and he complains the whole time. Go-eun ends up using a group of Hyun-min’s fans to her advantage and successfully locates the bag.
The clock is ticking, and while Anthony has only to wait, the Chairman listens to Mozart’s Requiem like a true villain as he awaits Anthony’s end. (I’d like to see the villain that eschews normality and listens to something along the lines of dubstep.)
Meanwhile, Go-eun and Hyun-min continue their hunt for the landowner.
As the clock strikes twelve, Akiko asks Kenji why he has to go this far – Kyungsung Morning was his father’s dream, after all. But Kenji’s adamant about leaving the past behind.
Go-eun tracks the landowner down to a restaurant, but a woman at the desk stops her from going inside. Cue Hyun-min, who only has to take off his sunglasses and flash a smile for the ajumma to happily let them through. Ha.
Time’s up for Anthony, and Kenji prepares the hand guillotine. Eek.
Go-eun manages to get the contract into the landowner’s hands… but will she make it in time? Anthony’s hand is getting closer and closer to the blade…
Right before they’re about to cut his hand off, Akiko once again saves Anthony’s skin by relaying a phone call from Go-eun that the investment money has been returned. Anthony is spared and sent free with all ten fingers. Phew.
Kenji calls the Chairman to relate the news, and when the Chairman can’t believe it, Anthony takes the line. Oh, sweet revenge. He makes sure to let the Chairman know that he’s the one who helped him out by buying worthless land for five times its asking price. Basically, Anthony just took the Chairman to SCHOOL.
Kenji proclaims that his dealings with Empire are done, and relates the same to Anthony – they have no more reason to see each other, either. So is this the last we’ll see of Kenji?
Of course, the Chairman is fuming mad (aww, is it 6:00 p.m., and therefore past his bed time?) while Go-eun profusely thanks the landowner for his investment. Anthony’s not so keen on thanking her since he almost lost an arm, but we know his grumbling is just his twisted way of being grateful.
Hyun-min complains on the car ride home that Go-eun didn’t mention his huge contribution when she talked to Anthony, which makes her roll her eyes. I really love these two together, and how Go-eun is used to his childish ways.
Thinking about Anthony’s “thanks” over the phone has her giggling on the rooftop, which is how Anthony finds her. It’s cute how she tries to break that friendship barrier by using banmal, but he puts the kibosh on that pretty quick. Ha.
But when he does get to the point, it’s to tell her “Thank you.” The real, honest kind. Go-eun tries to push her luck again by asking if he wants to grab some beer only to be rejected. Aww, her crush is starting to show.
Anthony, Go-eun, and Investor Choi act as spectators during the next day’s filming… while Hyun-min swims in the sea. HA. They’re on take four, and he’s surprisingly agreeable when Director Goo asks for a fifth take. That’s dedication. (Serious props to Siwon for actually getting into the water. I don’t even want to know how cold that is.)
I’m cracking up – Hyun-min has to do take after take, either because he was shivering too much or because a dog strayed into the frame. Surprisingly, Hyun-min doesn’t complain once, and when he finally nails the scene, he nails it.
Min-ah watches coldly, and remarks that overcoming a couple of hardships doesn’t make Hyun-min any more of an actor.
The Chairman, still angry from missing the local country chicken buffet dinner at 4:00 p.m. (aka having lost a load of money because Anthony outsmarted him), brings a team of lawyers into Empire to bring Anthony down using any method they can. And if they can’t find anything to incriminate him, they’ll have to forge it.
CEO Oh, at least, seems uneasy about this whole plan.
Go-eun visits Hyun-min as he’s huddled up in his celebmobile with a gift of hot coffee and praise for a job well done. He acts all pitiful and miserable until she pulls out the big guns by telling him how awesome he was.
You can just see Hyun-min latch onto the praise: “…Like Brad Pitt?” Go-eun hesitates for a minute before she lies that yes, he was like Brad Pitt. What makes this moment extra hilarious is the editing, the comedic timing is just spot on. I’m laughing in loving secondhand embarrassment for Hyun-min.
Anthony returns Min-ah’s money, though she’s reluctant to lose what little connection she has with him. She consistently tries to bring up the past and claims she knows Anthony well enough to know he’s barely hiding his excitement: “Because it has become your habit to hide your feelings and forget about yourself.”
But Anthony doesn’t seem to have a shred of the romantic inclinations she has toward him, and advises her to forget their memories together: “Since I’ve already erased mine a long time ago.”
Now we get to see what Director Nam was doing in the Chairman’s house, and phew, he wasn’t selling out. Instead he was telling the Chairman to back off, not just because of Anthony but because he considers Kyungsung as his own, too.
Anthony finds Go-eun having another moment to herself, this time as she enjoys the seaside air while spreading her arms like wings. She attempts to explain this calming ritual to Anthony, who just ends up making fun of her: “It’s the weirdest stretch I’ve ever seen in my life.” Typical Anthony.
She knows it, too, and makes a motion as if to hit him… but when he turns around, she just smiles and acts like she was stretching. He can’t hide a small smile once he turns back around either, and it’s So. Adorable.
Everyone gathers for a company dinner that evening, with Hyun-min supplying the entire crew with pricey Korean beef. Of course, it’s not necessarily from the goodness of his heart so much as his desire for the staff to love him more than Min-ah.
While Go-eun is content to think Hyun-min has grown as a person, Anthony brings her down to earth with the news that the beef is sponsored, so Hyun-min isn’t paying for any of it. Ha, now I’m excited to see the ending credits – if one of the sponsors is Korean beef, then this show just went super meta.
Next come clothes for the staff, also courtesy of Hyun-min’s sponsors. Anthony keeps whispering industry secrets in Go-eun’s ear like they’re old confidantes, jokingly asking if her illusion of Hyun-min is now shattered. Their closeness doesn’t escape Min-ah’s notice.
Anthony’s good time is interrupted by a disgruntled phone call from a woman who claims she wrote the novel Kyungsung was based on, ergo, she’s accusing him of plagiarism. He’s encountered this too many times before to care.
Go-eun drags him back inside to the cheer of all the production crew, who then ask him to sing a song. He reluctantly obliges and launches into an operatic rendition of an old Korean classic, Yearning for Mountain Keumkang.
He’s totally into it, and everyone struggles to hold in their good-natured laughter. He notices everyone’s smiles belatedly and shuffles off in embarrassment. Hee.
Go-eun elevates the mood with a more upbeat song, and the World Team joins her. I. Love. These. Guys.
Min-ah joins Anthony outside to note that he’s changed – the Anthony she knew would never have sang in front of people. She asks if it’s because of Go-eun, and Anthony has this moment of staring at his wildly dancing writer through the window with something akin to adoration before he replies that no, he chose to change himself.
Go-eun wakes up the next morning with a hangover, and gets a surprise in the form of a letter calling for Kyungsung’s banning due to plagiarism. She’s justifiably confused.
The author of the supposed source material, Writer Jo, gives Anthony another call to say that she’s passed the evidence onto Go-eun. Anthony knows exactly what she’s after and claims it’s all worthless just for her to try and sell a few more copies of her lousy book.
But it’s Go-eun who takes the phone away from him, nervously agreeing to meet with Writer Jo despite his warnings. He wants to take care of this, but Go-eun wants to handle it herself: “This is a problem with me and my pride as a writer.” She looks so brokenhearted.
Her meeting with Writer Jo doesn’t go well, since the older woman is rude and snippy as she accuses Go-eun of stealing her novel and presenting it as her own. The novel in question was published five years ago, but Go-eun confidently replies that Kyungsung started six years ago, and that the main storyline had even been finished a year before that.
This flusters Writer Jo for just a moment before she asks, “Do you have any evidence?” Eek. She knows Go-eun hasn’t registered her drama for copyright, and this whole thing just reeks. Like Anthony said, how did Writer Jo get ahold of the script?
Go-eun stands firm that she plagiarized nothing and that she’s the victim. Writer Jo scoffs and claims that Kyungsung Morning will never see the light of day because she’ll be filing an injunction, and tells Go-eun to read her book if she still has doubts.
While Go-eun heads to the bookstore, news reports break about the plagiarism scandal. The World Boys stand firmly behind Go-eun, and don’t even entertain the thought that it’s at all true. Aww.
Maknae Goo has no idea what all this injunction stuff is, so it’s explained to him (and us): The injunction is being filed to request the court to stop Kyungsung’s airing, so if it’s accepted, their hard work will go up in smoke. Eek.
Anthony has Dong-seok prepare for the eventuality of going to court, even if Go-eun didn’t plagiarize the work. And here I was thinking this was Empire’s doing, only to find out that the Chairman had nothing to do with it. In fact, he’s hopping mad.
CEO Oh defends that he had no part in the plagiarism leak, causing the Chairman to yell orders at him – he has to find something they can use to arrest Anthony. So… who’s responsible for this plagiarism debacle?
The SBC execs have a powwow over the scandal after reading the novel, and they can’t deny that similarities exist. It’s going to come down to the court’s decision, as Deputy Director Kim explains, which makes me slightly suspicious that he’s the perpetrator.
Go-eun stays up late into the night to read the entire novel, and her anxious face isn’t doing my nerves any good. Director Nam pays a surprise visit since he wants to clear the matter with her directly, even though he doesn’t reveal that as his purpose.
He ends up seeing the copy of Writer Jo’s novel, Fated Lovers, on Go-eun’s desk and jumps to the wrong conclusion. You can see on his face that he’s disappointed – he thinks she has the book as reference, for plaaaaagiarism.
She knows why he’s there and cuts to the chase: She didn’t steal anything. I’m not sure if he totally accepts it, but he at least acts like he does.
Meanwhile, Anthony takes the novel and Go-eun’s scripts to Lawyer Park, who isn’t really allaying anyone’s fears when he says that they have a tough case ahead.
No one (except our World Boys) seems to believe that Go-eun didn’t plagiarize the work, and Writer Jo has a lawyer versed in such cases on her side. I know both of these pieces take place in the Japanese colonization period, but can they be that similar?
CEO Oh doesn’t look happy to read the plagiarism headlines, but at least we get an answer on who did it – turns out it was CEO Oh’s minion who introduced Writer Jo to her fancy lawyer and the press.
Our resident villain didn’t know anything about this plot, but his anger at being left out of the loop disappears just as fast as his momentary conscience. Even though his minion claims he can stop the scandal from progressing, CEO Oh decides to just let the events play out.
…While he also looks through Anthony’s old production accounts in order to find a discrepancy he can arrest him for.
Anthony meets with Director Nam over the scandal, with the latter still looking dubious about Go-eun’s integrity. Anthony displays nothing but confidence, not because he believes in Go-eun (or so he says), but because he believes that Kyungsung will be broadcast on schedule.
Go-eun stays busy looking for hard evidence that she’d started her script before Fated Lovers was published, and remembers that she’d sent it to Writer Jung, her mentor, in an e-mail once.
Unfortunately, while looking for it she gets sucked into the cold, dark, soul-sucking vortex of the k-netizen world when she clicks on one of the plagiarism headlines. Every comment is filled with hate and disdain, all of it directed at her. Yikes.
At least Mom stays cool, and brings Go-eun some Supportive Side Dishes to go with her supportive advice.
Next up on the roster is Director Goo, and he couldn’t care less about the scandal. He does, however, call Go-eun to visit the studio where they’re currently filming, since Min-ah wants some script revisions.
Hyun-min need only say he’s hungry in order to bring filming to a temporary halt, and he mistakes Min-ah’s script-studying for last-minute line memorization. She warns him that he’d better study his character or risk having her steal the scene.
It’s his manager who alerts Hyun-min to the hateful comments floating around on the internet, and it’s cute that Hyun-min has absolute faith in Go-eun. In fact, he’s sure that Writer Jo is the one who did the plagiarizing.
In retrospect, he even admits that he’s glad Go-eun didn’t turn Kyungsung into a melodrama like he’d originally wanted, since Fated Lovers seems to be so inclined. He claims that if he had to do a show based on that novel, he would have had to kiss and hold Min-ah, and otherwise act like he doesn’t hate her. Those thoughts repulse him. Ha.
Meanwhile, Anthony visits the studio with some pep in his step, only to find out that Min-ah and Go-eun are meeting as he speaks.
What Min-ah doesn’t realize is that the microphones are still turned on, allowing Director Goo, Anthony, Hyun-min, and everyone else on the set to listen in. (I love that Director Goo is all, We’ve got nothing else to do. Let’s eavesdrop!)
Min-ah has a laundry list of lines she wants changed so that she can avoid the plagiaristic similarities to the heroine from Fated Lovers, but she couldn’t be more unyielding in her tone. It’s not the sort of thing Go-eun needs, but Min-ah keeps egging her on until Go-eun admits: “I acknowledge the fact that there are similarities.”
It’s like someone let the air out of the room backstage. Everyone stops listening, so they don’t get to hear Go-eun go on to explain that despite the similarities, she didn’t steal anything. Kyungsung Morning was written with her own talent and strength. But because both stories are set in the same period…
But Hyun-min comes to crash the party, claiming that he heard everything he needed once Go-eun admitted the similarities. “Writer Lee,” he says as he levels her with a serious gaze. “I’m really disappointed.” Oof.
He stalks off, and Min-ah tries forcing her changes on Go-eun, only to have Anthony intervene. This time he doesn’t indulge her and orders her to follow the script without implementing her own changes.
Go-eun’s still flustered because she wants to prove her innocence, and worries that even Anthony doesn’t believe her.
Anthony: “Yes, I do. I may not believe anybody in this world, I may not even believe in myself sometimes, but I believe in you.”
This plagiarism arc is an interesting one, and makes me wonder if the meta inspiration came from the slightly recent plagiarism scandal with Five Fingers, which also dealt with an internet controversy over striking similarities with a novel which had (obviously) come before it.
I say ‘arc’ because I’m fairly sure that’s what we’ll be getting at this point – lots of little/big obstacles on the way to achieving the one goal of a successful broadcast. Even with the news of a possible four episode extension, it just feels like we’re dragging our feet as much as possible before getting to the air date, as though the writer is afraid we’ll just run out of story and conflict if the production actually happens. And who knows, maybe it might.
Now more than ever I’m enjoying our core group of characters, even if I’m not really sure where we’re headed in the long run. My feelings on Min-ah are incredibly mixed still, and instead of receiving clarity this week I ended up more confused than ever. Yes, she’s a diva, and she takes her job seriously. But she can be nice and caring in one moment (giving Anthony the money, for instance), only to be a complete terror in another, usually when the situation doesn’t really call for it. It’s been proven that Min-ah knows her stuff and makes some valid points beneath her harsh veneer, but the tone of her scenes keeps varying seemingly at the whim of whatever plot point needs to be made. At times I’m like, “Okay, so we’re supposed to like her,” only to have a scene like the one we ended with, where it becomes very hard to see her point of view because she can’t articulate it without coming off as practically villainous.
It’s a sticky situation for any character when dealing with a hero or heroine the audience has already become attached to, which is why the line between what the writer wants us to feel and what we’re actually feeling seems blurred in Min-ah’s case. I can forgive Hyun-min for his momentary lack of trust because the poor boy is so dim, and because he’s proven himself pretty harmless so far. It doesn’t hurt that I adore his partnership with Go-eun, because their comfort level with calling each other out proves for some hilarious antics that could carry another show altogether.
Go-eun also has wonderful chemistry with Anthony, and the unspoken yet gradual build of their mutual affection toward each other is swiftly turning into one of my favorite aspects of this drama. I love that nothing’s overt, so we’re instead left to interpret what they’re feeling in the little moments – like when Go-eun constantly smiles or giggles at him, or when he cracks a smile at her antics every now and then. It’s such a sweet romance in that regard, made all the more special when Anthony’s actions and words prove how much he respects her and cares for her. And the fact that he can show that respect and admiration through helping her instead of just going for a wrist-grab? A-mazing.