Drama Recaps
Alice in Cheongdam-dong: Episode 13
by | January 21, 2013 | 142 Comments

FINALLY! I feel this episode makes up for last week’s horrendously dragging episodes. (I exaggerate a bit, but I certainly wasn’t pleased last week.) Revelations abound, but with somewhat unexpected results. These results are both infuriating and satisfying, because even though I wish they turned out differently, the reactions to the truth have allowed for relationships to be strengthened.


Seung-jo is clearly not too pleased to see Tommy burst into their private dressing room, especially since he warned him to stay away. But seeing her secret-comrade-at-arms prompts Se-kyung to step in and calm her man down. It’s enough to distract his attention for a moment so that Tommy can swipe the phone. He then congratulates Seung-jo and Se-kyung again and quickly exits the room to delete the video. Now how to return the phone?

It takes some gall from Tommy to go back into the room and offer to sponsor Seung-jo and Se-kyung’s wedding. Seung-jo’s all, “Why do I want you to sponsor my wedding?” so Se-kyung tries to calm him again. In that split second, Tommy leaves the phone back on the coffee table, hopes that Seung-jo will consider his proposal, and leaves. This time, Se-kyung notices Tommy returning the phone, and she starts putting the pieces together.

Tommy informs Yoon-joo that all is well – for now. She makes up an excuse to her husband that she has to see Ho-min and rushes off, unaware that In-hwa is watching them, and suspicious over why her brother seems to be so calm. Likewise, Se-kyung tells Seung-jo that she’ll be heading into her office for a bit and will call him later. The two gals then convene at Tommy’s office, wondering how In-hwa could have gotten hold of the video. Tommy suggests hacking into her email to delete the file, but Se-kyung posits that she could have kept the file in numerous places.

Next thing they know, In-hwa bursts into the office, carrying the tablet that holds the video. She dares them to erase that video, since clearly Yoon-joo must have erased the one sent to Min-hyuk. Yoon-joo is the most desperate of the three, and she quickly falls to her knees, begging for forgiveness. But In-hwa spitefully ignores her because that’s what Yoon-joo’s “kind” always ends up doing when they have no hope left – they just beg. “Think about it this way,” she suggests. “You won’t lose everything. You’ll just go back to where you started.”

In-hwa states that her sole motivation in sending those videos is not because she wants to take revenge on Se-kyung and Tommy for ruining her arranged marriage, but to punish the two gold-diggers. She will have her justice. In-hwa’s Cheek, meet the Palm of My Hand.

Se-kyung finally speaks up: “If I’m a gold-digger, then what are you?” (Fist-pump in the air!) The only difference between them is that both come from different financial backgrounds, and because of that, In-hwa will never be called a gold-digger. Se-kyung also points out that Seung-jo means the whole world to her, while he’s just a business transaction to In-hwa, so on that level she’s beaten In-hwa.

If In-hwa wanted justice, she should have revealed the video openly instead of anonymously, and own up to the fact that she would be ruining Seung-jo and Se-kyung’s love, not some random person. Se-kyung really rubs it in deep by calling her crazy and making her motivations seem grander than they really are. Though it does bruise her pride, In-hwa fires back that if the truth is revealed, her life will go on as before, but Se-kyung will lose “her world.”

In-hwa heads out, but with a moment of self-doubt over what she’s doing. But Yoon-joo has no doubt that Se-kyung did the wrong thing in challenging her sister-in-law. In this instance, she believes that begging for forgiveness is the right thing to do. But that would just give In-hwa more reason to trample over them, because it’s perversely fun to see them suffer. Yoon-joo blames Se-kyung for everything – if she had never shown up in Cheongdam-dong, no one would have ended up in this mess.

Yoon-joo storms out, leaving Se-kyung alone with Tommy. She thinks he’s going to rail against her too, but instead he suggests confessing to Seung-jo now. Se-kyung doesn’t want to, because it may be more shocking to him than if In-hwa revealed it directly. If he hears it from someone else, he will have time to prepare himself before he faces Se-kyung again. Whatever he decides to do, she will accept responsibility.

Tommy doesn’t regret meeting Se-kyung, as he’s not the type to wonder about what-ifs. Even though he’s afraid of what may come, at least he’s looking forward. Se-kyung then gets a call from Seung-jo, and as she assures him that she’s heading home soon, Tommy observes her demeanor. He can see that despite the “greed” factor, Se-kyung’s face lights up when she talks to him – she loves him.

The following day, articles come out regarding the new outlet opening, with Se-kyung pictured beside Il-nam and Seung-jo. The family’s excited except for Deuk-gi, who’s still on the fence about Seung-jo. Il-nam isn’t though – and he visits Deuk-gi’s bakery to apologize to him for ruining the dinner meeting. He admits that he likes Se-kyung because she was the first person that truly tried to mend his relationship with Seung-jo, and even brought them closer. He doesn’t want to stand in the way of his son’s marriage, so if he could repair his relationship with his son, would Deuk-gi approve of him?

Deuk-gi doesn’t reply right away, which makes Il-nam roar his request. And I mean “roar,” heh.

That evening, Seung-jo invites Se-kyung over to show her Chairman Robert’s gift – a treasured painting. Despite the grand gesture, Se-kyung still has a shadow of sadness all over her face, which Seung-jo interprets to be sadness over her dad’s disapproval of him. As great timing would have it, Il-nam calls up Se-kyung to have a meeting with her, while Deuk-gi calls up Seung-jo. Without telling each other why, they both head out… and end up in front of the same karaoke bar.

It’s a sight to behold when they see their fathers drunkenly singing together. When they spot their children, Deuk-gi quickly invites his “son-in-law” to sing with him first. Approval won. Sitting with Se-kyung, Il-nam confides that he was jealous Deuk-gi got to sing and drink with Seung-jo. Today is a happy day for him, because now he gets to see his son sing, and it’s all thanks to Se-kyung.

Il-nam finally gets up to sing “My Way” with his son, and both start off awkwardly, since they’ve never sung together before. With Deuk-gi’s encouragement, Il-nam’s voice strengthens, and father and son both take a moment to appreciate the other’s singing. Se-kyung sings along too, hoping that she can go about her path “her way.” When they all head home for the night, Il-nam instructs Seung-jo to bring his fiancee around for dinner. As much as the news heartens her and her father, Deuk-gi cautions her to be careful with these lonely, rich people, and she hopes that she won’t lose her entire world overnight.

As soon as Se-kyung reaches her room, she gets a call from Tommy. He’s been worried all day, wondering what happened between her and Seung-jo since his fate depends on hers. Did anything get revealed yet? Se-kyung assures him that nothing happened, except that Il-nam finally approved of the marriage and even asked her father for approval. Tommy thinks that Se-kyung is crying over the phone, but she stops herself from getting too emotional. Crying would just admit to her guilt that she really is a bad girl.

Afterwards, Se-kyung calls up Yoon-joo to meet; her friend is still holding up even though she’s fully aware that all of her comforts in life could disappear in any second. Se-kyung is curious to know Seung-jo’s condition after Yoon-joo left him in Paris. Well, he ended angry enough to want revenge, but Yoon-joo feels he’ll react differently towards Se-kyung because he knows now that revenge doesn’t work. Yoon-joo tells her to ask Dong-wook instead, since he’d know how Seung-jo really was. She’s already starting to wonder if Se-kyung’s path of honesty just may be the only option left for her and her husband.

Yoon-joo heads to GN Fashion, where In-hwa spots her going into Min-hyuk’s office. It’s clear Yoon-joo is contemplating on telling him the whole truth, but she first asks her husband a crucial question: “Do you love me?” Min-hyuk sputters in surprise – where did this come from?

Before he can answer, In-hwa bursts into the room to have a word with Yoon-joo first. Her fake smile disappears as soon as they’re out of Min-hyuk’s sight, and In-hwa turns against Yoon-joo. She knows her sister-in-law was trying to tell the truth, but under whose permission? She orders Yoon-joo to not tell the truth, as it would not go along with her plans. And what are her plans exactly? Well, Se-kyung’s bold statement about her cowardice made In-hwa think a little more carefully about herself and her motivations. She’s actually thankful Yoon-joo deleted the video from Min-hyuk’s phone, because otherwise it would have made her a coward, and subsequently given her a flaw in her “perfect personality.” She realizes she wants to be the “Shin In-hwa of before,” meaning the one who only cared about business. Yoon-joo’s confession would tear her family business apart.

Yoon-joo commends her on how tough she must be then, and In-hwa leans in close. She whispers something we don’t hear, but it’s enough to make Yoon-joo stiffen.

She walks away, and Min-hyuk finds his wife in the hallway. Yoon-joo makes up the excuse that In-hwa wanted to talk about her matchmaking, and Min-hyuk also apologizes for not having replied to her question sooner. He embraces her (after checking the hallway for no spectators, natch), and tells her that he does love her. If she has any troubles, he would rather she tell him so that she wouldn’t have to suffer any further. I want to say “Aww…” but I’m still scared of Min-hyuk…

Il-nam’s secretary has made arrangements so that he will have time to attend dinner, but unfortunately he has In-hwa waiting outside to see him. Oh crap… At the same time, Se-kyung asks to talk to Dong-wook about Seung-jo, but he’s not available until the following day. Is it futile to hope for nothing to happen with In-hwa and Il-nam at this point?!

In-hwa’s purpose in visiting is to show him something – the video of Se-kyung and Yoon-joo. Il-nam’s face is like stone as he watches the video, and In-hwa explains that she is showing him because if Se-kyung enters his house, his and Seung-jo’s name would be smeared. Yoon-joo herself would be “taken care of” by the Shin family. Il-nam says, “Thank you,” and In-hwa breaks into a smile. So her revenge has gone out successfully.

Not so fast… Il-nam asks her of a favor. Since both are business partners with Artemis, and are in need of Artemis’ help, he asks In-hwa to keep this news a secret. It will not benefit any of the parties, and as Seung-jo’s father he knows that his son will be unable to handle it. In-hwa can barely conceal her shock over his request, even though she has no choice but to acquiesce.

She trips on her heels outside – that’s how shocked she is – while Il-nam slams his fist against his chair, pitying his poor son who’s now been duped twice.

Dinner in the Cha household is a quiet affair, though Seung-jo presents his father possible dates for the wedding. Il-nam later offers to give Se-kyung a private tour of Seung-jo’s old playroom, where all of his toy models are on display. These models were all Seung-jo ever loved, and when Il-nam tried to throw them away, his son just spent the entire day scouring the neighborhood for them. He was starved for love, but Il-nam could not bring himself to say “I love you” to his own son every day. He hopes that Se-kyung can, and she solemnly promises.

Il-nam: “Do you also have the confidence to keep your secret for the rest of your life?” Se-kyung’s eyes widen, and Il-nam confirms that he knows everything thanks to In-hwa. He is so tempted to kick her out and tell Seung-jo off for being a fool about love. But Il-nam knows that his son would rather die than believe in the truth about Se-kyung, so it’s futile to tell him anything. He won’t allow for Se-kyung to ever tell the truth, even if it’s just to make herself feel better. What irks me is that she swears to “atone for this sin for the rest of her life,” as if she murdered someone. She hasn’t… yet.

And gah – I was really hoping for a confession scene!

After the tour, Il-nam invites Seung-jo to stay for the night – just Seung-jo. Se-kyung encourages her man to humor his father this once, and as soon as she’s gone, father and son retreat to the living room for drinks. Il-nam asks Seung-jo if he likes Se-kyung a lot, and he does. It’s because Se-kyung has so much more than them (aside from material wealth), and can give so much love. He hopes Il-nam can treat the girl he loves well. It’s painful for Il-nam, whom you can see is practically suffocating from his inability to tell his son the truth out of love.

Instead of heading home, Se-kyung meets Tommy and tells him that Il-nam knows everything because of In-hwa. Luckily enough, she and In-hwa were ordered to bury the secret, so now Se-kyung thinks she can fulfill her promise to Tommy and be the madame of Royal Group.

Tommy offers her another chance to go to Paris – he can easily get her a ticket and cover all her expenses, and just take the fall for everything. He’s that afraid that things could still fall apart this late in the game.

In Tommy’s opinion, Se-kyung should have worked the system within Cheongdam-dong and kept her desire and greed alive. Now it looks to him like she’s pretty much decided to take whatever chance she can get to preserve herself and be as sincere as possible, when before she was willing to manipulate to protect her love. If her plans eventually crumble, her sincerity will not necessarily help her in the aftermath. Se-kyung defends herself by quoting Tommy from an interview years ago: “I don’t think about failure because it’s useless in any case.”

Tommy can’t deny he once said that, but for the first time, he’s actually thinking about failure.

Seung-jo assists his father into bed after several drinks, and his father finally opens up to him. He knows he’s been very harsh on everyone around him, and his manner cost him Seung-jo’s mother. She didn’t leave because she hated her son, but because she hated her husband. Il-nam apologizes for that, and it brings tears to both their eyes.

Seung-jo returns to his room and snaps a photo of him smiling to send to Se-kyung. Yep, he’s doing well. Back at GN Fashion though, In-hwa is not pleased that her plan has not worked as effectively as she wished, and she plans another stab at revenge.

The following day, Yoon-joo brings an important document regarding their partnership with Artemis and Royal Group to her husband to review. He is going to attend the meeting with Seung-jo since In-hwa would be in an awkward position. As she leaves, she gets a text from Tommy to meet up.

Thankfully she misses In-hwa going into Min-hyuk’s office. She wants to attend the meeting instead, since she can’t avoid him forever. He entrusts the documents to her, and she carries them off to her meeting – along with her tablet.

Tommy fills Yoon-joo in about In-hwa and Il-nam’s exchange, and the fact that Se-kyung was instructed to hide it from Seung-jo forever. They can only hope that In-hwa will abide by Il-nam’s wish; if he told her to keep the secret for business, she most likely would. Unfortunately, Tommy receives a call from his spy that In-hwa has just arrived at Artemis to meet Seung-jo, taking Min-hyuk’s place at the meeting.

Yoon-joo flashes back to that conversation in the hallway, and we now learn what In-hwa had said so quietly in Yoon-joo’s ear. When she had commended In-hwa over her business sense, In-hwa replied, “Do you think I’m doing all this because I’m a person who solely does business?” It’s now coming together for her: “I think we’ve failed, Tommy,” she says. “We forgot one thing – Shin In-hwa is a woman after all…”

Um. Yeah.

Seung-jo greets In-hwa in the conference room, and he apologizes for the failed marriage talks between their families. In-hwa brushes it aside and suggests they discuss the outlet’s location while watching a video. A video?!

Cut to Dong-wook’s office, where Se-kyung has arrived to find out more about Seung-jo’s condition after he broke up with Yoon-joo and cut ties with his father. Dong-wook says he went to visit Seung-jo in Christmas 2006 in Paris, but didn’t find out that his girlfriend had left him until after he returned to Korea two weeks later. Seung-jo had never told him about the breakup during his stay.

Back to the meeting – In-hwa prefaces the video with the pros about the location, and then clicks play. It’s the video of Se-kyung and Yoon-joo. SHE REALLY DID IT!

Meanwhile, Dong-wook replies to Se-kyung: “It’s not that Seung-jo never told me about the breakup. It’s that he never accepted reality. If he had, he wouldn’t have been able to live.”

In-hwa watches Seung-jo’s reaction as he hears the truth laid out in front of him. At the end of the video, a small smile grows on his face. “What’s all this?” he asks calmly. “There are look-alikes to two people I know.”


Hah. Wow. Whoa.

Those were my three consecutive reactions at seeing the final five minutes. I knew In-hwa couldn’t go down so easily, and I’m glad that she finally revealed the truth to Il-nam and Seung-jo. Revealing it to them will have a greater impact on the proud Se-kyung, as she’s the only one who challenged her and her status. Yoon-joo did nothing but affirm her status and power by begging her, so In-hwa won’t have to reveal anything to the Shin family just yet. (Or ever.) But I am quite surprised over how Il-nam and Seung-jo took to the news.

For Il-nam, it’s clear he’s changed from the time he treated Yoon-joo, as he’s now more understanding of his son and wants what’s best for him, even if it means keeping a few dirty secrets from him. I’m glad he confronted Se-kyung about it, but at the same time I felt like he threw Se-kyung a bone. It was too easy. It made me think, “Wait, so Seung-jo is never going to find out and that’s it?” I thought it was too easy, and that made me angry. I want Se-kyung to struggle! This drama needs conflict! So thank goodness In-hwa turned out to be a “woman with emotions” and revealed the truth to Seung-jo. (Not an incredibly unpredictable move, but I wasn’t sure if it would happen in this episode or not.)

I found it quite laughable that Yoon-joo had this epiphany while talking to Tommy; these two have sorely underestimated the power of human emotions. They’re interesting characters, because Yoon-joo’s actions in this episode have underscored the fact that she is someone who gives up easily. She’s willing to put her life in the hands of others, and this is why she was more prone to breaking apart than Se-kyung, who is more logical and more ready to take control over her own life no matter what may come. As for Tommy, he’s hopeless when things don’t follow a certain “procedure” that he’s used to; playing this game on Se-kyung’s side takes him totally out of his comfort zone. With two such nervous wrecks, I wonder if Se-kyung needs stronger supports by her side!

Seung-jo’s reaction to the video was a bit unexpected for me. While I knew that he loves to live in his fantasy world and apply it to the real world, I was not expecting outright denial from him after seeing the video. I’m sure In-hwa now sees how crazy he is and is glad she got away from this match. I’m quite intrigued – once again – in this series, as I’d like to see how Seung-jo will develop. We’ve seen everyone change around him; it’s now time to see him grow up and (hopefully) handle the truth differently than he did before.


142 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. snow_white

    well…i’ve dropped this show….but i’m enjoying reading recaps….thanks 🙂

    • 1.1 UJ

      Same here… The characters are too frustrating (minus PSH’s)… I cannot understand the things the characters do and why they do it.. A total meh!
      Reading the recaps to see if anything good happens further in the story..

      • 1.1.1 Stina

        Me too, I was just tired of those dramas based on lies and misunderstanding (hello Personal Taste, My Girl, Miss Ripley ect…). I’m gonna watch the last episodes, if I have some time, it seems that this show is getting interesting.

        • UJ

          But but but but My girl is amazing T_T

        • skelly

          Same here, Stina. I get tired of people spinning their wheels – I’ll watch it again when they finally get to the big reveal. Constantly trying to hide information just feels like retrograde movement in a story.

      • 1.1.2 VS

        It’s interesting that you cannot understand the things the characters do. The only one I could not understand was Seung Jo.

        I’ve only read to recaps.

        • VS


        • Ratsuki

          Reading many comments above and below, I think I can understand people said they can’t understand In Hwa. I myself scratching my head at her recent actions. But after some thinking and seeing things from her perspective, I can understand a bit. Not that I said she is the right one, because Se kyung also have a solid ground. Actually, most if not all characters in this drama going around in grey area. But when it was the issue that made many people drop this show, I found this grey area characters interesting. Looking forward for next episode.

          However if there is character I can’t fathom, it is Min hyuk.. I was shocked how pissed and scary he can be in last episode, then in this episode he became sweet and nice again.. I’m interested how he meet Yoon joo in the first place.

          As for Seung jo.. Yeah he is a mental wreck, but he also have a very good reason to act like that, with him growing up without love and have serious abandonment trauma. So I don’t think his reactions are non sense or writer’s fault. But again maybe my easy acceptance of Seung jo’s character was because my father is a psychiatrist and I had heard similar and also more crazy case than Seung jo..

          • VS

            I find all of the characters interesting. As for Min Hyuk, I was expecting him to be very angry. I was actually surprised that he controlled his temper as well as he did, considering he’d been duped more than anyone else — he’s the one who actually married someone who set out to capture him for dubious reasons. Ratsuki, what’s written below is not intended for you. I just decided to take advantage of commenting near the top of the Rant or Rave section, so I’m tacking it on.

            As I read through the comments here what really surprises me are some of the viewers’ reactions. I don’t understand the blatant complaining about the motives behind the characters’ actions or lack thereof. With respect to everyone’s opinions, analyzing a character is one thing, which takes the ability to put yourself in their shoes in order to see things as they would and understand why they’ve come to the conclusions they have come to. But what I see going on here is people either 1) stubbornly judging the characters based solely on one’s own perspective without being open to understanding or insight; 2) calling characters inconsistent, which really means that they did something we cannot accept so we are categorizing them or the entire drama as another inane cinematic disaster that lacks adequate character development when what is really being said is that we’d be more comfortable with the character if they were more predictable or hadn’t behaved so far out of the box we’d mentally constructed for them; or 3) simply not understanding what the heck is going on, which is very common and acceptable as long as you admit it.

            I don’t think that this is a perfect drama, but I can really appreciate the hard work the writers put into it. It’s a lot easier to dismiss it and burn it down than it is to actually try to pull the pieces together (they won’t all come together on their own) and understand the story. Instead of watching and rejecting when things don’t occur within the context with which we are familiar, in the words of Morpheus from ‘The Matrix’, free.your. mind., which actually takes work but will allow you to actually enjoy the drama rather than scorn it.

            Sometimes we think we understand but we are clueless. Sometimes we think we don’t get it because we don’t want to accept it. Sometimes we open our mouths and everyone discovers just how simple we really are.

            Of course, this is my opinion from my vantage point.

    • 1.2 Ruth

      I also dropped this, but did read this recap. I was reminded why I dropped the series (although…good writing…thank you :-)).

    • 1.3 V

      Me too. Still reading the recaps though. I am so frustrated with the WTFery of the last few episodes of this drama.

      No one (NO ONE) should date Seung Jo. He is a hot mess. Se Kyung should have taken Tommy up on his offer to study in France.

      Why did this drama fall so low for me? It was my crack for awhile but not anymore.

    • 1.4 a_diva

      *jumping on the bandwagon* i’ve dropped this show too. it started off with such promise then disintegrated into something i can’t quite name–part boring, part frustrating, part unrealistic, part whatever!

      recaps are so much more interesting. that’s why i’m quite happy to have a site like dramabeans and dedicated recap minions . . .

  2. ck1Oz

    You know what?
    Somehow not seeing the screaming mother in laws. But knowing how class and education and family plays a huge part in Korean society- that is seriously scary.

    That karaoke scene was just gold, I was laughing so much at the singing. Then laughing more again at the silly lines. And seriously, is My Way like the song men have to sing? Because I’ve heard it countless times with different nationalities and it’s always My Way.
    I don’t even know who sang it originally, I just hear it butchered.

    • 2.1 kakashi

      it was made popular by Frank Sinatra. It’s originally French, I think.
      I liked it in this episode because it was more than just “a song” – the lyrics to this song are about reflecting upon one’s life and being satisfied with it. The Cha-Cha moment was good for me, because singing the song together could be understood as self-reflection and realizing that both always do it “their way” (= are much alike). and that doing it together from now on might be a path worth exploring.

      • 2.1.1 houstontwin

        This is a link to an article about “My Way”:
        Apparently the original lyrics had nothing to do with the Frank Sinatra/Paul Anka version.

      • 2.1.2 luvs

        My Way was composed by Paul Anka (a Canadian icon) and popularized by Frank Sinatra.

    • 2.2 Windsun33

      While class and education – especially “class” are more important in Korea and many other Asian countries than in the US, I would hardly take this or any other drama as a true reflection of Korean culture.

      But I once met a Japanese guy that was afraid to go to Texas because of Dallas and Chainsaw Massacre 😀

      • 2.2.1 luvs

        i think its more of poor vs rich instead of ‘class’ or education snobbery.

      • 2.2.2 TS

        If he sticks to Dallas, he might meet Larry Hagman.

        • VS

          If he meets Larry Hagman that would be super, super scary because he’s dead. 0_0

          (yeah, this world is crazy. People are dying to get out.)

      • 2.2.3 Lilly

        Class is iron clad in the USA.
        The USA ties with the UK as having the worst chance to ever move up from the class you are born into in the Western world. Some say it passed the UK as being the very worst in the last two years.

        • skelly

          Really? Most of the well-off people I know, and have heard of, are immigrants who came here with nothing but drive and maybe some hard-working parents. Sure, there is some old money around, but especially in Silicon Valley that’s pretty laughable. Where did this “statistic” come from? Noam Chomsky?

          • Keis

            Well, since class and race intertwine a lot in the US. I would say Lilly’s statement is fair. Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          • skelly

            “Iron clad”?? Sorry, I don’t care how much race may figure into it, and I am not saying there isn’t a certain amount of rigidity, especially when you get into urban issues, but to say that what you “are” in the USA is cast in stone is patently ridiculous.

          • Lilly

            I learned about it when I was helping President Obama get reelected, the US wealth gap that is the largest in the industrialized world and mobility stats.

            I posted a graph below.

        • Windsun33

          Absolute total BS.

          I know at least half a dozen millionaires+, all but one of them started pretty much in the bottom 20%. If you cannot move up in the US, you have only yourself to blame 90% of the time.

          • Diana

            Agreed! Thats a ridiculous statistic. My parents are immigrants. They came here with absolutely nothing. Both my parents worked really hard for everything when I was younger and we still didn’t have much. The only reasons I finished college and got into medical school was because I worked for it. Changing “classes” is definitely possible. Is it hard? Hell yeah! but its still possible & whoever can’t its because they aren’t trying hard enough. No one helped us. I earned the grades for school while working and raising my siblings so my parents could clean houses and mow lawns to feed us.

          • Geeme Koon

            although millionaires are considered well off in the US, a millionaire today doesn’t carry quite the status as it did a few generations ago.

            For comparison, Cheongdam-dong is an elite level of rich class. I equate this to Billionaires club, or Beverly Hills society. But there is less stigma for a gold-digger here in the US, it more accepted if a rich man/woman marries a hot chick or guy even if they are off the street . Americans care about falling in love, but no one is blind to see someone marrying a rich person for the benefits. But being accepted into that society depends on the newby. If they know how to handle themselves, do business, act professional and do all the party networking for that group then they will fit in..

            Koreans can be more image conscious about whether their son or daughter marries the “right” person as a reflection on the parents or family status. They want to show off their “brand” by how successful or wealthy their new son/daughter in-law is to their family. So its a competition to beat out the other families for business relationships and “face” among the elite families. Its pride or shame by association.

            Oh well… this point of view must have been discuss at length previously.. but just wanted to enlighten a few folks who haven’t heard it before.

        • Lilly

          Statistics – Not my opinion.
          I should have tagged that on in the first place.
          Check out Mobility Statistics

          • skelly

            Disparity of income (“income gap”) and mobility are two very different things. Just because there is a large gap between rich and poor has no bearing on whether or not that gap is breachable – all it means is that there are a lot of very, very rich people in this country that put our upper 10% into the stratosphere. I’m sure there are lots of small countries with an agrarian-based economy where the gap between rich and poor is very small – but that’s because the rich just aren’t very rich, not because it is easy to move up economically.
            And it will be a cold day in Hades before I believe any sole statistic, no matter who it has been blessed by.

      • 2.2.4 Dominique

        Class, in the strict meaning, does not exist in South Korea, only because it abolished hereditary titles and monarchy a long time ago and subsequent upheavals (such as the Civil War of 1950) all but erased any remnants of it. So, the only thing that classifies people in South Korea today is economic status. Hence the obsession over Jaebeols.

        Education may be a means to achieve the desired economic status in South Korea, but as this drama makes it clear, it is getting harder and harder for education to deliver more than a modest salaried living in South Korea.

        Class is obviously alive and well in Japan and Britain. But it means far more in Britain than in Japan, only because peerage and titles are public knowledge and are widely embraced by the society as a whole in Britain, whereas most people in Japan never meet or see or come in contact with their titled exalted peers.

        And then, there is something else called caste in India. It has four classes and, though the law does not recognize it any longer, people in India still observe it. No marriage between different castes, for instance. And the lowest of the caste are like the burakumins of Japan – they are equivalent to lepers.

        As for the comment that equates US and UK in terms of rigid class system, let me just say that it is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. Think Zuckerberg and Gates and rags-to-riches immigrant success stories. There is no other nation on earth where it can happen.

        • Windsun33

          I think “class” as applied to Korea refers more to the upper money class – ie 2nd and 3rd gen chaebol usually. Education also enters into it quite a bit.

          You are right about education in Korea not being the passport to upward mobility that it used to be. In 2007 a survey was taken of South Korean undergrads, and over 70% said they would prefer to emigrate to the US than to stay in Korea.

      • 2.2.5 Ruth

        Yeah – I think it’s pretty easy to see the class distinctions in Korea because…well, they’re obvious, and also an integral part of Korean history. That doesn’t mean it’s worse than the United States. One of the things that I’ve noticed about class in America (a bit of self reflection, since I’m an American) is that we talk a good game about being the land of opportunity and all people having access to achieve as much as they want. Let’s be honest though – it’s mostly talk. Lilly pointed out that the U.S.A. and the UK are tied for inability to move from one’s economic demographic to a higher one (it’s pretty easy to fall to a lower one). In all societies, there are classes. To Korea’s credit, at least they’re honest about it. What’s the saying? The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

        • DHM

          Lily may have ‘pointed it out’ but since her source was ‘some people say,’ her point is kind of groundless.

          • Lilly

            Here is on graph on it. There are many others but the stats are basically the same.


          • Windsun33

            Graphs like that do not tell the whole story.

            At the bottom of the list is Denmark, for example. Romania is rated “best”.

            But if you look at the starting points, someone in Denmark in the bottom 20% is probably better off than someone in the top 10% in Romania. The better off you start at, the harder it is to make large gains.

            For immigrants, it is a very mixed picture. The major factor is not race or origin but education level.

        • Lilly

          Yes. TY Ruth

          I know some college grads in the USA who may be trying as hard as they can to get a start might be reading this. You did not create this mess. It is not your fault. You are not a failure.

          We are going to turn this crappy situation around in the USA with good solid Democratic Progressive Plans.

          We got President Obama back.
          We are going to do this!

          • skelly


  3. kakashi

    hm. I have very mixed feelings about this drama. On the one hand, I hate what they have done to it (especially the character-assassination of Seung-jo). On the other, I am amazed at how they continue to not give us what we expect.

    This episode was saved by the dads and the Cha-Cha-combo for me. I hated all the other characters. And if anything goods comes out of this twisted love, then it’s the fixing of the father-son-relationship.

    • 3.1 ck1Oz

      As long as the ending is not a total disaster I am still happy with the drama.
      Am an uncomplicated person I just want to watch romance with some funny moments. That those moments were crazy funny instead of humourous? * oh well *

      If there is one thing I have gradually realized in this drama, am gradually rooting for Yoon Joo to be treated like she deserves. She is strong in her own way and even though she knelt down she is not as selfish or bitchy as a 2nd lead could have been. I do hope she gets her happy ending. Whether it be with her husband or not.

      • 3.1.1 delicatecloud

        Agree with you! I too love rom-com with comedy and romance of course without too much angst!

        Btw – i read a post of yours in OT and watched the TWdrama “In Between” following your comment. I like it very much. As you said it is fun to watch a romantic drama with a focus on two people falling in fall.

        I love this drama and am satisfied with how the drama is still unfolding….i am sure there are still nuggets of gold …..it is not the end yet….

        • delicatecloud

          ..i meant “focus on two people falling in love.”

        • ck1Oz

          Lol welcome fellow addict.Yeah that drama derailed all my sleep this whole week.
          Yeah how hard is it man for the writers to just write a romance these days? Its like looking for a needle in a haystack to find a romance drama that is just a romance with a sprinkle of fun and laughter.

          • delicatecloud

            It derailed my weekend too! I marathoned the TW drama. Btw – do you speak Malay or indonesia? I saw that your post in “bahasa” on viki… just wondering…as I am from the region.

          • ck1Oz

            Malay.I used to sub Malay for viki but now just stick to Mandarin and editing Korean dramas.

  4. JoAnne

    I loved this episode and how things dont go according to plan – and I totally understand the motivations that I see – in fact if SJ is that bad off then I see why the advice has been not to tell because that news would have to be delivered carefully not just by anyone

    • 4.1 Betsy Hp

      I’m loving it too! 🙂 And I feel like the characters are interesting and with understandable motives. And I’m loving the contrast between things that are real and things that are… not just delusional but almost a supported lie (if that makes sense).

  5. TS

    The terms bad girl and good girl need to be capitalized: Bad Girl and Good Girl, so we truly feel, if we didn’t before, that these are Things in Dramaland.

    • 5.1 ck1Oz

      Huh?Why ? It was just a word she described herself with. Why does it need to be capitalized? Its like saying “Am I a Happy Girl?”

      • 5.1.1 TS

        Because of the contrast the drama itself is making between Bad and Good and the confusion we suffer because the Bad will Destroy Seung-Jo, who can’t handle people being people, and the Good is the only way he’ll stay even moderately sane.

        • Betsy Hp

          I think there’s implied irony there, too, though. In fact, I’d say that dichotomy between “good girl” and “bad girl” per Cheongdam-dong standards falls within the lines of “rich girl” “poor girl”. Which Se-kyung sees and is not afraid to call out. (I think both Tommy and Yoon-joo saw it too, but they played along rather than shaking the boat they were trying to climb into.)

          But there’s also the standard Seung-jo set. An impossible idealistic standard that Yoon-joo warned him didn’t exist in the world. (Even the hardiest Candy-girl can get worn down by poverty.) I agree that there’s this idea that Seung-jo can’t handle the real world. And that’s what Se-kyung has been told and why she’s been advised again and again to help him maintain his delusion.

          But just like she kicked over the card-house built by In-hwa’s delusions (“You’re not good and I’m not bad — it’s simply money that allows you to pretend those moral differences exist.”) I suspect Se-kyung will be knocking Seung-jo’s delusions down too. (Which I suspect will be a good thing in the end. So we get a happy ending.)

          • JoAnne

            100 percent with you – everyone contains good and bad and seeing it pus accepting it is what real love is between people – that and the fact that whether s-one is good or bad depends on your own perspective and motivation are the two driving forces behind this show

          • Curioser And Curiosor

            Hear, hear! Fantastic points all around, Betsy Hp!

  6. TS

    I’m surprised Yoon-joo is such a wuss. Isn’t she the one who made it to Paris to study, earlier stole Sekyung’s boyfriend because she gets men to do what she wants, and planned & succeeded entering high society? All that takes serious determination.

    • 6.1 kakashi

      agreed. the teary-eyed-lip-biting-trembling-thing isn’t my cup of tea either

      • 6.1.1 TS

        Just not consistent. If they show her suddenly pregnant, I’ll be able to reconcile her behavior and sat actions because fertility treatment s a bitch.

        • houstontwin

          Good point. That inconsistency of character is a real flaw in the writing. Is the drama peeling away the layers to reveal the real YS underneath? Or…Is she just a convenient dramatic device?

          • Lilly

            Likely not enough time to find out, but must be something when she can stand up to fight back with the men but folds like a house of cards to women close to her own age like In-hwa and Se-kyung.
            Room for conditioning through bullying by girls her own age and the craving for wealth as security against them there in a storyline if there were time.

      • 6.1.2 YY

        Well, I notice Tommy Hung has been biting his lip a lot lately too, which is strange, cos the korean dramas I’ve seen the girls do the lip-biting, not the guys.

        • TS

          He’s a bit effeminate, so what the heck.

          • Lilly

            Thinking of Project Runway and half the male design contestants being gay. Maybe an attempt to accurately portray the career field some.

          • VS

            I was really trying to stay away from this comment, but here I go…

            I don’t see Tommy as effeminate. It took me a while to get used to the way actors (male) are styled because the tendency leans towards metro sexual/androgynous notes. It sticks out to me a lot, lot, lot because I work in fashion (is that why?). ANYWAY, Tommy’s clothes have been bright and attention-getting, but that’s the norm in dramas. Him biting his lip is neither here nor there for me. As I said elsewhere in on this page, this drama relies heavily on body language to get points across that have yet to be verbalized.

            As for the Project Runway reference, I have yet to see a season where there are more than 25% straight guys participating. I’m going off of memory here, so I’ve padded my number and am actually being generous with that percentage.

      • 6.1.3 VS

        those would be signs of fear. it’s not my cup of tea, either, as I hate being afraid. but I can’t say that I’d base any dislikes on a person or character because of it.

    • 6.2 VS

      I’m not surprised at Yoon Joo’s behavior at all. The persons she was when she went to Paris to study would have been different than who she is now and the circumstances would have been different. At that time she would have been focused on improving herself by getting optimum education credentials under her belt. As for boyfriend stealing, I’ll chalk that up to youthful exuberance, which further developed into dropping her made-in-France marriage. If she were to uphold all the exact same characteristics over many years, then I’d have to say that she was two dimensional as a character (which we often see in dramas). People become more tolerant and less resistant in various areas as they go through different phases. Yoon Joo showed she still had her school girl wickedness by toying with Se Kyung in the first couple of eps, but she showed growth and tolerance by deciding to help her (as best she knew how) to get a Cheongdam-dong husband.

      I don’t see that her determination faltered at all. She was seeing all that she’d worked to achieve, whether right or wrong, being dashed to pieces. In desperation she took to begging on her knees. Yoon Joo apparently is a planner; she has to study a situation and work out a plan before she decides how to resolve it. In Hwa’s discovery and involvement was never in Yoon Joo’s plan, so she didn’t know how to cope, thus she succumbed to fear. After all, fear makes mice of men (and women).

      Although I’m don’t condone her methodology, the problem with sharing your tactics on how to become a first rate schemer has to do with the sharing part. The best kept secret is the one you keep to yourself. Sharing it with even one other person makes you vulnerable to their weaknesses. Additionally, no matter how much mentoring you do, you cannot factor out the other person’s free will, conscience, emotions and their outside influences. Consequently, Yoon Joo and Se Kyung were bound by and ominous thread and things were bound to fall apart the moment Se Kyung decided to break away from Yoon Joo’s tutelage and do things her own way. Yoon Joo’s attempt to keep Se Kyung on the not-so-straight and narrow was caught on tape by Tommy Hong’s lackey. I’m actually a little surprised that Yoon Joo turns on Se Kyung but spares Tommy. But then again, fear also makes people irrational and they often lash out at whoever comes to mind.

      • 6.2.1 TS

        Those are all really good points.

        • VS

          Thanks. I check out this site from time to time and decided to see what you all have to say about this drama. I’m really taken in by it for some reason, which I can’t pin point yet. :\

      • 6.2.2 delicatecloud

        Agree with you assessment; however she has more to loose this time than ever before. She gave up Seung Joo (eventhough she claimed to have love him) with a view that she will have a better future. Now that she is “in” CDD and living her “dream life” of luxury and being a CDD wife – she is terribly afraid of loosing it all. Hence, she is rendered to the only thing she knows – to beg. It is a pity that she could not raise herself above her sister in law and maintained her pride and keep fighting till the bitter end.

        • VS

          I don’t know that she has more to lose. This time she has wealth hanging in the balance, but previously it was love. Depends on which one you see as ‘more’. You can tell from some of her flash backs that she somewhat regrets what she gave up, or at least how she hurt Seung Jo. Personally, I really like money, but I’d choose love any day of the week — well, at least 6 days of the week (I wouldn’t mind shopping till I drop on Saturdays).

          Ok, on a serious note, Yoon Joo is afraid of losing it all, but I don’t think saying that begging is the only thing she knows is an accurate summation. Those were In Hwa’s words and we have to consider the source.

          Let’s consider this: Yoon Joo is afraid; she schemed for quite some time to broker a ‘deal’ (marriage) that would put her were she wanted to be; her plans were based on her partner (husband) not finding out that everything was planned; — which part of that indicates shes a beggar? In Hwa was merely being insulting and demeaning. But In Hwa (along with her father, mother and brother) uses those same tactics regularly in business, as well as to find a mate, i.e. if Yoon Joo is a beggar then aren’t they all, as well? Besides that, In Hwa was making a dig at people who are at a lower economic level than she and want to elevate themselves to wealthy positions. Remember that she’s taking Tommy Hong down too for ‘acting out of place’ and not just the girls who wanted to marry well. Hence, that places everyone who isn’t born with a silver spoon in the mouths, but strives for more in the beggar category.

          Yoon Joo is not just up against In Hwa; she found herself up against a belief system. In Hwa’s way of thinking is not something she could simply raise herself above, but I don’t think she ever thought she have to. Sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold. Unfortunately, Yoon Joo folded right onto the floor at In Hwa’s feet.

      • 6.2.3 jusash

        @ 6.2 Well thought out points. I too don’t see Yong-ju’s reaction as being “a wuss”.

        Conditions from who she was (independent single) and now are different. Who she was, and who she is now is also different. Though Yong-joo has ‘arrived’ she also reveals (in all aching moments to SK) that it’s also an empty life (for eg that luxury hotel room she can now book easily that she initially craved). She’s paid a price for it – from planning her way into chaebol world, to living on tightrope (tiring high stress) in that pretentious world.

        On top of that ‘do or die’ coping moment of desperation and fear ….. Yong-ju is also in a different position from SK, and has way more to lose than before. SK can still say “so what” … Yong-ju has way more at stake.

        She’s already been living that life (sitting and walking on daily eggshells with the awful Chae-bol family she’s married), CONDITIONED somewhat to subservience for a few years in their household. She has been groomed to serve them – her husband, her shrewish MIL + FIL, SIL, grit her teeth in private … she’s like a glorified middlemen housekeeper and server in that household.

        • VS

          Very interesting, jusash. I curious as to why you think Yoon Joo has more to lose this time in comparison to losing her marriage with Seung Jo. To me, this is more a facade based on status, while the other was a relationship based on love. I’d love to read your thoughts about why this relationship will cost her more if she loses it.

      • 6.2.4 Betsy Hp

        @VS: I love your point about Yoon-joo being a planner. I think that’s true, and I think the disaster that is In-hwa learning her secret was completely outside her careful planning. And yes, she has everything to lose at this point. If she’s booted out, she’ll never get back into Cheongdam-dong society. They’re too insular and self-involved for her scandal to be contained.

        I also think Se-kyung is smarter than Yoon-joo is. Or at least, Se-kyung is able to take a broader look at the game-board and think up something outside the normal rules. Whereas Yoon-joo got where she got by playing by the Cheongdam-dong handbook. (Which is why both Yoon-joo and Tommy are looking to her to save them. And maybe take them out of their vulnerable positions.)

        • VS

          Ok, Betsy Hp, you touched on something I hadn’t considered: if Yoon Joo is tossed out of Cheongdam-dong society, not only will she lose her current status, but she can’t go back to her 1st husband either, so she’ll really be back at square one. Besides that, what will she have to look forward to? I mean, if being divorced once is taboo, I can’t imagine what would be said about her being divorced twice.

          As for Se Kyung being smarter than Yoon Joo, I’d been thinking that for sometime, but was hesitant to lock in my vote on that topic. Now that I think about it critically, Se Kyung is just able to assess a situation and think on her feet quicker than Yoon Joo. Se Kyung is also able to view a broader perspective and think outside the box, as you mentioned, while Yoon Joo has more of a tree vs. the forest approach. In that respect, I cannot say that one is more intelligent than the other, but just different.

    • 6.3 JoAnne

      It is easy to be brave when you have nothing to lose – not so easy when you have it in your hand and want to hold on to it

  7. Eileen

    It seems like Yoon-joo has never had anyone else to talk to about her feelings and motivations, so in that sense she had to be strong for herself. Now that she has opened up, maybe it’s just hard for her to stop?

    Another thing is, she is also a parallel of Seung-jo, where the first time she failed, but then her second “love” saved her – but she’s in danger of losing it again, and the second time will be worse/better because she knows how bad it will be. You know what they say, once burned, twice shy.

    • 7.1 Lilly

      good insight on the parallel situation, agreed

  8. Rach^^

    I dropped this a few weeks ago, I’ve never watched a drama with so many people I dislike. That Tommy guy is especially slimy in this.

    • 8.1 VS

      Tommy has been reborn. He’s now on a quest to make Se Kyung successful at entering CDD. In Hwa has taken his place as the hated slimy, seedy character.

    • 8.2 Windsun33

      You need to catch up then – some of the bad guys are getting “reborn”. Except In Hwa – she is getting worse.

  9. glitzmadrb

    I haven’t dropped this show yet but I tend to fast forward the “boring” parts. I mean, I’m just confused with how the story went. I hope that even with all these whirlwind of events, the ending wouldn’t be made poorly.

    • 9.1 VS

      this story has a TON of subtleties, which can be difficult to follow. It also relies heavily on facial expressions to get points across that have yet to be verbalized. I tend to really pay attention to details, but I’ve gone back and watched about 3 eps and I’m surprised at how much I’ve missed. As for the ending, who knows how it will end with this drama, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the two leads don’t end up together. Tommy Hong really seems to be taken by Se Kyung’s sensibilities and, frankly, after the last ep I believe they are a better fit. Besides, doesn’t Alice come out of that rabbit hole at some point? I know this is a loose interpretation so I didn’t brush up on the story before taking on this drama, but I believe that’s how it goes.

      • 9.1.1 Lilly

        I have been thinking the one who really wants to find their way out of this Wonderland is Seung-jo. He just seems to have been traumatized by the existence of great wealth so much that he will never have true peace, security, and happiness with it.

        How much of the character’s love for Se-kyung is that she simply represents escape from the values and standard behavior of Cheongdam-dong?

        • VS

          That’s a great question. I agree with your assessment that Se Kyung represents an escape from CDD values, which we would consider fake, and into a reality of love and genuine goodness with no strings attached. Unfortunately, his concept of who she is is just an ideal. Not that I him it this light that you’ve painted, it’s ironic that he wants out of his world and into hers, while she wants out of hers and into his because each thinks that what the other has is more valuable.

          • Betsy Hp

            There’s a scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland where she’s on trial and she kicks over the jury box and is attacked by soldiers only they turn out to be playing cards… and I think she wakes up to leaves falling and it’s all a dream. Or something like that.

            But I think Se-kyung will help Seung-jo break out of his delusions so he can finally see what’s real in his life. (She’s already done this with his relationship with his father.) And the real won’t be perfect of course. But it’ll be solid. And they’ll be outside the fake demands of Cheongdam-dong.

          • VS

            @ Betsy Hp: thanks for the recap of the end of Alice in Wonderland. I don’t even recall any of that, which is unusual for me. I suppose I’ll have to sit down and read it one of these days.

          • meme

            thanks for citing what happened in the novel. 🙂

    • 9.2 TS

      Ha, when they started karaoke, I switched to The Economist’s article, A Rough Guide to Hell.

      • 9.2.1 nasus


  10. 10 (permanent) visitor

    So…In-hwa went from being at least somewhat concerned that her big reveal would screw up the business deal, to not caring at all, in the space of a day? Half a day? She knows what will happen if the video is revealed, but does it anyway “because she’s a woman”? And ALL women would screw up the months of work/tons of $$ just to make some people feel bad?

    Because if she’s trying to get rid of Yoon-joo, there’s no need for anyone to see the video outside of the family, and the business deal wouldn’t be affected. The only reason for showing it to Seung-jo is to get back at Se-kyung, who stole the man that she didn’t love and barely knew. And she knows FULL WELL that Seung-jo’s daddy will not be pleased. Why not wait until after the deal is finalized? Why not let some actual time pass in the drama? It seems like it’s been about a week since Se-kyung and Seung-jo started dating/got engaged. (It still bothers me that that was basically the same thing, but whatever.)

    • 10.1 delicatecloud

      Hell has no fury like a woman scorned!! – that’s was In-Hwa…

    • 10.2 VS

      I don’t think the insinuation was that all women screw things up just to make people feel bad. I think it was that women are often led my their emotions, and if there is a rivalry between them their emotions may over rule logic.

      I don’t know why people buy into that theory because the men have also changed their minds based on how they felt:

      Seung Jo thought he could never fully trust and love a woman until he met Se Kyung, who fell for him as Secretary Kim.

      Tommy Hong was against Se Kyung until he saw himself in her and realized that she was functioning off determination and the emotions he thought would cause her to succeed.

      Il Nam didn’t accept Se Kyung until he got the warm fuzzies because she was creating a bridge between him and Seung Jo.

      Se Kyung’s abeoji (name escapes me) rejected Seung Jo until Il Nam apologized and made his appeal

      blah, blah, blah… on and on. These changes of heart were based on emotions and not relegated to only females.

      • 10.2.1 skelly

        What annoys me is not so much that she changed her mind and made a decision based on emotions rather than business, but that there was zero set-up for this to happen. In real life, yes, people change their minds and behave uncharacteristically all the time, but we are watching a drama, not real life (‘cmon, even reality shows are scripted…) and we have every right to expect certain logical rules to apply – namely, things don’t happen without cause and effect, people don’t act out of character unless a reason for the change has been presented, mysteries will be solved and the lost things found. If you have to indulge in long-winded justifications for a character’s actions, then the drama has not been playing fair.

        • VS

          skelly, what about these things:

          – due to Il Nam’s acceptance of In Hwa, she thought she’d be marrying Seung Jo, only to find that Seung Jo would not allow his father to have a hand in who he married

          – she lost Seung Jo to Se Kyung, who was her underling at work AND is from a working class family

          – she found out that Yoon Joo and Se Kyung did not have the ‘proper’ pedigree to be paired with CDD men

          – she put her trust in Tommy Hong to take care of all the details of arranging her marriage, only to feel she’d been humiliated when it did not go as planned

          These are the causes. The effect is that In Hwa’s petty nature was riled and she lashed out in the harshest manner she could. From my vantage point, it’s all crystal clear to me. I’ve seen women do crazy things in real life when they lost their men to another woman. What she did is not all that far fetched from reality. I can actually understand how she allowed her pride to fuel her self righteousness and remain unrepentant when she’s called on the carpet for her actions.

          • camille

            “I’ve seen women do crazy things in real life when they lost their men to another woman. What she did is not all that far fetched from reality. I can actually understand how she allowed her pride to fuel her self righteousness and remain unrepentant when she’s called on the carpet for her actions.”

            ^ THIS. A thousand times, this.

    • 10.3 Betsy Hp

      I think it’s less that In-hwa’s a woman and more that she’s human. I think it’s showing that this whole idea of a pure, cold, just-business persona is a fake. If you prick In-hwa, she bleeds. (Just as Seung-jo did.)

      The fake ideal of Cheongdam-dong, that business is everything and love (or emotion) is for saps is being exposed as a lie. And that’s Se-kyung’s power; she realizes it’s a lie and doesn’t buy into it.

      (It still bothers me that that was basically the same thing, but whatever.)

      I tend to handwave those sort of storyline leaps because it is a drama. Reality is heightened. Like in a musical all it takes is one duet and “their love is so true!” is set like cement.

      • 10.3.1 JoAnne

        the other thing is that to In Hwa it is not that she lost SJ (who does not figure as a person but a symbol to her) but that she was humiliated by people she considers her inferiors – it is 100 percent pride for her with both girls and misplaced at that – it is her father $ and business and she was just fortunate to be born into it and given advantages

    • 10.4 Windsun33

      “..but does it anyway “because she’s a woman”? And ALL women would screw up the months of work/tons of $$ just to make some people feel bad?..”

      Though it may sound a bit far fetched, worse things have happened in real life. Just last year here in Phoenix, a girl that had been “kicked to the curb” burned her ex’s house down…

  11. 11 Asabiyet

    I can’t believe I dropped a drama with PSH in it.. First for me.

  12. 12 Miky

    Man i really hate the way In-hwa way of speaking(don’t know if that’s the usual way of the actress) but i want to hit her everytime she says a word…i feel so sad for Yoon Joo,such a arogant family…love those 2 dads,so funny together!

    • 12.1 (permanent) visitor

      I think she has trouble speaking around her fake teeth….

      • 12.1.1 VS

        Lol! When this drama started I was thinking that I’d hate to see a drama with Park Shi Hoo and Seo Woo as the leads. I don’t think I could make it through many eps of that much fake teethery on the screen at the same time. Luckily, Seung Jo and In Hwa don’t have many scenes together.

        I like Park Shi Hoo more as an actor than I did earlier on, but his teeth disturb me a bit. But I’m sure he’s a very nice person…

        • skelly

          LOL. A couple weeks ago I used PSH as an example of someone who probably had less-than-stellar real teeth and so replaced them all with crowns/implants/bridges.
          I sometimes wonder if he isn’t intended to be all of the “Alice” characters: as lost as Alice, as Mad as the Hatter, followed as assiduously as the White Rabbit, and with a smile as wide and blinding as the Cheshire Cat’s… and as for Tommy, it’s ‘off with his head’!

      • 12.1.2 Tiger Butterfly

        Don’t forget her fake chin. See scene where she turned to mumble something ominous to YJ. She had extra chin( so it looks sharper..so it tilts up prettily) put in!
        Just sayin’…cos I hate her character. She must know that her video-outing wt Seung Jo will definitely cost her family’s much sought after business deal with Il Nam!
        If Im her dad , I’d immediately relegate her to a lesser post cos this vindictive child works out of her emotional brain when majorly pi**d. A post that does not require her to meet with any many clientele that she can do damage to.
        Whats to prevent her from acting such again. Whatever little biz acumen didnt tell her that her dad & brother were waiting, hoping & rubbing their hands in glee over this deal of the century ? That her mum too would be distraught over the sheer unhappiness of her 2 men & her son’s marriage problem over this reveal ?
        Actually , I think in reality , a person in IH’s stead would not have come thus far in wrecking so much damage.
        Cant be that stupid.
        Tommy Hong is also unusually & overly consumed with Se kyung’s plight. Nice to have someone on Se kyung’s side who’s totally in the know but still weird , seeing that, he was on the opposite divide for a while & now he’s not only invested business-wise but very very emotionally. Going down to look for her & such. Weird . If I was convinced that he hs some romantic feelings for her , I can understand but Tommy’s range of facial expressions arent giving me a clue that sticks.
        I was disappointed that YJ who had the strength to leave Seung Jo behind( she professed she loved him dearly) ,now, caved in & kneeled before her awful younger sis in law.She shd have known by now , throughout her interactions , that this icy agasshi would not melt with her kneeling before her.That she’d just gloat.
        Anyway, 2 episodes left is really too short to give us a more comprehensive progress of how Seung Jo’s psychological re-wiring& follow-up acceptance of Se Kyung’s ‘mis’deed can be done properly.
        I’ve loved & followed this show & accepted it as is , warts & all. I agree with some of the opinions here of how much better the writing could be to keep up the momentum & also agree that the lovey-doveyness kinda took itself to the Artics , for the past 2 episodes but…man , this is just another Kdrama in the life of a Kdrama addict , so I’m saying i’ve seen really lousy-er shows with threadbare believable plots..with lousy acting to boot. So this is not even close to half bad especially with MGY & PSH in it.
        I’m just hoping for a rainbow filled Happily After Ever that only dramas can dish out.Life is doing a damn job doling out the real & scary so, As long as this drama leaps & jumps to a pretty pretty finish , Im ending it with a “Well done, pig! Well done! “

        • Tiger Butterfly

          Sorry for typos.

  13. 13 addylovesbwood

    I’m not too surprised that quite a few people dropped it. I’m 100% emotionlly disconnected from this show. I dislike the lead. I cannot relate with her character or ambitions. Park Shi Hoo is mentally ill and needs serious help.

    I refuse to invest my emotions in it.

    I’m only watching cuz I hv no other sat-sun shows.

    • 13.1 (permanent) visitor

      Ditto. Even more convinced after the next episode. *shivers* Now I’m curious about how they’ll wrap it up, just b/c logic and sanity seem to have left the show.

    • 13.2 jusash

      With you. I am just as disconnected, and don’t see any development in romance between the OTP. Their romance is just, well bland. Once it’s confirmed … it’s one whirlwind delusional world of dating.

      And regardless of how the world turns, what devastating news has been delivered – they’re still at SJ-shii, SK-shii formality and level of emotional blandness. It’s hard to feel anything for them.

      I like watching So Ji-hyun playing Yung-joo way more than MGY, and PSH is either OTT or lack-lustre (for me) here too.

      I have taken to FFowarding my way through the past few episodes, and alternating late night wkend entertainment with the new Eugene and Lee Jung-jin one.

    • 13.3 Windsun33

      Just goes to show why no drama will ever get a majority of viewers.

      I love Alice, and hated School. I figure that Alice haters probably don’t like chocolate ice cream either.

      • 13.3.1 ilovekimchi

        Lol. 🙂

  14. 14 jusash

    >> to live in his fantasy world and apply it to the real world, I was not expecting outright denial from him after seeing the video. I’m sure In-hwa now sees how crazy he is and is glad she got away from this match.

    While it was “outright denial” and a violation of his sense for perfectionism, in another ,it was also perfectly a ‘normal’ and logical move to me. Keeping his cool.

    For the quick-witted, keeping a calm veneer regardless of what bomb has dropped is a wise and clever coping skill. It buys you time to think, and it’s all about NOT giving your opponent the reaction(s) they expect.

    ie: By remaining calm or by saying “so what” … he’s thwarting In-hwa’s plans (as he did).

    It’s not just about people psychologically dysfunctional (and I find the PTSD tag far-fetched in SJ’s case, plus his anxiety reactions).
    BUT, just by NOT reacting and maintaining that poker face stance = this is also a useful coping skill people who know how to ‘play poker’ (lawyers for eg) develop.

    While in turmoil inside, stay calm outside while strategizing your next move and waiting to see what else your opponent can deal out. It’s also useful in how one can cope with bullies.

  15. 15 ailee

    his smile is scaring me!

    • 15.1 miss unknown

      agree!!! I no longer care so much for this drama anymore, but watch this past weekend’s episodes, I’ve concluded SJ doesn’t deserves SK’s love. He does not understand or know how to move on with his life because of his PTSD….I find them adorable in the beginning, but his character does not grow at all…he’s living with the same philoshophy as he has been ever since YJ broke up with him…SK did change his relationship with his dad, but if she’s not there, he’s still the same…I don’t know if I would love my bf who would tell me that he’ll kill me when he’s mad even if he doesn’t mean too…especially when he has PTSD…just saying..

      • 15.1.1 VS

        Where to start?

        I found Seung Jo totally annoying in the beginning and it took a while for him to grow on me. While his antics were goofy and funny and occasionally cute, I saw his obsession immediately. I’ve gone out with a couple of guys like that. They are hard to shake and a bit on the scary side. They live inside their own heads and if you fit the image of what they want then they latch onto you mercilessly.

        I can only assume that you skipped eps — you didn’t say that straight out, but your comment about him not being able to move on indicates that you’ve skipped stuff. He has chatted with the doc about wanting to explore who he is. At another point he was excited about shedding a tear and eventually he teared up a few times. I’m delving into ep 14 here, but when he pulled over to the side of the road and wept, that was actually a major break through for him because it showed that he was feeling the emotional weight of what was going on and there was no escape from those emotions. When he threatened Se Kyung, it was a surprising moment for me, but it was understandable, too. He epitomized her as his safe place — he called her his home — and he wanted to hold onto the belief that there was such a place of solace for him. The video outed her and showed him that there is no such place, as no one is ever 100% a safe haven for another. We have to build coping skills to handle the short comings of others. I suspect that is what’s coming in the next ep or so.

        As for Seung Jo not being deserving of Se Kyung’s love, I see it the other way around. He was loving her no holds barred, without hesitation, reservation and with 100% resolve. She was his reason for his conscious decision to move on and grow so that he could be worthy of her. It was sweet, refreshing and scary for him to put her on such a high pedestal, but it was progress for him, who had resolved never to fully trust another woman. Unfortunately, he realized he’d been victimized once again… I’m getting into the next ep so I’ll stop now.

        But I’will say that you either skipped or simply overlooked a lot.

  16. 16 Dix

    Ladies and gents! I have enjoyed this drama for the most part, mainly because of the beginning and the different premise it started with but I got hit at the back of my neck when she found out he is the director and the story hasn’t made sense since.

    So please help me here. What is her crime again? What’s the point of all this turmoil when she had no intention of gold digging the guy from the start; she had planned to use him as a middle man and not date him. She fell for him as a regular Joe but didn’t tell him right away when she found out he is the rich guy. So what’s the crime here?

    The writer keeps pushing this gold digger thing but shouldn’t she have used a bigger motive for her supposed crime so we can feel her turmoils are justified to some extent? I really don’t get the point of the guilt and her hiding stuff. I know it’s a drama but there are so many ways this story could have gone but she chose this none issue to be the main issue of the whole drama and keep dragging it out. I’m about to dump this. It’s insulting my intelligence.

    • 16.1 Betsy Hp

      Se-kyung’s crime was the letter. She deliberately manipulated Seung-jo’s emotions to tie him more tightly to her. And she knew exactly what she was doing. That’s what she feels guilty about.

      What In-hwa, Seung-jo’s dad, and now apparently Seung-jo blame her for is working with his former “wife” to land him and his money. From their perspective she deliberately planned everything from the beginning to entice and seduce Seung-jo into marrying her.

      Because Se-kyung feels guilty about the former, she’s not going to protest the latter. (At least, not to In-hwa and Seung-jo’s daddy.) She’s honest enough to see what she did and what they think she did is just a matter of degrees. And she’d planned to be a “gold digger” after all.

      The drama is using this storyline to underline the hypocrisy of the massively wealthy Cheongdam-dong residents. Because they also marry for “business” (monetary gain) instead of love. (See In-hwa) Se-kyung is playing the role of “Alice” in this particular Wonderland because she sees through the hypocrisy and isn’t afraid to call them on it. And maybe, by forcing the truth to come out, Se-kyung may initiate some change. (That’s what Tommy is hoping for anyway.)

      I find the contrast between reality and delusion and how that contrast is handled depending on economic status, fascinating. Especially in the hands of this drama.

      • 16.1.1 Curioser And Curiosor

        hi Betsy, it is so refreshing to find comments that show sensitivity to this unexpectedly complex drama. Thank you!

        I won’t wish that all the nay sayers who proudly carry on about how they have dropped it would actually pay attention and discover that this is not your typical drama. It is enough to read your comments to see that some of the viewers see that it has a lot to offer in exchange for the price it patience and attention it has demanded.

        I am intrigued by how the various principals and their relationships have been developing throughout. I won’t spill, but the episode that follows this one is as close to being a dramatic masterpiece on illustrating emotional and psychological fragility and resilience as I have ever witnessed on any screen. If you’ve see ep. 14 you may agree with me that Park Shi Hoo merits some serious accolades for the depth and versatility with which he shows us a man struggling to contain the anguish of his heartbreak – it is painful to behold and it just took my breath away for the entire episode In Hwa’s callous exposé…

    • 16.2 VS

      The turmoil comes into play because Se Kyung back peddled. She made a very conscious decision to reject Secretary Kim because he did not hold the credentials she was seeking even when her emotions were drawing her to him. However, once she found his true identity was Jeanne Thierry Cha, she zoned in on him as her target and came up with a scheme to dupe him into believing that she was initially on the fence about him because he lied to her about his identity, thus confusing her, only to have a change of heart and accept him because she could not deny her true emotions. Her crime was that she intentionally calculated her reception of Seung Jo based on his status and purse strings.

      We can feel her turmoil once we see her give in to her feelings for Seung Jo and allow them to heighten while simultaneously feeling remorse for tricking someone who has more mental and emotional issues than she could have imagined. The fact that those issues are actually related to the very reason she was initially drawn to him, which is his net worth, disturb her even further. We get a glimpse of that when he’s about to propose to her, but first explains how his mother abandoned him, came back and used him as ransom to get alimony from his father and then abandoned him again. He face and tears can be read like an entire chapter of a book.

      Cha Seung Jo needs to face reality and possibly medication, but regardless, Se Kyung truly has some ‘splainin’ to do before I can feel that she deserves him. He’s a victim of multiple circumstances, while she failed to realize when she started out on her quest for Cheongdam-dong-dom that she would have to toy with some poor fool’s heart. Forgetting the human element while dealing with humans is a crime in my book. Frankly, I still say she’s better off in some ways with Tommy Hong because he sees her clearly and knows exactly how she ticks. He can sum up how she’s operating without needing an explanation. On the other hand, Seung Jo needs a woman who can look beyond his status and wealth and have down-to-earth relationship with him. Se Kyung is totally capable of doing that, but she’ll have to convince Seung Jo of that first. I hope I end up convinced at the end, too. Otherwise I’ll be upset for vesting my time and energy in… a bunch of drama.

  17. 17 Nallali

    It’s like the sister in law, whats her face, had a sudden personality change the writers forgot to warn us about. whatever happened to the cool 21st century woman in earlier episodes that was urging SK to fight on and learn to have taste, if she hadn’t been born with it. Same goes for her brother, he was always such a cool dude………

    • 17.1 VS

      It’s not that the In Hwa or Min Hyuk had personality changes. It’s just that they are multi-dimensional, just like real people. You never see all sides of a person when you first meet them. Actually, people often put their best foot forward initially. They got ruffled when something came along that rubbed them the wrong way. Thus, reactions, drama, craziness. All in a days K-drama, wouldn’t you say?

      • 17.1.1 skelly

        In a bad kdrama, maybe.

        • JoAnne

          so a good show has static characters that you can predict actions easily beginning to end then I guess?

          • skelly

            No, but it shouldn’t have actions coming out of left field either. There was no set-up in her character, except for the fact that yes she is female so I guess that means we can expect her to act irrationally…

        • VS

          I’m missing something, so please help me out. Since when do 3 dimensional characters make for a bad K-drama?

          • skelly

            There’s a difference between three-dimensional and out-of-character. You can certainly have one without the other.

          • VS

            @skelly I explained the set up in in response to your comment (10.2.1). As I stated in that response, it’s all crystal clear to me. I can only assume that those points don’t make sense to you, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree. No worries, though. Such is life in K-dramaland.

  18. 18 Betsy Hp

    I’ve commented all over the place but wanted to say thanks, kaedejun, for the recaps! 🙂

  19. 19 michelle

    I am finally caught up with the drama. There are moments in the last episode that I think the main female lead is better dating some other guy. The main male lead have some serious issues. When she tried to tell him her confession when they started dating, he refused to let her speak and want to aired his first. Then he introduce her to his father and announce they are getting married at an event.

    Really? Getting marry is a big thing and they barely started dating. I do not think I want my bf to drop such a bomb to my family without consulting me first. If he cares about my feelings, he should discuss with me before making such an announcement. Consideration for your partner.

    I feel because of his status, he just do things his own way.
    He latch on to the main female lead when he sees she represent an ideal “woman.” Is he really liking her for who she is or just projecting what he wants to see.

    I also find it funny that the women in the drama are always to be blamed. Like the main female lead indicate, who doesn’t want to marry someone who is tall, dark, handsome and well off too? Doesn’t men do the same with beautiful, rich, and educated? For some weird reason men can be excuse for their behavior when they cheat on their wives because it must be the women who is at fault. Like anything, it takes two to tango.

  20. 20 dramaddict

    Am I the only one who thinks that this drama has great actors but wastes their acting ability too much?
    And Im not intending on making the lovely MGY look bad, but I seriously think that fringes don’t suit her..She looks soo…unpleasing to look at..I usually don’t care about actresses in dramas..as long as they convince me through their acting..but I just can’t stand MGY in this one…plus her badddd fringe-look..Well doesn’t matter anyway..Just my two cents.

  21. 21 midwestmz

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee – are we having fun yet???

    As with any and all things, there are moments you hate and those that you like and make you go ahhhhhhh! In Haw being thwarted, a warm and fuzzy. Yoon Joo folding and begging, yep, knew it was there. Tommy in a tizzy, huh? Seung Jo being a bobble head, still on the fence on that one. Se Kyung stepping up to the plate to throw In Haw’s evil back, a real tada I be queen moment. Papa Nam, still spooky.

    On In Haw, living in her brother’s shadow really must be hard and a ______ at the same time. Having probably gotten all she wants/desires for her life, to now not being able to on one thing is also and still a b_____. She has now found her calling?

    Yoon Joo is planning and perhaps manipulative? I think the big unknown on her at this point is the home life she is coming from. Does she have the self worth and confidence to weather the storm we all know is coming. Current foundation is shaky, but does she have the bed rock to shore her up and help her through?

    Tommy, 360* in motion. Did sniveling so well and deliciously. Now he has changed teams as it were, and his still strong but perhaps shaky ground it showing through. Looks at his reflection in Se Kyung, has been there, wants to help, but being rebuffed and not sure how.

    Papa Nam, an ambiguous character, always have to have one.

    Se Kyung, a little stumped here. My take on the watching/reading, is always nice to measure by reading the recaps and comments to see if they meld. She has always had a back bone, and showed it here. She had her man’s back last week, and I felt like she is starting to grow a set this week. She could have done with out that sin blubber till death speech she gave to Papa Nam. This then makes you/the character, a shadow of who you/they are, and forever a door mat, which does not say “Welcome.” (Okay, so perhaps my thought only?) Never understood this in any drama. Do a mea culpa, repent, make amends, man up and grow and move on. Should you/others now be able to do that, kick it to the curb, and just move on. In life, hard is sometimes just that.

    Trying to wait patiently for the few remaining.

    • 21.1 midwestmz

      opps . . . . .


      why does one see their breath, implying cold when they are indoors? so hot on the set/under the lights, the only way to keep them from melting??

      just a question.

      • 21.1.1 (permanent) visitor

        It’s freezing in Seoul and they don’t want to spend the $$ to heat the huge sets properly. (picture a huge warehouse with what looks like an apartment in the corner – then don’t heat it – pretty sure that’s where they’re working)

      • 21.1.2 kaedejun

        Hi hi – also on another note, heaters and A/Cs can be disruptive on set. There’s usually a distinctive hum that will get on the audio tape when recording. Therefore, they shut it off when actually recording to get a crisper sound.

        At least, that’s usually the reason for it on the couple of film sets I’ve been to.

        • VS

          Thank you so much for explaining this! Actually seeing the actors’ breath condense as they speak is really disturbing to me. I thought the companies that produce the dramas were just being cheap.

          • JoAnne

            So how does American tv get around that? A lot of series are actually filmed in Canada, not just LA, and they can’t all be filmed in the warm weather – but I see the condensation a lot in K-Drama but have never seen it in an ‘indoor’ situation on American tv.

  22. 22 Rome05

    Wow..I’m so excited to the last 2 episodes..
    How will Se Kyung show her true self later to Seung Jo..
    Park Shi Hoo is so handsome and Moon Geun Young is so baby faced..
    i can understand the characters though..too bad some people can’t..

    • 22.1 Tiger Butterfly

      Thank you for your recap,Kaedejun.
      At least i dun hav to brace myself for a nonstop slew of WTHs.
      @Rome05 – I agree with you but I wish it was slightly longer to allow for more solid writing into how SJ & SK are gonna handle SJ’s hot potato of a psychological mindset. That ,in reality, wd take super many therapy sessions but even in KD land ,it cd do with more episodes to disentangle in a more cohesive & interesting manner but oh well, thats not to be here.

      • 22.1.1 rome05

        hi @Tiger Butterfly..
        I actually thought there are more episodes to come cause I’ve been enjoying and treasure every episodes specially episode 9-12..They are so lovey dovey!
        Let’s root for the 2 episodes although its like so tight to their schedule..still hoping and looking for lovey dovey Se Kyung and Seun Jo..^__^

    • 22.2 skelly

      Just a question – MGY has done a lot of work, but has she done any role yet where she had to depict romantic passion? I’m not even talking a physical action, although her kisses seem to be rather rare and fairly chaste, but I mean acting someone who is deeply in love? I’m wondering if, as an actress, she is prepared to go there yet.

      • 22.2.1 rome05

        Try watching all her films,..mostly are love stories..
        Love Me Not is very deep though I haven’t watch the whole film yet..just a part of it..also Cinderella’s sister..

  23. 23 Suzi Q

    This episode is full of scary people. Seung Jo is creeping me out when he views the video, smiles, and says”There are two look a likes of people I know.” He maybe has the right credentials, wealth, and status, but he’s Definitely a basket case. OMG! He needs to face reality and seek major psychiatric help.

    Also, In Hwa is like a dog who won’t let go of a bone and who doesn’t give up showing that video to everyone. She thinks she’s the self righteous person to punish Se Kyung and Yoon Joo. Her perspective is completely warped not only as a business woman, but a woman who has been deeply scorned. She should look for someone who loves her and not her pocket book.Love it when nothing turns out for her.

    Se Kyung is get scary too after discovering Cheondam-dong is not that Wonderland which she first imagined.Drama will be ending soon, so Se Kyung has to pull a rabbit out of her hat to get herself, Yoon Joo, and Tommy Hong out of the CDD rabbit hole.

  24. 24 admiralphlox

    I love this drama as it shows a wonderland where unexpected turns should be expected from the characters. Will definitely finish it as much as I really love your recaps. All the best to you.

  25. 25 ilovekimchi

    Thanks for the recap, trying to catch up here…off to watching. Everyone, thanks for sharing your insights, this isn’t a typical drama, not anything I’ve seen in recent kdrama history…

  26. 26 coookeys

    whoa… i think you guys here are drama lovers, aren’t you? keke i don’t understand a thing here lol i watch drama just for entertain..

    i don’t really mind about what the character should do to keep it out of the storyline and make everyone confused or something like that. tbh.
    i just watch it as…. a drama. for entertain. it’s right there always are some scenes in a drama that makes me upset and confused and just like meh bcs it’s so predictable and something like a korean drama always has. but anyway it’s just a drama, for me. as long as the drama is fun and interesting to watch (for me) i’ll keep watching it. LOL

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