Drama Recaps
Incarnation of Money: Episode 3
by | February 11, 2013 | 51 Comments

What do you do with an amnesiac who can memorize the Iliad and recite it back to you? Our story keeps moving forward as Kang-seok finds himself both lost and found in a world he can’t remember with a girl who vows to make him hers. The funny notes are sprinkled throughout this episode and they lift our spirits from the dreary world that bogged us down for so long.

There are some signs of life in the ratings – Episode 3 had a small blip of an increase with 10.2%.


We learn more of Kang-seok’s prognosis when the doctor sits down with Boss Bok’s family once more. Along with retrograde amnesia, the boy’s language production and comprehension is severely impaired.

Therefore, it’s virtually impossible that he’ll ever be able to speak more than a few simple utterances.

Back in the hospital room, Kang-seok flips through the channels wearing an expressionless face. But then he focuses on the reporter’s lips and then silently mouths the syllables as if following along. Curious, that.

Suddenly, the screen goes blank – it’s Jae-in, who blushes again in his presence. After she pinches his cheek to make sure she’s not dreaming, she thanks God for this blessing. LOL.

Jae-in plays with her new toy, teaching him her name in a sing-songy voice: “Bok-Jae-in-is-pretty~!” She gets the same vacuous stare in response. But Jae-in is nothing if not determined and promises that she’ll take care of him.

She then brings his hand to her face and turns another shade of pink. Though Kang-seok’s unable to speak, he scrunches up his face in displeasure.

When Boss Bok hears that the boy’s parents are still nowhere to be found, she orders Assistant Kim to bring him home with them. She makes it clear that she doesn’t intend on raising the child herself. Rather, she’ll transfer him to an orphanage if they can’t find his parents in a month’s time.

She clucks in pity for the boy’s parents as a fellow mother, feeling sorry for the child.

Things are even darker for Mom in the psych ward. Her constant requests for the doctors to find her son are ignored and she starts to panic at the sight of the needle. She resists – the doctor said she was normal – and they hold her down to administer the shot.

It must be some kind of tranquilizer and it’s a sad sight to watch Mom suddenly go still and mumble. And Lawyer Hwang watches just outside the door.

Once outside, Lawyer Hwang relays that Kang-seok is dead (or so the Traitagon thinks). He entrusts Mom to the doctor’s care, handing him an envelope of money. The doctor refuses but he insists, and the doctor finally accepts it.

Traitagon’s ringleader, aka Se-kwang, is pleased that they won’t have to worry about Mom anymore. However, he isn’t that happy to see Bi-ryung, who comes bearing flowers to congratulate him on his prosecutor inauguration ceremony.

She’s miffed at his cold dismissal and scoffs when he tells her to be more careful about her coming and goings. Bi-ryung throws back that he’s changed ever since he became a prosecutor, ignoring her calls and saying that he’s been busy. Is he seeing another woman?

But he simply tells her to see herself out, throwing the keys onto the table. Bi-ryung can only laugh in disbelief.

At the prosecutor inauguration ceremony, we see that Chief Prosecutor Jo has taken a liking to Se-kwang. Seated next to him is Prosecutor Kwon, who finds the man’s interest in the new recruit highly uncharacteristic of him.

Their dynamic is an interesting one and I gather that the two were once cohorts but it was Chief Prosecutor Jo who got the job promotion. I mean, the man certainly doesn’t miss the opportunity to rub that fact in Prosecutor Kwon’s face.

When the chief prosecutor rises, Reporter Go plops down next to Prosecutor Kwon, grumbling about taking souvenir photos of the event. But he’s all ears when Prosecutor Kwon baits him with a possibly juicy story.

He’s heard that Chief Prosecutor Jo has a sponsor: a well-known underground loan shark. Interesting that no one seems to know the boss’ true identity, though the name alone elicits both an intrigued and frightened reaction.

So how about it – does Reporter Go want a chance to bring down both a loan shark and a corrupt prosecutor? Er, shouldn’t you be asking yourself this question?

Chief Prosecutor Jo invites the newly sworn-in to dinner at Boss Bok’s restaurant. Boss Bok joins them and pours out as many compliments as there are drinks on the table.

Prosecutor Kwon leans towards Se-kwang and whispers, “In this restaurant, the one thing you need to be careful of isn’t alcohol, but that woman.” It seems that Boss Bok laid a trap for him once but he doesn’t get the chance to explain Se-kwang the details.

Meanwhile, Jae-in studies with her tutor but she doesn’t so much as study than sneak bites of food. It comes as no surprise then that she’s a poor student, though it doesn’t help that her tutor is more interested in solving his Rubik’s cube than teaching.

Kang-seok sits still in a corner and only his eyes occasionally dart back and forth, which makes me wonder if he’s second-handedly absorbing the information.

Then we get this hilarious sequence: the tutor is sandwiched between scolding Jae-in, who’s stuffing her face with pastries and Kang-seok working to solve the Rubik’s cube. In fact, we only see his hands and hear the furious click click sounds.

He solves it in no time and sits outside. Kang-seok can still hear the tutor drill Jae-in with math questions but now, he repeats the textbook answers aloud word-for-word. As the music quickens, he spouts off information of rational and irrational numbers at top speed.

Inside, the tutor wonders if Kang-seok figured out the Rubik’s cube and Jae-in coughs up her donut. She yelps, “He might be cute but he’s mute!”

Chief Prosecutor Jo strikes a nerve when he brings up the prosecutor’s loss to Se-kwang in court. Prosecutor Kwon gets up in a huff and is still fuming when Assistant Kim walks into the bathroom.

He asks after the chief prosecutor’s sponsor but Assistant Kim says that he doesn’t know. So the prosecutor punches him in the gut and stuff his face into the sink. Boss Bok enters, telling the prosecutor that it’s no use threatening her assistant. If he wants information, he can speak with her.

They relocate to a different room and Boss Bok tells Prosecutor Kwon that she’s never met the man he’s looking for (Before we go any further, an explanation: Prosecutor Kwon is looking for “the Gentleman of Jingogae.” This phrase is usually reserved for men who are considered nice, though it seems to be used more like a nickname for a mob boss here.)

Boss Bok has heard rumors of the said sponsor: some say he’s a Westerner, others say that he’s passed away. The point is, the chances are slim and she politely tells him that he’s better off looking for a guardian spirit in the mountains.

Prosecutor Kwon doesn’t budge and says that money from that same sponsor helps run this restaurant. Boss Bok doesn’t deny it and simply asks why Prosecutor Kwon is looking for him.

Now we learn why Prosecutor Kwon holds such a vendetta: he once borrowed money from the loan shark (It makes sense since he used to grumble in previous episodes about his family’s debt). But things took a turn for the worse and he lost his chance to be promoted.

He’s convinced the chief prosecutor and the sponsor are working together to seek vengeance on him. At that very moment, the door slides open and Chief Prosecutor Jo stands at the doorway. He laughs heartily as Prosecutor Kwon is dragged away by Se-kwang.

Boss Bok worries after the chief prosecutor, but he reassures her that Prosecutor Kwon will soon see the end to his career. He asks her to relay his thanks to the loan shark and she nods.

It’s cute how Jae-in has now taken to call Kang-seok, “good looking dummy” as she searches for him. Our amnesiac is busy roaming the grounds and overhears voices just over the gate – it’s Prosecutor Kwon and Se-kwang.

Prosecutor Kwon informs Se-kwang that the Ministry of Justice will soon look into corrupt prosecutors, Chief Prosecutor Jo among them. He laughs that money really did open doors and now he gets to repay the chief prosecutor for snitching on him once.

He figures that Boss Bok’s restaurant will be targeted, since that’s where the chief prosecutor has been securing his funds. It’s an easy enough for Se-kwang since the chief prosecutor has already taken a liking to him. Se-kwang can deliver the final blow and Prosecutor Kwon will alert the press at the right time.

Se-kwang doesn’t see why he needs to get involved in the senior prosecutors’ feud, and Prosecutor Kwon smiles, “Why else? Aren’t we blood brothers? Sworn by Lee Kang-seok’s blood?”

Se-kwang retorts that the Traitagon swore to forget about Kang-seok and Prosecutor Kwon counters that it isn’t something so easily erased in their memories. Why, they’ve gained so much from the boy’s sacrifice. Kang-seok listens to this entire exchange just over the wall and cocks his head back and forth in curiosity.

A sound alerts the men and Se-kwang peers over to see Jae-in laughing at Kang-seok, who’s fallen over. Se-kwang can’t see Kang-seok’s face, so he dismisses the matter and the men leave.

Kang-seok whirls around and parrots Prosecutor’s final threats back to Jae-in, who’s more surprised that the kid can speak. She marvels that “good looking dummy” must not be mute after all.

Se-kwang returns to his apartment to an all-out congratulatory party with balloons, candles, and cake. Bi-ryung sings her congratulations (and hums the parts she doesn’t know, ha) but Se-kwang doesn’t seem all that chipper.

She excitedly hands him her gift: a set of diamond rings. She comments how expensive they are before taking it back: “Let’s not put a price on our love.” And then she asks him to marry her. Eek – I don’t think Se-kwang’s in the mood for romancin’.

Bi-ryung knows it looks desperate for the woman to propose. Slipping the ring on his finger, she tells him it’s to mark her territory and tell the world that Se-kwang is her man.

And then Se-kwang immediately slips it off his finger and drops it in the fish tank. Bi-ryung looks devastated. I know she’s a witch and all, but as a fellow woman, that’s a huge blow.

Not facing her, Se-kwang tells her that they’re finished. “If we go on, we’ll both end up unhappy.” Bi-ryung can barely hold back her tears and bites back that she put her life in Se-kwang’s hands, even killed for him. She shrills, “I went all-in for you, you bastard!”

Se-kwang: “You already got what you wanted! More than you deserve.” Their relationship was purely business, Se-kwang tells her. “From the moment we plotted [his murder], we chose money over love.”

Bi-ryung tells him to stop pretending to be so noble and Se-kwang admits that it’s not because he hates her but he thinks he will if they don’t end things. Oh okay, that’s much better then. She slaps him.

Elsewhere on the porch, Jae-in paints Kang-seok’s pinky nail a hot pink and tells him that it officially marks him as her servant. She asks, “Who am I?” and I love how she gets all snippy when he doesn’t answer right away. He stutters, “P-princess…” HA.

Then she instructs him what to say when he’s hungry or sleepy: “I like you” and “I love you,” respectively. To top it off, she teaches him to say, “Hug me” when it’s cold out. Man, this girl is brilliant. She could write her own manual on love.

They pinky-swear and she calls it their secret code. She tries it out and he parrots back what he’s learned. It’s really Kang-seok’s blank expression and deadpan delivery that sells it.

This is where Boss Bok finds them and she scolds her daughter, threatening that she’ll send Kang-seok to an orphanage. Jae-in throws back that she’ll just bite her tongue and die. Mom whacks her broom at them and chases them off the porch.

But Boss Bok has bigger things to worry about as the headlines churn out the story between a certain Prosecutor A and the loan shark. Reporter Go worries that Se-kwang will be able to take down the chief prosecutor.

Prosecutor Kwon reassures him with a metaphor that “minnows can’t each other, but a shark eats other sharks.” And though he may not look like one now, Se-kwang is a shark.

Chief Prosecutor Jo fumes, cursing out Prosecutor Kwon and Se-kwang points out that there’s no supporting evidence that the man was behind it. Chief Prosecutor finds that hard to believe, given their recent run-in. Se-kwang asks if the chief prosecutor admits to being said Prosecutor A.

Se-kwang points out that the chief prosecutor is on the investigation list. However, if he’s never met the so-called sponsor, then he should have nothing to worry about. Chief Prosecutor Jo asks Se-kwang to give him real-time updates on the investigation – if he helps him this time, he’ll make sure to advance Se-kwang’s career.

Looks like Boss Bok actually made good on her word because in the car, Assistant Kim gets a frantic call from Jae-in. She asks after “good looking dummy” (Kang-seok’s ears perk up, heh) and her mother hangs up, telling her to stop her pubescent first love with the crazy boy. Commence temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, Assistant Kim loses Kang-seok at the orphanage after his meeting with the director. He calls Boss Bok and reports that their hands are clean – there’s no way the boy will find his way back.

Little does he know that Kang-seok is currently walking back, reading off the store names to find his way (He memorized them in the car.).

Jae-in drowns her sorrow in pastries and milk and Boss Bok looks on, heartbroken. Both adults grow concerned over Jae-in’s emotional eating and Boss Bok tells her assistant to take care of it, since her presence will just trigger Jae-in to eat more.

Grilling Hanwoo meat is your way of taking care of it? LOL. Assistant Kim notes that she’s not the type to stop eating when she’s upset and she gives in. Damn it, now I’m hungry.

A cold and tired Kang-seok reaches the house. As soon as he drops to his knees, the prosecution team, led by Se-kwang, storms the house. He doesn’t notice Kang-seok on his way in.

Chief Prosecutor Jo calls in about five seconds too late and I love Boss Bok’s exasperated sigh. You should have told me sooner!

Boss Bok removes the legal documents from her safe and rushes to hide them as the prosecution team approaches. In a last ditch effort, she throws them outside and they land right in front of Kang-seok. Uh oh – should the boy who can memorize an encyclopedia have access to that?

By the time Se-kwang and his men burst in, Boss Bok is cool as a cucumber. Se-kwang comes bearing a warrant so she invites the team to search the place.

We cut back to Kang-seok, who indeed is leisurely reading over the reports. Assistant Kim runs over and instructs him not let anyone take it from him and run.

Kang-seok does as he’s told and searches the ground since a few officers are on his tail. He spots the grill. Kang-seok reads the pages quickly before tearing them out and letting them burn in the fire. By the time the men approach, it looks like he’s innocently grilling meat.

Chief Prosecutor slaps on a proud smile when Se-kwang and his team returns with boxes of Boss Bok’s documents. But that smiles fades once they’re alone and he asks if Se-kwang usually betrays others like this.

Se-kwang replies politely that he reiterates the chief prosecutor was on the investigation list and is just following protocol. He tells the chief prosecutor that he’s not anyone’s lackey but a prosecutor in Korea.

The only person excited to see Kang-seok back is Jae-in whereas the adults scratch their heads over how he got back. Then Kang-seok starts muttering store names in rapid succession.

The adults first gape that Kang-seok can speak and then try to decipher his mumblings. Boss Bok asks if he memorized how to get back. Kang-seok abruptly stops and in a robotic voice, he utters, “Memorized it.” HA.

He keeps on repeating, “Memorized it. All of it.” and that triggers Boss Bok to ask about the burned reports. He nods. Kang-seok’s eyes narrow and they wait a long moment as he open his mouth… and yawns. HAHAHA.

Boss Bok is about to flip her lid but then Kang-seok rattles off the reports. They stare in amazement.

Kang-seok is put through a battery of tests and the doctor reports that the child’s memory and learning capabilities are supercharged. Thanks Doc, I could have told you that much. He attributes it to a side effect of the surgery and Boss Bok asks in amazement: “So he became a genius?”

The documents from Boss Bok’s house turn up nothing and the team reports that they can’t incriminate someone they have no leads about. But before Se-kwang can dwell on his frustration, he gets a call from Bi-ryung, who tells him that she’s leaving overseas.c

She asks that he come see her off just once if he ever loved her at all. Se-kwang’s eyes tear up but he tells her goodbye and hangs up. He lets out a deep sigh.

Bi-ryung holds back her tears and says aloud, “Have it your way. We shouldn’t leave a trace of our memories or feelings. That way, I can become more cruel later.”

Back at the house, Assistant Kim lays out a contract in front of Kang-seok but then Boss Bok just cuts to the chase. He can either become her son or be sent back to the orphanage.

Kang-seok answers no and when asked why, he looks to Boss Bok: “Because you’re not my mom.” Assistant Kim asks if he’s willing to give up this lavish lifestyle for a mother he can’t remember and Kang-seok replies, “My mom… is looking for me.”

Boss Bok tears up the contract and dismisses him.

Jae-in is relieved to see that Kang-seok didn’t sign the contract and lights up to see that the pink nail is still there. She asks him who she is, fully expecting to hear “Princess”, but this time Kang-seok answers, “Ugly fatty.” Oh honey.

He turns to leave but Jae-in tells him to repeat himself. So he does: “I hate chubby girls the most.” Kang-seok storms off and Jae-in gives in to her tears.

But Jae-in is nothing if not determined. She gets on her treadmill and starts running, pictures of models stuck on the wall. She vows to get her revenge on the kid who called her chubby.

Somehow Kang-seok makes it back to the orphanage and memorizes bits of newspaper. Boss Bok watches from a distance.

Turns out she hasn’t completely cut ties from him as Assistant Kim hands the director funds to make sure he gets the best education and appropriate legal documents. Including the boy’s name: Lee Cha-don (for the curious, his name means ‘second/next’ and ‘warm-hearted’).

The director promises that the benefactors will remain anonymous. However, he stops at the philanthropist’s unique name: the Gentleman of Jingogae.

Boss Bok aka the Gentleman of Jingogae, doesn’t regret her choice in the least. “He’s going to become my life’s investment.”

Cha-don looks into the mirror and thinks to himself, “I miss you so much. Mom, Dad… what do you look like? Who do I take after? Where are you right now?” He looks down to turn off the shower faucet and the camera pans back up…

…to reveal the older Cha-don (Kang Ji-hwan). Cha-don puts a hand to his face and says aloud: “Daebak. Who do I take after that I’m this handsome?” Pffft.

Adult Cha-don already cracks me up. He literally stops to greet every person he meets on his way in, shouting, “Hello! I’m prosecutor-in-training, Lee Cha-don!”

As for Jae-in, she works at a bank but is nowhere to be found. Her boss looks for her in the lounge, where a skinny employee walks right past him. So… not Jae-in. She’s actually the one chomping on a hamburger, gurgling it down with soda. Hee.

Chief Prosecutor Jo seems impressed that an orphan can grow up to become a prosecutor. Se-kwang walks in and Chief Prosecutor Jo introduces him as the training director.

The new recruit barks that he’ll introduce himself now and shouts, “My name is Lee Cha-don!”



Boy, that certainly seemed like a long wait. And not just for Kang Ji-hwan. It felt like we had to wade through a lot of knee-deep melo to finally get to the funny and if this episode is any indication, this show is going to be a riot. Right now, I’m scared that I might scare the funny away. The humor is reminiscent of History of the Salaryman, which had these great running gags that had me in a fit of giggles. We already see some of these in Incarnation: Kang-seok’s rote memorization skills, Cha-don’s vain sense of self, and Jae-in’s love of food.

There’s something about balancing the show’s tone that makes me both cringe and giggle at the same time. Did anyone else start laughing when they saw Kang-seok’s head peek out from the wall? They’re talking about blood brothers and you see this teenage kid’s head in the back, memorizing the conversation. I loved how those particular dramatic moments were then upstaged by the hilarity, sometimes even with witty one-liners. But then you have some other moments where the gravity of the conversation seems obvious and lacks suspense. I get where you’re going Drama, but if I’ve already figured out who the Gentleman of Jingogae is as soon as you mentioned it, then the Big Reveal isn’t all that revealing. There are still plenty of other tiny mysteries that buoy the story along and I hope the show doesn’t try to act like it’s wearing silk robes of narrative when we can see past its translucent lacy veil.

I love Kim Sumi‘s character as Boss Bok. She’s a feisty, sassy, and smart lady of the house and is an absolute hoot. She knows how to run her business, know who to make friends with, and where to put her money. She provides an interesting foil to our Traitagon characters who know nothing but to spend their money to buy power and happiness. But she invests in things that are worthwhile. Will her daughter Jae-in, take after her lessons?

Speaking of Jae-in, I am so glad that Jae-in didn’t change and that she still loves food. Sure it may not be the best for her health, but I hope that she still has that sharp tongue that made her so damned lovable in the first place. I don’t always agree with how dramas play up the extremes of weight loss and gain, but I think it’d be so sweet if Cha-don fell for the chubby Jae-in before she slims down.

Adult Cha-don cracks me up already. I love that he retains much of his former, younger self who believes that everything is systematic. Though we only get a glimpse, we see that he retains his memory for his parents, though it doesn’t compute why he recalls parents (he thinks) he’s never met before.

I can’t wait until we see more of his interactions with Se-kwang, the uptight prosecutor who abides (?) by the law. After all, does that guy know how to smile?

And just because…


51 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. RockPaperScissors

    Thanks for the recap. I hated Kang Ji-hwan’s haircut in the promos, but after seeing his character Cha-don, I think the crazy haircut fits with the character’s personality. Will this drama be one wacky ride?

    • 1.1 Nippon

      Very VERY off topic, but I just this minute finished teaching my first grade English class and the topic? Rock Scissors Paper or how to ‘Janken’ in English. So seeing your name had me smiling.

  2. Lilian

    “Daebak. Who do I take after that I’m this handsome?”

    OMG. I loved how they chose to introduce Kang Ji Hwan to the show. The transition was superb! Hahaha…….

    and the ending makes me want to continue watching. Your family’s greatest enemy aka your mentor. Oh man!

  3. nova611

    kid cha-don is like jacob black
    great body but kids face…

    • 3.1 Carmensitta

      That kid has such a great body that I’m soon be considered a perv…

      • 3.1.1 houstontwin

        He still looks like a kid to me! …From head to toe.

  4. snow_white

    wow…..this episode was so good and fast!!
    I’m really waiting for the next episode….waiting to see how Se-kwang will train our hero….
    Kang Ji Hwan!!
    I liked how the show balanced funny with seriousness…
    so good 🙂

  5. Orion

    If the ‘Gentleman of Jingogae’ is not the person it’s glaringly obvious they are, I will be truly surprised. Although I do not think they necessarily keep the suspense for us, but more for the other characters. I think that, as the audience, we can pretty much see who the ultimate badass boss is in that place. 😛 And badass they are.

    As for Jae In, being obese myself, I can’t really warm up to treating an illness like something to be laughed at and she’s a bit freaky/possessive as a character, but I hope she gets better. I’d hate to see a total change of character with the weight loss, though, because if super-strength, awful manners and constant eating are unrealistic stereotypes, changing your whole personality with weight loss is even nuttier.

    I want her to keep the wackiness well after the physical change.

    As for Cha Don, I liked his character as a kid, before the accident, so I hope he keeps that feisty (albeit arrogant) spirit up. One thing is for sure. They picked the right actor for a not-well-in-the-head kooky genius.

    What I love the most, though, is seeing all the baddies dig their own graves by constantly backstabbing each other. I love it that such characters are usually responsible for their own downfall, because of their nature as traitors. Let them burn! I’ll watch and enjoy!

    • 5.1 DayDreamer

      “What I love the most, though, is seeing all the baddies dig their own graves by constantly backstabbing each other. I love it that such characters are usually responsible for their own downfall, because of their nature as traitors. Let them burn! I’ll watch and enjoy!”

      I totally agree!! When I was watching those segments, I thought, oh boy, the baddies are definitely going to backstab each other continuously. Like that actress getting rejected…I thought she was going to do some evil in return, lol. Didn’t think she’d go abroad or something.

      • 5.1.1 Orion

        You don’t just do revenge. You think and wait and scheme. You can bet she’ll be back with her own plan. 😉

        • DayDreamer

          I’m sorry…I guess I haven’t learned my lesson from revenge kdramas. 😉

          • Orion

            Well, the lead in ‘Giant’ was “taking revenge” from his early teens well into his 40s, so I know these writers like to take their time with that. Bwahahaha.

      • 5.1.2 asianromance

        I’m surprised Se-kwang didn’t see a vengeful Bi-Ryung from a mile away. I’m surprised he didn’t arrange an “accident” while she was abroad. Once you’ve got blood on your hands- what’s a little bit more?

        Is it just me or do some of you sometimes find yourself sympathizing with the individual baddies until you remember all that shit they did? Poor Bi-Ryung, I’m sorry that Se-kwang dumped you…Prosecutor Kwon- one day, you’ll make it! Wait, you guys are horrible, horrible people who deserve to have a car run over you and then back up and run over you again!

        • Moko

          I do sympathise. Though that might be the writers intention. I keep staring at Bi-Ryung because she’s so pretty. And the fact that that actress plays her well makes it even harder. (I was long sold to all those korean actors and actresses and their faces anyway.)
          But in the end – they are bad.
          I guess the thing about truth is, that everyone has it’s own. The boy who goes for Revenge Plot and creates his own self in his targets son, while becoming as nasty as possible. The darker the villain the brighter shines our hero.
          I’m tired ~

    • 5.2 sweetcloud

      Agree on the baddies backstabbing each other. I hope BR gets her revenge on SK, he should have known better and at least show up at the airport to appease her wrath, because it’s going to bite him in the ass, hard.

  6. DayDreamer

    I loved the transition from teenage Kang Seok to adult Kang Seok, rubbing his face so prettily. It’s such a cute brand of arrogance, the kind that makes a person squeal, lol. Just from that small bit alone, I feel like Kang Ji Hwan is a good fit for the character he will play even though I hadn’t seen his previous dramas before.

    As for Jae In, I’m not too happy with her characterization. It’s too stereotypical and cartoonish. I don’t think any overweight person stuffs their mouth in overdramatic gusto with food hanging out of it. However, I was a little happy to see that even though she started running on the treadmill with great fervor, that she didn’t become skinny and she was still plump as ever. I actually did think the show was going to depict her running on the treadmill, camera pans down to her legs, and pans back up to her future skinny self, hehe.

    • 6.1 Orion

      Most overweight people are very self-aware. We take extra care of our manners and eating in front of others, exactly because we’re being constantly judged for simple things others never get judged for.

      You have to be really oblivious to your problem (like the fat ‘Murican stereotype) to act like Jae In does and I’m pretty sure eating like that is evidence of a deeper psychosomatic disorder of some sort as well. As a kid, fine, but eating that way as an adult? It’s not normal, or in any way related to weight, for a person to be going into rage-mode when eating.

      I’m also glad she didn’t grow up to be skinny just yet, but this does make me wonder what it will be that drives her over the edge and makes her accomplish something she couldn’t get done most of her life. I hope it’s not “because of some guy”, because that’s too pathetic a reason to work hard on yourself and I don’t want a pathetic leading woman for any series.

      As for Kang Ji Hwan, he’s very good with drama as well as comedy, so I really think he will be great for this series. Lee Beom Soo being this team’s previous choice, I honestly trust their casting on the leads by now. And for everyone else as well, many of whom have been in both ‘Giant’ and ‘History of the Salaryman’.

      • 6.1.1 Emma

        “Most overweight people are very self-aware. We take extra care of our manners and eating in front of others, exactly because we’re being constantly judged for simple things others never get judged for. ”


      • 6.1.2 Carole McDonnell

        Double AMEN!!!!!

        I’m thinking there is a great wound inside. Even as an adult, she seems very young mentally…from what i’ve seen.

      • 6.1.3 Saturtledaisy

        In the translated version I watched, I think they said Jae-in had an eating disorder that kept coming back, which explains her emotional eating. So it seems to be a psychological thing, not just a stereotype of overweight people.

        • Carole McDonnell

          The stereotype now includes the psychological thing, alas. Unfortunately, making gluttony a psychological thing is often the worst kind of stereotyping…and the most moralistic, patronizing, and cruel.

          But we don’t even see the main reason for her supposed over-eating problem. All we see is emotional eating. So if she was raped as a kid or once separated from her mother, or was bi-polar…..or if she had a thyroid problem or some other glitch, then we the viewers would not be inclined/invited to judge or mock her. But….alas, no foundation is given to this. It can’t be tough bullying mother, could it? Probably not. Presumably other girls have grown up with gangster-mamas and not gone fat. So unless they show the cause of Jae In’s over-eating soon, this is merely a case of “emotional overeating” which we the readers are invited to believe is the problem in and of itself…because she can’t respond appropriately to grief.

          I’ll give the screenwriters this: they do TRY to show the emotional part of it. But then they have so many scenes where she overeats when she’s not distressed. Sorry about my ranting. As a Black woman in the US, I just hear so much of this subtle moralizing stuff that I lose all patience with it. Am trusting the screenwriters for the post part though. I take that nail-polish bonding between the two youngsters as a bond of true love…… sooner or later. (Fingers crossed.)

        • DayDreamer

          Funnily, the translated version I watched called it BULIMIA. A bulimic is definitely not overweight but does eat a lot in one go only to purge it out afterwards.

          • WM

            I put the eating down to her mom. Mom is constantly telling her she is fat and unattractive in such cruel ways. I have yet to hear her expound on any good qualities of her child, like her cute smile or her perseverance. Someone puts you down so you eat to feel better, that is the cycle. I am hoping something happens to the business and mom will be forced to rely on her daughter…and the daughter will find confidence in herself and will not have to depend on food as a crutch. Much better than losing to impress a man.

      • 6.1.4 Moko

        ” I hope it’s not “because of some guy”, because that’s too pathetic a reason to work hard on yourself and I don’t want a pathetic leading woman for any series.”

        Naahhh she already tried that one. I bet it’s something totally hilarious. Like ending up to rescue him and loosing weight on her tour their. Or maybe it’s something like Kang Seok – before rich dummy, after trauma and accident, poor genius. Because he has no money to buy smart friends, he needs the guts.
        I think they take that concept for the adult Jae In too. I can’t imagine though, I’m not a writer. But I’m decent at guessing.

        • Carmensitta

          I have to strongly disagree with the Kang Seok’s “before” characterisation you gave him. He was rich, yes, you got that right, but he was no dummy, mind you! Whose deduction skills did he borrow to be able to read into his father’s affairs, figure out that EBR was his father’s mistress and realise who his father’s murderer was? The only dummy thing he did was trust the wrong people, but there was no way for him to tell who’ll back-stab him later, and there was that childish innocence at play as well.

          The “after accident” Kang Seok gained a lot more memory-space if you want to put it like this, but kept most of his previous traits, minus the horrible memories.

          And that, my dear is definitely not a dummy-genius transition.
          PS. I know I sound like I’m grilling you with this comment, but I’m in a sour mood atm, apologies for that. Oh, and the only thing I’m grilling here is the word “dummy” attached to such a character, even Jae-In didn’t manage to redeem herself from such an atrocity, I don’t care how cutely she said it.

    • 6.2 asianromance

      What a way to subvert expectations TWICE – the first with the treadmill scene (I expected them to pan up to a skinny Jae-In) and the second with the skinny employee in the bank break room. And adult, chubby Jae-In is adorable! I’m really lukewarm about Hwang Jung Eum and am afraid I won’t like her as much once she’s not chubby anymore. I’m also afraid of her changing her personality after weight loss.


    Thanks for the recap.

    For smart criminals I found it strange that none of them thought to confirm that the kid was dead.

    The thing with the mom, she was sentenced to jail for the criminally insane so what’s the point of keeping her drugged, it’s not like someone will save her based on her ramblings.

    I hope that CD hasn’t out grown that memorization ability that way the clues he got as a kid should still be with him.

    As for the band of murdering thieves, it’s amazing how they see themselves as law abiding citizens, but yet they all still have that aura of low life clinging to them.

    The love birds , maybe it’s just me but I never thought that SK was in love or doing anything more than using BR. So their farewell did not take me by surprise.

  8. John

    gummimochi ~

    Thanks for the recap. I’m enjoying the show , looking forward to Ep. 4

    Kang-seok’s “Rain Man ” ability ! Who’d of thunk it?

  9. Carole McDonnell

    Oh i so loved this! Am gonna miss the kids, though.

    And yes, the Boss Lady is wonderful. I love her character and her ballsiness. And I soo soo soo hope our hero falls in love with Jae In. I hope the writers don’t disappoint me by making him fall for the long-haired cutie. I really really like Jae In.

    Am loving to see the meltdown of the Gang of Five. Wish I could love Se Gwan now that he’s dealing with his guilt by being Mr Righteous. But my faves are Prosecutor Gwon and Mr Weaselly who lost his share of the loot are the ones I especially love.

    So far the show has made me cringe by some glaring plot holes but am willing to let the plot holes pass cause I am liking this drama so much. How Big Boss lady could send a kid to an orphanage when the kid blurts out important info from her secret ledger is beyond me but…yeah, am letting that and the other plot holes pass. I won’t even mention that the hospital should’ve sent a picture of missing Kang Seok to the media or to the missing persons bureau.

    I think I’ve finally gotten the whole coincidence thing that happens in k-dramas. Yeah, I’m totally late for that train. The sense of destiny, right? So yeah, I’m okay with coincidences galore. The universe — Buddhist and Christian– is working to bring truth, justice, and healing.

    I’m hoping the screenwriters have a quirky sense of humor/justice and won’t do anything too predictable with our guilty ones. I’ll trust the workings of their world.

    Thanks so much for the recap.

    • 9.1 DayDreamer

      LOL, I loved that you mentioned all the plot holes because even I noticed them. However, ever since Nice Guy, I’ve learned to gloss over them pretty well because I know once the background stories are established, then things start to pick up so I can ignore all the weaknesses. Especially the part where Se-kwang is this smarty-pants evil dude and yet he can’t see that he should at least keep his Triatagon merry enough so they don’t squeal on him. That certainly doesn’t include letting go of the actress/girlfriend.

  10. 10 SomangLyn

    sounds like fun

    can wait to watch i can just here kang ji wanh shouting like he did in runway cop

    i like you to themodels

    oh cant wait

  11. 11 TS

    So that’s Sumi from Vampire Idol?

    Cool, I think I’m going to start watching this now.

  12. 12 sweetcloud

    When young Cha Don became quirky genius Cha Don I could totally see how KJH would play him as an adult. And he doesn’t disappoint! The added bit of vanity is hilarious. I really hope he remembers everything from post-trauma onward, notably the conversation between SK and Kwon, but he doesn’t seem to register anything when they were introduced. Also hope he and Jae In remember each other, although I’m sure SHE didn’t forget the handsome dummy who called her fat and ugly.

  13. 13 TS

    Am watching this now. One big thought: Boss Bok is rich with her own restaurant. Why the hell is there not professional help for her child? She’s dying for a friend and has a binge-eating disorder. How about some activities with other kids – home schooling is a choice, so I’m not knocking it – a nutritionist, and a therapist?

  14. 14 anotheraddict

    Regarding Jae In being an obese girl who’s constantly stuffing her face– I get that this team tells their tales on an epic scale and that they tend to infuse their characters with a large dose of caricature: their wacky characters are extra wacky, their baddies are extra bad, and their food-addicted fatties are extra food-addicted and fat. So I try to tell myself that Jae In’s character is intentionally farcical, not unlike our potty-mouthed Yeo Chi from Salaryman. But I still feel uncomfortable with Jae In’s characterization, and I think it’s largely because Korea is such a fat-phobic culture, I hate to see K-drama characters that reinforce the stereotypes (and the revulsion to overweight people). This kind of characterization on a Mexican telenovela would bother me far less because weight is viewed very differently in Mexico, and I trust that the character would be seen as being farcical (rather than stereotypical).

    However, I love the fangirl side of Jae In, and even though that side of her is also OTT, it feels like it’s more of a laugh-with than a laugh-at kind of satire. After Jae in taught her “good-looking dummy” to say “hug me” when he’s cold, I had to laugh at myself for thinking, “Now I know what to do if an amnesiac hottie ever crosses my path!”

    I was so happy to have more humor in this last episode– Salaryman was such a feast of the funny, it’s hard not to crave a little more from this team. Now I feel like the awesome is coming back and I’m eagerly anticipating a very enjoyable ride.

    Thanks ever so much for recapping this, gummimochi!

    • 14.1 asianromance

      I love Jae-In! I wouldn’t be as uncomfortable with her fat character if it weren’t for her grades. It’s already enough that she’s fat, loud, spoiled, and has no self-control, but did she have to be last in her class too? But it looks like grown-up Jae-In is smarter. And her stuffing-her-face habit has a more “I have a zest for for good food” than her earlier obsessive face-stuffing habit. At the end of episode 3 (guessing they’re in their early 20s at this point), she works in a bank under a different last name, even though her mother has a buttload of money. From the synopsis, she will eventually be the president of a bank.

    • 14.2 DayDreamer

      When Jae In was teaching Cha Don phrases of love, I was giggling along because that’s totally smart of her to take advantage of a handsome guy and have him consider her a princess. Like you, I also thought now I know what to do to an amnesiac hottie, heehee.

  15. 15 Dara

    Love this drama, and it needs gut to recap it, thanks!

  16. 16 Suzi Q

    I’m confused. Boss Mom gave $$$ for the orphanage to take care of Kang Seok alias Lee Cha Don. So all that time while growing up, Jae In and Cha Don do not cross paths? Boss Mom knows what happens to boy, but not Jae In’?

    Feel SO sad for Jae In. She is totally an emotional stress eater. I would imagined she must been treated poorly at school about her weight as well as from her Mom. The scene was very cute when she tried to manipulate Kang Seok into calling her “princess”, getting him to say, ” I Love You”, and trying to get hugs. All the more devastating that this is her first love, who calls her “ugly fatty” and that he hates chubby girls.

    As Jae In grows up, she still hasn’t lost the weight so I’m wondering was the the final impetus which will trigger her to lose the weight? Cha Don (Kang Ji Hwan is perfect for the part) grows up to be a HOTTIE. (Loved the shower scene transition) Although he has traces of not being all there in the head, he won’t give her a second glance because he likes pretty slender girls. Can’t wait until they meet again and the sparks fly!

  17. 17 tapioca pearl

    I’m all for this drama. Despite the obvious plot holes, I’m quite intrigued about where this story is going and I’m so looking forward to the romance as well. And Kang Ji-hwan’s entrance? Best adult character introduction in the history of dramas!!!!! Also, I love seeing faces from History of the Salaryman in this drama. It makes me miss that drama.

  18. 18 Buie

    I am hating KJH’s Hairstyle. Hope they change it soon. Loving the Show. NOT able to watch Episode 4 as subs are not completed 100% in English. I really don’t understand Why VIKI takes so long…. Agggrrrrr.

    I have to start learning Korean soon. I bet this show will be a Rollercoaster ride for all of us but honestly loving the story, loving the theme of the show. Very different and unique.

    Keep up the great job IOM team….

  19. 19 DeeDee

    Let us take a moment to veer off topic .. why is Cha Don’s voice much more deeper during his teenage years than his adulthood ?

    Sorry, I had to say it. I still love you Kang Ji Hwan !

    • 19.1 Orion

      Maybe it gets squeakier the crazier he gets. 😛

  20. 20 maakopla

    There is something I utterly HATE about Park Sang Min, that dull chubby face of his. Does he have any other expressions except that one and only he has been wearing trough the whole show until now? I understand he is supposed to be full of hate and oh so emotionless and evil but that freaking face! Seriously. No matter what happens he looks the same and I am about to freak out whenever he appears.

    On the contrary I am really happy Oh Ji Hwan is finally out! I love him and when he finally appeared I almost squealed, no matter how freaky that sounds xD His character is so adorable once again. And he can even pull that stupid hairstyle xD

    I love it how Se Kwang gets to raise his tiger after all. This is a perfect revenge for his evil deeds. One day Cha Don will find everything out but I guess that day is far faaar away.

    The time leap was kind of freaky for me. They should have done it at the end of the episode and given some time for the viewers to adjust. Now then, some 10 years passed and everyone kinda looks the say, no gray hair?

    Kim Soo Mi is doing great job as a fierce loan shark mother^^

    • 20.1 Orion

      Park Sang Min does have that “sleepy bear” look most of the time, but he manages to emote very well despite it. His performance in ‘Giant’ was one of the best in the series.

      I think it’s Se Kwang’s personality so far that hasn’t allowed that. He’s been pretty steady on his frankly-my-dear-I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude and he’s supposed to be seen as a cold villain.

      His character in ‘Giant’ was a good guy, so Park used his poker face very well for the front the character had to put up for the bad guys, while emoting wonderfully during the moments the character was being himself.

      The team knows his capabilities and I do think they will use him well once again. It’s too early right now.

      As for looking the same after all that time, a lot of the characters are old enough to have some gray hair in the past already, so everyone going gray would be trying too hard. If they all dye their hair for their image, they’d dye it 10 years later as well. I do think it will happen, but maybe in the next time skip.

  21. 21 maakopla

    “As for looking the same after all that time, a lot of the characters are old enough to have some gray hair in the past already, so everyone going gray would be trying too hard. If they all dye their hair for their image, they’d dye it 10 years later as well. I do think it will happen, but maybe in the next time skip.”

    You don’t have to take literally everything I write…

    • 21.1 Orion

      Unless there is a clear sign of joking or special tags, it’s difficult telling when someone does not mean what they say, hon. 😛 I’d still make the comment anyway. As viewers, we need to keep an eye out for potential errors.

  22. 22 maakopla

    “Unless there is a clear sign of joking or special tags, it’s difficult telling when someone does not mean what they say, hon.”

    That’s true.

    Well, what I meant was that it was a bit weird to have that time leap all of a sudden. The main character changed loads but all the others seem just the same. So I would have preferred to have that time leap at the end of the episode so there would have been a little break to adjust to it.

    But well, after watching episode it doesn’t really matter anymore xD

    I hope Park Sang Min will show his full potential in this drama as well. I haven’t seen Giant.

  23. 23 DHM

    ” though it doesn’t compute why he recalls parents (he thinks) he’s never met before.”

    It’s a reasonable assumption- he’s found as an older teen, not an infant, but his hands are soft and he’s obviously lived well in spite of recent hardships, and his first word was Mom. He knows he didn’t hatch from an egg nearly full grown, so he must have had parents at some point, and it’s not all that far fetched to assume he had them recently.

    I actually do know somebody who suffered from ‘selective amnesia.’ It was an illness with a high fever and possibly something like a stroke- they were never completely sure. He had married kids and grandkids in their teens and younger, but when he woke up in the hospital he didn’t know who he was nor did he remember any of them. He could talk, and he remembered songs and he could read and do math and drive a car, etc. He remembered that he was a Christian. He basically could do all the same things he could do before, he just didn’t know his name or who anybody was.

    Seems like he gradually remembered his parents and siblings, but the last I heard (five years later), he still didn’t remember anything that had happened after something like 17 years of age.

    He stayed married to his wife, and they traveled around reintroducing him to his kids (the kids all served in the military and were scattered. one of the sons was a friend of mine, which is how I knew about it).

    So while I find the amnesia plots overdone frequency wise, I don’t often find them all that farfetched.

  24. 24 Julia the Berkshire Beanie

    Jae-In pawing Kang-Seok is revolting. Is he her pet monkey? Painting his fingernails? Unwanted touching (which he is helpless to refuse because he is totally vulnerable being without memory or family). My skin crawls.

  25. 25 Julia the Berkshire Beanie

    I felt Kang-Soek was completely justified in calling her a “ugly fatso” after she tried to make him her slave for life. OK, she is immature, but Jae-In’s clinging all over him and trying to make him her boyfriend without actually caring about him being injured, separated from his family, and without his memory … she is just selfish. Beyond selfish … a predator actually. That behavior isn’t acceptable in anyone. Imagine if the roles were reversed and it was a boy fondling and dominating a girl.

    Yeah, yeah, I know it is just a drama, but boy did this make me MAD!

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