It’s a good day to be Taeyang, with two handsome men rushing to her side to offer up their bodies to guard, shield, protect, and/or be manhandled at will. One comes at a steep price (per body part, ahem), while the other comes with mysterious strings attached. Ain’t nuthin’ in this world for free, sister.
SONG OF THE DAY
Dickpunks – “Sunglasses” [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
As Gong-shil cringes in terror at the horde of ghosts coming at her from the accident ahead, Joong-won swoops in with a ghost-poofing hug to save the day. After she’s had a proper swoon, he lets go, but she’s still hanging on with both hands. It’s pretty great.
So he scowls and then takes her hand (aww) to lead her away. They get far enough away that he thinks they’re in the clear, so she lets go, only to reach for his hand again like habit. She apologizes, “My hands just keep reaching for your body.” Ha.
He says he’s no bag of shrimp chips, for her to be stuffing her face with just because her hands keep reaching for more. Lol. She agrees that he’s much pricier than shrimp chips, and adds a sincere thank you for not being so mad at her as to keep his body away. He reminds her that he priced her worth at 10 billion won, and warns her not to overstep her ghost-radar bounds.
He tells her to report for her official position at work tomorrow, since he’s arranged a job, and Gong-shil is ecstatic at the idea of a real (salaried, full-time) job, which she hasn’t been able to hold down ever since her accident.
She’s giddy at the thought, and then immediately asks if her salary will really be docked every time she touches him. He names different parts of his body like a skinship menu, and tells her she’s already spent her entire month’s salary tonight. Haha.
He says she needs to choose wisely when to touch him and save it for those occasions when she’s truly terrified, because he’s that one and only person in her life who can make the ghosts disappear. Aw, you love that you’re her special snowflake, don’t you?
She points out that technically, she’s his one and only connection to Hee-joo, but he refuses to let them be on the same plane of specialness.
At home, Joong-won mulls over the hugging and handholding, and decides he priced himself too low. Gong-shil, meanwhile, reenacts the scene with her stuffed kitty, ending in hug after hug, as she tallies up the cost.
For today’s Ghost of the Day, a shaman leads a girl into a lavish mansion and presents a grandmother and her grandson (Yoo Min-kyu) with his new bride-to-be. The shaman explains that she’s just as the grandmother asked for—born in the same year, and died at the same age.
As she says the words, the two young people sitting across from each other at the table vanish in their ghost forms. The shaman says that once they perform the ghost wedding ceremony, her grandson will rest in peace.
But when the shaman opens up her box of doll replicas to complete the union, Groom Ghost turns ugly and sends the bride away. The shaman sighs that he didn’t like this one either, and that they’ll have to keep looking.
Gong-shil gets ready for her first day of work with a huge grin, and the little neighbor boys tell Kang Woo that she already left. They ask if he’s brave, and decide that maybe he’s brave enough to protect their noona, since she’s always being followed and running away from things. That’s cute.
Sure enough, when Kang Woo catches up to her in the street, he sees her yelling at someone around the corner to leave her alone. He takes off running to chase the guy down, and Gong-shil quickly promises Coffee Ghost that she’ll buy him coffee later.
Kang Woo comes back, thinking he lost the guy, and mentions that the kids said she was being followed. He says it explains her behavior, always anxious, taking the long way home, and asks if maybe she’s running away from loan sharks. Heh.
She thinks about it, and hesitantly tells him that the thing she’s running from is a ghost, and it’s right behind him now… and Kang Woo comes face to face with Coffee Ghost and faints in her arms. That’s just her imagination running wild though, and she decides to tell him the most reasonable lie: that she’s running from a ghost-like stalker.
He totally bucks up at that, realizing it’s something he can help her with, and offers to be her bodyguard free of charge. It’s adorable. She doesn’t even TRY to contain her swoon at the hot bodyguard wanting to protect her, and nods.
So then he’s extra bodyguard-like the rest of the way, which Joong-won and Secretary Kim see on their way to the office. Secretary Kim puns that the sun sure is shining brightly today, and Joong-won whines that it’s shining so brightly that it’s raising his temperature, and throws his sunglasses on. Heh.
Kang Woo gets very curious when he hears that Gong-shil’s new job involves doing something personal for the boss, but she runs off before he can hear what it is. Joong-won’s shocked to find Gong-shil in the office before him, and she says that the boss’s secretary should always arrive before him.
He like, MY secretary? YOU? and quickly dispels her of that notion. Secretary Kim shows her to her new station, a tiny closet office that doubles as a storage room, labeled VIP Room (gwi-bi-shil, which is only one syllable away from “ghost room.” Sure enough, her first guest is a ghost, and as the door slams shut, part of the sign falls off).
She sighs in disappointment to realize that this isn’t a real job, but still presents her new business card proudly to her unni down at the coffee shop.
Aunt and Uncle come across the creepy shaman lady, and Aunt recognizes her right away as the famous ghost matchmaker of the upper crust. Uncle sighs that rich people spend money on the darnedest things. Seriously.
But something makes Ghost Matchmaker stop in her tracks in the Kingdom lobby: Gong-shil, chatting away with Coffee Ghost. She follows Gong-shil all the way back to her office and says to herself that a living girl with one foot in death is perfect…
Uncle debriefs Joong-won on Giant Mall’s CEO and the latest rumblings that he’s teaming up with a president Wang for a big new venture. Joong-won heard that president Wang stopped working when her grandson died tragically (ah so this is granny with the fickle Groom Ghost).
Gong-shil tells Joong-won that she got her first assignment today directly from Auntie Joo, to drop off a gift at president Wang’s home. He tells her that she might see the ghost of her grandson while she’s there, and asks her to pump him for information on his grandmother’s plans for her company.
She’s scared, so he stretches his arms out and puffs out his chest, offering himself up like a tasty treat: “You can touch. For free.” Hahaha. Her eyes grow like saucers just thinking about all the free touching she could do. She looks just like my cat when I bust out the catnip.
She arrives at the house, where the matchmaker asks her to change into a red dress. Well that’s not weird. At the same time, Joong-won tells his aunt that she needn’t worry about Gong-shil and make up errands for her to keep her busy.
Aunt says it was a direct request from the matchmaker herself, and muses that the rumor must be true that president Wang is so heartbroken that she’s trying to find a ghost bride for her ghost grandson.
That starts to niggle at Joong-won, and he calls Gong-shil to ask what she’s doing. She says that the ghost is here and that they asked her to try on a pretty red Chinese dress just like in the movies.
He starts to yell at her to get the hell out, but she sees Groom Ghost and hurriedly gets off the phone before he can tell her what’s going on. He tries to tell himself that it’s her fault and that he doesn’t care. Uh-huh. Quick, go save her from getting married off to a dead guy!
Gong-shil follows Groom Ghost down a gated corridor and into a room, where even the photographs are creepy and do that eye-following thing. The matchmaker locks the door behind her, and tells her to spend the night with the groom. Well now you’re creepy in two ways, lady.
Gong-shil slowly approaches Groom Ghost by the window, who turns to face her. He has his normal face on at first, but then he blips into his scary skull face and roars at her.
Thankfully Joong-won has just arrived downstairs. He says he’s here to fetch his employee, and when president Wang plays coy, he sets out to find Gong-shil himself. He finds the room where she’s been locked inside, and orders the maid to open it.
Just as he’s reaching for the door handle, president Wang arrives behind him and offers to back him financially in place of Giant Mall… if he stops right now. He freezes with his hand on the door, literally stuck between choosing money or the girl.
He grips the handle tightly… and then lets go as he whirls around to say, “Of course I choose…” Suddenly Gong-shil opens the door and sticks her head out, and he shoves her back inside. HAHAHA. That’s so wrong.
He starts to say that she’s the one who opened the door, not him, but Gong-shil tells granny that she has a message from her grandson, and yells at her exactly in his words and cute gestures, to cut it out already. Grandma’s eyes fill with happy tears, knowing that it really did come from her grandson.
Auntie Joo decides she needs a plan to keep Joong-won from getting too attached to Gong-shil, and thinks the best thing is to provide him with a better alternative.
Naturally her idea of better is whacked, because she beelines for Yi-ryung, who’s busy shooting a hilariously bizarre hellfire-and-brimstone cookware commercial, after having to drop the newlywed concept at the last minute.
Aunt adds more fuel to the fire by telling her that Gong-shil was the one who visited her fiancé just before he left her at the altar, and the prop fire shoots up in perfect timing with Yi-ryung’s fuming rage.
Back at Wang Manor, Granny tells them that she couldn’t let go of her grandson because of the bouquet of green roses in his room that wouldn’t wilt, even after he was gone. That puts Joong-won on edge, remembering the last house that had a non-wilting rose.
Gong-shil says it’s because he’s waiting for the person he liked, and Grandma lights up at that, always having regretted that he never had a first love like other kids because he was so sick and never left the house.
Joong-won sees an opportunity to get on the president’s good side, and offers up Gong-shil’s services to help locate this first love. He waves his hands in the air and says he didn’t open the door earlier, and then asks about her investment plans. Shameless.
Gong-shil notices the grandson looking out the window, and peers down to see him watching the milk delivery boy. She asks the maid about it, and she says that the young master was friendly with the last delivery boy, who used to stay and play video games with him.
Gong-shil realizes the last milk boy is the first love he’s been waiting for, and when she whispers it to Joong-won, his eyes widen, “A boy?” He stops her from telling Grandma in case of heart attack, and drags her outside.
He doesn’t want to drop a bomb in Grandma’s face, and argues that the only thing he cares about is keeping her happy. She points out that he hated it when she lied about Hee-joo, so they can’t lie about this to Granny. And most of all, she feels terrible for the poor grandson, who’s been waiting all this time just to see the boy he likes.
She tells Joong-won that she’ll go with whatever he decides, and her face falls as he starts to walk away. But then he stops and says they’ll find the milk boy, but Granny only hears about their undying friendship, and that’s as far as he’s willing to negotiate with Ghosty. Ha.
Yi-ryung waits outside Gong-shil’s rooftop room that night, and Kang Woo slams her against the wall thinking she’s the stalker. After hearing her explanation, he asks how she’s planning to get her revenge for the broken engagement, and Yi-ryung says it’s simple: she’s going to steal Gong-shil’s man.
Kang Woo doesn’t seem convinced she can, but offers to help anyway, as long as she can find out why Joong-won is interested in Gong-shil. She assumes that Kang Woo likes Gong-shil too, which he lets her believe.
But when Kang Woo reaches over to check the bruise on Yi-ryung’s cheek, her heart skips a beat.
Joong-won and Gong-shil arrive at the milk delivery center and ask the current delivery boy about the last person who had his route. He points in the direction of a burly guy, but when Gong-shil asks if he used to deliver to Wang Manor, it’s the girl standing next to him who answers back. Aw, now I’m disappointed that it’s just Coffee Prince Lite.
The girl doesn’t seem very interested in going with them, until Gong-shil tells her that there’s a bouquet of green roses waiting for her. A flashback shows her cute bickering romance with the boy who was too proud to just admit that he liked her.
He showed her the family rose garden and she asked if there were such a thing as a green rose, and he said there were, and they looked just like her—sort of like cabbage, and not very pretty.
He followed it up with a kiss, but then they each covered up their embarrassment with more insults, and she ran away thinking he had just been messing with her. He fell ill and died soon after.
The milk delivery girl runs her hands over the green roses, crying that he lied about them not being pretty. As we see his ghost lean in for a kiss, Grandma sees the roses wilt and disappear.
On the ride home, Gong-shil happily tells Joong-won that green roses signify a rare noble love that only exists in heaven, extremely pleased that everyone found out the truth.
Joong-won is equally pleased, that is, about the buckets of money he’s going to get in investments from Grandma. He tells her that she played her part in it, so he’ll graciously drive her home. Pfft.
She actually declines that they take her all the way home, since she doesn’t want Kang Woo to see them together. I LOVE how much this irks him. She’s blind to it, of course, and blissfully tells him about how she fibbed that the ghosts were stalkers, and how the gallant Kang Woo offered to be her bodyguard.
Joong-won gets petty and decides she should get out now then, and she pauses to reach for his hand before getting out (rawr): “You said it was free, so I don’t want to waste it.” She rubs his hand on her face as if she can make its effect linger, and walks home feeling less afraid.
But then two scary men show up to lurk behind her, and she’s sure they’re human. They grab her in the dark narrow street, and she fights to get free, when suddenly Kang Woo appears to save the day.
He fights them off with ease (I do enjoy how much he’s choosing to be flashy and strike badass poses for her all the while) and he asks if these are the men stalking her. She’s just as confused that living people are chasing her, but then the ghost matchmaker steps out from behind them. Augh, she’s so creepy.
She explains that she just wanted to see her one last time, and her minions created a misunderstanding. She says that Gong-shil shines so brightly—that’s why ghosts are drawn to her and seek her out.
She says that some may only have requests, but that she needs to be on her guard: “They’re looking for an opportunity… to return.” Ack.
As she continues, we cut to Hee-joo’s ghost, lurking over Joong-won’s shoulder. “The darkness eventually swallows the light, and death eventually swallows life. Be careful not to be swallowed.” She leaves with that cryptic warning, leaving Gong-shil with a chill down her spine.
Meanwhile, the neighbor boys sit in the playground waiting for Mom to get home, and Hyung doesn’t notice that Little Bro wanders off in the direction of a ghost who waves at him to come closer. Eep.
He finds his brother on the other side of the playground, staring intently at a creepy doll. He stops the boy from reaching out to it, and says that it might belong to someone else. If it’s still here later, then he can have it.
Hyung leads him away by the hand, and Little Bro looks back to see a whole group of ghost kids surrounding the doll and waving. He waves back, and then the doll’s eyes glow and start to move. OH GREAT. I just had to get the Chucky episode, didn’t I? Curses!
Kang Woo walks Gong-shil home, and though he asks questions, she doesn’t answer any of them. Instead she asks if he really likes her, and if that’s why he’s so curious about her. She says he must be wondering why she’s so secretive and how dire her secret must be—that she’s a spy, a criminal, or really a man—but she says the truth is far worse.
Gong-shil: “It’s because I’m so happy that someone likes me… if you knew, you’d run away.” She says he’s been warned, and that he should keep his distance, but he counters that she might not be the only one with a secret: “Your warning does scare me—that I might disappoint you.”
He bids her goodnight with a long face, and she wonders to herself if she should just tell him the truth if he likes her that much. “Kang Woo-sshi, I see ghosts… how can I say that?”
The next morning, Joong-won is on cloud nine because president Wang invested in Kingdom over Giant Mall, and Gong-shil says she even offered her a job in China. Joong-won sounds a little alarmed at that, but she says she turned it down because he’s here.
He asks if that’s why she’s so glum today, but she says it’s because she had to turn down a different offer, from the man who likes her. She tells him that she couldn’t bring herself to tell him the truth, and look like a crazy person in his eyes.
Joong-won assures her that Kang Woo will think she rejected him for other more normal reasons (aw, was that a voluntary shoulder pat you just gave her?) and she sighs that being around Joong-won has made her feel like a regular person again, dreaming of things like romance. She asks if he’ll come over tonight because she’s feeling extra blue, but he shuts that down right away.
Gossip Man does his job as Uncle has ordered, and starts spreading the news that Gong-shil is rising in the ranks because of her romantic involvement with the boss. The other cleaning ladies wonder what about the security guard that she lives with, and that naturally gets Gossip Man all excited that there’s a love triangle brewing.
He runs back to his station to tell Kang Woo all about it, and wonders who the other guy is. He calls him crazy, whoever the poor guy is, for falling for Dark Circles like he’s been possessed by a ghost. Kang Woo just smiles and listens, and then puts a hand on his shoulder: “It’s me.”
He takes a look at the lollipop in his hand (a present from a little girl he returned to her mother) and marches down to catch Gong-shil.
Meanwhile, Joong-won comes out and tells Secretary Kim that they’ll be taking Gong-shil home tonight.
Kang Woo hands Gong-shil the lollipop and declares: “I want to know you. I’ll be brave. You be strong.” He does have a knack for the swoony declarations.
Joong-won watches it happen from the second floor, and races down to her. There’s this great sequence of build-up as they walk alongside each other, her on the outside, him on the inside looking out at her through the glass, as the pillars swoosh by.
He walks right into her path in the doorway, and she beams as she tells him all about Kang Woo’s declaration. Joong-won: “So, are you going to him?” Gong-shil: “Yes, I want to. I’m going to go.”
I really do like Kang Woo, despite the fact that I can never truly tell where his intentions lie. Or I guess it’s more that despite his intentions being nefarious (or at least driven by a mission), he seems to be doing the dumb thing and falling for his mark. And it’s just hard to hate a guy who’s so well-mannered. It’s the speed of the love triangle’s developments that keeps things interesting—just when Joong-won thinks he can rest easy now that Kang Woo has been rejected, he swoops in for the Lollipop Confession. So now Joong-won’s forced to up his game, and back and forth.
The show is settling a bit more into its groove, but I do feel like I’m missing that electric excitement when I watch this show. That isn’t to say I’m not having a good time, because it’s entertaining and zippy. Some of my enjoyment with this show is admittedly tempered by the recycled setups, which to be fair is true of most Hong sisters’ shows. But there’s so much of Master’s Sun that functions in the same way as My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, from the touching-as-healing, to the mysterious second lead on a mission, down to the episodic timing of which romantic beats happen when. No one could accuse them of not following their own formula, that’s for sure. It’s just that everything is done to the letter as expected, which leaves a little something to be desired.
I think there’s room in the ghost premise to take it somewhere new, and we get a hint of that possibility in today’s episode with the matchmaker’s warning. I have to say, possession opens up a much more interesting avenue than just ghost-seeing and last-wish granting. I want more of that to come to the surface, because it ties the ghosts into the central story in a tangible way, and if that puts our heroine at risk of being swallowed up whole, that’s even better. There was a fantastic conflict and tension when Hee-joo possessed Gong-shil, and if there’s a chance that doing so puts Gong-shil at risk and gives Hee-joo the chance to come back to life, then we get instant life-and-death stakes.
For now the romance keeps me happy, with Joong-won being petty and jealous and refusing to admit his growing attachment (much like today’s Groom Ghost, who died before he could tell the girl he didn’t mean it when he kept shoving his foot in his mouth). It makes it all the more delicious that Kang Woo is the total opposite, so even though I know he’s declaring feelings he might not have, I love it all the same, especially if it’s going to get Bossypants off his ass and offering up hugs for free.