Aw, there are a lot of really great character moments in this pair of episodes — the plot is standard stuff, as we’ve come to expect by now, but the quiet emotional moments between characters had a nice ring to them. Well, some of those moments, because half of the cast remains insane and ridiculous, especially the ones named Yeon-ah or Yi-jung. Really, the prevailing question for me while watching this show is: Why there be so many crazy bitches in this drama?
So Yeon-ah’s crazy, as we know, but the others also start to cotton on to this fact now that she’s wielding damning information. Like blackmailing Mi-ryung into breaking up Jun-ho and Soon-shin, although Yeon-ah’s response is to ask blankly, Blackmail, whatever do you mean? I’m asking for a favor. I trust you’ll help me. Honey, I wouldn’t trust you to double-cross me right—not when you’d triple-cross me instead.
So Mi-ryung tentatively broaches the topic to Soon-shin, urging her to think of her career instead of dating. Soon-shin promises to be careful of rumors. I do like that Mi-ryung has a moment of clarity in admitting that Soon-shin grew up well, “Maybe because I didn’t raise her. She’s nothing like me.” (Ironically—or not?—Mi-ryung recognizes that Yeon-ah is both terrible and like herself.)
Jun-ho’s mother fumes and files for divorce. She confronts Mi-ryung while Yi-jung drops by Soon-shin’s set, and basically the two ladies accuse the Mi-ryung/Soon-shin duo of stealing the Shin men. Which is so dumb. I get that it looks bad when you paint it in that twisted, martyred way that both ladies love to wallow in, but really, can’t you give the men in this scenario some agency for their actions? Geezus.
That’s why I find it surprising when Yi-jung actually speaks some sense to her father, although she does it in her typical pain-in-the-ass way. (She follows him at work, intent on checking up on his every movement. Because, you know, that has a point?) When Dr. Shin says he just needs alone time, Yi-jung accuses him of being selfish—he’s only ever thought of himself and work, never caring about his family, and now he wants alone time? Fine, then divorce, she says. Really, I think that’s best for all.
But I hate Yi-jung for adding fuel to Soon-shin-related rumors. Soon-shin’s role is increasing in the drama, rivaling Yeon-ah’s screentime, and all the buzz is about her. In-sung suggests to Jun-ho that they make the relationship public because keeping it quiet could bite them in the ass. The rumor is starting to paint Soon-shin as the wily fox who seduced the CEO to get ahead, stealing him from Yeon-ah. Poor, victimized Yeon-ah.
At least everyone is finding out that Jun-ho and Soon-shin are dating, and for the most part it’s no big deal. Mom even laughs that she oughtta scold Jun-ho for dating her instead of working. IS WHAT I’M SAYIN’.
They go on cute dates and Soon-shin buys everybody gifts with her first paycheck, including a gratifyingly grateful Mi-ryung and Manager Hwang. It’s heartwarming. And yes, I would be a terrible melodrama writer because I just like seeing people happy, okay?
Jun-ho makes Soon-shin promise multiple times not to cave to pressure to break up, because she shouldn’t worry about what people say. The first time he says this I got a little worried. The second and third times, the dread set in—the fact that he’s the one insisting means that Jun-ho is going to be the one to break that promise, isn’t it? Thus spake the Laws of K-Drama.
Yeon-ah tells Jun-ho about the whole Mi-ryung-may-or-may-not-have-killed-Soon-shin’s-father secret. She says it in the context of possessing the power to ruin Soon-shin’s life with one statement, which is something only a psychopath or a sadistic mofo would actually brag about.
Yeon-ah points Jun-ho to Reporter Park for the story, which pretty much seals the deal. Reporter Park is either insinuating that Mi-ryung was having an affair with Dad, or worse, that she had a hand in killing him. In any case, I think we can all agree that while the truth is bad, the twisted story in Reporter Park’s hands is way more sordid.
Bastard Ex-Husband is a bastard and I hate him and I want to slap his smug face. He flaunts his relationship with Woo-joo in front of Bread Man’s face and orders him around in his own shop, calling him Ex-con. The one upside is that he’s such an ass that even Woo-joo is sort of like, Um, Dad, don’t be such an ass. The tide is turning…
Then McBastardy Ex begs Mom and Grandma to help him win Hye-shin back. They’re not willing, so Bastard Ex plays his final card: He tattles that Bread Man is out to seduce Hye-shin, and that he’s an ex-con. Gahhhh.
Hye-shin defends Bread Man’s prison time as a youthful mistake and points out how decently he’s living. Grandma thankfully doesn’t blow her lid about the ex-con bit, but she warns Hye-shin not to get too friendly, which is still pretty bad. Then she tells Bread Man in a really gentle, kindly way—which makes it worse, frankly—that Hye-shin is so nice she can’t resist being nice to poor pathetic people. She also asks him to move out, then immediately takes it back and apologizes, which is like saying, “Sorry I shot your foot off.” Sure you’re sorry, but I WANT MY FOOT BACK. Or in this case, Bread Man’s heart.
Mi-ryung gets increasingly desperate about the accident secret, and every time she and Soon-shin have a bonding moment, it’s fraught with the fear that it’ll end soon. Isn’t it funny how now she’s more scared of Yeon-ah than the vicious gossip reporter with a vendetta against her? She begs Jun-ho to fix it, but while Jun-ho clearly wants to, he just doesn’t have that power.
Except he sort of has that power, kind of. Jun-ho asks Yeon-ah what he can do to keep her from hurting Soon-shin. She’s all, “Come back to me,” BAH. He points out that just doing that doesn’t mean they’d be happy together, and says he wouldn’t have gotten back with Yeon-ah even without Soon-shin in the picture. But Yeon-ah is firmly stuck in a ’90s drama and says in her crazy denial that he’s wrong, that Soon-shin is the problem, and that they’re meant to get back together. O…kay. *backs away slowly*
But regardless of whether or not Yeon-ah is sane (although… duh, NOT SANE), Jun-ho recognizes that he technically has the means to cover up this destructive secret (which is reinforced by scenes where Soon-shin wistfully thinks of her beloved father in front of him), and he starts getting cagey with her, not answering calls and such. Then he asks if she wants to go somewhere special, which, AUGH, is classic drama-speak for a goodbye date.
So they head to an amusement park and then to the neighborhood soondae restaurant, where Jun-ho looks pained everytime Soon-shin makes references to the future, like how she’ll treat him to a fancy restaurant next time. He particularly looks like he’s going to cry when Soon-shin fixes up a bite for him with a piece of kimchi, and she explains that he’s always taken such care of her that now she’s going to take care of him too.
After the date, he finally broaches the topic by asking, “You’d be fine without me, right?” He beats around the bush a bit (wouldn’t be Jun-ho without bush-beating) and then finally says, “Let’s break up.”
So… the fact that we end on the breakup pretty much means that the highlights aren’t really going to be able to overcome the lowlights, but I suppose we can give it the ol’ college try. Also, the one saving grace to the show taking so damn long to get anywhere interesting is that now we only have three weeks left so the terrible makjang self-sacrifices and forced breakups won’t have much bite at all.
There’s a cute scene right after Jun-ho makes Soon-shin promise not to weaken her resolve to be together (AHEM, REMEMBER THAT PROMISE JUN-HO?), and refuses to let go of her hand. She points out that everyone’s staring, and he informs her, “They’re looking at me. Because I’m so handsome.” When he has to use his hand, he just switches hands and keeps holding on, telling Soon-shin she’d better stake her claim because he’s so popular.
When Chan-mi sighs to Soon-shin about being single, In-sung pops up to tell her, LOOK CLOSE BY. Then he invites himself along for beer and chicken, and raises Chan-mi’s eyebrows by calling her father “Father.” Then he jumps up and insists that Soon-shin’s mother join them and takes over the serving role, which is really very sweet of him.
Yoo-shin misses out on a kimchi-making session with Chicken Ajumma because of work, and Ajumma naturally gets pi-iiiissed. Worse yet is that Yoo-shin is forced to go to a work dinner where everyone drinks, and she gets so drunk that she directs the taxi to her mother’s house and climbs into her old bed. HA. That’s really cute.
When Chan-woo calls her in concern, she mumbles that she’s home, why isn’t HE here? So he heads over to collect her, and of course gets caught by his mother on the way in at 4 a.m.
Ajumma blows her lid, naturally, blustering at the couple to move out and live at the other house then. I find it cute how Yoo-shin slurs how much she likes Ajumma and wants to live here and kisses her on the cheek. She may be off-puttingly drunk, but there’s honesty in that drunkenness.
To soothe Ajumma’s ruffled feathers, Yoo-shin takes her for a shopping and beauty day. Ajumma huffs that she won’t be so easily appeased, but she totally is. They get roaringly drunk and stagger home singing loudly, to the shock of their men. And now the ladies have bonded together in scolding their menfolk, saying that they don’t appreciate how much Ajumma does for them, with Yoo-shin ordering Chan-woo to say he’s sorry. Ha.
Reporter Park drops the accident secret in Soon-shin’s lap—that Mi-ryung was with her father before he died. She’s half in denial about it and half outraged just in principle, telling him he’s been misinformed.
She asks Mi-ryung about her biological father, though, saying she’s finally ready to know. So Mi-ryung describes that dark time in her life and how she’d wanted to lean on someone, even if he was a gambler and drinker. But he left her and she found herself pregnant afterward. Mi-ryung asks, “Are you disappointed in me?” She avoids Soon-shin’s gaze and braces herself for the rejection, which is really very poignant—she may be terrible at times, but you get the sense it’s coming from someplace real, and that it’s the hardest thing for her to be raw and open like this.
Mi-ryung tells Soon-shin quietly, “You can leave me if you want. I’ll just keep disappointing you.” So it’s this huge revelation for her when Soon-shin says that she isn’t disappointed, and that there’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Rather, she thanks her for mustering the courage to tell her the truth, and also for allowing her to meet her father.
Woo-joo’s father flakes on their amusement park plans, lying that he has important business although she can hear that he’s with his mistress floozy. So when she scrapes her knee walking home alone, she bursts into tears for the other thing, and lets Bread Man fix up her knee.
She’s still prickly with him, but actually seems let down when he tells her he plans to move out. They have my favorite exchange of the episode:
Bread Man: “Don’t upset your mother, because she’s pretty when she smiles.”
Woo-joo “Psh. My mother’s pretty always.”
Bread Man: “Yes, that’s true. But you know, Woo-joo, you’re pretty when you smile too.”
And then she gives this teeny little smile.
Hye-shin is startled to hear of Bread Man moving out, and in the middle of the night at that. Aw. He’s just trying to be as invisible as possible, and that’s almost painful—that after being hurt, he’s still concerned about sparing the family any discomfort.
Bread Man admits to Hye-shin that he can’t stay anymore, especially since it’s true that he likes her. She actually asks him not to leave, but he tells her she doesn’t have to pity him anymore. His chin does this terrible trembly thing as he tries to force a smile and it kills me.
Teary-eyed herself, Hye-shin she tells him it’s thanks to him that she’s experienced things for the first time, like boxing and playing hooky, “And confessing my feelings like this. I feel the same way you do.”
Bread Man takes this extended moment to absorb her words, and then he just bellows into the air. I’ve never been so relieved to see a guy smile, I swear.
Last but not least, the goodbye date is cute. Except then it ends with a breakup. And that’s way less cute.
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 41-42 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 39-40 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 37-38 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 35-36 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 33-34 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 31-32 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 29-30 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 27-28 [Open Thread]
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 25-26
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 23-24
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 21-22
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 19-20
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 17-18
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 15-16
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 14
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 13
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 12
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 11
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 10
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 9
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 8
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 7
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 6
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 5
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 3-4
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 1-2