Some secrets are discovered by those previously out of the loop and more feelings are expressed amongst our flock of confused young lovebirds, but by and large we’re dealing with more of the same. That means that things pretty much play out the way we expect, inasmuch as we’ve already seen them happen, oh, about a half-dozen times already in previous episodes.
SONG OF THE DAY
The Breeze – “Try To Remember You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Tan arrives at the campgrounds after all and starts looking for Eun-sang. She’s currently being harassed/romanced by Young-do (which in his book is pretty much the same thing), who forces a hug. I almost thought he might mean it, but he’s staring straight at Tan while he does it, hammering in this drama’s recurring motif about this fight over Rag Doll Eun-sang to really be a dick-waving contest between two caveman heirs. GUH.
And then he hammers that in some more by telling Tan to tell Eun-sang for him that he likes her, because she’ll believe it more coming from Tan. Supposedly.
Hyo-shin has driven Tan to the camp, and Rachel storms up and lets herself into the car, assuming they’re headed back to Seoul. The two guys aren’t a part of the class trip so they’ve booked a hotel room nearby, and Rachel forces her presence upon them while demanding to know whether Tan spoke to Eun-sang.
The guys pay her little mind, and Hyo-shin refuses to be kicked out of his own room just so Rachel can pester Tan alone. But because her harping about Eun-sang is so incessant, Hyo-shin ends up leaving anyway out of distaste. I feel that feel.
Rachel reminds Tan that their engagement is a Big Effing Deal between their families and businesses, warning that his feelings have no power. He knows that, “And that’s why it’s driving me crazy.” That just pisses her off more, and she stomps out before he can suggest they break the agreement.
Eun-sang returns to her tent to find that a gossiping session is underway inside, with a trio of mean girls already aware of Young-do hugging her. They paint Eun-sang as the flirt/slut/vixen out to steal their menfolk, and it sounds like Ye-sol’s leading the charge, the girl with the crush on Young-do, which gives her words extra bite.
Young-do comes up behind her and pulls her hood up, telling her not to listen or be hurt by those words. Then he takes the girls’ shoes and drops them in a tub of water, saying that he’s getting revenge on her behalf. She points out that she’s going to be the one on the hook for that, but he tells her that anything’s easier than explaining why she’s living in the same house as Tan, which he’s deduced by now.
He tells her not to worry too much about it since he won’t be digging into it, “And whatever questions I ask of you, don’t answer. If you answer, I can’t ask anymore.” And that… is pretty much the perfect example of the logic characterizing this drama.
Young-do points out that she can’t answer the question anyway, and rattles off his five possibilities for explanations: (1) She’s the daughter to the family, (2) or daughter-in-law, (3) some kind of relative, (4) live-in maid, or (5) live-in tutor. None of those make sense, so he’s left wondering.
He comes to one last question: “Do you really like Kim Tan?” Is this the question you want her to answer, or the one you don’t? Eun-sang replies, “Yeah,” though, and I think that actually hurts his feelings, if in fact he has any. He slaps a smile on his face and warns her not to do anything about the drenched shoes.
Rachel’s mother finds Young-do’s father at a bar, in the arms of a scantily clad hostess. Skirt-chasing is pretty much his perpetual state but he bothers to use the “This is for business” line, which fools nobody. They have a clipped argument about his plan to release their wedding news without consulting her, but she’s distracted to see a familiar mom from the PTA in the same bar.
It’s Ye-sol’s mother, who also happens to be Madam Han’s saturi-speaking friend, and she gets identified as Madam Park. Now, we’ve been using “madam” for the other ladies in the sense of a woman being mistress of the house, but they’re using madam in the other sense here.
Tan shows up back at camp to pull Eun-sang aside, taking her for a walk through the woods. She follows warily until they get to a secluded alcove lit by string lights with a cozy trailer, though he scoffs that the setup was already here and not of his design.
He wraps her in his coat and sits her in front of the fire to give her two choices: They can both sleep warmly inside the trailers, or out here in the cold. Leaving is not an option, “since I won’t let you go.” Said the serial killer. Oh wait, wrong drama. (Or is it.)
She smiles and says she doesn’t want him to let her go, which stops him short, because he was expecting a fight. That says a lot about this relationship, doesn’t it? She explains that she felt like she had a lot of reasons for calling him earlier, but now she thinks it was because she missed him.
He gapes and wonders at the personality transplant, but Eun-sang explains that they’re away from home, and just for one more day she’ll “escape into a midsummer night’s dream.”
So she rests her head on his shoulder… though she quips that it’s less comfortable than expected. He tells her that it’s not her head she’s supposed to lean on him, but her heart.
They look up at the stars, and he says she’d better not ask for any of them. Until she says that Chan-young does it for Bo-na, and then Tan changes his tune: “Which one?”
She sighs that the mood feels just like Friday the 13th, and he complains about her tendency to inject horror into melo. No kidding. She says she likes horror because it makes her unhappiness seem trifling by comparison, an he asks if he’s one of those sources of unhappiness. She declines to answer.
In the wee hours, they head back to camp, tone back to light bickering. She reminds him of the Hollywood sign that seemed so close despite its distance, and likens him to that, saying that when they’re holding hands like this she sometimes forgets that.
Now she answers his question about unhappiness, and says that he’s not one of them—amidst her various misfortunes, he’s one good fortune. “That’s enough for me,” she tells him. “I’ve awakened from my dream. That’s how I can survive. I’m sorry.”
With that, she pulls her hand from his. He grabs it back. “How much closer do I have to get for you to believe me?” he asks. “You’ve never arrived, so don’t use the excuse that it’s far.”
By the time the others are up and getting ready for the day, news has spread of Tan’s arrival in the night. The facts have become distorted by incomplete facts and everyone assumes Rachel’s absence is due to Tan, and Ye-sol makes a dig at Eun-sang.
I guess the “roughing it” aspect was only for a night, because now the class heads over to the hotel for a leadership seminar. Rachel’s already there, and shoots Eun-sang her usual eye-daggers. The class runs into Tan and Hyo-shin as they head to breakfast, and Eun-sang plays it cool, scurrying past to eat alone. Young-do takes note.
Hearing that Tan shared rooms with Hyo-shin is a blow to Rachel—she’s been playing along with their assumption of a romantic night out—but one I can’t really care about since Rachel has been such an unbudging pain in the butt. Young-do makes a barb about Tan juggling girls, and Eun-sang leaves the room, having heard enough.
Young-do follows her out, Tan watches through the window, and Rachel mutters at him to stop looking. Outside, Young-do pulls his patented trip-and-catch maneuver, smiles down at Eun-sang… and then lets go. She falls right into the pool.
Tan bolts up from his chair, ordering everyone to stay put and not come out. Oh, I give the class about two seconds before they do just that.
“Sorry, my hand slipped,” Young-do says. God, you ass. Apparently he’s proving a point, though, saying, “What I just did to you is what Kim Tan will do to you in the future. Pretending to hold, but letting go in the end.” Yes, because it was so kind of you to demonstrate rather than saying words. So he advises her to let go first and move away: “I’m saying this for your own good.”
Eun-sang bites out, “I know already. You’re dead now. I mean it.”
Just as Young-do’s laughing at that, Tan comes up behind him and shoves him into the pool. “Sorry, my foot slipped.”
Young-do just laughs, saying he feels like he won. When Tan offers a hand to Eun-sang, Young-do taunts him with his “concubine” secret.
Hyo-shin has had it up to HERE with their immature antics, which makes me think he’s the only sane one in this show, and storms in to separate the two fools. Then Chan-young and Bo-na join them, and Bo-na jumps to offer her hand to prevent her boyfriend from extending his, which cracks me up. (When Young-do advises Eun-sang to not catch a cold, Bo-na retorts, “Don’t listen to him. Just catch a cold.” Ha.)
Hyo-shin comes home to a furious mother, having not told her of his overnight plans. She’s more upset that he blew off a college interview, though he reminds her that he’d never promised to go to it, and also that he doesn’t want to go to law school. She asks what’s wrong with him, and Hyo-shin turns to her with tears in his eyes, saying bitterly that it sure took her a long time to bother asking that. “Do you want to know why I collected sleeping pills, why I took them?” he asks. His mother tells him to tell her after entrance exams are over, dismissing him.
At the Kim household, the wife goes to confront the concubine and gets the maid instead. Mom freezes when her Director Jung demands to see her notepad, since it contains all manner of incriminating notes. Madam Han arrives to step between them, sizes up the situation, and hisses at Mom, “Run!” Ha.
Mom does as ordered, stuffing memos into her mouth to eat the evidence. These two. Best couple in this drama.
Director Jung is furious, having found out about the photographer put on her tail—they took photos to her and offered to sell for double the price Madam Han would pay. Madam Han suggests ending the strife by getting the family registry in order, but Director Jung retorts that she’s overshooting her place and warns that she’ll find out just how rock-bottom she is in due time.
Now Madam Han realizes the notebooks are a threat, and sits down to negotiate with Mom over the cost to buy them, HA. I love Mom for playing hardball, and she fetches a nice price for the lot.
News hits of the unholy alliance between Rachel’s mother and Young-do’s father, which gives rise to more gossip at school. Rachel is desperate enough to suggest that the quickest way to prevent the wedding is for the kids to date, but Young-do rejects that out of hand: “I’ve started to like someone.”
Kids congratulate Rachel while snickering behind her back, and Tan finds her as she’s trying not to cry. He tries to lend a friendly hand of comfort, and Eun-sang passes by to see them together.
Young-do comes up all smiles and quips, but Eun-sang offers him consolation too, asking if he’s all right. That just about floors him. She offers to delay her promise to punish him, conceding that at the end of the day, he is just an 18-year-old boy.
Tan finds Eun-sang in the broadcasting room listening to music, and barricades her into the booth (aw, young romance) before speaking to her over the mic. He confides that he’s lived with so many misunderstandings that can’t be set straight that when he comes in contact with one that can, he does his best to do so. So he clarifies that the scene just now with Rachel was one of friendship, and that he’s sorry he didn’t help her out of the pool—he didn’t want to make things worse in front of everyone, but he regrets.
Last but not least, he demands to know what she was saying to Young-do, going from thoughtful and mature almost-boyfriend to pouting boy in a split second. Ha. She rolls her eyes and gets up to leave, whereupon she encounters his barricade and makes a gibe at his last-place ranking.
Young-do picks an old haunt for after-school snacks, where the wall is covered in teenage wishes and comments. He tells Myung-soo that this is where it all started: “Where I lost everything.”
A flashback to middle school shows Tan trying to take Young-do aside, even after he’d been rebuffed multiple times by barbs about being illegitimate. Young-do had sneered anyway, and Tan had warned, “You’re going to regret this moment for the rest of your life.”
Asked what he’d lost, Young-do replies, “Mom. Friend.” Myung-soo wonders dimly, “You lost your mother’s friend?”
Won finds Manager Yoon brooding over today’s news release and asks why he gave up Rachel’s mother. Manager Yoon asks why Won chose to let Hyun-joo go, and Won replies that he hasn’t broken up with her—he put Jeguk first, and next is Hyun-joo. Manager Yoon points out, “That is a choice. Why do you think they’ll wait for us?”
Won gets a surprise visit from his stepmother, and is startled at her reminder that Tan’s birthday is approaching… and in this family that likely means that Chairman Dad is about to transfer some stock in Tan’s name. And if that happens, Tan may challenge Won as Jeguk’s largest shareholder.
Won wonders why she’d clue him in, and she calls it maternal affection, though I’d bet it’s a lot more about putting a certain concubine in her place. Won orders Manager Yoon to look into it, only to be told that Manager Yoon himself is the one who holds the most stock (in his name but under the chairman’s control).
These revelations are quite a blow to Won, and put him on edge as he looks around at his staff, wondering who here is positioned against him. Sad day.
Eun-sang tries to sneak past Tan’s room while on an errand but gets pulled inside, where he warns that walking away will get a hug and talking back will get a kiss. Is it crazier that he’s using them as threats, or that with a girl like Eun-sang these actually are threats?
Tan leans in close flirtatiously, but today Madam Han actually spots the cozy scene from the hallway and immediately guesses something’s up between them. She starts to rip into Eun-sang for overstepping, and Tan jumps to her defense, saying that Eun-sang is in a bind enough already over the fact that he likes her.
He orders his mother not to treat Eun-sang that way and sends her out, speaking calmly as Madam Han flips out over his romantic distraction and how he should be focused on the fact that Won is running the business.
Tan points out, “That’s his rightful place. All those things that you want—don’t tell me to bring them to you. Nobody can decide for me what I must have or who I should love. Don’t decide for me—I’ll decide for myself.”
He asks for her support, but she doesn’t look to be in much of a supportive mood. Madam Han beelines for Mom to rip into her for raising her daughter wrong and daring to enter the young master’s room. Mom signs back at her boss that Eun-sang was wrong to enter Tan’s room, but it’s Tan who’s always looking for Eun-sang. Eun-sang has to translate the signing, and lies that Mom is full of apologies.
Tan bursts in to pull his mother out as she shrills at Mom to move out immediately. Eun-sang apologizes for putting her mother in that position, but Mom signs back that she’s sorry for being unable to speak up in her defense. Eun-sang cries, “No, I’m sorry for liking him.”
Mom suggests that they move out, saying that they can do whatever they can to find a way. Eun-sang cries that if at all possible she wants to move schools and homes. Mom says they’ll move out as soon as they can.
Tan barrages Eun-sang with pleading messages to meet in the wine cellar, all of which go ignored. Her room is empty, and he asks her mother after her. He bolts outside to track her down, but misses her on her way to spend the night with a “friend.”
And then Eun-sang calls Bo-na. HA. Funny how this is my favorite thing so far about this episode. Bo-na turns her down flat, but Eun-sang only has to suggest “Then should I call Chan-young…” for Bo-na to spit out her address at her.
Once there, Bo-na demands to know all the details, and Eun-sang admits that Bo-na’s not so bad, “Though I cursed you a lot.”
“That’s okay,” Bo-na returns. “I cursed you more.” She wonders about the fake Mom who showed up to the PTA meeting, but decides not to hear it, “Since it feels like we’d have to be friends then.”
Tan spends his night waiting for a call that doesn’t come, and Eun-sang arrives at school so early in the morning that the gates aren’t open. She heads off to buy breakfast and runs into Young-do at a convenience store, where he offers her his extensive knowledge of convenience store foods for the best pick. Asked why he eats so much of it, he replies that it’s something you can eat alone without seeming weird for it, which earns him some pity in her eyes.
Young-do and Eun-sang head back to school, waiting at an intersection just as Tan’s car pulls up. He sees them standing together across the way, though Eun-sang remains completely oblivious (why ruin a good pattern?).
Young-do offers her a way to escape Tan and yanks her close to sling an arm around her, all for Tan’s benefit.
He says he’s curious to see how Tan will react, and it’s only now that she looks up to see him watching. The light turns green, and everyone starts walking. As they pass each other in the middle of the road, Tan grabs Eun-sang’s wrist (guh), and Young-do grabs his wrist to stop the Rag Doll transfer.
Eun-sang pulls her wrist free, dealing Tan a blow, and says miserably, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”
Tan apologizes, holding out a hand to her: “I can’t promise that it’ll get easier, but let’s go together anyway. Holding hands.”
Young-do warns her not to take that hand.
Where’s a Truck of Doom when you really want one? This love triangle, I swear. It’s not the intrinsic setup that is problematic, but the sheer repetition that makes me roll my eyes—when everything just happens over and over again, nothing lands with any emotional weight. At this point I don’t even expect any episodes to NOT begin and end with a three-way tug of war, but lordy wouldn’t it be refreshing if the writer could invent a new plot point.
Not only do we have to deal with the fact that the same things keep going ’round in circles—with new set dressing to try to confuse us into thinking something’s actually different this time—we have to deal with this exact same plotline in no less than three relationships. I could maybe see the argument that this drama is purposely repeating history from the older generation in the younger generation, if only the older characters were used as a type of cautionary tale, or a source of learning from one’s mistakes. Only they’re just standing there making the same mistakes as their kids, with about the same level of maturity. Surely we don’t need to see the same beats play out in the same configuration for every single character.
So let’s see, we have Rachel’s mother, Chan-young’s father, Young-do’s father, Won, Hyun-joo, Rachel, Tan, Young-do, Eun-sang: Is it really too much to ask that the writer think up more than one story among nine characters? A slow story is one thing, especially if the languid movement is part of the stylistic choice of the show—there’s a dreaminess to the pacing and mood that might even support that argument. But lack of a story just makes me wonder, What’s the point?
On the upside, I was pleased to see Tan step it up with his mother and face her honestly about taking charge of his own decisions, although given Madam Han’s impotence in the household I don’t really feel that stand to be very powerful. (Saying it to Dad, on the other hand, might Mean Something.) Even so, this engagement albatross is, while necessary as a point of conflict, becoming a bigger and bigger narrative drag. What will it take for the unwanted third parties to get a clue and step aside, especially when they never had a legitimate shot in the first place?