Modern Farmer: Episode 2
Well I asked for wacky hijinks, and I certainly got them. The boys get to the farm and find that country life is a lot more difficult than they thought, and that’s not including how bad things can get when you start stealing from the locals. But they may have some friends in unexpected places, if they can manage to avoid killing anyone. Or anything?
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Having had enough of Hyuk’s shenanigans, Min-ki stops the car to tell him to get lost before he loses his temper. Hyuk is still all smiles and only talks about how long it’s been since they saw each other, so Min-ki yells that he must have forgotten what he did to them. Min-ki loses his temper again when Hyuk makes jokes, and Han-chul and Ki-joon have to physically hold him back.
Han-chul says that he’s not happy to have Hyuk here either, and Min-ki demands to know why he brought him then. Han-chul only says they need him for the band, because they won’t be able to find anyone else as good as he is. He argues that they also need him for farming, which a frustrated Min-ki can’t argue against.
The guys finally arrive at Min-ki’s hometown, and he waxes poetic about how this is where all their dreams will come true.
Min-ki tells them a legend about the town that involves a deer saving a king from barbarians and being granted a court ranking. The village was named Durokri, which split into Upper (Sang) and Lower (Ha) Durokri, which became Hadurokri, which sounds like Hard Rock. (Haha, this doesn’t bode well for farming success.)
His buddies pretty much call this a big fat lie, but Min-ki points out a captive deer in a pen nearby, claiming that it’s a descendant of the deer that saved the king’s life. The deer has a golden pendant around its neck that supposedly the king bestowed on its ancestor.
Min-ki takes his friends to see his land, and their eyes widen at the thought of all the cabbages they can grow. Ha, they even pretend to dodge giant cabbage airplanes dropping cabbage bombs that explode into dollar bills.
They go see the house and now they have wide eyes for a different reason — the place is a dump. Min-ki tries to prove it’s fine by dancing on the porch, but he ends up putting his foot through a board, then makes it worse by punching a hole in the roof. Whoops.
There’s no food either, so the guys go inside to unpack. But the house isn’t empty, and they scream and run when they see that it’s already occupied by a wild deer. Han-chul starts yelling about the horrible place they’ve come to, but Min-ki swears that it’s always rustic like this in the country.
They all head into town to look for food, and at least Hyuk is trying to see the bright side, saying that it’s fun, like camping. Min-ki smiles to see that his old school is still there, and finds where he carved his and his first love’s initials into a bench.
He tells them that Yoon-hee noona was three years older than him, and that she was smart, beautiful, and talented. One day, a jealous classmate had pushed her into a river, and he’d pulled her out and saved her life. But their love didn’t last, because he’d moved to Seoul with his mother and had never seen her again.
As Min-ki wonders what Yoon-hee is doing right now, we see that she’s currently chasing a baby pig around a neighbor’s farmyard, looking decidedly less glamorous than anything Min-ki is probably imagining. She catches the piglet and she and the neighbor ajumma talk about how the governor is coming to their little town tomorrow.
Apparently the town deer (I can’t help it, the idea of a town deer is hysterical) was chosen as the mascot of the district, which is a great honor as well as coming with enough prize money to finally pave the roads. Yoon-hee drives home on her four-wheeler, and she’s clearly loved by the whole town, as she has a smile and kind word for everyone she passes.
The guys can’t find a store, and stop to question a local boy who says the town doesn’t have one. Ki-joon is super whiny by now because he’s starving, and he spots an apple orchard nearby. Min-ki leads them imperiously to the trees, swearing that it’s not stealing, it’s only pilfering and there’s no way they’ll get caught. Famous last words.
They hilariously sneak up on the apple trees, and they pass around an apple as if it’s the most delicious thing in the entire world. They start picking all the apples and stuffing them in their shirts or wherever they can stuff them, taking bites then throwing them on the ground and being completely wasteful.
But the orchard owner appears, and clearly he’s not as understanding of the “pilfering” as the boys had hoped. With a growl, he flings the contents of his bucket at them and slices the apple Min-ki is holding neatly in half with his shovel. He screams and chases the boys, shovel held high over his head.
The guys lose him by hiding in a ditch, where they realize that the bucket contents they’re covered in is poop. HAHA. They head to the river to wash off, but the orchard owner finds them and chases them again, now clad only in their underwear.
A man, with his mother and sister, lovingly tends flowers in a large greenhouse and grouches at his sister for not working because she just got her nails done. Their mother complains that young people don’t understand the value of money, to which the girl retorts that Mom just got Botox. Hee. Mom looks younger than her own son, which is a sore spot in the family (she’s also one of the gossipy duo from the funeral).
The man tells his sister to get married, to which she retorts that all the men in town are old — show her a young one and she’ll marry him! Right on cue four wet, nearly naked, handsome men come running into the greenhouse and go screaming through the flowers, with the bellowing orchard owner right behind them. The florist joins him in chasing them, ready to kill them for stepping on his precious plants.
Sang-deuk lays by the side of the road, passed-out drunk, as his mother (the other gossipy lady) and grandfather cluck over him. His mom rouses him and tells him to sober up if he ever wants to get married, but their conversation is cut short by the bandmates, running and screaming in fear with a bellowing orchard owner and shrill florist chasing behind them. Hyuk kicks over one of Sang-deuk’s bottles of makgulli as he tears past, and Sang-deuk freaks out and joins the chase.
The boys run for their lives until they see Yoon-hee on her four-wheeler heading right towards them, and they swerve left and she swerves right and the boys end up in a muddy ditch. Covered in mud and in their boxers and T-shirts, the boys cower as Yoon-hee and the orchard owner, florist, and Sang-deuk demand to know what they’re going to do about their destroyed property.
Finally Min-ki recognizes Sang-deuk from his grandmother’s funeral, and he tells everyone this is the same Min-ki they used to know as a kid. Yoon-hee is delighted to see him, but Min-ki is horrified to realize that this country bumpkin is his beautiful first love.
Min-ki haltingly tells her he’s here to do some farming, but the florist rants that everyone says that, then they bail after a few months. Sang-deuk takes the boys’ side, and his grandfather breaks in to say that it’s a big day for the village tomorrow, and the village head should decide what to do with them. And oh by the way, Yoon-hee is the village head. HA.
The boys clean up and Yoon-hee asks Min-ki why he suddenly wants to be a farmer and if he’s back for good. He says he’s not, and he can’t help himself from puffing up a bit when he tells her that he’s in a rock band in Seoul. It’s just that he’s been getting so many offers that he wanted a break (I love how the other guys look at each other like, “Are you hearing this BS?”).
Min-ki asks how she became the village head and she says it just worked out that way, but her hearty laugh is just a bit too loud. The little boy from the road comes to tell her that Grandfather is calling her to dinner but that Grandmother cooked again, which is apparently a Very Bad Thing. Yoon-hee tells Min-ki that the boy is her son, but she’s not married, and he’s horrified again that his first love is a single mom village head.
Yoon-hee says she’ll let things go this time, but that they should apologize for the apples, flowers, and makgulli. She takes offense when he’s flippant about it, saying it may just be apples to him, but to the villagers they’re like their children. She yells that he can’t farm with that mindset, and to grow up.
I gotta admit, Yoon-hee’s mother’s cooking does look awful, though Mom herself is mighty beautiful. Her husband flatters her that her instant meals are the BEST, and she should stick to those. Yoon-hee arrives (foiling her father’s plans to escape dinner by going to look for her) and claims to have already eaten, and makes her getaway.
She heads to her room, grumbling that Min-ki hasn’t changed a bit, and pulls out an old box of keepsakes. She finds a tape that a young Min-ki made for her, with a song that he wrote just for her (it’s really just “Oh Donna” by Ritchie Valens but with her name subbed in, so cute), and she plays it and smiles at how cute Min-ki used to be.
The guys head back to the house, and Min-ki asks Han-chul if he’s still angry and apologizes. Han-chul is in no mood, and tells him that if anything else goes wrong he’ll head right back to Seoul. Min-ki asks why he’s so sensitive lately, and Han-chul just sighs.
Min-ki joins Hyuk in a nice group pee into a lake, bragging about his manhood as evidenced by the strength of his pee. Do guys really talk about this stuff?! Suddenly they’re both outdone by a smirking Ki-joon, and they can only look on in awe — until they realize they have an audience, and they’ve been peeing in the village’s drinking water.
The florist gripes that Yoon-hee didn’t do anything about the guys, but Sang-deuk talks him into going for a drink and they take the grunting orchard owner with them (he apparently doesn’t talk, ever). Yoon-hee yells at Min-ki for getting in trouble again so soon, and tells him to give up on farming now that the whole village is mad at him.
Min-ki claims they can farm on their own with no help at all (as the guys mouth at him to shush), and Yoon-hee shrieks that he can try it if he wants — but if they get in trouble one more time, she won’t let him off the hook again.
The guys get back to the house, but the deer is still there and they go scrambling back into the yard in fear. They yell at Min-ki for getting them into this, and wonder where they’ll sleep tonight. After dark they all crowd into the car, and Min-ki sighs over pictures of himself and Yoo-na on his phone.
Han-chul goes off alone, and takes his cancer medicine. He sits on the front porch of the house and contemplates a bucket list he’s written, which consists of such heartbreaking things as “tell Mom I love her” and “get married.” He wonders to himself if he’ll die without ever having fallen in love, and breaks down in tears.
In the morning the boys head for the field armed with random gardening tools, and Han-chul asks Min-ki what they should do first. Min-ki hasn’t thought of this and consults the internet, admitting that he has no idea how to grow cabbages when he’s never even had a houseplant. Hyuk helps out and finds instructions which say that first, you have to plow the field.
It gets complicated after that, what with all the trenches and furrows and whatnot, so Min-ki declares that they just need to dig. They attack the dirt with a lot of enthusiasm and zero organization, and manage to wear themselves out without getting anything accomplished.
Hyuk gasps out the question they should have asked themselves first — how did Min-ki’s grandmother plow the field all by herself? Min-ki doesn’t know, but a shadow passes over them and they look up to see the obvious answer. A tractor! Min-ki thinks about borrowing it, until he sees that it’s the florist (whose name is Man-gu) in the driver’s seat.
Ever optimistic, Hyuk bounces up and runs to the tractor with a friendly grin, asking cheerfully if they can borrow the tractor. Florist Man-gu just as cheerfully declares him nuts and refuses, and Hyuk has to tell the guys that he nearly got killed for asking. Hyuk tells Min-ki to just ask Yoon-hee for a tractor, but Min-ki is adamant that he’ll never ask her for help, no way no how. Han-chul says he’ll just go back to Seoul then, and Ki-joon and Hyuk follow him, declaring this a terrible idea anyway (oh now you figure this out).
The villagers are preparing the town for the governor’s visit, and Yoon-hee takes a call from an aide who lets her know the governor will be there in a couple of hours with reporters and a camera crew. Yoon-hee assures the aide that the town will be spic-and-span in plenty of time.
A banner comes loose and Yoon-hee reaches to fix it, but a hand grabs it from her and she looks up to see a contrite-looking Min-ki. He asks if he can help and she immediately knows he wants something, but she mocks his request for a tractor and reminds him that he said he could do it all himself. Min-ki lays it on thick with the flattery and the “noona”s, but flounces when she continues to refuse.
Yoon-hee relents and Min-ki turns sunny again, creeping her out with his niceness. She brings the boys the tractor but tells them they have to fertilize before they plow, which they do (sort of), and she offers to plow while they pick up rocks.
Meanwhile, Sang-deuk goes to give the village deer a bath for his big day, but Mr. Flower is nowhere to be seen. Sang-deuk drunkenly staggers off to look for the missing town mascot.
Later Yoon-hee heads to find a bathroom and the boys take a break, and Hyuk marvels at how much she knows about farming. Looks like he’s getting a little crush. Min-ki disagrees and says he can drive the tractor himself, over Han-chul’s pleas to not get into any more trouble. Of course he quickly loses control of the thing, and barely manages to get it stopped again.
Min-ki gingerly steps around to the front of the tractor, to find a deer lying dead in front of it. The guys all scream in horror, and Ki-joon notices it’s wearing a golden pendant. Oh no, Mr. Flower! They realize they’ll be run out of town for this, so Min-ki decides they have to hide the body.
Sang-deuk calls Yoon-hee to tell her Mr. Flower is missing, and she tells him to have the villagers help look for him. The guys have the deer in a wheelbarrow, in a hilariously macabre recreation of the first scene of the series, right down to losing control of the cart and dumping out its occupant. Hyuk freaks out when he makes eye contact with the deceased animal, so they cover it up and keep going.
They run right into florist Man-gu, but manage to make it past him without arousing his suspicion (much). They duck and creep around town, avoiding the searching villagers as best they can, but eventually they crash right into Yoon-hee. She asks them if they’ve seen Mr. Flower, and I don’t know how Min-ki’s face doesn’t tip her off right away that they’re up to no good.
She finally notices the full wheelbarrow, which Han-chul claims is laundry, and Hyuk and Ki-joon say they’re taking it to the next town to the laundromat. Yoon-hee says she’ll just do it in her washing machine but Min-ki stops her, saying it’s their underwear. She finally gives up and starts to leave, but a rogue wind blows the cover off Mr. Flower’s face and Yoon-hee sees everything.
Yoon-hee understandably freaks completely out, and Min-ki swears that the deer ran into the tractor and it was an accident. Yoon-hee tells him to take responsibility for this or they’ll be kicked out by the villagers, and he begs her on his knees with his best puppy-dog eyes to save him just this one more time. He blurts out the whole true story, that he’s not famous and he needs this farm to make an album and repay his… never mind. Apparently his friends have no idea about his debt.
Yoon-hee continues to refuse to help, and Min-ki says that she shouldn’t be like this to the guy who saved her life. She calls him a loser for blackmailing her, and says there’s nothing she can do when the deer is dead. Hyuk reminds him that they’re the only ones who know Mr. Flower is dead, and all deer look alike…
They all head back to the house to stare at the wild deer that’s still camping out there, and looking mighty cranky I might add. Yoon-hee asks how they plan to control it, since wild deer are pretty volatile, but Min-ki and the guys just steel themselves and head into the house to do battle.
The villagers all gather in the town square, wondering if Yoon-hee and Mr. Flower will make it in time. The governor and all his retinue arrive, and thank goodness, so do Yoon-hee and the boys, dragging along a very displeased-looking deer.
The governor gives his speech appointing the deer as district mascot, but the fake Mr. Flower starts to get restless. Suddenly the deer breaks free and heads right for the governor, scattering villagers and destroying the town square in a sequence of hilarious freeze-frames.
It’s just getting sillier and sillier, but I’m still finding the show to be engaging and I can’t wait to see where all this goofiness goes. The tone of Modern Farmer isn’t for everyone, which is understandable considering the crazy lengths it goes to for a laugh, but for some reason I love it. Besides just being profoundly ready for a show that’s not afraid to be ridiculous for a laugh, something about the characters and the small glimpses of what lies under their surfaces draws me in, and makes me curious to learn their secrets. I have a feeling we have a lot more in store for us than just zany running and screaming.
It’s definitely the characters that keep me interested beyond the basic simple plot, since I feel like nearly everyone is not what they seem. Han-chul is still the obvious outlier, being the one person with a tragic story who’s here to do whatever he has to do to make a difference before he dies. There’s some speculation among viewers that he’s not really dying, which I can see as a potential future twist, but at this point in the story he truly believes he’s got less than a year to live. Seeing his bucket list, and his realization that he could die without ever knowing love or getting married, just broke my heart.
Min-ki is an interesting character because he seems to be very much a simple person, shallow and selfish and mostly interested in saving his own hide. At this point I find him annoying at best, and I’m frustrated at his insistence on making the very worst possible decision at all times, though I get that as the lead he’s got to start at a low point in order to grow. I do look forward to seeing him grow up and learn to slow down and enjoy life, and to care for other people beyond what they can do for him. In that sense Yoon-hee will be good for him, because she already knows how to care for people and she can remind him of the person he was before he moved to the big city. I genuinely hope they aren’t setting the two up for a loveline, because for one, Min-ki has a love in the city already and two, I quite like her in the role of noona/teacher and I like the dynamic between the two of them as it is now.
I still feel that there’s something serious going on with Hyuk, aside from the obvious situation that’s getting him blamed for breaking up the band. And he doesn’t even deny it, so that’s got to be an interesting story. But nobody smiles that much (beautiful smile though it is) that isn’t hiding something, and it makes me worried for him. He’s just ditched a career as a doctor and heir to a hospital, to go farming with a group of guys who hate his guts. That’s not normal. Not to mention, his father doesn’t seem to want much to do with him either. I’m dying to know how a guy who’s apparently so talented that the band thinks he can’t be replaced, is also someone that doesn’t have a single person who likes him.
I’m having a tougher time getting a handle on Ki-joon, because honestly, the guy hasn’t had much to say yet (though I find his facial expressions hysterically funny). But given that all the other characters have such interesting back-stories, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something going on with him, too. Time will tell, but underneath all the silliness and screaming I’m seeing flashes of what could turn out to be a very heartwarming story about life and people. I still have high hopes for the show and I hope it doesn’t let me down!