Modern Farmer: Episode 10
Some fences are mended, but at the expense of others, as the romantic feelings continue to circle around with nowhere to land. But it’s not all about love when it comes to hurt feelings, as some of the parents in Hadurok-ri discover when their children get a chance to say what they really think. What’s a parent to do when their child is ashamed of them, and for something they can’t control?
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Han-chul distracts the thugs while Soo-yeon makes a getaway, and she manages to escape in a cab. Meanwhile Yoon-hee leaves the bank with money to lend to Min-ki, having decided to help him even though she’s upset with him.
The boys leave the birthday party with fat pockets but scarred souls, having been forced to let the women grope them in order to make money. But at least now they have the necessary money to buy plastic to cover their field. Or they did, until Min-ki backs the truck into a man’s car — easy come, easy go.
Sang-deuk practices for the “three steps, one bow” protest, which gets harder with each step since he’s slugging makgeolli in between bows. He passes in front of Mi-young’s house in time to see her caregiver quit and leave her with nobody to watch her father and daughter for the day. He offers to stay so she can go to work, insisting it will be easy.
He walks in the house to see that her father has thrown torn toilet paper everywhere, and the man greets him by peeing on his foot. Ewww. Mi-young’s sassy daughter Eun-woo demands food, which she then refuses to eat because it’s not presented correctly. Before Sang-deuk can fix it, Mi-young’s father poops his pants. Poor Sang-deuk, he’s in for a long day.
Soo-yeon shows up at the bar where she used to work to demand her final pay in person, but the owner insists she has no money. Soo-yeon plays hardball and calls the police to report a bar selling fake whiskey, and the bar owner magically finds some money tucked into her lingerie. Soo-yeon nearly makes it out safely, but the thugs find her (having tracked down the cabbie who drove her here) and grab her.
The bar owner comes to Soo-yeon’s rescue and blasts the thugs with a fire extinguisher, and screams to Soo-yeon that she may not have much, but she’s loyal. The thugs are distracted long enough for Soo-yeon to run, though they turn on the bar owner once the fire extinguisher runs out.
Sang-deuk spends the day taking orders from the bossy little Eun-woo, drawing and coloring pictures to her exact specifications. But he gets the info on Mi-young in the meantime, and finds out that her business went bankrupt and that she no longer has plenty of money. When Mi-young arrives home panting, she tells Sang-deuk that she sold her car in order to get more exercise, but he sees through her lie.
The boys arrive home and sigh to Uncle that they lost the money they just made by having to pay for the damage to the man’s car, and Yoon-hee starts to take the money she withdrew out of her pocket. But Min-ki snaps at her (through Ki-joon) that she shouldn’t be talking to him, then takes a call from Yoo-na, and Yoon-hee hides the money away again.
Soo-yeon makes it back to the bus station safely, wondering why those guys are chasing her. Han-chul catches up to her and she notices that he got a beating for defending her, seeming to genuinely feel remorse for the first time. Han-chul is more worried about her than himself, and bursts into tears when she assures him that she’s okay. Touched, Soo-yeon thanks Han-chul, saying it’s been a long time since anyone worried about her.
Sang-deuk gets drunk by the side of the road again, moaning that Mi-young dumped him then didn’t even have the decency to live a happy life. Man-gu finds him and yells at him for drinking instead of training for the protest, and says that Yoon-hee wants to see them.
Man-gu gloats over his new sports car as they drive to Yoon-hee’s, but Sang-deuk isn’t impressed, and they can’t get the open convertible top to close. The driver in front of them flicks his cigarette butt which lands right in Man-gu’s lap, setting his crotch on fire and causing an accident.
Yoon-hee and Uncle wait for Man-gu and Sang-deuk, since their leg of the protest starts in an hour. Min-ki skips up looking for Hyuk and Ki-joon, still refusing to speak to Yoon-hee, and she gets a call that there’s been an accident.
They head to the hospital to find Man-gu banged up but okay, but Sang-deuk is so drunk that he hasn’t woken since the accident. Yoon-hee says she’ll have to take their place in the protest, and Man-gu tells Min-ki that if he’ll do the protest with Yoon-hee, he’ll cover their cabbage field with plastic for free. It’s an offer too good to refuse, though Min-ki agrees with bad grace since he’ll be stuck with Yoon-hee.
They snarl at each other while they wait for their leg of the protest to start, and Uncle fusses at them to stop fighting, but neither is willing to be the first to apologize. The protesters from the previous leg of the race arrive, and everyone is shocked to see how exhausted they look. Yoon-hee and Min-ki set off, childishly head-butting and body-checking each other every time they go down to their knees. Not even reporters and television cameras can make these two behave.
Sang-deuk wakes up in the hospital to find Mi-young by his bedside, and she assures him that Man-gu is okay. They panic when Grandpa arrives, and Mi-young has nowhere to hide but under the covers with Sang-deuk. Of course Grandpa notices the giant lump under the blanket, but Sang-deuk stammers that he’s just really swollen on that side. HA.
Sang-deuk tries to get rid of Grandpa by asking for food, only to be offered his spat-out almonds, but finally sends him to go find some porridge. He peels back the blanket to find Mi-young has fallen asleep on his shoulder, just like in his dream.
Yoon-hee and Min-ki “three steps, one bow” their way through town, physically exhausted but not bending on their personal standoff one tiny bit. They come upon a section of sidewalk where a bag of trash has leaked something horrible, and Min-ki whispers to Yoon-hee to move over so he can avoid it, but she stubbornly refuses.
Later he pulls ahead of Yoon-hee and shakes off her attempts to hold him back, though both of them are on the verge of collapse. Yoon-hee finally breaks and wails that it’s too hard, but Min-ki continues to ignore her. Finally she yells that she’s sorry, it’s just that he didn’t eat the spaghetti she made for him and went to Yoo-na instead.
Min-ki turns in surprise and Yoon-hee continues that she worked so hard on the spaghetti that he asked her to make, and she even withdrew money to lend to him, whining that he doesn’t care about her feelings. Min-ki laughs at her timing of bringing this up now, in the middle of their protest, and Yoon-hee bursts into tears that he’s going too fast.
She’s pretty adorable, sitting in the street in tears like a toddler, and Min-ki goes back help her. Fully invested in her tantrum, she shrugs him off, and he apologizes for his behavior and for the spaghetti. Yoon-hee grouches that she’s never doing anything for him ever again, and he agrees, and coaxes her into continuing the protest. She stays whiny, but Min-ki just laughs at her and helps her as best he can.
Sang-deuk visits a local farming research facility with some friends, and afterward he invites them to go for a snack. They show up at Mi-young’s cafe, where she’s worried about money but fending off Yi-ji’s ideas of making coffee with a mushroom the area is famous for. Aw, he places a huge order just to help her out.
The village elders meet later to discuss the local market, and Min-ki asks if they can sell pea puffs and roasted grasshoppers there. Little Min-ho hesitantly starts to ask Yoon-hee something but changes his mind, worrying his mother. Sang-eun rushes in to ask the guys if they want to be on air today, and they all meet in her bedroom with their instruments.
Sang-eun assures them that her website has over a thousand viewers, and that her dad has gone fishing and won’t come to chase them out. Hyuk asks if In-ki was always mute, and Sang-eun says the villagers tell her that he used to talk. She tells them her father brought her here when she was an infant, and she’s never known her mother.
Sang-eun asks after Min-ki’s guitar, which is quite old, and he tells her he found it in the mountains seventeen years ago. We see a young Min-ki walking through the trees, and he perks up when he hears an electric guitar. He follows the sound and sees a man playing in the middle of the woods, but he suddenly stops and turns, and we see through the flowing locks of rockstar hair that it’s In-ki.
He pulls out a pair of scissors and cuts his long hair off, screams, and walks away, leaving the guitar behind. Min-ki had approached and taken the guitar, which he credits for his interest in music. Min-ki doesn’t know who the man was that left the guitar there in the woods, but he considers him his hero.
Min-ki gets another text from Snake the loan shark, chiding him for not calling like he promised, and ignores it with a sigh. Sang-eun starts the music program, and the boys snort in amusement at her cheesy intro. The boys start their song (despite the netizens’ negative comments) and they don’t immediately notice that In-ki is back early from his fishing, carrying a giant fish and with a chip on his shoulder.
In-ki lays a fishy smackdown on the guys while the netizens laugh, and he chases them out of the house and down the street, brandishing his fish like a weapon. He goes back home and nearly smashes Sang-eun’s computer, but he’s distracted by a familiar-looking guitar. Calm now, he digs a box of keepsakes out of his closet, and cries over a photo of a pretty smiling woman.
Mi-young’s daughter Eun-woo seems to already have acquired a couple of admirers, as Min-ho and Man-gu’s son Man-gook walk her home. Min-ho seems depressed and walks ahead alone, while Man-gook adorably offers to carry Eun-woo’s bags.
His parents come to meet him, and Eun-woo is impressed that his mother is a pretty foreign lady, but Man-gook wilts with embarrassment. He feels even worse when Eun-woo assumes Man-gu is his grandfather, and he storms home and yells at his parents. He tells them not to come when they find a letter from school inviting students’ fathers to teach a class, saying that the kids make fun of him for having a foreigner for a mother and a dad who looks like a grandpa. Awww, poor little peanut.
The boys find their way home with fish scales stuck to their faces, hee, and all but Min-ki head to wash up. He finds “Rockstar” Min-ho in his room with the same letter from school, and Min-ho makes him promise not to tell his mom about the letter.
That night Soo-yeon’s attempt to go digging is cut short by Han-chul yet again, who’s here to help her dig more sweet potatoes since they made up. For pete’s sake, did he learn nothing? He tells her that all the sweet potatoes have been harvested but that he found one unharvested field in Sangdurok-ri, and he grabs her hand without thinking to lead her there.
When he realizes he’s holding Soo-yeon’s hand, he freezes and drops it, then he actually smells his own hand. Okay, I’m officially creeped out. He apologizes to Soo-yeon and heads out, and she spits on her own hand to wash it.
Min-ki comes down for a drink of water and runs into Yoon-hee working on planning the monthly market. Out of the blue, he asks what kind of man Min-ho’s father was, but she declines to discuss it. He starts to tell her about the invitation from school for fathers to teach a class, but changes his mind.
Min-ki goes grasshopper hunting the next morning, intent on selling roasted grasshoppers at the market, but the guys come by and tell him to come help them with the cabbage. Min-ki climbs out of the ditch and runs smack into Snake, who’ve come to find him since he’s not keeping in touch with him.
Stuck between needing to placate the loan shark and keeping his friends from finding out his real reason for growing cabbage, Min-ki pretends they’re asking directions while nervously muttering that he’s been too busy farming to contact Snake. He explains his plan to grow cabbage to pay back Snake, who laughs that he’s the first to try something so crazy.
Snake is ready to just take Min-ki’s organs, but he’s amused enough that he agrees to wait a bit longer. On their way out of town they run into In-ki, and Snake looks at him like he’s seen him somewhere before.
The boys pass by a depressed-looking Man-gu, who asks them how old he looks, upset that his son is embarrassed by how old he seems. Hyuk honestly tells him that he does look old for his age, but his style doesn’t help, and says that the worst part is his hairstyle.
Hyuk takes Man-gu to a stylist and shows her a picture in a magazine, telling her to make Man-gu look like the photo. The other boys look on, but cringe when Man-gu’s hair is done — I honestly don’t know how they managed it, but he looks even worse than before. But Man-gu is pleased with it, though he really looks nothing like the picture of Kim Soo-hyun from Hyuk’s magazine, HAHA.
Sang-deuk brings the family coffee while they package their harvested apples, swearing he’s a coffee addict now, which is just so cute. Aunt brings snacks, and everyone takes a ramyun popsicle against their will. It’s hilarious how Grandpa pretends to be asleep so he won’t have to try one.
Man-gu and the guys show up to surprise everyone with his new style, but they aren’t nearly as complimentary as the boys are, who are afraid of hurting Man-gu’s feelings for fear he’ll stop teaching them to farm. Yoon-hee asks why he got the haircut and he tells her it’s for the school teaching day, and Yoon-hee realizes that Min-ho must have hidden this from her.
Man-gook is understandably unimpressed by his father’s new hairdo — in fact he bursts into loud snotty tears at the shocking sight. He cries that he’s ashamed of both his parents and forbids them to come to his school, and Man-gu’s wife goes to their room to cry that her son is ashamed of her.
Yoon-hee goes home to ask Min-ho if he has something to tell her, but he denies it and goes outside. Min-ki finds him and asks what he’s going to do about the class, figuring that he didn’t tell his mom because he knew she would go, since he doesn’t have a father. Yoon-hee finds them in time to overhear her son tell Min-ki that he was only worried that she might cry like she always does when his dad is mentioned.
Min-ho says he doesn’t mind being teased, but he doesn’t like seeing his mom cry. Aww, what a sweetheart. He asks Min-ki to keep his promise not to tell Yoon-hee about the class, but Yoon-hee drops her bucket and gives herself away. When the boys see her she pretends to have not heard them, and leaves them to talk alone.
Min-ki finds her in the barn feeding the cows, and tells her that he knows she heard Min-ho. He asks gently if she’s alright, and his show of concern is the last straw, and she cries that she doesn’t deserve to be a mother. When she heard Min-ho talking just now, she felt disappointed in him, but then she realized that her baby was worried about her.
She’s talking more to herself than Min-ki, and she says that she feels bad and that this is all her fault. She sobs and asks Min-ki what she should do, but Min-ki doesn’t have any advice. Instead he just folds Yoon-hee in a hug, and holds her while she cries. And as they stand there, seemingly alone, Hyuk watches jealously from around the corner.
Ah, this show just tugs at my heart. This was a very emotional episode, and I’m again amazed how even the most side of side characters gets their moment to shine and weave their way into the broader story. Even the comic moments, like Man-gu’s disastrous makeover, are grounded in such real and heart-tugging situations like his wanting his son to be proud of him. I’m beginning to understand that there are no small characters in this show, because all of them have a life and a depth to them that contribute to the feeling that this could be a real village and these could be real people who live there. Yes the show is a comedy first and foremost, but it’s also wonderfully more, and I continue to be delighted at the way no small scene or happening is ever just there for the laughs. Absolutely everything that happens in Hadurok-ri happens for a reason, and I just love that.
One of the best things about the show is that there are no throwaway lines or scenes, and the whole In-ki/guitar backstory is perfect example. Back in one of the first episodes Min-ki mentioned that he found his guitar when he was a kid, then no more mention of it was made until that tiny moment when In-ki touched the guitar out in the cabbage field. I pride myself on being hard to surprise when it comes to storyline twists, but this one truly caught me off guard, because the setup happened so early in the story and it was such a seemingly-forgettable comment. It’s really wonderful how, in an industry where scripts are being written sometimes at the literal last minute and a show can finish with a very different ending than originally intended, that a silly weekend comedy can turn out to be so very skillfully done that setups and payoffs can happen ten episodes apart. Even the tiniest of details dovetail so perfectly into the larger story, and I can’t wait for more of the same sorts of surprises.
Speaking of which, I’m also impressed with how off-center we’re being kept in terms of the romance angles in the story. It’s usually taken as a given that in Dramaland, we know the romantic endgame right from the beginning — but with Modern Farmer I genuinely can’t tell where most of these lovelines are taking us. I do still feel that the Ki-joon/Bul-ja pairing is pretty set, but other than that I’m genuinely baffled. With Han-chul and Soo-yeon, though the animosity from Soo-yeon is lightening up, I don’t really feel that Han-chul is making any strides towards actually getting to know and respect Soo-yeon for who she is beyond being a pretty fantasy.
And the Yoon-hee/Hyuk/Min-ki/Yoo-na love square appeared so obvious at first (Min-ki and Yoo-na would get back together, and Hyuk and Yoon-hee would fall in love) but now I’m not so sure. Yoo-na seems to care for Min-ki but she consistently puts her career first, and now Min-ki and Yoon-hee are finding a deeper friendship that I could believe if it turned into love. Meanwhile Hyuk (and for the record, I don’t feel his interest in Yoon-hee because she reminds him of his mother to be unhealthy, since he really does seem to like her for herself) does appear to be stalling out with Yoon-hee, because of his inability to convince her of his sincerity.
So though I’m frustrated because I don’t know where any of this is going, I’m also enjoying the speculation and uncertainty, because it’s a breath of fresh air not to know where things will end up before they even start. Putting my attempted-neutrality as a recapper aside, I’m pretty invested in my personal favorite main ‘ship, and I can’t help but root for them to end up together. It’s fun for once to have hope in a favorite couple, and to truly not know whether they’ll fall in love, so I’m willing to put my frustration aside and just enjoy the ride.