High Society: Episode 2
So cute. There’s an undeniable charm about High Society, one that perseveres despite the fact that our hero and heroine are both in friendships based on lies and deceit, no matter which way you spin their motives. I know Second Lead Syndrome is a real thing in our neck of the woods, but this show is the first to make me question whether Second Leads Syndrome exists—and don’t blame me if you catch it after watching this episode. Love is infectious that way.
SONG OF THE DAY
Acoustic Collabo – “그러지마요 (Don’t Be Like That)” from the OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
When Yoon-ha confronts Joon-ki by asking if he knows her, he flashes back to the times he saw her in the elevator. He doesn’t admit he recognizes her and instead rebuffs her for her rudeness, even though he throws in the monotonic “Hello” that she apparently wanted so badly.
Yoon-ha wants to continue their little tiff when he walks off, only to be stopped by Ji-yi, who tells her friend to listen to Joon-ki’s advice about controlling her temper. Only then does Yoon-ha realize that Joon-ki is the guy her friend’s had starry eyes over lately, which changes her tune.
Of course, Ji-yi is under the wrong impression when she claims Joon-ki comes from a rich household, and how that must contribute to his shining personality—lacking nothing while growing up makes wealthy people nice! Yoon-ha all but rolls her eyes at this: “Does having a lot of money mean you don’t lack anything?”
Joon-ki returns to his apartment that night to find his kindly mother there doing some household chores for him. He wishes she wouldn’t since that’s all she does all day, but she’s insistent that it’s the least she can do to help him.
It’s cute how Mama Lee gets so happy when her son drops to banmal and calls her “Mom,” though it’s funny to see how forlorn she becomes when he switches back to the more formal use of the word. Their affection for each other is apparent, as well as Joon-ki’s desire to rise up in the world so he won’t end up living like his parents.
“What’s wrong with how we live?” Mama Lee throws back, unperturbed. “There are times we have money and times we don’t… Well, I guess we never had any,” she adds with a laugh. The two share a “Fighting!” fist bump outside the elevator. Adorable.
The ever cheerful Ji-yi knows something must have happened between Yoon-ha and her mother for Yoon-ha to come visit her rooftop abode, and jokes that perhaps a birth secret could be involved.
Surprisingly, Yoon-ha had once wondered the same thing herself and had her DNA tested against Madam Min’s, only to find out that they were indeed a biological match. She’d cried at the results, but it’s hard to say whether those were tears of relief or sorrow.
Ji-yi may not know about Yoon-ha’s chaebol roots, but she does suspect there’s some money involved when she hears about the DNA test—it’s an expensive test, after all. Still, she jokes that the test lends a very drama-esque feel to Yoon-ha’s life. Hee.
That meta thread continues when Yoon-ha tries to offer advice to her friend regarding Joon-ki, claiming that Ji-yi could lead the good life if she were to marry him. Ji-yi’s quick to reply that becoming a Cinderella isn’t realistic—and besides, she’s comfortable making money off her own work and doesn’t want to mooch off a guy. Go her.
Still, Yoon-ha doesn’t seem to get it as she wonders what’s wrong with leaning on and depending on the man she loves. Ji-yi would be much more comfortable living off her man’s money, she adds, which is such strange advice to be coming from a girl who wants to marry for love more than wealth.
After an awkward moment where Ji-yi reveals that she’s following a rich chaebol socialite online—who happens to be Yoon-ha’s older sister—Ji-yi sighs that getting followed back by that unni means she notices “people like us.”
“What’s wrong with people like us?” Yoon-ha asks defensively. They work hard for their money, which makes them different from chaebol heirs who grow up thinking their parents will always give them money.
“We’re different,” she adds. “People like her will always be rich, and we continue to be poor even when we work hard and get insulted. We’re not always going to be poor. We save up because we know money is precious.” That’s commitment to a lie if I’ve ever seen it, and even Ji-yi doesn’t seem to buy it. She’s definitely suspicious about who Yoon-ha really is.
Still, it’s cute to see both girls smiling and laughing as they discuss their friendship, suspicions and all.
The next morning, Kyung-joon makes sure to catch little sister Yoon-ha on her way out of the house to ask if Chang-soo treated her rudely on their seon.
He wants to know because he’s acquainted with Chang-soo and can tell him what time it is on his sister’s behalf, but Yoon-ha keeps her answer diplomatic by claiming that her actions directly caused Chang-soo’s rudeness. Oppa doesn’t look convinced.
While on his way to visit Joon-ki at his new job in his family’s company, Chang-soo spots an excited Ji-yi waiting with snacks outside the door. Their back and forth banter (Chang-soo: “Are you looking for someone?” Ji-yi: “No. I mean, yes!”) is hilarious because of his straightforward questions and her rushed and confused answers, since she’s already nervous enough as is.
Based on her reaction when Joon-ki appears, Chang-soo asks if his friend knows her, and gets introduced to Ji-yi as an employee of the Yumin Department Store Food Market. Chang-soo stops Joon-ki from introducing him as her boss, covering instead by playing the lazy, jobless friend.
When Ji-yi presents her gifts to commemorate Joon-ki’s first day of work, the ensuing roundabout of confusion is priceless. “You must like Joon-ki,” Chang-soo notes. “No, I don’t like him!” replies an embarrassed Ji-yi, which backfires on her when Joon-ki asks, “You don’t like me?” Chang-soo: “Do you like him or not?” Hahaha.
Ji-yi finally loses her temper by muttering about what a pest Chang-soo is, before quickly apologizing and reverting to her usual sweet self. It’s even funnier how she’s dripping with honey when addressing Joon-ki, but seething when she clocks Chang-soo for using banmal with her.
Once they’re in the office, Chang-soo naturally assumes Ji-yi was just trying to get on Joon-ki’s good side because of his position, which is why he didn’t tell her who he really was—she would have been all over him in a heartbeat if she knew.
Joon-ki just shakes his head at his friend’s assumptions and muses, “I always thought that only poor people had victim mentalities, but rich people have the same mindset.” Chang-soo claims it’s actually just elitism as he chomps into the sandwich Ji-yi made for Joon-ki.
Chang-soo encounters Ji-yi again on the storeroom floor and makes it a point to formally ask her if she needs help, only to be brushed off coldly. But when he mentions that the sandwich she made was delicious, she whips around indignantly, then wonders under her breath how Joon-ki could have given her gift to him.
But Chang-soo overhears a word that sounds too close to “dog” and takes offense, which only heightens the offense Ji-yi takes at being overheard and being spoken to informally again.
They go back and forth like that until Ji-yi tells him he should do a better job at hitting on her if that’s what he’s doing, only to catch him on being disrespectful and clueless when he claims he didn’t pick up on the fact that she’s interested in Joon-ki.
She can only scoff indignantly before throwing out that Joon-ki really must be that good of a person to have a friend like Chang-soo, since he clearly didn’t pick him for his class. Slick burn.
It’s not over for Chang-soo, since Kyung-joon calls him in for a talking-to about his date gone wrong with his younger sister. He punches Chang-soo for insulting his sister’s manners to his face, warning him to act more appropriately from now on.
After a tense meeting between the idealistic Kyung-joon and his ruthless older sister Ye-won over some shady company matters, Joon-ki seems surprised to find Yoon-ha working in the Food Market, and even more surprised that she’s fluent in Chinese.
Ji-yi sidles up next to him to brag about her friend’s language skills, but has no good answer when Joon-ki asks for her sincere opinion on why sales have been so low. Maybe that’s what he was going for.
When Chang-soo returns to the Food Market he’s understandably reluctant to talk to Joon-ki about the bloody lip he’s now sporting, but he finds his day further soured when he tries to smile appealingly at Ji-yi only to get a sour face in return. Hah.
But that’s when he recognizes Yoon-ha at the tasting table, and rather than being discreet, he points her out. She takes him outside for a more private conversation, and swiftly debunks his initial theory that she’s working for his company as a spy—the company would have to merit being spied on first.
Chang-soo seems all too happy to show her the bloody lip her older brother gave him, though any attempt to pin it on her goes out the window when she says he has only himself to blame. So then he switches tactics: Is she working at his company to see if he’ll be a good match for her, since she can’t marry the guy she’s currently seeing?
She sets that rumor straight by dropping down to banmal with him, since he won’t move up to formal language with her. Explaining matter-of-factly how she needed a job where she wouldn’t be recognized as a chaebol’s daughter, she ended up at the Food Market after trying everywhere else. It’s just a coincidence that it’s Chang-soo’s family’s company.
He presents other alternatives to her, like rebelling by spending her family’s money lavishly, but she replies that she has another dream. As to what that is, they’d have to be closer for her to share it. For now she just wants him to pretend that he doesn’t know who she is—after all, he told her on their first failed date that he usually grants a woman’s request.
“It depends on the woman,” Chang-soo says smoothly, taking a step toward her. “You want to be my woman? I’ll grant your request then.” Yoon-ha: “I’ll just quit.” HA.
He’s still so riled up when they return to the storeroom floor that he marches right up to Yoon-ha and Ji-yi to announce that he’s not unemployed, but is in fact the executive director of the department store they’re standing in.
Ji-yi takes a while to digest that but then responds meekly with the respect of an employee to her superior, which isn’t exactly what Chang-soo wanted either. He just stomps off, exasperated.
Not long after Ye-won tries and fails to get her father’s support against Kyung-joon and the potentially damning documents he has on the family company, her father visits his mistress. Unfortunately for Lady Kim, her visit with chairman gets cut short by a news report on Taejin Parmaceuticals’ not-so-secret overseas slush fund. Ruh roh.
Ji-yi is still as suspicious as ever of Yoon-ha’s bank account, since all her talk about being poor and saving money doesn’t add up with the kind of clothes she wears. Yoon-ha adamantly denies Ji-yi’s claim that Chang-soo must be her sponsor, and listens as her friend croons over how perfect Joon-ki is.
Yoon-ha can’t understand why Ji-yi won’t just ask him out if she’s so in love with him, finally concluding that Ji-yi is just that shy. So she takes it upon herself to ask Joon-ki out for a weekend date, though he questions her motives: “Do you like me?”
She says it’s not her but Ji-yi who likes him, only to be taken aback when he flatly answers that he already knows. When she says yes to whether she’ll be joining them on that date, he returns with, “What if I start liking you instead?”
Now Yoon-ha is really out of her depth, but Joon-ki’s angle seems directed at Yoon-ha’s interference and how easily that can backfire. He doesn’t want anyone getting into his business—and besides, he’s not free this weekend. So there.
Yoon-ha and Kyung-joon meet at one of the family villas to avoid any unwanted prying, where they discuss what’s troubling them. In the case of Chang-soo, Kyung-joon defends his actions because any insult to his little sister is an insult to him.
“Why are you so good to me?” Yoon-ha wonders, thinking of how they weren’t this close when they were younger. Kyung-joon sighs before admitting that age changed him—plus a divorce and a few failed business ventures.
Even so, Yoon-ha doesn’t want him to be so nice to her, believing that she’s under a curse where the people who love her always end up disappearing. “I’m trying really hard not to love you,” she admits, though he knows that her saying that means she already does.
She also supports her brother wholeheartedly, sure that her brother won’t be like their father when/if he comes to power. She knows he’s a good person, despite his worry that good people don’t make it in business. Yoon-ha doesn’t buy it, and promises to use what little familial power she has to back him.
That, and the secret savings account she’s been squirreling money into. She’s saved every penny the family’s given to her and has even bought some company stocks, and hopes to use it to leave the house as soon as next year. Maybe she’ll even start a business with Ji-yi too, which seems to impress Kyung-joon. It’s nice that they form an alliance of good people in a family of questionable ones.
Chang-soo and Joon-ki talk on the phone about Yoon-ha, and Joon-ki hints that despite Chang-soo’s complaints, he’s just itching to see her again. Chang-soo can tell that Joon-ki’s been riding his bike and jokes that he won’t be able to beat him even if he practices.
But in a forlorn flashback, we see Joon-ki stealthily apply the brakes during his earlier bike race with Chang-soo. He let him win.
While the prosecution heats up on Taejin Group, Yoon-ha gets herself in hot water when she defends Ji-yi against being terrorized by a snobby customer, landing both friends in the police station for questioning.
To their surprise, it’s Joon-ki who comes to their rescue with proof that the customer dropped the charges… on the condition that they apologize to the lady. Ji-yi may be willing, but Yoon-ha is not.
“Are you going to keep causing trouble?” Joon-ki asks Yoon-ha, his patience running thin. Unafraid, Yoon-ha defends that she can’t “keep” causing trouble when this is only her first time, to which Joon-ki asks why he’d think she’s always causing trouble then. “Probably because you have a prejudiced opinion of me,” Yoon-ha fires back.
Joon-ki’s jaw flexes as he tries very hard to remain civil and patient against Yoon-ha’s absolute stubbornness, but he doesn’t succeed. Any points he makes are quickly shot down because Yoon-ha knows the law and, more importantly, refuses to apologize when she didn’t do anything wrong.
That turns out to be the last straw, as Joon-ki declares that she’s fired—the company won’t protect her any longer. Yoon-ha fires back that the company never protected her as a part-timer anyway, and asks if she was supposed to just throw her pride away for that.
“Do you know what real pride is?” Joon-ki growls. “It’s when you don’t get hurt by others. Your pride is just for show.” He turns to Ji-yi, who’s forced to make a decision between siding with her friend and her job. At Yoon-ha’s insistence, Ji-yi chooses her job.
Kyung-joon updates his father on all the goings-on regarding the prosecution case, since it’s been left up to him to handle all the cleanup. The ungrateful Chairman Jang demands that Kyung-joon also cover up Ye-won’s secret fund/embezzlement issue, and the fact that his father already knew about his daughter’s underhanded dealings takes Kyung-joon by surprise.
He presents his case as being unfair, since he’s doing all this work to fix the company’s image and now has to fix his sister’s mess. Chairman Jang reminds him that he’s still being tested to see if he’ll be able to become the true heir, to which Kyung-joon asks frustratingly if the test will ever end. Short answer? Nope.
After apologizing to the butthurt customer, Ji-yi asks Joon-ki if he might reconsider firing Yoon-ha. She tries different tactics to convince him, like claiming that Yoon-ha is a good person even if she has a lot to hide (Joon-ki disagrees with that), and that things haven’t ended well for anyone who’s crossed Yoon-ha before.
Joon-ki knows Ji-yi’s trying anything at this point and simply cautions her to worry about herself instead of others. Yoon-ha is still fired.
Turns out that Ji-yi may not have been telling tall tales about those unfortunate enough to mistreat Yoon-ha, since Yoon-ha sends a picture of the butthurt customer in mid-slap Kyung-joon, asking him to take care of it.
Joon-ki meets Chang-soo after dropping Ji-yi off, and asks how he knows Yoon-ha. “Don’t you know?” Chang-soo wonders, but when he figures out that Joon-ki doesn’t know, he covers by acting like she was just some fling he got bored of. It’s a telling sign that the second he’s gone, Joon-ki brushes his shoulder as if to rid it of Chang-soo’s contact.
But Chang-soo, unable to get over how Ji-yi walked past him without acknowledging him, chases her down to demand an answer. She breaks down the second she turns to him, still torn up about the lady customer’s insults.
Cut to: The two of them at a street stall, where Ji-yi’s already drunk. She wonders if he can even comfort her when he’s likely never even been insulted before, to which Chang-soo defends that he’s just as human as she is.
Filled with liquid courage, she asks him outright if he deceived her when he first met her because he was afraid she’d try to date him, which is probably the truth, though he claims that he did it so she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.
“You’re not that bad of a person if you know how to tell white lies,” she muses. But now that she’s put all the pieces together, she’s figured out that he’s the chairman’s son.
She reaches out to touch him giddily, excited that she’s met an actual chaebol. Even cuter, she all but jumps out of her skin in delight when Chang-soo takes her hand to lead her.
A befuddled Chang-soo asks if she’s trying to hit on him, and she sighs, “Even if I wanted to, I can’t. It’s unrealistic. You’re just a chaebol I see in dramas. I don’t want to shoot a drama, and I don’t have time to shoot one. I’m too busy living my life.” This gets a smile out of Chang-soo at least.
Yoon-ha can only put up with So-hyun’s needling for so long before she asks her sister why she hates her. It’s jealousy, or a really strange form of it—So-hyun envies the fact that their parents ignore Yoon-ha and let her do whatever she wants.
“Do you know what it’s like to not receive love from your parents?” Yoon-ha asks, but So-hyun just snaps that Yoon-ha attached herself to Kyung-joon’s side so she’d have an ally when their father passes. A physical catfight ensues with both sisters spitting hateful things at each other. Yoon-ha texts Kyung-joon after to stop him from taking any action regarding her job, since she’s been fired anyway.
Chang-soo is at a loss for words as he drives a passed-out Ji-yi home, and wakes her up with a hard stop. He’s suspicious that she’s just trying to touch him when she can’t even unfasten her seatbelt, only to give in when she starts crying.
Then she smiles, “It worked!” Hahaha. He wonders how she can go from tears to laughter so quickly, and also how she can be Yoon-ha’s friend without knowing her real background.
They’re interrupted by a knock on the driver’s side door—it’s Yoon-ha with a brick, ready for use in case Chang-soo’s been terrorizing her friend. Chang-soo’s defense goes unheard as Ji-yi reaches over him to hold Yoon-ha’s hand and apologize for earlier, and he’s caught in an awkward spot as the two women seem to forget he’s even there.
When he’s finally had enough, he gets out of the car… and rrriiiiiiippp. He looks down to find most of his shirt gone, having torn in Ji-yi’s hand.
“Daebak,” Ji-yi says of the view, before promptly passing out.
Daebak indeed. I can’t remember the last time I loved a non-villainous second lead as much as Chang-soo, but here we are in just the second episode and I’m head over heels for him. What’s more amazing is that he’s not stealing hearts because he’s the best guy ever and sure to be way better for the heroine down the line—he couldn’t be further from that actually, and is instead childish, naive, and simultaneously both a little dense and strangely astute.
But therein lies the charm, because while it’s not unusual for young chaebol characters to be a mixture of all of those things, there seems to be a propensity in dramaland to turn that mixture into something more testosterone-fueled and borderline dangerous. Too often we see this character type take the pigtail-pulling behavior they should’ve already gotten out of their systems into adulthood, giving us heroines pushed into swimming pools (Heirs), terrorizing pranks turned even more terrifying (Boys Over Flowers), most of (Secret), and any other drama with spoiled chaebol heroes who don’t understand how to be people. Chang-soo may not win any awards on personhood anytime soon, but he’s trying, and boy does that count for a lot these days. Plus, he’s absolutely adorable.
At the same time, I could be lauding Chang-soo’s virtues without knowing what kind of person he must be for Joon-ki to despise(?) him the way he does. Joon-ki’s a much harder nut to crack, and the picture we’re getting of their relationship as friends seems much more fractured than the first episode would’ve had us believe. And though Joon-ki having to swallow whatever-it-is that he truly feels makes him a somewhat tragic figure, it also makes me wonder what game he’s playing at. Clearly he’s able to manipulate Chang-soo into letting him think they’re friends, so much so that he even loses just to make Chang-soo feel better, but why? Is he doing it just to move up in the world, which would make him ruthless? What could Chang-soo have done that would make Joon-ki brush off any part of his clothing Chang-soo’s touched?
Yoon-ha’s not necessarily an open book either, and it’s strangely fascinating that she’s also manipulating a friend of hers. It’s bizarre hearing her give advice to Ji-yi like she’s lived a lifetime in her shoes, but since I can’t imagine that Yoon-ha’s just pretending to level with Ji-yi, for now I’ll choose to think that Yoon-ha legitimately cares about the plight of the poor despite being filthy rich. Trapped in her loveless family the way she is, it’s hard to blame her for wanting a life of her own—and if she wants to attain that life through hard work, more power to her.
I’m really curious to know whether Ji-yi’s warning about bad things happening to those who cross Yoon-ha has any truth to it though, since Yoon-ha was rather quick to text Kyung-joon after the Food Market fiasco. And try as she might to tell Chang-soo that she can’t get a job anywhere else, she’s still in a much different position than Ji-yi when she can afford to lose her job to protect her pride while Ji-yi can’t. She’s met an ideological opponent in Joon-ki though, because if he’s even half as ambitious as he seems to be, I can’t imagine he’ll like Yoon-ha any more if he finds out that she’s just itching to give away what most people can only dream of. In the meantime, I’ll take more drunken antics from these two.
- High Society: Episode 1
- To be or not to be evil in High Society
- Four youths’ fates divided by money in High Society
- Blind dates and champagne toasts in High Society’s posters and stills
- High Society starts with a kiss
- Sung Joon and UEE pucker up for High Society’s poster shoot
- Chaebol’s Daughter adds UEE, Im Ji-yeon, and new title
- Sung Joon offered lead in Chaebol’s Daughter
- Chaebol’s Daughter loses Moon-Park pairing, gains Park Hyung-shik
- Moon Geun-young offered lead in Chaebol’s Daughter
- Park Seo-joon offered leading role in Chaebol’s Daughter