Oh My Ghostess: Episode 2
The second episode really brings the comedy into play, now that our wallflower heroine has been taken over by a ghostly presence with an unquenchable thirst for all things male. It’s hard to even call it innuendo when she’s just openly drooling, leering, and grabbing to her heart’s content. I guess when you’ve already died once, there’s no time like the present to live out all your carnal desires. But the best part is that the show doesn’t lose its heart amidst all the libido jokes, and this episode sets the stage for a drama that’s going to make us laugh and cry in all the right ways.
SONG OF THE DAY
Gogo Boys – “집으로 가는 길” (The Road Home) [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Bong-sun has just been possessed by sassy maiden ghost Soon-ae, and dragged back to work to return the storage key she took by accident when she quit this morning. (We’ll be calling her Soon-ae as long as she’s in control of the body, though obviously everyone else thinks she’s Bong-sun.) The entire staff at Sun Restaurant gasps in unison when she speaks to Chef Sun-woo in banmal and flips him over instead of handing over the key.
Sous chef Min-soo yells at her for crossing the line even if she doesn’t work here anymore, and Soon-ae realizes that she made a mistake. When they tell her to hurry up and apologize to Chef, she wonders, “Chef? Is that his name? He doesn’t look foreign.” Heh.
Sun-woo just demands the key again, and Soon-ae digs into her pocket and finds what they were looking for. The disgruntled looks all around start to make her feel uncomfortable, and she decides it’s been long enough in this body and tries to eject… only she can’t.
A look of horror dawns on her face as she remembers the shaman unni telling her that she could get stuck if she ever possessed a host that matched her frequency perfectly, and she starts to panic that she really might be stuck in Bong-sun’s body for good.
She strains to try ejecting again, and ends up fainting right there on the floor. Sun-woo rushes back over to her and the guys all wonder if she’s really sick or something. They lay her down on top of a table, and Soon-ae comes to and realizes that she can’t just pretend to be asleep forever.
She peels her eyes open and gets a good gander at three men’s crotches right at eye level, and actually licks her lips in appreciation. LOL. She decides that this might not be such a bad arrangement after all.
Sun-woo’s sister Eun-hee bandages up the scrape on his arm and nudges him not to let Bong-sun leave like this. She thinks that Bong-sun is someone weak like her, and that they shouldn’t send her out into the world before she’s ready.
So when Soon-ae heads down to talk to him, Sun-woo is a little softer with her, especially after she ekes out a straight apology for the ninja moves. He asks if she’s asking to be let off the hook because she isn’t ready to leave, and Soon-ae just nods in agreement to everything.
He offers her one more month on probation to see if the kitchen is really what she wants to devote her life to, and Soon-ae jumps up to shake his hand. She says in her hilariously flippant way that they made up so they’re all good now, and Sun-woo backs away slowly and says she’s not quite right in the head yet.
Soon-ae dons her uniform and takes a look around the kitchen, which she notes feels strangely familiar. The others yell at her to take her station (washing dishes), and as soon as Sun-woo orders Min-soo to go check on their supplies, Min-soo tosses the job down to kitchen lackey Bong-sun.
Except Soon-ae doesn’t know the rules and just spits back that Chef told Min-soo to do it, and everyone turns to her like she just spat on them. She quickly revises her stance and goes with the “not quite right in the head” excuse and scurries off.
Soon-ae wonders what Sun-woo’s deal is and watches him tenderly tie his sister’s shoelaces, deciding that he’s maybe not as rude and terrible as he seems. But as soon as he yells at her to get back to work, she scowls: “Well he’s not a good guy.”
Soon-ae slaves over the dishes during the dinner rush and complains the whole time about how busy the place is. But when the heat causes hottie chef Joon to start lifting his shirt and showing off his abs, she stands there blatantly leering.
He asks her to move as he reaches for a towel, and she answers with a lusty smile: “I don’t wanna move.” He makes her day by leaning over her anyway and wiping his sweat in slow motion. She looks like she’s died and gone to heaven.
When Sun-woo orders her to wipe the floor, she uses a wet mop and he lights into her again, wondering if this is some kind of revenge for her. She jokes that he’d have to break a few ribs if it were revenge, leaving him speechless.
Sun-woo gets called away to the police station, where he’s informed that the angry blogger is pressing charges for assault because he pushed her out of the restaurant, and is claiming to have injuries that’ll take three weeks to heal. His brother-in-law Sung-jae comes running into the station, and the restaurant closes for the night.
Soon-ae asks if “that chef guy” beat someone up, and they all gape at her. Min-soo reminds her that all of this happened because of her, and Soon-ae quickly acts like she just forgot, all the while mindlessly caressing Joon’s hand. Hee.
The guys ask her what she’s touching, and she laughs awkwardly and says she’s just lacking for affection and sometimes fixates on men. Well that’s one way to put it. They’re so stunned that she starts babbling to try and cover up for it, but the guys can’t get over how weird she’s being.
They talk it over without her, convinced that she is Bong-sun but doesn’t seem like Bong-sun. They wonder if she’s maybe got multiple personalities, or an anger management problem where she’s been so downtrodden that it’s erupting now in a murderous rage.
They scare themselves with wild theories, and then come upon Soon-ae as she’s marveling one of the kitchen knives. She thrusts it at them and asks if a person would die if stabbed with something this sharp, and they all flee in terror.
Brother-in-law Sung-jae tries to convince Sun-woo to apologize to the bitchy blogger to make this go away, but Sun-woo refuses to play her game when he did nothing wrong.
Meanwhile Soon-ae waits until all the guys are in the showers to poke her head in and take a loooooong leisurely look. They scream at her to get out, and she takes her sweet time in a sorry-not-sorry retreat out the door.
She congratulates herself on her spot-on instincts, and when the guys come out to the locker room, she shuts Min-soo up with one pointed look down at his crotch and a sympathetic, “Be strong! Who cares about that kind of stuff, right? Fighting!” Hahahaha. Min-soo whines, “It’s because you didn’t get a good look!”
Soon-ae runs out after Joon (well that answers THAT question), even though he points out that she lives in the opposite direction. He asks outright what her deal is, and if she’s acting so strange because she decided she’d have to be totally different to stop being taken advantage of.
She says she’s done a lot of thinking about life, and suggests that it’s more a conversation to be had over a beer. Many beers later, Joon is drunk and wobbling down the street, and Soon-ae is dragging him by the wrist to try and get them into a motel room to “just rest for a bit. Just an hour! I won’t lay a finger on you!”
To her dismay, Joon insists on going home and rides off in a taxi with a drunken wave. She stomps off in frustration and sighs at Bong-sun’s reflection in a car window, cursing the fact that she got stuck in a body so homely.
Soon-ae doesn’t even know where Bong-sun lives, but thankfully she gets a call from the gosiwon landlord asking when she’s moving out. She heads home and finds Bong-sun’s depressing room filled with ghost-warding bric-a-brac and suddenly asks aloud, “What’re you looking at?” And a little child ghost scurries away. Ack, a little warning might be nice!
Sun-woo comes home in an angry rage and decides to go on the bitchy blogger’s site to leave dissenting comments under a pseudonym. He’s kind of adorable.
By morning, the news has hit the press that he attacked a patron in his restaurant, and the lunch crowd has thinned to just a few tables. Soon-ae is cluelessly cheery as she comes to work, but the entire staff ends up just standing around in the kitchen with nothing to do, and Sun-woo does his best to act like nothing’s changed and barks orders as usual.
Soon-ae gets called over to a table where a pair of rude guests complain over a pasta, and she tamps down her temper to fix the dish, mostly because she doesn’t want Sun-woo to have to deal with them.
But Sun-woo sees her throwing chili paste in the pan and tosses the whole thing in the trash, yelling at her for touching his food. She admits that she was wrong but says that she was trying to be thoughtful because the guests were saying rude things about the gangster chef who beats people.
He tells her to stay in her place instead of thinking about him, and she argues right back that he always twists everything around instead of just accepting her thoughtfulness. She’s so worked up that she says things half in banmal and then belatedly corrects it. Sun-woo is stunned speechless, and decides that she took his warning the wrong way. He bans her from the kitchen for the time being.
Eun-hee worries that Sun-woo’s making a bad situation worse for their restaurant, but he insists that it’s nice to have some time off. He’s surprised to get a call from the police station about the charges against him being dropped, and gets fired up when he learns that Mom paid off the blogger.
He storms into Mom’s office to pick a fight over her sticking her nose into his business, and she simply argues that she’s his mother. He snaps back angrily that she wasn’t a mother to him when he needed one as a child, and that he’s thirty-three now and doesn’t need a mom anymore.
She cries that she was so young that she was trying to study and make ends meet, and is trying to make up for not being a good mom now. She agrees that they can just live their separate lives now, but that lasts all of two seconds before she chases him out into the hall to hit him for being so rude to his mother.
Mom reminds him to use that talisman and he asks how much she paid the blogger, wanting to pay for it himself. But then he checks his bank account and has to ask Mom for discount.
Sun-woo meets up with his broadcast PD friend So-hyung, and he insists over and over that he’s fine and enjoys having some time off. She tells him to do her cooking survival reality show and revive his image, and this time he seems to consider it.
She takes him with her to a memorial vault where their friend Chang-kyu’s ashes are kept, and when So-hyung says that Chang-kyu wanted to see him, Sun-woo says he’s too nice and should’ve continued hating him for life. So-hyung sighs that she should’ve been good to him while he was alive, and Sun-woo falls silent.
The kitchen staff lazes around reading more stories about their chef, who’s been nicknamed Kkang Chef in the press, short for Gangster [kkang-pae] Chef. Soon-ae calls it the perfect nickname that just rolls right off the tongue, since Sun-woo has a way of being a gangster with his words.
She makes a point of asking Chef if she can go to the bathroom since she’s been ordered to check with him before doing anything, and he tells her stay away from him so that he doesn’t have to speak to her.
Min-soo tattles to Sun-woo that his rival Marco’s staff is saying that Sun-woo’s done for and can’t even be on TV anymore because his image is ruined, and immediately Sun-woo calls So-hyung (and pretends to have accidentally butt-dialed her, ha) to do her reality show. He tells the staff and asks Min-soo if he wants to come with him as his sous chef, and everyone congratulates Min-soo on his TV debut.
Shaman Unni runs all over town looking for her runaway ghost Soon-ae, and gets a ghostly warning from the powers that be to hurry up and find her. Sun-woo’s mom calls that same shaman with a recommendation from a colleague, and asks her to come see her son.
Mom gets drunk and rambles to the pojangmacha owner about her son giving her trouble, but then admits that she wasn’t around to cook him one warm meal, what with getting accidentally pregnant at nineteen and so focused on her studies, and widowed early on top of it all. She wonders with tears in her eyes how lonely Sun-woo must’ve been all by himself.
Sun-woo and Eun-hee sigh when Mom stumbles into the restaurant drunk off her rocker and calling for a bottle of wine. Sun-woo takes her home and puts her to bed, and picks up a stray dog on his way out. He tells the dog to go away because he’s not the type to feed strays.
Cut to: Sun-woo feeding the dog at the restaurant, with warnings that he won’t keep feeding him tomorrow.
Soon-ae trudges home whining about how she’s stuck in this body where “the front and the back are the same,” and curses herself for the momentary decision that landed her here. A large crowd in the neighborhood draws her attention, and she notices policeman Sung-jae standing guard as a dead body is carried out from a building.
She thinks that Sung-jae looks familiar for some reason, and wonders if maybe she seduced him once in a different body or something. She sees him covering up a little boy’s eyes as the body passes by, and swoons at the gesture from the handsome cop.
When Sung-jae heads to his usual lunch place the next day, the owner ajusshi and son are having trouble with a customer who refuses to pay for his meal. At the sight of the cops, the guy pays, and Sung-jae just pleasantly asks for the daily special and cleans a dirty cup without complaining.
Mom meets with Shaman Unni, who wants to see Sun-woo for herself and read his fortune in his face. They head over to the restaurant, but Sun-woo’s at the broadcast station for his cooking show today. Min-soo is so nervous that he forgot to bring Sun-woo’s knife and calls Bong-sun to bring it.
Shaman Unni is on her way in when Soon-ae nearly runs right into her, and she reminds herself that she’s Bong-sun now and can’t be seen. Still, she has to clutch her bell necklace to keep it from ringing as she scurries past.
Soon-ae arrives at the station with the knife and teases Sun-woo for wearing makeup for TV. Min-soo gets stuck downstairs and the security guard won’t let him back in without the name of the PD, and Min-soo digs his own grave by trying to bribe him and jump the turnstile.
With no other choice, Sun-woo goes on the show with Soon-ae as his assistant. The taping begins, and by way of introduction, Sun-woo says he’s here to show that his hands are for cooking, not violence, and then the viewer challenge is introduced: Cook a hangover soup that a mother would make for a son who’s been drinking all night after just getting his enlistment papers.
The challenge seems to set Sun-woo off-kilter from the start, likely because he has no idea what a mother would cook for a son. He starts making dried pollack soup, but with minutes left, Soon-ae notices that the rice has burnt.
He seems frozen with indecision, while his rival chef Marco is already plating his dish at a leisurely pace. Soon-ae pushes him aside and springs into action, scraping out the rice and pouring the soup into the stone rice pot. He asks what she’s doing, and she says quietly that she’s making dried pollack crispy rice soup.
Over at the family restaurant that policeman Sung-jae frequents, a man orders that very same dish from the ajusshi, who says that they don’t make it anymore. The patron is disappointed, and asks where the ajusshi’s daughter is: Did she go somewhere?
Ajusshi stammers, “Yes, yes… she went… somewhere.” Oh, saaad. Is Ajusshi Soon-ae’s dad?
The final dishes are tasted by the judges, and everyone notes Sun-woo’s simple rice dish in surprise. He looks surprised himself when he tastes it, and So-hyung congratulates him on the win after the show. She thought he’d be at a disadvantage for the challenge because he hates rice so much (his staff has complained that he doesn’t let them eat rice, let alone ever cook it).
Min-soo finally shows up and gets chewed out for missing the show, and to add insult to injury, So-hyung says that Bong-sun has to keep being his assistant because they can’t swap now. Min-soo whines that Bong-sun can’t do the heavy lifting, just as she passes by carrying all the equipment without breaking a sweat.
As Sun-woo drops them off, he tells Soon-ae to return to the kitchen tomorrow (he mutters it so begrudgingly that she has to make him repeat it), and she realizes that this is his way of saying thank you for her help on the show today.
She heads home that night feeling good about herself, and wonders how she came up with that idea in the moment—is that soup dish something she used to like?
She sees a young man lying in the street drunk and sporting a bruise on his eye, and something makes her stop and try to help him. She digs out his phone and calls “Dad,” who turns out to be Pollack Soup Ajusshi. It rings, but he doesn’t answer. Pick up the phone, Dad!
Soon-ae doesn’t know why she’s being so nice, but she can’t just leave the guy there and drags him all the way to the police station. Policeman Sung-jae recognizes him right away and calls Dad to come pick him up, and asks Soon-ae to wait because the ajusshi wants to thank her.
She swoons again at Sung-jae’s sweet disposition, and seems happy to wait around as long as she gets to stare at her cop crush. Dad comes running in to claim his son, and one look at Dad sends Soon-ae’s head spinning.
A memory comes flooding back: Dad trying to wake Little Bro in their family restaurant, and Soon-ae comes out of the kitchen to join them. Awww, they really are her family! She beats Bro with the ladle and Dad laughs.
And then another memory rushes in: Dad’s restaurant is bustling with taxi drivers, and Soon-ae runs around the kitchen trying to keep up with the orders, as she and Dad joke happily with their regular customers.
The truth dawns on Soon-ae in the present, and her eyes fill with tears as she whispers the faintest, “Father…” as she remembers all the ways he used to call her name: “Soon-ae-ya! Our Soon-ae! Soon-ae-ya, let’s eat! Soon-ae!”
Agh, Park Bo-young, you can’t make me cry in Episode 2! She’s so nimble at going from laugh-out-loud sex jokes to gut-punching tears at the drop of a hat, it’s crazy. I like her as Soon-ae more than as Bong-sun because she really gets to play that whole spectrum, and I’m glad that we’re getting Soon-ae’s backstory because I expected the ghost character to be played purely for comedy. But now there’s all this heart in Soon-ae’s past, and I love the idea that maybe she’s still here as a ghost because Dad and Little Bro are her homework and need a little help to get back on their feet after losing her. There’s such a poignant sadness in the moment where she remembers Dad but can’t call out to him, made so bittersweet by the fact that their lives were once filled with so much everyday happiness.
It’s interesting on a story level to make Soon-ae the central character of our story, and not Bong-sun. And the fact that Soon-ae is trapped inside that body means that we’re likely to have her in control the whole time, whereas I expected more swapping back and forth. It’s regrettable for Bong-sun to get less development as a character, but at the moment I do find Soon-ae more layered and interesting, and will hope that there’s a way they can influence each other down the road. Maybe they can even take turns like a split-personality drama (though that’s a whole other headache that I don’t wish to repeat, thank you). It’s really only a problem when it comes to the romance, because you run the risk of the love interest falling for the secondary personality/ghost/what have you, and I want this drama to make me believe without a doubt that Sun-woo sees Bong-sun for herself. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but don’t make me regret putting my faith in you, Show.
What I like is that Sun-woo has a soft spot for Bong-sun to begin with, and that he likes her because he identifies with her and hates her for the exact same reason, because she reminds him of himself at his worst. He seems to genuinely care for her, which is a good place to start. I like that he’s prickly in a relatable insecure way—puffing himself up outwardly and pretending to be okay when he’s not, and putting on bravado to protect himself when he’s just really insecure. His mother issues run deep enough that he’s tripped up by a simple cooking challenge to imagine what a mother would cook for her son, and I like the food metaphor that he actually doesn’t know the taste of rice because he’s never had mom’s cooking. In Korean, you call a meal the same thing as “eating rice” (and similarly “cooking” is commonly referred to as “making rice” and so on), and his aversion to rice makes me think it’s his insecurity about never having had a loving home-cooked meal in his entire life. But both Bong-sun and Soon-ae know that one thing in spades, and it warms my heart to think that she’ll (they’ll?) fill that void for him.
I’m glad that there’s a mystery too, a la Arang and the Magistrate concerning Soon-ae’s amnesia and how it is that she died in the first place. It seems likely that the reason for her memory loss is something traumatic that includes a bad guy and a crime, which should add a nice urgent plot element to give Soon-ae’s journey a little more weight than Get laid, rest in peace. Not that getting laid isn’t important for her—obviously it’s the first (second and third) thing on her mind and we get buckets of hilarity for it—it’s just probably not the unresolved grudge that’s keeping her from passing to the other side. Probably. She should maybe go ahead and check that off though, yunno, just in case.
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