Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 12
Ah, birth secrets. The perfect excuse to shake things up in the middle of a drama and rearrange dynamics between characters. As Gi-tak tries to reconnect with his sister (without letting her know who he really is, of course), Young-soo finally discovers that he really didn’t know much about his wife, especially not when he was still alive. The person who does seem to know everything about everyone is Ji-hoon, who suddenly plays an important role in our characters’ lives whether they like it or not.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Hae-joon sees Hong-nan standing outside the gate and invites her to come in and enjoy the party, but she just tearfully reveals that Da-hye is Gi-tak’s long-last sister. Hae-joon is shocked, and it’s sweet when Hong-nan tells him to call her (er, him, as in, Gi-tak) “brother-in-law” from now on.
She starts to understands why, now, Gi-tak came back in a woman’s body, and how Gi-tak and Yong-soo’s fates are so closely connected. Da-hye cheerfully calls out, telling her to come and join them for dinner. She does, but every action Da-hye makes takes on a whole new importance for both Hong-nan and Hae-joon.
In a flashback, a young Gi-tak walks alongside his little sister. Since their mother died, he can’t take care of her, not unless he wants her to grow up around gangsters. So instead he takes her to an orphanage so she can get adopted.
Poor young Da-hye (or Hong-nan, as she was called back then, and therefore Gi-tak’s chosen female name isn’t as random as I originally thought) doesn’t understand what’s going on, asking if they’re going to see their mother. That was the last day Gi-tak saw his sister, that day those photos were taken.
Hong-nan helps clean up after the meal in order to spend more time with Da-hye. When she asks about her childhood, Da-hye admits that she doesn’t remember much. She got into an accident when she was younger — she thinks she was running after her father, or maybe a brother, and then was hit by a car. The woman who hit her helped her get medical assistance by claiming Da-hye was her child, and then ended up raising her.
She sheepishly admits that she’s never even talked about this with Young-soo, but she just feels somehow comfortable enough to share it with Hong-nan (who’s trying to keep her emotions in check after learning what happened to her sister).
Meanwhile, Hae-joon goes to Hanna, who hastily covers up her drawing of the evening’s party with a happy family seated around the table. Aw, she adds glasses to Hae-joon’s face — just like the glasses her father used to wear.
He wants to know if there was any secret Da-hye shared with Hanna that she never told anyone else, but Hanna wisely points out that if she shares it, it’s no longer a secret. Besides, everyone has secrets — including herself.
Hae-joon invites himself over to Ji-hoon’s so they can talk, and the first thing he notices when he walks in the door is the elaborate diagram Ji-hoon created to help him figure out who Da-hye’s family is. This was the promise that he had made to Da-hye a long time ago, and he’s determined to keep it. He requests Hae-joon leave Da-hye alone, but Hae-joon wonders how Ji-hoon knew about it when even her husband didn’t.
That’s because she’d wanted to focus on her new family with Young-soo, and told Ji-hoon to throw out the boxing gloves and pictures, her reminders of past she barely knew. Hae-joon laughs to himself as he realizes that even with his many responsibilities, Young-soo ignored his duties.
Da-hye can sense something is “off” with Hong-nan, who deflects by asking her to punch her hands — it was something that used to cheer her up when she did it with her brother. Da-hye cheerfully obliges, although her punches are adorably weak, but Hong-nan seriously tells Da-hye that her brother told her to never be weak.
Back at Ji-hoon’s, he admits to Hae-joon that he purposefully told Young-soo to have the anniversary dinner at Gi-tak’s as a way to casually introduce Da-hye to her brother. But Young-soo took her to a funeral instead. Hae-joon sighs as he realizes that once again, Young-soo messed things up.
That night, Ji-hoon had returned to the restaurant, desperate to tell her about her family, but he couldn’t bring himself to. Then, because both her husband and long-lost brother died on the same, day, he decided to never tell her at all in order to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt even more. He was just trying to protect her, since no one else would — well, at least until Hae-joon came long.
Hae-joon quietly tells Ji-hoon that Young-soo would be grateful for the way he’s taken care of Da-hye and her family, and he counsels Ji-hoon to not reveal the truth about Gi-tak.
As Hong-nan leaves Da-hye’s home, she hesitates a moment before asking for a hug. Sweet Da-hye immediately obliges, and Gi-tak fights back his tears as he feels his sister’s embrace for the first time in many years.
When Hong-nan and Hae-joon run into each other on the street, they’re both furious at each other for dying so soon. The two ajusshis are soon grappling as Young-soo demands to know why Gi-tak abandoned Da-hye, while Gi-tak threatens to kill him for not keeping his promise to make Da-hye happy. Except, y’know, he’s already dead, so that threat might not work.
Gi-tak and Young-soo’s fight is more hair-pulling and shin-kicking than an actual beat-down, but Young-soo eventually pins Gi-tak and is about to take a swing when someone stops him. It’s Seung-jae, horrified because he sees Hae-joon about to hit a woman. Seung-jae carries the physically and emotionally exhausted Hong-nan home on his back.
Da-hye greets Hae-joon with concern when he gets home, especially once she sees the wound on his face. As she carefully dresses it for him, believing his statement that he just tripped and fell, he silently realizes that once again he’s at the receiving end of her generosity without giving anything in return.
When Hong-nan and Seung-jae return to Gi-tak’s apartment, she warns him not to say anything to Yi-yeon. Despite knowing that Hong-nan isn’t Gi-tak’s real sister, he decides to trust her. As soon as they enter the apartment, they find the destruction caused by Jae-gook.
Yi-yeon is in the bedroom, painstakingly taping together the ripped up photos. She apologizes for Jae-gook’s actions, saying it should be fine so long as he never finds out that Hong-nan is Gi-tak’s sister. As Hong-nan gives Yi-yeon a reassuring hug, she starts to cry, wondering when her feelings for Gi-tak will finally cease.
That night, Da-hye has vague dreams about punching “one-two” in her brother’s fists. She dreamily wakes up for a second and sees her husband next to her. Smiling, she greets him and then goes back to sleep. Except, of course, it’s really Hae-joon next to her, and he silently apologizes for all the lonely nightmares Da-hye must have experienced while she was married to him. Young-soo bids her to only keep a small memory for him, leaving space for happier ones.
Hong-nan and Yi-yeon can’t sleep, and they look over the photos that Yi-yeon pieced together. Yi-yeon admits she loves to look at them in order to get a glimpse a part of Gi-tak’s life that she never shared. But Hong-nan tells her Gi-tak kept her out of it on purpose, thinking it was for her own good. But sometimes saving someone from the thing you think will hurt them will end up hurting them even more. Ah, the voice of bitter experience.
In the morning, Da-hye finds a bouquet of flowers in her locker, with a note from Hae-joon saying how grateful he was to learn more about her. It’s cute how she blushes. Hae-joon is also pleased to report to Hong-nan, or, rather, his “brother-in-law” about how Da-hye is doing.
Oh, hey, it’s Manager Ma! He just returned from his first family vacation since he started working at the department store, and it’s all thanks to Hae-joon. He’s even more thankful when Hae-joon tells him to submit his receipts so the company can pay for it, and even tries to figure out where Hae-joon’s wings are, since he must be an angel. Ha, close, but not quite. But it does look like Hae-joon has a new loyal fan.
Yi-yeon is ready for her photoshoot at the marina, but it’s suspicious that there’s no equipment set up. Hong-nan, as her manager, rushes to look into it, only to discover that the crew were told to pack it up.
Of course Suk-chul is behind this, and he smirks as he advances towards Yi-yeon, telling her that he’s made it so she cancelled on not just this contract, but three others. And he conveniently doesn’t have the termination fee to pay them, so her reputation will be ruined since no one will want to work with her.
She keeps stepping backwards as he walks forwards, but she stands her ground when she reaches end of the dock. She knows that he’s just a puppet for Jae-gook, and he purposefully screams at her to startle her, which causes her to step back and fall into the water.
He assumes she’s just acting when she doesn’t come up for air, but Hong-nan rushes past him to jump in after her. Suk-chul grabs Seung-jae, warning him that Hong-nan better get him Gi-tak’s money soon, or else.
As Yi-yeon slowly sinks in the water, Hong-nan swims towards her. Except Yi-yeon hears Gi-tak’s voice calling her, and Gi-tak’s form as he swims to her and then pulls her out of the water. Back on the pier, Hong-nan weeps in relief when Yi-yeon comes back to her senses, and Yi-yeon tenderly places her hand on Hong-nan’s cheek as she stares into her eyes.
Jae-gook isn’t impressed at the lack of information Ji-hoon has been feeding him lately, and in order to protect Da-hye, Ji-hoon tells him that Hong-nan is Gi-tak’s sister.
Back home, Hong-nan helps dry Yi-yeon’s hair, amazed at how calm she is considering she almost drowned. But Yi-yeon says that she saw Gi-tak for a moment, and even though she nearly died, it was worth it just for a few seconds of happiness.
Angry, Hong-nan tells her to forget about that bastard Gi-tak. After all, he was the one who abandoned own sister just so she wouldn’t grow up around gangsters. Even if she were to die, he wouldn’t go searching for her. He was also the one who called Yi-yeon’s manager and ended their relationship. That’s the kind of guy Gi-tak is — a coward and a jerk — and Yi-yeon would be better off forgetting him.
As Yi-yeon studies the torn photos of Gi-tak and the newer ones of Hong-nan, Seung-jae escorts Hong-nan to her mother’s urn. Weeping, she apologizes to her mother as she clutches the photo of Gi-tak and the young Da-hye. Just as they’re leaving the cemetary, Hong-nan gets a call — Yi-yeon’s agreed to sign the modeling contract.
She signs the contract in Hae-joon’s office while Hong-nan watches in delight (and the stoic Seung-jae just watches). Yi-yeon does have some conditions, though, one of which is to cancel her contract with Suk-chul’s agency with Sunjin group covering the termination costs. The other is to fire Hong-nan as her manager, effective immediately. Say what?
Chairman Cha is amazed that Yi-yeon signed on with Hae-joon’s contract instead of Jae-gook’s, especially considering how much he tried to make it easy for his son to reconcile with Yi-yeon. But Ms. Wang shows him the viral video of Hae-joon defending the valet, pointing out that his methods of caring for his employees fit better with Yi-yeon’s image. That’s not the Hae-joon Chairman Cha used to know, though.
Yi-yeon meets with Jae-gook, who warns her that it isn’t over between them (and he doesn’t mean it in a way that would please Chairman Cha). She agrees, although if Jae-gook’s purpose was to make her miserable, he picked the best person — Suk-chul. Every time she saw him, she was reminded of Gi-tak, who risked his life to protect her from Suk-chul.
It’s more private elevator time for Hae-joon and Da-hye, where he informs her that Hong-nan will be living with them now that she no longer has a job. He also gives her a handful of the fortune cookies that someone keeps sending him, telling her there are little love messages inside. She cooly says she’s not interested, but he knows better.
As soon as she finds a quiet corner, she rips open one of the cookies to puzzle over its message: “It’s not like we planned. I’ll be waiting for your call.” Hae-joon pops his head around the corner to take the message from her, and she scurries away, embarrassed at being caught reading it. Hae-joon wonders if perhaps it isn’t a love letter after all.
Hae-joon teasingly surprises Hanna when she gets home, but when she doesn’t laugh at his antics, he promises to tell her a secret if she tells him why she’s so sad. As much as he wants to, he just doesn’t have much time to left to play with her. She demands to know his secret first, and he thinks for a moment before telling her that he loves her, and then kissing her on the cheek.
He’s not the only one vying for Hanna’s attention, though, because Ji-hoon arrives just then. The two men can’t really talk about why Ji-hoon might really be there (to reveal the truth about Da-hye’s family), and instead they try to one-up each other in impressing Hanna. Hahaha, Hae-joon asks if she and her friends liked the EXO concert he got them tickets for, and Ji-hoon petulantly asks him if he knows how many members are in the group. That’s totally a trick question!
Next is a dance-off to GFriend’s “Me Gustas Tu,” which into a full-on party with everyone, including Young-soo’s father, getting up to dance. Da-hye arrives home to see the men in her life dancing with Hanna, but she’s more surprised to find Ji-hoon there. The glare she gives him doesn’t look very inviting.
The point of his visit was to give her the box that contains the gloves and photos from her past, but while he waits for her to come out of her room, he sees the memorial photo of Young-soo which gives him pause. When Hanna appears in the doorway, he hastily stuffs the box under a shelf.
They hangout on the playground and she offers him a drink. She asks him what was in the box, and Ji-hoon says it’s something her mother lost a long time ago that he thought she might want again one day. She also asks if he likes her mother, and he admit he does, just as he likes her father, and he likes her, too. Way to cover the bases, there.
He starts to scratch at his neck at the same time Hanna scratches at hers, and he looks down at the juice bottle she gave him, realizing that it has banana in it. He’s allergic, and so is Hanna, and this was her way of testing out if he might be her father.
She sadly says that she knows doesn’t take after her father, but she doesn’t want to take after Ji-hoon, either. Moreover, she hates the fact that her father liked him.
Hong-nan is having a drink with her boys, and she chides them for acting like gangsters. They will take back Gi-tak’s restaurant in an honest, lawful way. Hahaha, they agree and toast their promise, instinctively calling her “boss” before amending it to “boss’ sister.”
Yi-yeon is waiting in hopes that Hong-nan will return, and leaps up in eagerness when the door opens. But it’s only Seung-jae. He’s amused that her fiesty old personality is back, and she retorts that he’s the one who changed the most since Hong-nan arrived. He denies it but we all know it’s true. Yi-yeon admits she’ss just worried that Hong-nan will end up like Gi-tak. As in, too protective for her own good?
It’s late a night and Jae-gook calls Suk-chul to his office. Suk-chul is delighted, thinking this is an honor. But it’s really to threaten him, since he’s now figured out that Suk-chul knew who Yi-yeon was with ten years ago and who she went to again when the scandal came out.
He points at Suk-chul’s scar, asking who gave it to him — does it have anything to do with Yi-yeon and Gi-tak? He angrily grips a pair of scissors, warning Suk-chul that he’ll give him a matching scar or worse, since he’s determined that Suk-chul coveted one of his “possessions,” that is, Yi-yeon.
As Da-hye tucks Hanna into bed, she dabs on some lotion to help with the rashes from her banana allergy. Hanna wonders why she is allergic but no one else in their family is, and Da-hye side-steps the question by telling her about how Young-soo hated carrots.
Hanna doesn’t go to sleep, and instead leaves a note by her father’s picture that says she misses him and she’s going to visit him. When Da-hye finds the note in the morning, she panics and calls Hanna’s phone, but there’s no answer. She keeps trying to call her daughter when suddenly Hae-joon calls.
He’s just checking in on Hanna to see how she’s recovering from her allergic reaction, but at the sound of Da-hye’s tearful voice telling him she’s missing, he’s off and running. From her viewpoint where she collapsed in anguish on the floor, she spots the mysterious box that Ji-hoon had left.
She remembers Hanna’s question about no one else having allergies, and immediately calls Ji-hoon, demanding to know what he said to her yesterday. Meanwhile, Hae-joon speeds down the road in his car, promising Hanna that her father will find her.
Epilogue. The castaways are overjoyed to discover a can of baby formula in the wreckage, and they greedily stuff the powder into their hungry mouths. But the pilot suddenly recalls that he was bringing it to give to his baby, and grabs it from real!Hae-joon who chases him down the beach.
Another birth secret? Really? Not that Da-hye’s reveal was a birth secret so much as a surprise (well, to me at least, because I did not expect that Gi-tak’s younger sibling was going to be female — well played, show), but this almost feels like it’s coming out of nowhere and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.
One the one hand, I’m glad we’re getting to learn more about Da-hye and see just how difficult it has been for her to not only raise her family when her husband was living and busy working for so much of it, but how she’s been managing to survive and move on since his death. I like that we’re getting to see more of Hanna — because as traumatic as it is to lose a husband, I’m sure it’s even more traumatic to lose a father, so seeing her work through her confusion and grief is definitely worthwhile.
But on the other hand, I feel like there was little-to-no set-up for this sudden reveal. If it is indeed a reveal, since after falling for the last birth secret, I’m not sure how much to trust about this one. Maybe Gi-tak or his mother is the one allergic to bananas (and if we see Hong-nan get an allergic reaction to bananas later on, I’m going to have some serious questions for Maya about how much inhabiting a new body means starting from a clean slate).
Speaking of Maya, while I missed her presence in this episode, I’m 100% convinced those fortune cookies are from her and she’s trying to contact Young-soo and Gi-tak to warn them that things have changed. Maybe the reason the station master/God/Higher Power allowed them to go back to earth was not so they could fix things the way they thought it should be, but because there was a deeper lesson to discover — the one that centers on Da-hye.
She’s the key, right now, and while I do like the twist of fate of Gi-tak and Young-soo being officially family, I also don’t really know what to do with that information. Ji-hoon has a good point — why tell Da-hye who her brother is since he’s dead? What good will do it her, when she only has vague memories and a box of gloves and pictures to draw from? Perhaps it’s the right thing to do, to allow her to grieve the brother she barely knew. Or maybe it’s more about allowing her the agency to choose how to deal with information instead of having the men in her life determined to always protect her.
Perhaps Hanna’s parentage reaveal will also be the thing to help Young-soo move on. Not that I expect to see Da-hye, Hanna, and Ji-hoon become a happy family any time soon, since Da-hye is not in a place to allow Ji-hoon to get close to her again. But it might help Young-soo to realize that even though he might not have been the best father, he was still a father and cared for Hanna, and if he could do that without her being officially related by blood, then maybe Da-hye will find someone else who could do that again in the future. I’m hoping it might be the start of the wake-up call that his time on earth is limited, and it might not be the wisest thing to have Da-hye begin to fall for a man who is not going to be around much longer (at least in this incarnation, since who knows how everyone will deal with the shock when the real Hae-joon finally shows up and is nothing like Young-soo’s Hae-joon).
I’m also curious to see what happens with Yi-yeon and Hong-nan. I respect that Yi-yeon is doing her best to move forward, even though she deeply misses Gi-tak. While I’m crying about the sudden forced schism between Hong-nan and Yi-yeon, I’m sure she believes it’s the right thing to do, if only to protect Hong-nan. Although if it denies me more intense scenes of off-the-charts chemistry and emotion like that moment at the marina, I might just cry a little. Forget Da-hye — I need someone to protect me from heartbreak, knowing that these amazing relationships have a time limit. Unless miracles happen and we can keep Hong-nan around forever. Do you hear me, almighty Maya?
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 11
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 10
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 9
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 8
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 7
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 6
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 5
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 4
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 3
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 2
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 1