Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 14
The clock is running out for Gi-tak and Young-soo, and even though it feels like we’ve finally reached a place where maybe everyone can live happily ever after (or almost everyone, since, y’know, our two ajusshis have already died), there’s still a bit that stands in their way of successfully completing their respective missions. By “a bit,” I mostly mean our villains, Suk-chul and Jae-gook, although it would appear that Jae-gook’s bark is worse than his bite. There’s also the added worry that the truth behind Hong-nan and Hae-joon will be revealed as those closest to them slowly become suspicious about certain unique mannerisms.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Seung-jae races through the streets to find Hong-nan, who kneels before Suk-chul as he shows her that he’s figured out where the key is for Gi-tak’s Swiss bank account. The account number was hidden in a family photo at Gi-tak’s mother’s urn.
Barging into Jae-gook’s office, Yi-yeon grabs her estranged husband by the lapels, demanding to know what he’s done to Hong-nan. She warns him that if he hurts Hong-nan, she’ll never leave him alone.
With tears in her eyes, she wonders what she has to do to protect Hong-nan — cancel the contract with department store? Get on her knees and beg? Whatever it takes, she’ll do it.
Except, of course, it’s Suk-chul who’s kidnapped her, and Jae-gook orders his assistant to find him. Suk-chul’s still on the roof with Hong-nan, and he casually informs her that the Big Boss is dead. She recalls the last message she received from her gangster hyung-nim, about finding the money before Suk-chul.
Furious, she knows that he’s responsible for Big Boss’ death, and he jeeringly reminds her that he’s the kind of dog who refuses to let go once he’s bitten. Just then, Seung-jae arrives and steadily fights his way through Suk-chul’s men to try and reach Hong-nan.
But Suk-chul holds her hostage, amused at Seung-jae’s sudden heroic arrival as he orders all his men to attack. Seung-jae valiantly fights his as best he can while Hong-nan helplessly looks on.
Or maybe not that helplessly, because just in reach is a brick which she stealthily picks up to bash over Suk-chul’s head. Now it’s time for her to join the battle, and she’s delighted to realize that her fists aren’t that weak after all.
The two of them fight back-to-back, unflinchingly doing their best to defeat Suk-chul’s men. Despite their skills in fighting, they are still vastly outnumbered. Just when it looks like it’s game over for the two of them, Hae-joon arrives with the rest of Gi-tak’s men.
He looks awfully heroic until he tries to make his way through the men battling each other. Hae-joon awkwardly scuttles through in a defensive posture until he reaches Hong-nan and Seung-jae. Both he and Suk-chul recognize each other, and as Suk-chul runs away, Hae-joon starts to chase after him but Hong-nan holds him back, reminding him that he doesn’t have any fighting skills.
Gi-tak’s men are bruised and bloody, but they are the victors. As they patiently stand at attention, Hong-nan explains to Hae-joon that Gi-tak and Suk-chul were good friends until the Big Boss became more fond of Gi-tak. Then they became enemies, especially after Big Boss left his money to Gi-tak.
Hong-nan has the money in a safe place. The Swiss bank account number is on the back of the photo of the young Gi-tak with the young Da-hye, which Hong-nan secretly hid in Hae-joon’s desk. The concern now is if Suk-chul will discover that Da-hye is Gi-tak’s younger sister.
At Big Boss’ funeral, as Gi-tak’s men stand by, Hong-nan begs on the behalf of Gi-tak that no one takes revenge. When she and Seung-jae arrive home, Yi-yeon greets them in relief. She thought that Hong-nan was going to die, but Hong-nan gently reassures her that she couldn’t die if it meant leaving Yi-yeon behind. D’aww.
Da-hye also worriedly paces until Hae-joon arrives home. He reassures her that all is well, and then brags — and downright lies — about his involvement in the fight. Da-hye sees through his bravado, though, and she invites him to eat dinner. As he eats, he notices that she’s wearing the necklace that Young-soo had been planning to give her for their anniversary.
Yi-yeon happily dotes on Hong-nan’s battle wounds, enjoying her role as nursemaid. When Hong-nan grumbles about the needless attention, Yi-yeon tells her it’s just payback for all the times Hong-nan has saved and protected her.
Later that night, Hong-nan stares at her phone, her finger hesitating over the call button under Da-hye’s name. Suddenly she receives a message — it’s from Da-hye! She’s wondering how Hong-nan is doing, and when Hong-nan doesn’t answer right away, she assumes she’s asleep.
No, Hong-nan just likes seeing Da-hye worry about her. Da-hye chides her for leaving without telling her, making her wait and worry. Inwardly, Gi-tak apologies for making Da-hye wait — and I have a feeling it’s not just about dinner.
In the morning over breakfast, Hanna asks Hae-joon why there’s suddenly so many stickers on the grape picture. She wonders if it’s because he’s planning on leaving soon, since he said he would once the grape was filled. Aw, Hae-joon offers to still do anything that she originally wanted to do with her father.
Young-soo’s father wonders if they shouldn’t work in the garden, and everyone stares at him when he casually calls Hae-joon “Young-soo,” who insticively replies. He tries to laugh it off as a sign of old age — after all, he’s done it before — grumbling that Hae-joon keeps answering him, too.
But he secretly takes an assessment on whether or not he has dementia, and all signs point to “yes.” Hae-joon finds him, shocked at the results while Dad shushes him. He insists it isn’t dementia — just old age. If he was sick, how would take care of his family?
He doesn’t know how Hae-joon seems to know so much about Young-soo’s family — especially Hanna’s parentage — but he should keep it on the down low. Hae-joon is shocked that his father has known the truth all this time, and Dad tells him that Da-hye came to him before the wedding, crying over the fact that she had no right to marry Young-soo (since she was pregnant with another man’s child).
But Dad knew of her difficult childhood, and how much Young-soo loved her, and accepted her as his daughter right then and there. She just naturally became a part of his family.
Downstairs, Da-hye overhears their conversation with tears in her eyes. Also crying is Hae-joon, since he’s still the emotional Young-soo deep inside. Dad warns him to keep his mouth shut about the dementia or else he’ll kick Hae-joon out of the house.
Seung-jae ponders Hong-nan’s fighting skills, realizing she fights exactly just like Gi-tak. At least one thing’s for certain — his heart must hurt due to loyalty, that’s all. Sure, that must be the reason.
Hong-nan is ready to go out, but Seung-jae is on bodyguard duty. Suk-chul is still out there, looking for the money and willing to kill for it, and if something happens to her, he wouldn’t be able to face Gi-tak. She promises she won’t get hurt, and he’ll be the first she calls if there’s a problem.
Ji-hoon finds Da-hye on the rooftop of the department store. He asks if it’s no longer painful for her (to stand in the place where her husband fell to his death), but it’s a process — she’ll get better about accepting about it, little by little.
He also promises to stop bothering her, now that she’s made it clear how she feels. But if she ever needs anything, or wants to find her family, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her. She thanks him politely and walks away. Ji-hoon’s face is the epitome of pining as he watches her leave.
Hae-joon finds him there, and Ji-hoon tells him that the ball is now in his court. If he can’t protect Da-hye better than Ji-hoon did, then he should just back-off. Ji-hoon’s struggle to get over his feelings for Da-hye will be his penance for the way he hurt her.
As he watches Da-hye go about her duties, Young-soo wishes that she would be happy here even though he’s no longer around. Also watching is Gi-tak, who wonders how he could have left his younger sister behind.
Hae-joon enters his office to find Manager Ma holding a fortune cookie. He yells at him, demanding to know why he’s been leaving them. But Manager Ma isn’t the messenger — he brought Hae-joon his coffee, then wanted to try one of the cookies. Hae-joon snatches it out of his hand to read the anonymous message: “Why are you avoiding me?”
Manager Ma shows him the new staff rooms — games to relieve stress, a massage room, a movie room, and a cafe. Everyone is thrilled with the new break-area improvements. Except for dour-faced Ji-hoon, and ha, Manager Ma ducks behind a sofa to avoid being seen as Ji-hoon sneers that it’s like a preschool around here now.
When he runs into Hae-joon later, he thanks him for raising employee satisfaction, because now he can get a higher price for the store when he sells it since Hae-joon has raised its value. Hae-joon still insists there’s no way he’ll allow the store to be sold, but Jae-gook has his own plans that he’s determined to see succeed. Pffft, I love how Hae-joon always walks away before Jae-gook’s finished speechifyin’.
Hong-nan shows Hae-joon the photo with the account number, warning him that if Suk-chul finds it, Da-hye will be in danger. He worries if it’s worth it to hide that she has a brother — it’s not about the money, it’s about Da-hye finding out she had family.
He’s confident that she’d be able to withstand the shock of finding that she has a brother, even if he’s dead. Hong-nan finally agrees, if only for the chance to tell her it wasn’t because he didn’t love her that her brother left her behind.
Hae-joon shows her the fortune cookie messages, puzzling over them. It’s clear they aren’t love letters, since the new messages talk about not being able to wait any longer and that it will be sold. Hong-nan wonders if it’s someone who knows the real Hae-joon, and just as they decide they should ask Maya, she appears, happily chomping down on the cookies.
She confirms that it’s a spy that the real Hae-joon set-up in the company before he arrived. When she’s not more forthcoming with information, Hong-nan grumbles that they don’t have much time. But Maya isn’t bothered as she stuffs the rest of the cookies in her pocket, reminding them to check exactly how much time they have left. If their watches are in minutes, then they’ve got just a little over a week left. Yikes.
Hong-nan sadly realizes that she’s done nothing for her boys, but Hae-joon just laughs and he drags her to Gi-tak’s old restaurant. She protests the whole way, refusing to eat the taste-test failure Jegal Gil’s food. But Hae-joon points out Gi-tak’s old sign is back. He bought the restaurant and has Gi-tak’s men once again running it.
When Hong-nan protests that she was going to make sure her guys found a legal way to get it back, Hae-joon says it’s also for Da-hye. This was the last place all three of them were together, and he wants to give her a happy memory of this place instead of a sad one.
As Hong-nan walks in, she’s amazed to see all her guys busily cleaning and prepping the kitchen. Jegal Gil effusively greets her as “the customer” and then shows her to her table — where Yi-yeon is waiting for her. Smiling to herself, Hong-nan says that it finally feels like she’s come back.
The lights go out, and the boys carry out a cake with a candle, officially welcoming her to Gi-tak’s restaurant. Aw, these boys. It’s cute how Seung-jae jealously keeps Jegal Gil from getting too close to Hong-nan. Maya happily watches everyone celebrate and try to smear each other with cake frosting, adding a little supernatural fireworks of her own.
But it’s quickly back to business as Hong-nan lines her men up and, like a commander leading an army, she wields her ladle as she barks orders at them. Aw, it’s always a treat to see Seung-jae smiling. Yi-yeon watches them in amusement, but her attention is diverted when she sees a mug with Gi-tak’s face on it. She asks him if he’s watching down on them, adding that it’s almost like he’s come back to them.
Suk-chul has discovered that Hae-joon was the one who bought the restaurant, and that must mean he knew Gi-tak. Uh-oh. This can’t be good for Hae-joon.
When Hae-joon arrives home that night, Da-hye is waiting for him by the door. She tells him it’s natural to wait for a family member who’s late coming home, and Hae-joon smiles at the world, “family.” He invites her to have dinner with him tomorrow night, one last time before he leaves.
In the morning, he takes Hanna to school, nagging her about how to safely walk to school on her own when there’s no one else to take her. Their relationship is now super-duper cute and this time she happily gives him a kiss on the cheek.
His next mission to go out exercising with Dad, since it will help with the dementia. Dad insists he’s still in good health, and Hae-joon wistfully watches, wondering when his father got to be so old. Haha, Hae-joon even plays wingman with a couple of halmonis, asking them to keep an eye on his (available and attractive) father.
Jae-gook drops by Yi-yeon’s apartment (or rather, Gi-tak’s old one) under the pretense of discussing Young-chan. After he leaves, Hong-nan says that Yi-yeon shouldn’t worry about Jae-gook since he can no longer bother her, as in, he no longer has power over her. She also pleads with Yi-yeon to enjoy her life, forgetting about Gi-tak and Jae-gook.
She hopes that Yi-yeon will find a good man in this new phase of her life — not like Gi-tak who loved her and was a coward, or Jae-gook who loves her but bullies her. Instead, she should meet a man who loves her for who she is.
Actually, it doesn’t even need to be a man — Yi-yeon should just meet a good person who will be there for her both as a friend and as family. Yi-yeon smiles, pointing out that it sounds like Hong-nan is talking about herself. She tells Hong-nan not to go anywhere, and just stay with her.
She’ll watch Hong-nan fall love, get married, have kids. She’ll stay by Hong-nan’s side, fulfilling the role that her “brother” couldn’t. Aw, that’s exactly the vision Gi-tak once had for the two of them.
At the department store, Da-hye goes down to the basement to get some more mannequins. She stops when she sees the carriage, remembering Hae-joon’s confrontation there after her secret memorial for Young-soo. Stepping inside the carriage, she reads all the graffiti notes from Young-soo inside. Some of them are venting his frustrations about store management, but most of them are how much he loves and cares for Da-hye.
One in particular catches her eye — it says “I love you,” but in a darker marker is added “ajumma.” Hmm. A fresh addition, yet it’s still in Young-soo’s handwriting.
Hae-joon enters his office to find another mysterious fortune cookie. He rushes out into the store, searching for whomever left it, and is instead handed a note by a little girl. It’s the anonymous “X,” asking if he wants to meet. The little girl leads him to a large bookstore, where he frantically runs through the aisles, looking for “X.”
He finds her, and she takes off her sunglasses to reveal… Ms. Wang? Whoa, Chairman Cha’s secretary-translator is Hae-joon’s spy?
Suk-chul is trying in vain to get Jae-gook to answer his phone, and when e finally he does, Suk-chul tells him he’s in trouble and needs his help. But Jae-gook is already aware of this trouble — in his office right now is the detective investigating Big Boss’ questionable death, specifically looking for more information about Suk-chul. There’s no reason to support Suk-chul anymore.
But Suk-chul has an audio recording of Jae-gook ordering Gi-tak to be killed. Suk-Chul wonders if he should share this with Yi-yeon, or just release it to the world first.
Yi-yeon and Young-chan wait for Jae-gook to show up for their meal, and Young-chan pouts that he likes it best when the three of them can eat together. Jae-gook finally arrives, and as Young-chan hugs him, Yi-yeon studies him carefully. Oh no, don’t tell me you’re thinking of getting back together just because your son wants you to.
Da-hye arrives at Gi-tak’s restaurant which is lavishly decorated with flowers and candles. She looks around, remembering the last time she was here — the last time she saw Young-soo alive. As she waits, she thinks over how identical Hae-joon’s mannerisms are to Young-soo’s.
Holding a large bouquet of flowers, Hae-joon walks towards the restaurant. As he waits for the light to change at the crosswalk, he calls Da-hye, letting her know he’s almost there. He asks if she’ll wait for him, and she agrees. This time, he says, he’ll keep his promise. Prepping their meal, Hong-nan smiles to herself as she watches Da-hye wait for Hae-joon.
The crosswalk light turns green and Hae-joon steps into the middle of the intersection. Further down the road, Suk-chul spends up his car and aims directly for Hae-joon. Just as he hits Hae-joon, who goes flying into the windshield and over the back of the car, Hong-nan slices her finger.
Both she and Da-hye seem to sense something has gone wrong. In the intersection, a bloodied Hae-joon attempts to reach for his phone. He staggers to his feet, only to collapse a second later.
Epilogue. While the pilot coddles his rock baby, the real Hae-joon writes a letter to his father, telling him that he’s been on the island for 51 days, and even worse than hunger is the despair realizing that no one is looking for you. He’s finally reached the point when he can forgive his father, since it’s a terrible thing to die while still hating someone. Just as he’s about to write “I love you,” he begins to sob.
Any time a drama starts to suddenly focus on a crosswalk, I assume there’s going to be a truck of doom. Or a car, in this case, but it still makes me wonder — can someone die twice, especially after working so hard to get another chance? Or would dying again nullify his return contract and therefore Young-soo would be sent straight to heaven, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200, and definitely do not jump off the train.
Not to mention that Da-hye is really, really not going to have a positive association with this restaurant, even if she discovers her late brother owned it. It’ll the be restaurant of death to her.
But in lighter news, Ms. Wang is a spy! I wouldn’t have guessed that, but I’m glad she gets to play a more important role than just assistant-and-translator. Who else, though, would be privy to the detailed workings of what’s going on at the upper levels. It also makes me wonder how shocked she’s been by Young-soo’s Hae-joon, who definitely hasn’t acted the same way as the real Hae-joon. But if anyone has a champion poker face, it would be her.
It’s interesting that Jae-gook is being painted as the villain, when he’s actually pretty harmless, all things considered. He’s vain and egotistic, but he also cares about his son and hasn’t actively killed anyone. He’s more of a blowhard buffoon than a truly terrifying chaebol. Suk-chul is the one to send chills down my spine, because he clearly sees no qualm in ruthlessly killing to get what he wants. He’s the true villain of the piece, and I’m actually nervous about someone else being killed in the crossfires as our heroes unite to take him down.
Because I do have faith that our heroes will come together and realize their final purpose, whether it’s to save the department store or rid the world of Suk-chul. Not that I ever thought I’d willingly call Young-soo a hero, but he’s proved himself these last few episodes.
I’m pleased that he’s finally come around to realizing his flaws both when living and then as Hae-joon, and is not only attempting to rectify them, but make it so his leaving will have a positive impact. While I’m still not thrilled about his prior actions, his attempt to selflessly ensure that his family will be provided for — and be happy — is something that I’ve been craving so much throughout this show that I think I’m more drunk on relief than I am approving of his every action. If only we had more of his genuine desire to care for his family in earlier episodes, I might have been more forgiving.
Honestly, I keep forgetting that there’s this huge “save the department store!” plot-thread because I just don’t care about it. I mean, sure, I care enough in the way that I want Da-hye to keep her job, but that’s not why I’m watching the show. I’m here for the relationships between all the characters (and the silly antics of Rain and Oh Yeon-seo acting out their ajussi counterparts). This was definitely a more emotional episode than one filled with hilarious hi-jinx, but I do appreciate that everyone is starting to be honest with each other.
Even though they all know — and we all know — that Hae-joon and Hong-nan are leaving soon, it feels like they’ve finally found their place and their family. It’s almost peaceful. I wish they could have longer than week to enjoy it, because I want to watch Hong-nan boss around her boys as she runs her kitchen and continues to confuse Seung-jae as he tries to fight his feelings for her (and smiles at her! I hadn’t realized how serious his character was until suddenly we got these rare smiles and now all I know is I want more). I also want her to be “that person” for Yi-yeon, to be the friend and companion who will always be there for her. I want them to grow old together and raise Young-chan together and live the happily-ever-after that Gi-tak never was able to experience.
Of course, that can’t happen. Hong-nan is just the outer shell for Gi-tak, who is dead, and who has to return to heaven in a week. It just hurts to know that she’ll leave behind more than a few broken hearts (mine included). How many fortune cookies can I offer Maya to convince her to extend the timeline just a little longer?
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 13
- Come Back, Ajusshi: Episode 12
- 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