Fantastic: Episode 8
So-hye has to face her fears of being seen as nothing more than a “cancer patient” and becoming a burden to those around her. It’s not easy, but at least she has Hae-sung to support her — whether she likes it or not. In the meantime, Sul’s awful in-laws are as terrible as ever, pushing her closer and closer to her breaking point. It can’t come soon enough.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
We rewind a bit from where we last left off, going back to when Hae-sung arrives at So-hye’s apartment to give her a couples’ ring, only to be surprised to see her with Joon-ki, boxing up her belongings. After her “let’s break up” speech, a dejected Hae-sung goes to the hospital to talk to Joon-ki.
Hae-sung demands to know exactly what’s going on between him and So-hye. He knows they share a secret, and he refuses to budge until he knows what it is. Joon-ki vaguely tells him that the hardest part of being a doctor isn’t the surgeries or the a stress-filled ER — it’s when you have to remain cold and composed when you tell someone they’re going to die. Hae-sung doesn’t understand how this relates to anything, but Joon-ki continues, taking about one particular patient who reacted unlike anyone else he’s met once he told her about her cancer.
He explains that this patient doesn’t like to discuss her cancer with other people for fear that they will be hurt and worried on her behalf. Joon-ki tells him that all this information is between two friends, because as a doctor, he’s not allowed to reveal a patient’s details. As a friend, he reveals that he’s talking about So-hye. That still sounds like a breach of ethics, but I’ll accept it for drama reasons.
Hae-sung is stunned to discover that So-hye’s cancer has progressed to the point where the only hope she has is the clinical trial, since not even chemotherapy will help treat it. He’s so lost in his thoughts he doesn’t even stop to put on his trademark mask, sunglasses, and hat disguise to leave the hospital, so all of the other doctors, nurses, and patients immediately recognize him.
He remembers all of the odd little things So-hye has said about “having not enough time” or “being glad to live,” and as his stylist adjusts his makeup in his dressing room, he starts to cry. Asking her for some privacy, he leans over in a near-fetal position and sobs. Later, he retreats to his quiet fishing spot to think.
So that’s why he was so cool and calm when Jin-sook revealed that So-hye was cancer — he really did know! Okay, maybe he wasn’t that calm when he angrily kicked Jin-sook out for being so heartless to So-hye. (And no complaints here about watching that scene again!)
Aw, when he sees So-hye standing in his living room, tears in her eyes, he stares at her for a moment — then approaches to gently wipe the tears from her cheeks, asking why she’s crying. Cancer means nothing to “top star” Hae-sung, who promises to make So-hye the happiest woman ever.
His reassuring and cheerful attitude seems to work, especially when he tells her that he’s going to be guardian from now on, and that she and Joon-ki had better keep him in the loop. He asks her to move in with him, since his shooting schedule makes it difficult to date and they need to appreciate the time they have together.
Even though Hae-sung’s managed to make her smile and wash away her tears, So-hye pleads with him to stop now while they’re both happy — and she can still be remembered as a pretty moment in his life. She asks to focus on their drama, as actor and writer, and fulfill the dream he once had where he’d be the main character of her one of her dramas. When he hesitates, she tells him that this is her wish “as someone dying of cancer.”
Sul is busy with her breakfast preparations when she gets a cute message from Sang-wook warning her that it will rain today and she should remember to take an umbrella — oh, and hopefully she isn’t still be mad at him. She starts to respond, then sighs and puts her phone away. Still angry about her interaction with Hae-sung, Jin-sook complains about all the breakfast offerings and demands Sul make something else.
Her brother warns her that her attitude better improve because the family will be doing a special charity outing tomorrow, delivering coal briquettes to the poor. It’s really more of a ploy to get good press for his upcoming election than actually any sense of charity. But that’s a given with this family.
Sul’s husband’s phone rings — there’s an issue at work, and they need to immediately replace one of their attorneys for an overseas case. Sul sits up in surprise when she hears her husband shout Sang-wook’s name in the phone, telling his staff that he’ll be the best lawyer for the job.
So-hye arrives at Jin-sook’s office, and she’s very cool and firm as she answers all of Jin-sook’s pestering questions, wondering if she’s moved out and if she’s broken it off with Hae-sung. But So-hye is there to discuss the fact that Jin-sook is already shopping out the rest of the Hitman scripts. So-hye refuses to surrender the drama she’s been working on for the past couple of years — instead of dropping dead of cancer, she’d drop dead of anger if she were forced to give it up.
She’s already planning on promoting Sang-hwa to the main writer on the next drama. Jin-sook is suddenly in agreement, since that means she can now get those recordings Sang-hwa made of her.
Sang-hwa hurriedly tidies up her tiny room due to So-hye’s sudden visit, but So-hye is happy to reminded of her early days in a similar room where she worked on her first scripts. Looking around, she notes that Sang-hwa has one of her old scripts — aw, Sang-hwa even got it signed because she was such a fan of So-hye even before she became her assistant writer.
She’s stunned when So-hye suggests that Sang-hwa be her co-writer on the next Hitman episode, marking Sang-hwa’s debut as an official drama writer. Aw, Sang-hwa is so adorably excited and ready to get to work right now, but first So-hye needs the recordings she took of Jin-sook — plus all the copies. Hahahaha, Sang-hwa made like five copies, which she reluctantly pulls from their hiding places and hands them over.
Hae-sung and Manager Oh suddenly arrive, much to So-hye’s surprise (and Sang-hwa’s confusion, since she doesn’t understand why she couldn’t tell them where they were having their writers meeting). They’re laden with delicious food items, and after Hae-sung stumbles through his carefully prepared speech of health benefits, So-hye tells him that they no longer need to bring them such gifts to their writers’ meetings.
Hae-sung takes her hint, but he still cheerfully encourages her as he and his manager leave. Sang-hwa can tell the mood between the couple is different, since the last she saw was Hae-sung snoozing behind the counter, but So-hye simply says they should focus on their work.
The volunteers are hard at work passing down the charcoal briquets when Jerk-face sees the opportunity to assist an old woman carrying her laundry on her head. He leaps out to offer to help, reassuring her that all the elderly in this area are like his own grandparents. But after the publicity photos are taken and he gives his spiel regarding the upcoming election, he leaves her behind to carry her own load.
Sul immediately steps out to help her carry it, but the old woman is annoyed that they’re obviously just using her to make Jerk-face look good and win the neighborhood vote. Apologetic and desperate to save face, Jerk-face offers to carry her piggyback, but he’s not strong enough so they get his assistant to carry the old woman down the hill instead.
The assemblywoman oozes up to compliment Jerk-face on his instincts, and she gets everyone to pose for yet another picture. They all decide it would seem more “authentic” to get the dust from the briquettes on their faces, so they rub it on each other before posing for the photo. Sul looks like the odd woman out as she poses awkwardly in the back while the assemblywoman claims her spot next to Jerk-face.
So-hye visits Joon-ki, teasingly telling him she’s going to punish him for revealing the truth to Hae-sung. Joon-ki is just happy that she’s had a chance to talk to him, musing over how adorably innocent Hae-sung seems to be. He jokes that she’s going to have a rival in him for Hae-sung’s affections, but she tells him that they’ve already broken up.
Even though she likes being with him, she believes it’s easier to be lonely when you’re in pain. Joon-ki suggests that she instead think of her cancer as an excuse to rest and be with Hae-sung after working hard her whole life, but So-hye says it’s better for her to not disrupt Hae-sung’s career now that he’s finally a big star.
Joon-ki jokes (or appears to joke) that he’s falling for her again, even though he doesn’t want to be caught in a love triangle with her and Hae-sung. He’s so smiley and self-deprecating that So-hye can’t take him seriously, but I’m pretty sure he’s serious.
Sul’s in-laws celebrate their successful charity outing, convinced that, with the assemblywoman’s help, Jerk-face is a shoo-in when it comes to the elections. As they toast to him going to Yeouido (where the main seat of government is located)…
…Sul throws her container of water all over them, furiously saying that the only place he deserves to go is to the gutter. She scoffingly laughs as she warns them that if he gets into politics, she’s going to reveal all their dirty little secrets. Excuse me while I rewind and watch that scene a dozen times.
Awwww, but it’s all in her imagination. In reality, she lets them lord over their “victory” as she opens another ridiculously expensive bottle of wine.
Hae-sung suddenly arrives at Joon-ki’s, bearing a gift of juice as he sweetly refers to the doctor in the more friendly and respectful “hyung-nim.” Even though Joon-ki raises his eyebrow and, in his teasing-but-maybe-not way, says that they can’t have a brotherly relationship if their rivals, he agrees to show Hae-sung how to best care for someone with cancer.
It really does feel like Joon-ki is the teasing older brother and Hae-sung the innocent younger one, because Joon-ki shows him how to do the Heimlich and CPR — all the while using (or abusing) Hae-sung as his model. It’s hilarious and adorable all at the same time. Exhausted after his training, Hae-sung’s suddenly alert and mildly panicked when Joon-ki says next time they’ll make sure Hae-sung has all his vaccinations. Hahaha, the way Joon-ki chuckles at Hae-sung’s insistence that he’s not afraid of needles also cracks me up. Their bromance is gonna kill me.
But Joon-ki becomes serious when he hands Hae-sung a couple of books to read, and Hae-sung is genuinely grateful that So-hye has a doctor like him. When Joon-ki jokes around again, Hae-sung warns him about smiling too much (and with those dimples!), especially around So-hye.
Word has spread that Jin-sook is cutting So-hye loose, and one of the agencies pleads with her to join them, even going so far as to hand her a blank check. The CEO explains that they have an investor that loves her work, so money is no object — they’ll do whatever it takes to get her to sign with them.
Mi-sun is stunned by this offer, and So-hye ponders asking for $10 million. She writes in the amount to Mi-sun’s wide-eyed astonishment, explaining that no one will want to sign a contract with her when they find out she has cancer, so they should just take the money and run. But then she rips of the check — it was nice to dream about being a millionaire, but she knows that she’s in no condition to sign a contract with anyone. Hahaha, Mi-sun tries to carefully put the pieces of the check back together.
Her husband is happy to announce they have a visitor — surprise, surprise, it’s Hae-sung! He explains that he’s just there to get some lettuce and had no idea, none, nope that So-hye was there, too. But he also makes a big production about how the long shooting schedule is so exhausting, and Mi-sun suggests he stay the night.
So-hye watches in silent judgement as her friend sets up bedding on the floor for him. She orders him to leave, but he just snores instead. Annoyed, she tries to pull him up off the floor, but it only makes it easier for him to pull her down next to him. He holds her in his arms, and when she tries to slip away, he quietly asks her to stay for just a moment — he just likes being able to hold onto her.
Mi-sun and her husband quickly do an about-face and scurry out of the room when they see the couple together. But it’s pointless because So-hye leaves Hae-sung alone, anyway. Aw.
Over breakfast, Hae-sung is full of praise for Mi-sun’s cooking, and he also says that he’s discovered that her house is closer to the filming location than his place — so maybe he could just stay here and enjoy delicious homemade cooking while they continue to film onsite. Mi-sun is allllllll for it, but So-hye abruptly leaves the table, causing Hae-sung to chase after her.
So-hye angrily explains that she already feels guilty for being a burden to her friend — she doesn’t need Hae-sung butting in, too. Hae-sung offers up his house for her to use. He spends so much time filming that he’s hardly ever there, anyway, so most of the time it’s empty.
She refuses, saying she can’t stay in a stranger’s house. But Hae-sung says he’s no stranger — he’s “her man.” So-hye huffs that he just can’t stop joking, but he points out that she wanted to break up with him because she didn’t want to ruin the pretty image he has of her, except he hasn’t had a chance to see her look pretty yet. OMG.
As she glares at him, he leans in, admitting she looks a little pretty now. She’s frustrated by his constant joking, but he points out that being serious all the time will only cause more stress. Reminding her that she told him she can’t waste a minute, he admits that he can’t, either. He came out here just for the chance to be with her.
When Manager Oh calls to let him know he’s ready to drive Hae-sung to the film site, Hae-sung just sighs that their time is already so short. He reassures her he’ll be back soon and then blows her a kiss, remaining cheerful and optimistic despite her tears and frustration. But when he walks away, his goofy demeanor vanishes and he sighs deeply — and then he turns back around to smile, throwing her all kinds of cute hearts with his hands, blowing her kisses, and winking.
With renewed determination, Hae-sung memorizes his lines and tries to make sure he lives up the expectation of the script. He insists on perfection — he no longer wants to be the king of the NGs.
The brother of the fake real estate agent who scammed her out of her deposit has tracked her down and given her back the amount. So-hye finds it suspicious at first, but accepts it. Until she realizes that the reason she recognizes the guy is he’s been a bit actor in dramas. She calls the guy, asking for Manager Oh — and the guy hands over the phone. Haha!
Manager Oh is annoyed that this fake brother of the fake real estate agent has been discovered, and he confesses it was Hae-sung’s way of making sure she got her money back. The best part, though, is that Hae-sung found out because he, Manager Oh, and Mi-sun’s husband are all in a group chat and they apparently are like gossipy old ladies. I love it.
Hae-sung’s thrilled by how the filming went today, but when he returns to his phone, he sees 38 missed calls from his manager. It’s a little too late for Manager Oh’s warning “Cuckoo!” because So-hye barges into the dressing room, angry that Hae-sung keeps interfering in her life. She assumes he’s also the “fan investor” behind the blank check offer.
She doesn’t want his pity for her career. She’s been doing just fine on her own all of her life — she doesn’t suddenly need his handouts. Hae-sung suggests out that maybe because she’s worked hard all her life to support others, that this is the chance for her to rest and get back some of what she’s given. But So-hye says it’s hard enough fighting against the cancer, she doesn’t have the energy to fight with him either.
When So-hye returns to Mi-sun’s, she overhears her friend yelling at her son to vacate his room so So-hye can have it. So-hye scurries away and calls Mi-sun, letting her know that she’s busy with something and won’t be around, so if her son needs his room he can have it.
A moving van pulls up just then to collect her belongings, courtesy of Hae-sung. She sighs, but his offer to move into his place is looking pretty good right now. After the men bring in all her belongings to Hae-sung’s house, Jin-sook arrives, shocked that So-hye would be so bold as to ruin Hae-sung’s life by moving in with him and then dying.
She asks if it’s because So-hye has no money, and she offers to give her whatever it takes to help her move. What would that be — $500,000? So-hye scoffs. She’s worth no less than $10 million! So-hye seems more angry at herself than Jin-sook, wondering why she’s wasted her precious time being timid and letting Jin-sook boss her around.
She dares Jin-sook to release the scandal — it might be fun to have a scandal with a top star before she dies. She orders Jin-sook to get out, because So-hye is not here as a cancer patient, but as Hae-sung’s girlfriend! Yeah!
Hae-sung returns home, and he’s worried because no one has seen So-hye or knows where she is. But he suddenly freezes when he sees a trail of blood, and then cautiously follows it to the kitchen, where a hunk of raw meat sits on the counter. Whew.
Just then the sound of a woman screaming startles him — wait, that’s totally the soundtrack to Psycho! But Hae-sung grabs the nearest weapon — a wine bottle — and carefully approaches. He’s ready to go in swinging, but sighs in relief when he realizes that it’s just So-hye, who’s fallen asleep while watching a movie.
He wakes her up, worried that she’s not feeling well, but she reassures him she was just sleepy after taking her medication. She’s suddenly apologetic, having not been able to finish making him the traditional seaweed soup in order to belatedly celebrate his birthday. Well, that explains the raw meat.
Hae-sung is just relieved that she’s okay, but So-hye says that she’s not sure how much longer she has to live, and the time she does have will be taken up with treatments that will potentially cause her to lose her hair and no longer be pretty. It’ll also sap her of any energy, so she’ll have to quit being a writer, which means she won’t be able to earn any money. She’ll just be useless.
Even though she knows that Hae-sung loves her right now, she tells him those feelings will disappear. As a celebrity, he could have his choice of young, beautiful women, but he’ll be stuck with a helpless, ugly, cancer patient like her.
There are just a few of the hundreds of reasons she’s come up with to push him away, but she’s decided she’s not going to do that. She asks Hae-sung to stay with her — he can be free to date other women after she’s gone. Finally, she tells him that she loves him, and as a tear falls down his cheek, he leans in for a kiss.
I am such a sucker for the “forced cohabitation” gimmick that I literally clapped my hands with glee when So-hye finally moved in. I want to see them be domestic and adorable and argue over who gets to use the bathroom first (although Hae-sung’s ridiculously huge house probably has ten bathrooms, but still). I’ve loved their comfortable chemistry the past few episodes, and now I’m eager to see how Hae-sung will further step-up and show her that he’s strong enough to support her through the worst of her cancer. I’m glad the show realized there’s enough angst with the fact she’s dying, so there’s no need to draw it out between the couple. At least, I hope that’s what it means. Now that they’re together and they’ve both admitted they love each other, let’s keep it that way and instead focus on them facing down together the threat of possible career-ending scandals and the emotional and physical hardships of cancer.
Although, I’m kind of angry at the show for that little “fake out.” How dare they give me an entire scene of Sul exploding onto her worthless in-laws, only to tell me it was just in her imagination? That just means my expectation for what kind of commotion she’ll cause when she finally tells them off (’cause it’s gonna happen, it has to)! will be ten times more glorious. This was also the week we caught up to where Ji-soo was unavailable for filming due to his health, and honestly, if I didn’t know it was coming, I’m not sure I would have noticed. Sure, I miss his cute puppy face, but he’s really there to support Sul and give her a purpose to look beyond her wretched in-laws. If that means keeping their relationship text-based (as they conveniently ship him off to America), that works for me. What matters is that Sul finally figures out she’s worthy of being appreciated and adored.
You know who else is worthy of being appreciated and adored? Mi-sun’s husband, Pil-ho. He may be a minor character, but he’s major in my heart (shhhhh, don’t tell Mi-sun, because I’m pretty sure she’d scratch my eyes out — all the while agreeing with me, of course). I love him so much — he’s the perfect supportive husband who sees his wife as an equal worthy of respect, and is gamely willing to drop whatever he’s doing to help one of her friends (who is also one of his friends, because who wouldn’t want to be friends with him).
I love that he and Hae-sung (and Manager Oh) message each other, and even though I know it’s largely about the connection to So-hye, I think the three of them genuinely could be friends. They are both the kind of sweet, loyal guys who worship the women in their lives and don’t care who knows it. This makes me so happy, because I feel like these kind of genuinely caring, supportive leading-men characters are so rare in Dramaland, and to have them all in the same drama only makes me greedy for more. I now demand more men like Joon-ki, Hae-sung, Sang-wook, and Pil-mo in all my dramas henceforth — if only because awesome leading women like So-hye, Sul, and Mi-sun deserve it.