The Man Living in Our House: Episode 15
As we’ve come to expect with The Man Living in Our House, once one villain disappears, another pops up to take their place. Poor Na-ri and Nan-gil will never get a chance to be together, what with everyone and their dog trying to steal what is apparently the only empty piece of land in all of Korea. But somehow they manage a little romance in the middle of all the chaos, leaving me feeling hopeful for their future.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
The group arrives back at Hong Mandoo after their trip to Seoul, to find Na-ri’s father and girlfriend Jung-sook waiting for them. Nan-gil is nervous, remembering Deok-bong telling him that Na-ri’s dad supposedly kidnapped her to push Mom into turning her land over to him.
Dad seems thrilled to be back at his old restaurant, but something about his smile is unnerving. Dad even chastises Nan-gil for closing the restaurant for their teambuilding trip, as if he has any right to dictate how the restaurant is run.
Dad bristles when Nan-gil offers to take his luggage inside, asking if Nan-gil is telling him to be quiet. But a word from Na-ri has him smiling affably again, and Na-ri leads Dad and Jung-sook inside.
Deok-bong intercepts Nan-gil and tells him to be smart — if Nan-gil plans to leave, he shouldn’t be acting like a son-in-law. He reminds Nan-gil of everything that man has done to Na-ri, but Nan-gil says he’s still her father.
In the house, Dad is transfixed by a photo of Mom, and he stares at it wistfully for a long time. Jung-sook sneers a little and says he should have been better to her, and Dad shushes her in front of Na-ri and Nan-gil.
Deok-shim calls her mother wanting someone’s phone number, and says that Na-ri’s father is visiting. She says she doesn’t want to go twenty years without talking to her dad too, but her mother pretends she’s talking about something else, since CEO Kwon is right there.
Her mother hangs up and tells her husband that Na-ri’s father returned, which piques his interest. He tells his wife to get him discharged from the hospital and to call his company lawyer.
In private, Na-ri tells Nan-gil that she’s unhappy her father showed up like this, worried he’ll want to stay in her mother’s old room. She finds it surreal that they’re cleaning Mom’s room and talking about what to do with Dad as if they’re an old married couple.
Na-ri thanks Jung-sook for bringing her father, implying that she can leave now, and Nan-gil offers to drive her back to Seoul. Dad tells her she should go, then snaps at Nan-gil, asking if he lives here. Nan-gil tells him about his room at the restaurant and takes the wind out of his sails.
Secretary Kwon reports to Deok-bong that his father is being discharged, which makes Deok-bong wonder what he’s up to. Deok-bong asks Secretary Kwon if she knows Na-ri’s father, anticipating her automatic “no.”
Na-ri notices her father’s shabby sweater, but he brushes off her concern. She asks in her direct way why he left her and her mother, and Dad sighs that he hasn’t got a good excuse. Na-ri asks about the trip he once took her on, and why the neighbor granny said his and Mom’s marriage fell apart after that, and Dad nervously says they went to her maternal grandparents’ house.
On the drive back to Seoul, Nan-gil asks Jung-sook about her visit to Hong Mandoo last year, the one that was caught on camera. She says that she would check in periodically for Na-ri’s father, but gets cagey when he asks how long she’s been doing it. Nan-gil asks if she started after Mom died, and Jung-sook quickly changes the subject, confirming his suspicion.
She says haughtily that Dada Finance told them that Nan-gil stole the land and restaurant, and that Na-ri’s father is angry. She tells Nan-gil that Dad is there to take back what he sees as his and kick Nan-gil out.
Na-ri waits up in the restaurant for Nan-gil to come home, and he asks her what she’s thinking about. Na-ri says she’s worried if she’s supposed to support Dad forever, which feels unfair. She adds that she told Dad that she doesn’t want Nan-gil to leave.
Nan-gil looks a bit shy at that, which is so sweet, then he takes Na-ri into the kitchen and teaches her to make mandoo. He finds her clumsy attempts adorable and barks at her in his chef voice, and boops her nose with his floury finger. That sparks a flour fight, and ends with Nan-gil chasing Na-ri around the kitchen growling at her with his flour-claws. The air starts to crackle between them, but Nan-gil doesn’t kiss Na-ri, backing off instead.
Everyone is surprised when Dad comes into the restaurant the next morning, saying that it looks exactly the same (Young-gyu grumbles that that’s not true, since he and Nan-gil renovated it). Young-gyu invites Dad to try making some mandoo, but Dad explains about his bad eyes, and motions to Nan-gil that he wants to talk.
He goes on the attack, asking why Nan-gil keeps avoiding him. He demands to know why Na-ri is living here and not working, and why Nan-gil is here at all. He wants to know if Na-ri is getting the money the restaurant makes, and Nan-gil offers to talk after work.
Dad blows up at that, yelling that he hates that the person who made his eyes this way is now living here and benefiting from his restaurant. He tells Nan-gil that the land and restaurant are his and Na-ri’s property, and he would probably say more except Na-ri interrupts and tells him to direct any questions to her from now on.
CEO Kwon calls a meeting with Deok-bong, Secretary Kwon, and the company lawyer. He threatens to report Na-ri’s father if Deok-bong continues to block the development project, and Deok-bong says that the false death report that Dad filed on himself is a felony, and carries a ten-year jail sentence. They may be able to fight CEO Kwon’s claim to the land, but Dad will go to prison the moment he reveals that he’s alive.
CEO Kwon tells Deok-bong to just build the resort and let Na-ri’s father be, or it will ruin his relationship with Na-ri. Deok-bong scoffs at the idea that his father cares how he feels, and his father screams that it’s not his fault his marriage was called off. But Deok-bong says that he’s not choosing his father this time, and warns him not to go near Na-ri.
Nan-gil watches Na-ri while she shops for clothing for Dad, recalling how she said she felt like they were an old married couple. He reminds Na-ri, who grumpily takes it back, since they’ve barely even dated.
When they stop for coffee, Nan-gil tells Na-ri to stop asking her father to make mandoo. He says he once went shopping with Mom as a child, and they bought dumplings there, which tasted exactly like the ones Dad was selling at the restaurant. He’s never made dumplings — he sold store-bought ones without Mom’s knowledge.
Na-ri asks what Nan-gil would have done if he’d run into her while he was married to Mom, and he says he practiced introducing himself in case it happened. He muses that her first impression of him was bad, but she disagrees, as they both remember running into each other at Mom’s tree and Nan-gil pretending to see a snake to tease Na-ri.
Na-ri says that her mom used to play that prank on her, and she’d wondered how he knew it. At that time, she’d thought that her mom sent him to cheer her up, though she never imagined he was her stepfather.
Na-ri sees a nearby couple snuggled up watching a video, and she offers to show Nan-gil the video she watched to cheer up when she had her phone turned off. They watch together, and both grow a bit fidgety when they realize how close their faces are, but they each turn away. A call from Deok-bong interrupts the video, which sends Nan-gil into instant pout-mode.
CEO Kwon sits in his car outside Hong Mandoo, and sends Secretary Kwon over to confront Dad (who’s busy making the customers uncomfortable). Dad recognizes her, and she sends him to the car to talk to CEO Kwon.
CEO Kwon asks Dad if he thinks he can claim the land now that Na-ri’s mom is dead. Dad tries to act like he just wanted to come home, but CEO Kwon doesn’t buy it, and tells Dad to just do as he says from here on out.
He plans for Dad to turn himself in, accept his punishment, and recover his name. Then Nan-gil can’t claim to be the legal owner of the land anymore.
Meanwhile, Deok-bong meets with Na-ri and Nan-gil, and tells them that the false death certificate her father filed on himself five years ago carries a heavy prison sentence. He thinks it’s suspicious that Dad would show himself now, and he tells Na-ri that he’ll think about what they should do.
To Nan-gil, he offers a deal — Deok-bong promises not to build the resort on Na-ri’s land, if Nan-gil turns the land over to her legally. Nan-gil agrees, and the paperwork is quickly signed, finally making Na-ri the legal owner of her mother’s land.
Dad goes back to the restaurant, and demands that Young-gyu call him a cab. Soon Na-ri gets a call from the police station, where Dad tells her that he’s turned himself in. Na-ri asks Deok-bong to be Dad’s lawyer, and Deok-bong shoots a glance at Secretary Kwon as if he guesses she knows something about this. He insists on going to talk to Dad alone.
Na-ri has a small hissy fit, ranting that she must have gotten all of her bad traits from her father. On the other hand, Nan-gil feels relieved, and he tells Na-ri not to worry and to trust Deok-bong.
At the station, Dad is hilariously mesmerized by Deok-bong’s good looks, leaning in so close to stare at him that Deok-bong scoots his chair away. He seems interested in Deok-bong as a possible future son-in-law, asking if he’s CEO Kwon’s eldest son, which makes Deok-bong give him a hard look and ask if he’s talked to CEO Kwon. Dad weakly denies it, and Deok-bong warns him that this is the time to be truthful.
He asks Dad about running away with Na-ri, and informs him that he could still be charged with kidnapping. Dad tells him that CEO Kwon gave him money and made him do it, saying that CEO Kwon tortured his family for that land.
Later, Deok-bong recalls a meeting he once had with Na-ri’s mother, who had refused to sell the land. He realizes that he was part of that torture his father enacted on Na-ri’s father. He calls Na-ri to tell her that since her father didn’t fake his death to commit crimes, he can just pay a fine and avoid jail time.
Deok-bong storms over to his father’s house, demanding to know why he made Na-ri’s dad turn himself in. CEO Kwon says that he offered to pay off Dad’s debt in return for a favor, but Deok-bong sees right through that.
He says that he knows that CEO Kwon was behind Dad kidnapping Na-ri as a child, and set him up to owe him money. Further, he knows that CEO Kwon just wants Dad to clear his name so he can take the land from him. Deok-bong accuses his father of killing those orphans and denying any knowledge of it, and now he’s trying to steal Na-ri’s land.
CEO Kwon just growls that the land was theirs first, refusing to admit that it hasn’t belonged to him for decades. Deok-bong vows to see his father stand trial for his crimes.
Na-ri visits Dad in jail, and asks if this is why he really came home. He lies that it is, and she promises that Deok-bong will get him out soon. Dad says that he likes Deok-bong, asking if it’s true he likes Na-ri, but she denies they have that kind of relationship. Dad snaps that he’ll never approve of Nan-gil, and Na-ri barks right back that he has no right to approve or not.
Na-ri rejoins Deok-bong outside, and he suggests they don’t go straight home. He takes her to a play, and while he’s getting their tickets, she sees a tall man in the lobby and mistakes him for Nan-gil for just a moment.
They talk about their hometown, and Na-ri muses that it’s interesting how happy she is there now, when she used to hate it. Deok-bong says she looks conflicted, not happy, and she jokes dryly that of course she’s happy, with one dad in jail and one wanting to leave.
Back at the restaurant, Young-gyu shows the others the book that Nan-gil gave him to study, containing all the secrets of Hong Mandoo. He complains that Nan-gil wants him to read it and even add to it, and they all agree that if Nan-gil leaves, they’ll go, too. They don’t notice Nan-gil listening to their conversation from the kitchen.
On the drive home, Deok-bong asks Na-ri to be his date to a year-end party. Na-ri says that she knows someone else who loves parties, thinking of Yeo-joo, but Deok-bong says she’s already alienated his friends. He reminds her that she owes him, so Na-ri agrees to go to the party, and Deok-bong deflates almost immediately, wondering why he’s gotten so petty.
Na-ri decides to see Nan-gil, but he’s not in his office despite the late hour. She goes home to find him waiting for her like an angry parent, and when his questions reminds her of her mother, she tells him to stop confusing her.
Nan-gil sits Na-ri down and gives her the bankbook for the restaurant, saying that it will basically run itself with Young-gyu in charge. He admits that he’s holding back from asking where she was with Deok-bong until so late, and she bickers back that he’ll have women all over him when he moves to Seoul.
Nan-gil stomps to his room, and belatedly cringes over his childish behavior. Na-ri is also kicking herself, though in the morning they just glare at each other outside the restaurant.
Na-ri goes for another meeting regarding her leave of absence, and she goes looking for Yeo-joo afterward. She asks why Yeo-joo is telling people she’s coming back, and Yeo-joo complains that she’ll have to quit too, if Na-ri doesn’t come back and put to rest the rumors that Yeo-joo ran her out.
Yeo-joo thinks that if Na-ri won’t come back to work, then her marrying Nan-gil would accomplish the same thing. Mention of marriage reminds Na-ri of her dream of marrying Nan-gil, but she shakes it off and says that’s not why she’s here.
She tells Yeo-joo that Deok-bong invited her to a party, and she wants advice on a party dress. She watches closely as Yeo-joo fights back tears, then gets herself together and says that Na-ri must’ve finally listened to her about dating Deok-bong.
Na-ri agrees and thanks her, and Yeo-joo tells her not to act so righteous when she’s just another woman who weighed her options and chose money. Yeo-joo starts to storm off, but Na-ri stops her and asks about alienating Deok-bong’s friends.
Na-ri says that she knows Yeo-joo likes Deok-bong, and Yeo-joo snarls that she won’t steal this one. Na-ri asks how it feels to have a guy taken from you, when she and Deok-bong weren’t even dating. She tells Yeo-joo that she’s made others feel that way and worse, and advises her to go after Deok-bong if she likes him, but to do it directly and not drag others into it. She leaves Yeo-joo crying frustrated tears.
Nan-gil hands over his black chef’s jacket to Young-gyu, but Young-gyu yanks them right back off after trying them on. He tells Nan-gil that it’s not right for him to leave after all the work he’s put into Hong Mandoo, and storms out with chefs Joon and Han-yi right behind him. Deok-shim follows, but she stops to remind Nan-gil that he told her to fight against those who constantly take from you.
Na-ri tells Nan-gil that he may be an evil boss, but his employees love him. She asks what happened to living as a normal guy, and later as he flips through his pictures of her, he wonders what he should do.
The next day, Deok-bong asks on Dad’s behalf when Nan-gil plans to leave. Nan-gil notices Deok-bong’s fancy duds, and Deok-bong preens that he’s going to a holiday party before escorting Na-ri into his car. Ouch.
On the way, Na-ri tells Deok-bong that she can’t go to this party with him after all. She asks him to take her to her friend Ran-sook’s cafe instead, where Ran-sook laughs at the idea that Na-ri and Nan-gil could date like a normal man and woman.
Nan-gil visits Dad in prison, and asks about being paid to run off with Na-ri when she was a child. Dad narrows his eyes and asks if Nan-gil is here to threaten him, but Nan-gil mildly says he’s not. Dad starts to say he’ll tell Na-ri everything and beg forgiveness, but Nan-gil asks him not to tell her, because right now it’s a happy memory of her first flight.
Later, Nan-gil calls Na-ri and tells her that he’s in Seoul, and offers to come pick her up. He thinks she’s still at the party and admits that he doesn’t like that, and Na-ri loudly says he’d better not let Ran-sook hear that he doesn’t like Na-ri being here, just to goad Ran-sook into complaining.
Meanwhile Deok-bong picks up Yeo-joo, who asks him to tell her everything that happened. He says he doesn’t want to talk, so she starts to look up ways to console a man who’s been dumped. He’s annoyed but touched at her concern, and he says she’s just like Deok-shim and invites her to dinner.
Nan-gil finds Na-ri and asks why she didn’t go to Deok-bong’s party. She says that she feels grateful towards him, but would feel bad if she led him on. She asks Nan-gil why he wants to leave, and he jokes that he wishes it were for a cool reason like letting her and Deok-bong get together.
But in truth, since her dad came home, he just felt uncomfortable insisting that it was his house. He says he wants to find his own place, and thanks her for not going to the party.
On the way home, Nan-gil tells Na-ri that he knows she doesn’t even like mandoo, because the mandoo her parents made wasn’t good. He smiles, and says that Hong Mandoo is now famous for its delicious dumplings, thanks to him. He says that he’s decided that he won’t leave, because Hong Mandoo is his place.
He takes her to the restaurant, and welcomes her to Go Nan-gil’s Hong Mandoo. Na-ri asks why they haven’t grown any closer even though they agreed to date, and how many opportunities to kiss that they’ve missed. They think of all the times they could have kissed but backed off instead.
Now Nan-gil takes a step forward towards Na-ri, and says softly that it was hard for him to stop. Na-ri says it was hard for her too, but she knew that if he left, he would leave her life forever. She welcomes him to her life, and Nan-gil takes her face in his hands and kisses her.
I find this show’s pacing so odd — we spent several episodes circling the drain in regards to Nan-gil’s relationship with CEO Bae and Dada Finance, which in my opinion, was by far the least interesting part of the plot. Round and round we went, for a couple of weeks, with nothing much happening other than a lot of posturing among the men while Na-ri waited in the house for Nan-gil to save her. And though it had a satisfactory ending (and I’m still thrilled about Wan-shik’s change of heart), it felt like we could have accomplished the same thing in a third of the screen time. Then there was Na-ri’s father’s plot line, which was foreshadowed for so long and built up as this big mystery in her past, and seemed like a much more compelling point to explore… yet it was mostly stitched up in half an episode.
I think this is my main issue with The Man Living in Our House, and why I think it will be remembered by most viewers as a so-so show when it started out with so much potential. I feel as though the show didn’t know what to do with itself after its strong beginning, so it made odd choices with both characters (why is Yeo-joo still here? I would have rather spent that time with Wan-shik) and story lines (see above). I know we haven’t seen the finale yet, but I can already feel that I’m going to come away from the show feeling vaguely dissatisfied, in that way you feel when you’re full after a mediocre meal. Yes your stomach is full, and there’s not really much to complain about, but the meal wasn’t really that great, either. Which is a damn shame, because the ingredients were quality, the appetizer was delicious, yet the remaining courses were barely memorable.
Surprisingly, considering the show’s slow pacing overall, I feel like it just tried to do too much. There were too many outside threats to Na-ri and Nan-gil’s happiness — Yeo-joo and her boyfriend-stealing ways, CEO Bae and his gang of lost boys, CEO Kwon’s vague claim to Mom’s land, and the mystery behind Na-ri’s father and his disappearance. Dealing with so many things left me confused much of the time, unsure if I was watching a rom-com, a revenge drama, a show about a family and its deep dark secrets, or what. We knew what everyone was doing, but there were so many of them that we never got a chance to delve into the why, so I feel like I never really understood anyone’s motivations other than your run-of-the-mill villainous greed.
I think we would have been much better off — and had a much tighter, cohesive story — if the show had stuck to one or two of these threads and fleshed them out better, rather than try to knit all the bad guys together. It never really worked for me to have a last-minute reveal that CEO Bae worked for CEO Kwon all along, for example, and to be honest, I still don’t really understand the whole argument over the land, who it belongs to, or why. I mean, it was deeded to Mom, and she got married and died, leaving it to Nan-gil. Seems clear to me, yet so many people still felt they had a legal claim to it. And the sad part is, I stopped caring a long time ago, when I realized that it was never going to be explained clearly.
It’s really too bad, because I liked the whole surprise-stepfather setup, and felt that Nan-gil and Na-ri had a pretty interesting romance there at the beginning. The show was well-cast and the actors did their jobs — my dissatisfaction certainly has nothing to do with them, and any interest I still have in the show is entirely due to the great performances given here. I just wish the show had cut out about half of its conflict, and made what it kept much more interesting (and let’s face it, it could have cut about four episodes and still been good).
I say all this now because despite everything, I’ve mostly enjoyed the show despite its problems, and I want to get this out of my system before the finale. I want to end the show on a high note and I think it’s still possible, so long as we don’t get any last-minute dark surprises. Here’s hoping for a final episode that’s all dumplings and kisses, and that we can send Na-ri and Nan-gil off into their future happy together at last.
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 14
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 13
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 12
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 11
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 10
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 9
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 8
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 7
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 6
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 5
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 4
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 3
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 2
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 1