No matter the ups and downs, I will always come back to this show just to get a few more moments of Bong-soon and Min-hyuk. I swear these two will be the end of me, but I suppose there are far worse ways to go than from an overload of heartfelt stares and cocky smiles. To counter the sweetness, our ever creepy Bride Collector is still on the loose, and while the cops try to step up their game, the kidnapper is already two steps ahead of them.
Episode 8: “One Step Closer”
Min-hyuk watches from afar as Gook-doo leaps to defend the “delicate” Bong-soon from one of Boss Tak’s underlings, Kwang-bok. Gook-doo pummels the heck out of Kwang-bok before Bong-soon rushes forward to pull him off… and accidentally tosses her crush a dozen feet away.
Luckily, Gook-doo doesn’t think much of it and calls in to report the attack. He apologizes for not taking Bong-soon home himself, but Bong-soon is more concerned to know if he’s ok (from her push). He brushes it off, saying that she’s so small that there’s nothing to worry about.
Gook-doo starts to drag Kwang-bok away, and the gangster puts up a fuss that he’s the one who gotten beaten up, so why is he being taken? Heh, Bong-soon daintily hands the limping man his cane and sticks her tongue out at him when Gook-doo isn’t looking.
As Kwang-bok is carted off, Min-hyuk reveals himself to Bong-soon and proceeds to follow her home, chastising her the whole way for making him worry. (Aw.) When they part ways, he calls out for her to report to his office tomorrow morning, bidding her goodnight with a cutesy wave.
Bong-soon, however, spins around and marches right back. She yells that she’s going to report him for making false promises since she caught his stalker, but he still hasn’t hired her onto the product development team. Cue bicker fight as Min-hyuk argues that they should catch the person after her first while Bong-soon snaps that he never intended to keep his promise in the first place.
Bong-soon even threatens to leave the company, but Min-hyuk grabs her arm. Taking a serious tone, he promises that he is on her side and will help her. Bong-soon reluctantly accepts his sincerity and heads home while Min-hyuk waves after her, smiling sweetly at her scowl.
Gook-doo questions Kwang-bok at the station, and the injured gangster can’t believe that he’s getting blamed after Bong-soon was the one to beat him up.
Overly protective of Bong-soon, Gook-doo doesn’t buy a word of the thug’s tales of being thrashed by the tiny girl. His team leader is more sympathetic, but then again, he just thinks that Kwang-bok is straight up crazy.
Kwang-bok keeps repeating that Bong-soon isn’t a normal girl, which just riles Gook-doo up even more, so they drag him off to lock him up in a holding cell overnight. Kwang-bok has a hissy fit over the injustice, screaming that he’s the victim and losing his dentures in the process.
Gook-doo sits down but immediately grimaces in pain — apparently he landed hard when Bong-soon pushed him. Still, he texts her sweetly to ask if she got home all right. Min-hyuk is also remembering Gook-doo’s valiant protection of Bong-soon and sighs that Gook-doo keeps pretending he’s just a friend to Bong-soon: “It bothers me a lot.”
At the Do house, Bong-soon’s family is up in arms about the culprit trying to take Kyung-shim from the hospital, and Bong-soon laments that she lost him again. Her father and brother try to reassure her, but surprisingly, Mom is extra sweet to her daughter, revealing the chicken feet (Bong-soon’s favorite snack) that she bought for her. Heh, Dad and Bong-ki look at Mom like she’s lost it.
The next morning, Bong-soon ruminates at how her dream was once to be a member of AinSoft, but now, she’s wanting to catch the kidnapper more and more.
Speaking of, as Bong-soon walks to work, the kidnapper watches her from a distance with a creepier than usual look. Crap, he knows her daily route?
Bong-soon finds a new laptop on her desk/playpen, but jumps about a foot in the air when she powers it up and sees a winking candid picture of Min-hyuk saved as the desktop background. Pfft. Guess we know who the computer is from.
Speak of the devil, CEO Ahn literally slides into the room with a bright, “Good morning!” He asks if she slept well, then grins as he adds, “I slept well too.” (Why is that sexy?)
Min-hyuk tells her the laptop is hers to use for developing her game, then he hovers around, clearly wanting to see her reaction to his picture. Ha.
Kwang-bok is released, but not before Gook-doo warns him not to go anywhere near Bong-soon or else, “I’ll make sure you can’t even crawl.”
News breaks of the kidnapper’s fourth victim (the pharmacist and third bride), and the police chief orders an open investigation on the case. As the newscasters speculate that the kidnappings are similar to other hate crimes against women, the kidnapper sits at a desk in the junkyard and reads the police report, smiling.
Bong-soon and Min-hyuk also listen to the news break, and Bong-soon thinks, “No matter how much time passes, crimes against weaker women continue.”
When Bong-soon takes a break from creating her character (is that a pink hoodie the character is wearing?), Min-hyuk sneaks a looks at Bong-soon’s laptop and snarls to see that she’s changed her background to a Jo In-sung picture… so he switches it right back.
Min-hyuk’s father pays his son a visit at AinSoft. He trusts Min-hyuk to handle the stalker matter on his own, but he instructs him to bring Bong-soon to the house so he can get to know her, ordering Min-hyuk to announce his engagement before the next stockholder meeting.
Heh, and Bong-soon jumps yet again to find Min-hyuk’s picture back on her computer screen.
The police station chiefs meet to share information on the kidnapper now that it’s a joint investigation. At the same time, the neighborhood ajummas also gather to form their own special committee to catch the criminal. We get a rundown on the details of the case as both teams discuss the clues.
A special police task force is put together to catch the Masked Man, but Gook-doo’s team decides they will still look into the case on their own, determined to solve it.
Over at AinSoft, Bong-soon gazes starry-eyed at the Development Office. Hee, Min-hyuk sneaks up next to her and startles her out of it, imitating her gasps fairly accurately.
The two return to the training ring. Now that Bong-soon can control her strength, Min-hyuk shows her self-defense moves and takes special pleasure in knocking her down. Bong-soon turns on the strength and gets her revenge, showing some moves of her own and kicking her boss’ butt across the ring. Well, she does have a wrestler for a father.
Bong-soon delivers some water (with a side of PPL) to the sore CEO, and the two go for a run. Min-hyuk jokes around a bit, and soon, they’re both smiling.
Oooh, a montage! Bong-soon trains constantly and slowly masters her strength while learning proper fighting techniques. Throughout it all, she thinks that there must have been a reason for God to give her these gifts, and swears that she will catch the culprit with her own two hands. “I am the Strong Woman, Do Bong-soon!”
Bong-soon’s high school kiddos get in a fight with yet another group of Boss Tak’s men, and unfortunately, the older thugs beat the stuffing out of the youngsters. The gangsters instruct the kids to call their boss, so one of the kiddos calls Bong-soon to come help them.
Bong-soon reluctantly arrives, and the kids instantly rush to her side, crying, “NOOOONIIIIM!” The thugs recognize her as the Do Bong-soon that’s been beating up all their cohorts, and the high schoolers cry like little kids to their mom, “They hit us!”
The lead gangster actually spits on Bong-soon’s shoe, then throws a punch at her. But thanks to her training, she easily dodges the blows and swiftly takes the men down one by one. She even uses her stone-flicking skills to knock out one of the gangster’s front teeth. Her underlings cheer and Bong-soon warns the whimpering thugs, “Don’t mess with my kids.” D’aww. She is their Noonim.
Boss Tak yells in frustration upon receiving the news that Do Bong-soon has beat up yet more of their men, and he screams that Bong-soon isn’t a woman: She’s their enemy.
Bong-soon visits Kyung-shim, who is almost ready to be released. She brings up the love triangle between her brother, Gook-doo, and Hee-ji, and pouts that when you like someone, you should stay faithful. Kyung-shim sighs at her naïve friend and wisely says that that’s not the way love works. “Love moves up and down like a seesaw.” She remarks that you never know: Bong-soon might even end up liking Min-hyuk.
Gook-doo meets with Hee-ji that night. He blames himself for making her feel insecure enough in their relationship to waver and apologizes, but he also admits that there is someone else in his heart as well. “There’s a girl that I start nagging as soon as I see her… She’s always doing foolish things, so I get mad at her. But whenever she’s sick or hurt, I really hate it.”
Hee-ji smiles sadly and says that he must like this girl a lot. Gook-doo apologizes again and tells her she can leave him with an easy heart. One love triangle ends, another begins…
Kyung-shim comes home to Bong-soon’s house, but Bong-soon is interrupted from playing nurse when Min-hyuk calls her out, promising to double her pay and instructing her to look nice.
Mom comes in to tell Bong-soon to go with her to pray at the temple, but Kyung-shim chimes in that Mom’s son-in-law is coming to pick up Bong-soon. Heh. Mom runs out to meet Min-hyuk and literally drags him inside. He tries valiantly to flee, but Mom guilt-trips him unabashedly to get him to join them for breakfast.
Eyebrows are raised around the table at the giant spread that Mom lays out, but she plays it off as though they always eat like this. She glares to get everyone to eat, and soon they’re all laughing. Min-hyuk watches the easy banter, smiling at the small but close family.
Not long after, Bong-soon and Min-hyuk sit at his family’s breakfast table, and it’s a stark contrast to the loving meal at the Do house. Min-hyuk’s father immediately launches into a potential daughter-in-law interrogation, asking what Bong-soon likes about Min-hyuk.
Bong-soon gives the generic, “He’s handsome” and “He has a good personality,” but nobody seems to buy it. As the wind blows across the silent table, Bong-soon goes for honesty instead: “Truthfully, he is crazy.” HAH! Dad yells, Min-hyuk glares, and the whole table holds their breath… but then Dad bursts out laughing, “That’s right, he is completely crazy!”
Afterwards, Dad talks to Bong-soon alone. He reveals that when Min-hyuk studied abroad he dated a lot of girls, but then when he came home, he hasn’t dated anyone, which worries him. He sincerely asks Bong-soon to take good care of his son.
During the ride back, Bong-soon wonders at Dad’s words about his son’s dating habits and how all her friends have said that Min-hyuk isn’t gay. The car beeps at her to put on her seatbelt, and when she struggles, Min-hyuk pulls over and leans in close to click her belt for her. The proximity creates a moment between the two, and they gaze at one another as the cars speed by.
Min-hyuk takes Bong-soon to visit his mother’s grave and puts flowers at the base of a tree while Bong-soon looks on. Thinking to himself, Min-hyuk tells his mother, “Mom, I have a person I want to show you, so I came together with her.”
The two walk along a river, and Min-hyuk tells Bong-soon about his mother’s favorite movie: When Harry Met Sally. He quotes a famous line from the film that men can’t be friends with a woman they find attractive.
Bong-soon muses that she must not be attractive since she’s just friends with “him,” but Min-hyuk answers that her friend actually likes her a lot. “Seeing you only as a friend is too hard to do. If the person who sees you is a man.” (*swoon*) He says that “her friend” is probably tricking himself into thinking that they’re just friends, or he thinks that keeping her as a friend is the only way to hold on to her.
(The dialogue here is really interesting, because the obvious conclusion is they’re talking about Gook-doo, but they haven’t actually said his name, so it could also be a cloaked reference to Min-hyuk.)
Bong-soon denies it since she’s sure they’re just friends, except Min-hyuk says that it’s easy for two friends to become lovers, “One person has to take a step closer to the other.” Then he takes a step closer.
With less than a foot between them, Min-hyuk nearly whispers, “This one step, makes the relationship change… like this.” He stares at her, his heart in his eyes, and Bong-soon looks back, realizing that something is changing. Kyaah! Okay, if anyone needs me, I’m the puddle of emotions over there on the floor.
Min-hyuk walks away, and Bong-soon gazes after him as her voice narrates, “One step. There wasn’t this one step in my relationship with Gook-doo. However, on that day, that person… took a step closer to me.”
Gook-doo’s team catch a break when they recover the black box from a car parked along the route the culprit took. The team watches the footage, and Gook-doo suddenly remembers Bong-soon’s statement that the kidnapper had smelled like gasoline and asphalt before taking off to check something.
The lead actor from “Blue Mustache and the Seven Brides” – the one who had his shoes stolen – arrives to give his statement. He says that his shoes were stolen during a company party, but there was no CCTV to catch the thief.
Gook-doo returns to the junkyard (which was near the last place they tracked the kidnapper) and smells the ground there. He checks with an employee who reluctantly says that his boss is overseas right now selling car parts, and that he goes abroad often.
On the streets of Do-bong, all the women travel in groups at night, shying away from any men on the street. However, one woman in a red coat leaves her home alone.
In his lair, the Bride Collector watches his monitors, and on one screen is… the police station!? Oh, crap. A flashback shows that when he went in to give his statement, he placed a hidden camera right in the center of the detective’s room, and now he can hear and watch everything that Gook-doo’s team does to catch him. Damn, he’s clever.
On a foreboding side note, one of the monitors is also tracking the solitary woman with the red coat as she leaves her house.
Gook-doo’s mom, Mi-hwa, is at the walnut shop again. She and Dad happily discuss one of her favorite authors, and she compliments Dad on his apron. Mom watches the two laughing through the window, then storms in, making Dad freeze in fear.
The women engage in passive-aggressive barbs against each other’s sons, but Mi-hwa gets the last word in before walking out. Dad stands up for the other woman, saying that Mom started it, but Mom yells at him for laughing and smiling with her. Dad has finally had enough and screams that he won’t stand by her anymore. He makes a break for the door, but Mom yanks him back.
Next scene, we find Dad shuffling around the bakery with tousled hair, a black eye, and a split lip from Mom’s beatings. Tears trek silently down his face as he covertly looks up the author that Mi-hwa had mentioned on his phone.
Looking for a new angle to deal with their mighty enemy, Boss Tak and his men assemble for a presentation by their company’s “brain.” This turns out to be a Steve Jobs-esque speaker, Charles Go (cameo by Yoon Sang-hyun).
He gives a rundown of the multitude of ways that Bong-soon’s family has beaten their company and recommends that the best way to redeem themselves is fight her, Dachimawa Lee style. Boss Tak Stands up to applause (Dachimawa Lee is a meta reference to an old school spy-comedy that Im Won-hee starred in) and Charles proposes that they have a grand showdown: Bong-soon versus the entire Taek Industries squad. Boss Tak agrees, but demands to know how to get Bong-soon to meet them.
Charles then reveals the oh-so-scientific method of voice phishing, introducing his… specialists? It’s another cameo, as Jung Chan-min and Lee Suji (playing themselves) shuffle onto the stage. (These two actors have a skit on Gag Concert where they pretend to do voice phishing.) PFFFT! These are the “brain’s” specialist? Actors who have never actually done voice phishing in real life?
Heh, Boss Tak and his men mutter, “Aren’t they celebrities?” and Boss Tak wonders if they’ve kidnapped them.
Apparently, Bong-soon’s kiddos filmed their noona’s butt-whooping from the other night, and one of the kids asks if they should post it. The leader snaps that their noona wants her privacy… but, of course, people should know about their strong backer. Up on YouTube it goes.
Bong-soon visits her brother to give him part of her first paycheck. Bong-ki thanks her and tentatively brings up that he likes Hee-ji, but that he probably shouldn’t meet her, right? Bong-soon gently agrees, saying it isn’t fair play, and to leave Hee-ji alone.
Still, Bong-soon gives her brother an affectionate head pat, calling him all grown up now. She heads out, and Bong-ki calls after her to wish her good luck in dating Min-hyuk, since he agrees with Mom that he isn’t gay.
Boss Tak’s men assemble, and Kwang-bok instructs them to bring all their baseball bats and crowbars. But Boss Tak arrives and yells at them for using weapons on a girl, calling it embarrassing. Kwang-bok begs him to bring the weapons since this is no ordinary girl, but Boss Tak just tells Kwang-bok to stay behind as he departs with his men.
Dad is currently dancing around the apartment after Mom left for a trip (presumably to the temple). In the midst of the celebration, Min-hyuk calls Bong-soon to remind them of their training today, saying that he’ll come pick her up.
As she’s getting ready, Bong-soon finally reads the letter from Grandma:
“To my pretty granddaughter, Bong-soon,
Our child has finally grown up into a young lady with a proper job. You don’t know how much I love you. I know that you cannot live normally like other people. Some might wonder why we are embarrassed by our own strength, but isn’t that how the world is? Just because you’re a little different or not up to standards, people will bully and hurt you. But Bong-soon, although I told you to not use your powers, don’t ever be ashamed of your strength. That is a gift from God for you to help this world.
I love you, our strong girl,
As we hear Grandma’s letter narrated, Bong-soon opens the cupboard containing her family’s history and takes out a dusty box. With tears in her eyes, she pulls out a familiar looking pink hoodie.
Boss Tak’s men bully Jung Chan-min and Lee Suji onto a stage where they’ve actually set up everything to match the actor’s comedy skit. The two try to point out that voice phishing is illegal and that they’ve never actually done it for real before (lol), but the gangsters just tell them to succeed this time, then.
Wearing the pink hoodie, Bong-soon heads downstairs and stashes a few walnuts in her pockets before training. Her phone rings and she picks up, expecting Min-hyuk, but it’s Jung Chan-min and Lee Suji. The actors tell her that they’ve kidnapped her mother and clumsily threaten her to meet them at the address they sent her, warning her not to call the police.
Bong-soon believes them and immediately freaks out. She tells Kyung-shim and instructs her to keep calling Mom’s phone while she goes to find her. She run off without seeing Min-hyuk waiting for her outside.
Kyung-shim and Dad manage to reach Mom and are shocked to find her very much not kidnapped. Heh, Mom snaps that if someone kidnapped her, she’ds just annoy them. Kyung-shim hangs up and immediately guesses that it was voice phishing.
Bong-soon arrives at some abandoned warehouses and starts frantically looking around. Min-hyuk calls her to rant that she’s late, but Bong-soon cries that her mother was kidnapped. Min-hyuk demands to know where she is, but she hangs up.
Dad calls Gook-doo and tells him about the setup, and Gook-doo immediately starts tracking Bong-soon’s phone. Min-hyuk also tracks (what I’m assuming is) Bong-soon’s phone, both boys rushing to save their indomitable damsel.
Bong-soon runs into the warehouse calling out for her mom, when suddenly, a cargo door slides open to reveal Boss Tak and two dozen of his biggest and baddest thugs. Bong-soon demands to know where her Mom is, but Boss Tak just laughs.
Kyung-shim calls at that moment to tell Bong-soon that Mom is fine and that she thinks Bong-soon was called out on purpose. Bong-soon just sighs, “Looks like it.”
Bong-soon hangs up as Boss Tak yells that they’ll no longer stand still after all she’s done to them. He tells her that it’s time to face each other, but first, he instructs her to kneel down so that they can get a video of her saying “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” Ugh, he laughs at his own cleverness.
Bong-soon nods, agreeing that they should. “But the person who is going to beg for forgiveness is not me, but you.” Boss Tak and his buddies all laugh, until Bong-soon takes out the walnuts from her pocket and casually crushes them with her bare hand.
Thinking about his own walnuts, Boss Tak looks slightly less cocky as he scowls at Bong-soon. She raises her hand and nonchalantly beckons them forward, glaring back. Refusing to back down, Boss Tak instructs him men, “Begin.”
What is the significance of the pink hoodie?! Before, I had just assumed that it was the identifier for Min-hyuk’s mystery angel, but it’s clear now that it means something to Bong-soon as well. If she’s saved it in that box — in the same cupboard as her family’s history books — then I have to assume it’s related to her strength in some way. She definitely remembered the bus crash that Min-hyuk referred to being in, so did saving the bus mean something special to her? Did she stop using her gifts after that? Will Min-hyuk notice that she’s wearing his savior’s pink hoodie? And now I’m back to once again counting the days until Friday.
I will say that I have a definite problem with Mom’s character. I was holding off judgement because she did have several redeeming moments with Grandma, and she was much sweeter to Bong-soon during this episode, but the way she abuses Dad is too much for me. She’s a bully. Her treatment of Dad is not just abusive, but textbook domestic violence. This poor, beaten down guy has been doing Mom’s bidding for over two decades, and when he finally gets the courage to yell that he’s had enough, she beats him black and blue. If the genders were switched and it was the wife getting hit, then the husband would have been hauled to jail by now. But because it was a woman doing the hitting, everyone turns a blind eye while Dad silently weeps in the corner. I appreciate that the show is trying to give us empowered women, but Dad’s injuries don’t reflect an age of equality, but one where the suffering has just swapped genders.
I continue to be impressed with our creepy kidnapper, though I’d really prefer it if he disappointed me and slipped up somewhere. Why does he have to be smart, too? Were the face mask and horror dungeon not enough? He actually planned to have his first bride be “saved,” all so he could pose as a witness, stash a camera in the precinct, and then steal her back. I thought we would catch a break with the shoes, but he was once again a step ahead. It feels like this villain is in a different caliber from the rest of the show: His story line and character are both clever enough to warrant a darker melodrama of his own, and our romcom cops are nowhere near his level. At least Gook-doo is sniffing around the junkyard, but I would feel safer if he brought some backup with him.
I really can’t wait to see Gook-doo’s reaction to what I’m assuming is going to be a warehouse full of thrashed gangsters and one unharmed, itty-bitty Bong-soon in her pink hoodie. Now that we finally know for sure that he’s carried a torch for Bong-soon all this time, I want to see if those feelings are conditional upon his image of her as a fragile woman, or if he can accept and love her as she is. However, given the strength of our main pair, I’m now fully convinced that there can be no one else for Bong-soon but Min-hyuk. I will always love my Ji-soo puppy, but I can honestly say that in this instance, I will be disappointed if Gook-doo gets the girl. There’s just something about watching Bong-soon and Min-hyuk together that goes way beyond what I was expecting from this show in terms of romance. There’s chemistry (hell yes!), but there is also such a connection between the two characters that when they’re in those intense moments together, all I can do is smile at my screen and giggle like an idiot. I don’t know if it’s young love, fated love, or true love, but I sure am in love with the two of them.