What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim: Episode 10
When this drama first began, I worried that Young-joon’s arrogant assurance of his own perfection would eventually grate on my nerves, but happily, he only gets cuter every time he touts his own perfection. I assumed he really did believe the things he says, but now it feels more like he’s letting us in on a joke, and it never gets old. And even with all his flaws, how can Mi-so not love a guy who’s been putting her needs first for a lot longer than she’s even realized?
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Young-joon answers in his sleep when Mi-so calls him “Sung-hyun oppa,” then he wakes up all the way. He doesn’t say anything, so Mi-so asks if his name used to be Lee Sung-hyun. She tells him about his mother saying “our Hyun” when they spoke of the kidnapping, but Young-joon claims he just reflexively answered her voice in his sleep.
He takes her home, and when he’s by himself later, he thinks about how hard Mi-so cried while they were locked up. He sighs, “You don’t need to know. I don’t want to make you cry ever again.”
In the morning, Mi-so visits Young-joon’s mother again to ask if Young-joon has ever changed his name. Mom says tensely that Mi-so must have misheard her say “Hyun,” but Mi-so insists that she heard correctly. Mom says firmly that the boy she was kidnapped with was Sung-yeon, and that she doesn’t know anyone named Hyun.
Determined to get some answers, Mi-so goes to Sung-yeon and asks if he remembered anything after reading her diary, like what their kidnapper looked like. He says he doesn’t remember anything, and that he wonders if it’s not so much that he can’t remember, but that he subconsciously won’t remember because it was too traumatic.
He goes to get her diary, and Mi-so thinks that his memories sound like things he’s heard from someone else. While she waits, she sees photographs of two young boys on a table, and she recognizes one of them as her Oppa. When Sung-yeon returns, she asks him which of the photos is him, and he points to the other boy, the one Mi-so doesn’t recognize.
Ji-ah is thrilled that her work commute is only five minutes now that she’s in her new place, but she balks when the office team expects her to throw a housewarming party. They pressure her into having a party this weekend, but Mi-so politely declines when invited, saying that she has a family obligation.
Now that she knows who her Oppa really is, Mi-so has another concern — why is everyone telling her Sung-yeon was the one who was kidnapped? She wonders if Young-joon really lost his memories, and if she should pretend not to know the truth.
She gives Young-joon his schedule for the day as usual, and he asks her to come to his place after work. LOL, he looks so innocent when she’s nervous to go to his house after dark. He asks what she could possibly be thinking of, and whether her imagination is running away with her.
He says he just wants to organize his personal library, acting all cool and sophisticated until Mi-so purrs, “Of course, ~Oppa~,” and he nearly falls out of his chair. He asks her to say it again, and the soft, sweet way she calls him Oppa makes him fall for her all over again. He says he’ll allow her to keep calling him that, but she chirps that she’s over it now, and his dismayed expression is priceless. Poor guy.
Mi-so arrives at Young-joon’s place a little early that night, surprising him in his bathrobe and not much else. He covers his embarrassment by saying that he doesn’t want to shock her with his muscular physique, and as he goes to dress, Mi-so gets a glimpse of the scars on his ankles again.
Pil-nam calls, and when she learns where Mi-so is, she calls Young-joon a selfish jerk again. Young-joon overhears Mi-so telling her sister that he’s not selfish and that he’s better than she thinks he is, and she finally says to stop worrying about their relationship. She starts to cry again after they hang up, and Young-joon realizes how much it upsets her that her family opposes them.
He’s confused, having thought that they’d be happy to have him in the family. Naturally he assumes that they feel burdened by his perfection, and he chastises his reflection for not being more imperfect.
While Mi-so organizes his documents, Young-joon tells her that he heard her on the phone with her sisters, and he promises to calm their concerns soon with his “fatal aura.” He makes Mi-so laugh, but he’s serious about wanting to convince her unnis so that Mi-so won’t cry anymore.
He drives her home later just to spend a little more time with her, and he asks her on a date the following day. She says she has a family gathering this weekend, and Young-joon asks if it’s the same trip she and her sisters go on every year.
Before she goes inside, Mi-so reaches into her purse and pulls out… a finger heart. OMG so cute. Young-joon reaches up to pluck the moon out of the sky for her, and Mi-so runs inside, embarrassed at their cheesiness, so he blows it up to her window like a kiss.
Yoo-shik comes to Young-joon’s house later that night, huffing and sighing until Young-joon asks what’s wrong. Yoo-shik says he saw his wife with another man, and Young-joon says he should have done better when they were together. Yoo-shik protests that he bought her anything she wanted, made her breakfast, and was even good to her family.
Young-joon perks up at the mention of family, and he asks what Yoo-shik did to make his wife’s family love him. Yoo-shik quickly figures out that Young-joon wants to win over Mi-so’s family, and he tells him to act like one of the subcontractors who try to win his company’s favor by proving his worth. Basically, he advises Young-joon to leave his pride at home.
When they get to their island rental house, Mi-so’s sisters ask why she’s so downcast. Pil-nam guesses it’s because of what she said about Young-joon, but she repeats that she’s just worried her little sister might date the wrong man. Mi-so says she just doesn’t know him, but Pil-nam changes the subject before Mi-so even finishes finishes talking.
Back in town, the office team head to Ji-ah’s for the housewarming party. The landlord suggests they take the party to the roof since Ji-ah’s place is so tiny, and no matter how hard Ji-ah tries to discourage them from going up there, they insist. So she goes up first saying she needs to clean up, and she warns Gwi-nam that a whole group from work is on their way to the roof.
Gwi-nam tries to run for his apartment, but the team comes upstairs too soon and he ends up diving under the bench to hide. They all make themselves comfortable and settle in for a long night of eating and drinking, with Gwi-nam right underneath them.
Mi-so and her sisters make this delicious-looking watermelon/soda concoction, but before she even gets a bite, Mi-so freezes to see Young-joon standing nearby, dressed to the nines. Mi-so pulls him aside to ask what’s going on, and he says he wants to rid her sisters of their worries about him.
Her sisters join them, and Mal-hee asks if, by chance, they’re already dating. Young-joon says that they are, and that he knows Pil-nam and Mal-hee are worried, but he assures them that he and Mi-so like each other very much. He invites them to a hotel suite he booked, and to have dinner at a fancy restaurant where he made reservations, but Pil-nam says that this is exactly why she worries — because he lives in a very different world from theirs.
Young-joon offers to join them for dinner at the restaurant where they made their own reservations, and even Mi-so looks concerned. They head to an all-you-can-eat crab place, and the sisters tell Young-joon that the restaurant makes a profit because they use very cheap ingredients. Young-joon swears he can handle eating cheap crabs, even when Mi-so gives him one last chance to back out.
Over dinner, Pil-nam asks the couple why they still refer to each other formally. On the spot, Young-joon tells “Mi-so-yah” to call him Oppa, ha. He’s a bit confused when Mal-hee keeps eating well after she’s full, and Pil-nam says he must not understand why someone would want to get the most for their money.
He takes it as a challenge and digs in, smiling determinedly as he stuffs his face. He looks so sick by the end of the meal that even the restaurant owner jokes that he’ll probably never eat a crab again, hee.
Back at the house, Mi-so tries to send Young-joon to his hotel to digest his huge meal, but he insists he’s fine. Pil-nam and Mal-hee come outside dressed in ajumma pants for clamming, and at Young-joon’s confusion over why someone would work on their vacation, Pil-nam sneers that he probably has a personal chef to cook for him with the freshest ingredients. He decides to go clamming with them, saying he can do anything as long as he’s with Mi-so.
Ji-ah can’t even enjoy her own housewarming party, knowing that Gwi-nam is stuck under the bench, his stomach growling at the scent of all the food they’re eating. The team decides to move to the shade, and Gwi-nam just grins at them from the floor when they move the bench away from him.
He trills, “Surprise!” and pretends that he was invited to the party all along, and that being a creative person, he decided to make an interesting entrance. He and Ji-ah make cranky faces at each other as they eat and drink, still on the outs.
Se-ra volunteers to go on a beer run, and while at the store, she eats up several sausage samples and gets a tongue-lashing from the sample ajumma. Suddenly, Cheol appears out of nowhere and grabs several bags of sausages, and he orders the ajumma not to embarrass Se-ra any further. Oh my swoon.
Mi-so and her sisters start clam-digging as they wait for Young-joon to show up, and eventually Pil-nam and Mal-hee decide he must not be coming. Mi-so yells at them for being rude and repeats that Young-joon isn’t the kind of person they think he is. She snaps, “He protects me when I’m scared, and he’s always considerate of me. You don’t know anything.”
All three sisters’ jaws drop when they spot Young-joon striding across the mudflat, wearing overalls, rubber boots, and even an ajumma visor. Pil-nam snaps that his fancy equipment is no match for their years of experience, and Mi-so suggests they test that theory. They split into two teams, Pil-nam and Mal-hee versus Young-joon and Mi-so, and make a bet that the team that digs the least clams owes the winning team a wish.
Young-joon wants to know what Mi-so will wish for if they win. She says she’ll wish for her sisters not to hate him, which makes him even more determined to win. He digs furiously, and he and Mi-so win the clam-digging contest by a landslide.
Mi-so makes her wish, and Young-joon amends it to asking them for a chance to show them how sincere his feelings are for Mi-so. Mal-hee visibly softens, and although Pil-nam tries to keep up her stern demeanor, she has a hard time hating Young-joon when he catches her from slipping in the mud.
She notices that his hands are freezing, and Mi-so accuses him of upsetting his stomach by eating so much crab and drags him off to find some medicine. Mal-hee notes that he made himself sick just to impress them, deciding that he’s not as much of a snob as she thought.
She says he seems like a nice guy despite his sexual dysfunction, lol, and that she likes him. She tells Pil-nam to lighten up on him, and later, Pil-nam insists on pricking Young-joon’s finger (a home remedy for upset tummy). He whines like a baby before remembering to look tough.
They’re preparing for dinner, and when Mal-hee asks Young-joon’s help kneading some dough, he punches it like it owes him money, ha. He tells Pil-nam he feels better, and she grumpily says she’ll prick his finger again the next time his stomach is upset. Success!
Se-ra and Cheol get back to the party just as everyone decides to relocate to a pub. The landlord shows up, and Gwi-nam hides behind a squid so she won’t see him and say something about him living in the rooftop apartment. After she’s gone, Team Leader Jung asks what he’s doing, and he says he’s going to sing a song like on “King of Masked Singer,” pfft.
Oh man, he’s horrible, and Team Leader Jung stops him after only a few lines. He tells Gwi-nam that he doesn’t need to go so far to try for a promotion, assuming he’s kissing up because he happens to be wearing a t-shirt from Team Leader Jung’s alma mater.
Suddenly Cheol hides his face behind the squid and says he wants to sing. How did I know he was going to bust out “This is the Moment” from Jekyll & Hyde?? His voice is strong and beautiful, and Se-ra nearly faints, she’s so impressed.
Later, when she’s a lot more drunk, she runs into Cheol in the hallway. She warns him not to try seducing her by picking up her falsies about buying sausages out of nowhere, and he’s smirking by the time she growls a bad impression of his singing.
He trails after her to make she she doesn’t fall, grinning widely as she tells herself out loud that she thinks she likes him. She rolls an ankle, and Cheol swoops over to catch her from falling as from somewhere, “This is the Moment” swells romantically.
After dinner, Young-joon says he’d like to attend this family event every year, and Pil-nam grumbles that it’s too soon to say that, but there’s no heat in her words. Mi-so says their dad usually joins them but was busy this year, and Young-joon notes that it’s an unusual tradition. Pil-nam explains that when Mi-so was only four, they’d made a promise to their mother.
In flashback, we see the family traveling to a music festival in a borrowed car. Dad (cameo by Lee Min-ki) sings along with the radio, making little Mi-so wail that he has a terrible voice, and Mom (cameo by Jung So-min) defends Dad. He promises to win the singing contest and give Mom the trophy as her birthday present.
The sisters had spotted a beach, and they’d decided to stop for a bit. Dad had lost the car keys in the rocks, which had caused them to miss the festival. He’d pouted that he was a bad husband for not winning Mom that trophy.
Mi-so had shrieked that she found something, but instead of the keys, she’d found her first clam. The girls ran off to find more clams, but Mom held Dad back to keep looking for the keys. He’d quoted Michael J. Fox: “Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”
He’d said he can always win the contest next year, but that day, he wanted to focus on his everything. Mom had thanked him for making this a great birthday after all, and they’d decided to make it a family tradition to go to the beach every year on her birthday. But Mom had only gotten to experience the tradition once before passing away.
Young-joon realizes that today must be their mother’s birthday. Pil-nam is sad that Mi-so doesn’t remember their mother well, having been so young when she died. She apologizes to Young-joon for the way she spoke to him, and she says that she can tell he’s a good man who likes Mi-so a lot.
She says that she wants Mi-so to have a family and be loved a lot, so she worries about her little sister being with a man who isn’t ordinary. Young-joon promises to make sure she has nothing to worry about, because he wants Mi-so to be as happy as they do.
Meanwhile, Sung-yeon is troubled by what Mi-so said about his complete lack of memories of their kidnapping. Young-joon’s mother is also worried, remembering how Mi-so asking if the Hyun that Mom mentioned is actually Young-joon. Dad finds Mom and asks what’s wrong, and she says she thinks they should tell their sons the truth.
Mi-so and Young-joon go for a walk together, and Young-joon says that he thinks he won her sisters over. He admits that he feels bad for intruding on such a special day, but Mi-so says she’s glad he came. She thinks her unnis must also be glad, especially since their mother’s birthday is one of the happiest days for them.
Young-joon says her mother must have been a wonderful person to have raised such a lovely family. Mi-so tells him that she suddenly collapsed one day after they came to this beach, and Dad was always at the hospital with her.
She says that one day she was playing alone, and her mother came to see her. They’d played together, which made Mi-so happy, and she only learned later that her mother had just learned that she was dying. She says her mother must have been very sick, but that without that memory, Mi-so might have forgotten her because she was so young.
Mi-so tells Young-joon that if he has a painful memory like that, she hopes that one day he’ll open up to her about it. She says she’ll wait patiently, and be there for him always. Young-joon pulls her into a hug, looking sad.
Young-joon’s mom sits Sung-yeon down and tells him, “Twenty-four years ago, the person who was kidnapped… wasn’t you.” We don’t hear the rest, but later Sung-yeon wanders the streets in a daze, muttering that it must have been him.
Young-joon and Mi-so head back to work together for a showcase event. Young-joon complains that he’s tired and wants to go home, and Mi-so tells him that he can go after the final event. He goes to talk with some colleagues, and Mi-so finds her seat for the last event, a magic show.
Sung-yeon arrives, still dazed, and he sits next to Mi-so. When she asks why he’s here, he intones in an emotionless voice, “She said my memory is wrong. Do you think so?” Mi-so can’t look him in the eye.
Onstage, the magician introduces his assistant, a famous model. She descends from the flyspace, sitting on a swing, and the first thing Mi-so sees when she looks up is the model’s high heels swinging in midair. She’s thrust into a flashback of the kidnapping, and everything comes back to her in one huge rush of memory.
Mi-so sees her kidnapper, wearing those red heels and tying a rope with red-tipped fingernails. The kidnapper yells, “Your father’s gone to work. What nonsense are you talking?!” Mi-so’s own young voice whines that Auntie is acting strange. The woman climbs a chair, the chair falls over, then Mi-so sees her legs dangling limply just past the doorway.
Little Young-joon tells her, “No Mi-so-yah, it’s not your auntie. It’s a spider. It’s a big spider.” He’d told her not to come any closer to the doorway, but she’d screamed, “No, Oppa, don’t leave me alone, I’m scared!”
Mi-so stands, shaking violently, and she gasps, “I remembered,” before passing out. Sung-yeon rushes to her, but Young-joon is there a second later, shoving Sung-yeon away from her as he gathers her into his arms and begs her to wake up.
Wow… whatever I was imagining truly happened during the kidnapping, I didn’t expect something that horrible. Now it all makes sense — why Mi-so is so scared of spiders, and why Young-joon has been trying so hard to hide the truth from her. He hasn’t been protecting himself, he’s been protecting Mi-so all along. He’s been holding in his own horror from seeing a woman commit suicide to spare Mi-so of having to remember. And now her spider phobia makes sense, and also why Young-joon was so determined to convince her to forget it. It wasn’t a spider she saw, but the kidnapper’s lifeless legs hanging in midair, and Young-joon was the one who planted the idea that it was just a spider.
I’ve been assuming all this time that Sung-yeon was in on the kidnapping victim switch, that he’d somehow “stolen” Young-joon’s traumatic experience for his own gain. I wasn’t expecting him to be just as surprised as anyone else that he was never kidnapped. I can’t imagine why Young-joon and Sung-yeon’s parents would tell their children such a huge lie — even if they were somehow protecting Young-joon, to do something that horrific to Sung-yeon is unforgivable. I guess they may have told themselves that Sung-yeon wouldn’t be as traumatized because he didn’t actually experience it, and that’s certainly true, because even Mi-so noticed that his memories seemed more like something he was told about than something he experienced. But why? I’m even more convinced now that the kidnapper was Dad’s mistress, and I think that it’s possible that Young-joon saw or heard something his parents wanted hidden, so they told him that he wasn’t kidnapped until he believed it… or at least pretended to.
On a happier note, I loved how hard Young-joon worked to win over Mi-so’s sisters and make them see that he’s not too proud to live at their level. I’m so used to dramas where the poor heroine has to prove to the chaebol family that she’s worthy of them, so it’s a fun reversal to watch Young-joon sucking on crabs and digging clams to prove his love for Mi-so to her family. Besides, I was getting angry with Pil-nam’s very negative assessment of Young-joon, and her constantly repeating that he must be so high-and-mighty because he’s rich, when she didn’t know him at all. He may be unfamiliar with things like all-you-can-eat restaurants and the need to dig your own clams to save money, but he also, on his own, made his own tea and copies and bought Mi-so pork skins and “bugs” because he wanted to make her comfortable. He’s not too proud to meet Mi-so on her level, and he’s never, not once, asked her to change herself to meet him on his.
Now we’re finding out that he’s probably been stifling his own trauma for most of his life in order to spare Mi-so any pain from their kidnapping. So I’m glad Pil-nam finally came around, because I was really over her attitude. But seeing a bit of their family story, and how much their parents loved each other, made me understand Pil-nam a bit better, and I can respect that she just wants her baby sister to have the loving, ordinary family that she barely got to experience as a child (and how awesome were Jung So-min and Lee Min-ki — they made me cry). It’s clear that the sisters love each other very much, and it makes sense now why they’re so willing to defend their dad even when he makes bad choices, and why Mi-so worked for so many years to pay off his debt. They’re not perfect, but there’s a lot of love in that family, and if I were Pil-nam I’d also want my sister to find a man who showers her with love like their father did with their mother. But it looks like Young-joon has convinced Pil-nam that he’s that man even if he does come from not-so-humble beginnings, and they’re well on their way to making their own sweet little family.