Familiar Wife: Episode 12
Joo-hyuk is a very lucky man to have people who love him enough to tell him when he’s being an idiot, because he is really being an idiot. There’s something to be said for manning up enough to admit when you’ve made mistakes and being willing to accept the consequences. But that can also become a crutch when used to avoid having to actually do the work to make things right again, proving that Joo-hyuk still has a lot to learn about making amends.
EPISODE 12: “The second confession”
When Woo-jin shows up in the middle of the night, distraught at seeing Joo-hyuk in her dreams and confused by the way he’s always known things about her, Joo-hyuk finally tells her the truth – they were married in an alternate timeline. She stares at him, disbelieving, and he admits that he hardly believed it himself even while going through it.
He tells her how they met, fell in love, and got married, and how she changed into a scary person over time. He confesses that he resented her, selfishly unaware that he was the reason she’d changed. Then one day he had the chance to go back to the day they met, but this time he ignored her, and when he came back to the present he was married to Hye-won.
Woo-jin accuses him of watching too many fantasy movies, and says that if he’s not comfortable with her feelings for him, he should just be honest. He just whispers that it’s true, and she leaves without another word.
When she gets home, Woo-jin finds her mother awake, drawing pictures again. Woo-jin asks her, “Have you always known? Is that why you called him Cha Son-in-Law?” Mom just looks at her blankly, but then her eyes clear and she tells Woo-jin not to hate Joo-hyuk, because he did a lot of good things for them, too. She says she feels sorry for them and their terrible fate, then goes back to bed.
Woo-jin looks at the picture Mom was drawing, recognizing herself and Joo-hyuk in what looks like wedding clothes. She remembers Joo-hyuk’s frightened response to meeting her for the first time (in this timeline), and how he’s always known things like that she doesn’t drink coffee, and that only one obscure fever reducer works on her. With mom’s reaction to him from the very first, Woo-jin can no longer deny that Joo-hyuk’s incredible story must be true.
She calls in sick to work the next day, and spends the morning in the park. She tried to wheedle Mom into telling her more about Joo-hyuk, but Mom is cranky and will only say that Woo-jin needs to go soon because “they” are waiting. Woo-jin passes Mom off to her carer and rushes off, looking worried.
Joo-hyuk tries to act unaffected by Woo-jin’s absence at work, but he makes so many careless mistakes that even Hwan asks what’s wrong with him. Eventually he asks Manager Byun if he can go take care of something urgent, and when he gets stuck in traffic, he parks his car and starts running. He finally sees Woo-jin right across the street trying to hail a taxi, and they both freeze.
They end up in a coffee shop, and Woo-jin tells Joo-hyuk that she’s confused, but she keeps having those dreams and her mother acts like she knows him. She says that she felt like she knew him as soon as they met, and felt as though he knew her too well. Most importantly, she says that there’s no way he could know about the incident on the bus unless he was there.
She admits that his explanation makes sense, and explains why she feels the way she does. She asks tearfully why he threw her away, and Joo-hyuk says that he was scared of the way she was changing and the thought that he’d have to live with that forever. He confesses that he didn’t know it was all his fault, starting to cry himself as he says that if he’d been more considerate and listened to her more, she’d be healthy like she is now.
He says that he was selfish and ruined it all, and made a foolish choice. He gets on his knees in front of Woo-jin and sobs heartbreakingly that it’s too late, but he’s so sorry. Woo-jin gets up and starts to walk out, but she goes back and says that it may not be all his fault, because no relationship is one-way, but she’s not the same Woo-jin he abandoned.
She says in a strong voice that she’s not that weak, and when she faces hardship, she endures it. She says that she’ll give him one chance to make this right and put everything back the way it belongs, and that if he’s sorry, to pay for it throughout his life, by her side.
Back at the bank, Jong-hoo finds Joo-hyuk sitting on the steps outside, looking dejected. He tells Joo-hyuk to man up and take his criticism, and to stop caring about others so much. Joo-hyuk starts to cry again and leans on Jong-hoo’s shoulder, and Jong-hoo allows it, though he says he can’t give Joo-hyuk and Woo-jin his blessing.
Sang-shik is still pouting about Joo-hyuk, but when Joo-eun asks why he keeps asking about him, Sang-shik insists that he doesn’t care one bit. He snaps at Joo-eun no to even mention him, but she deadpans that he brought up Joo-hyuk first, ha. She reveals that Joo-hyuk seems worried about Sang-shik and even called her to make sure he’s not drinking too much, which makes Sang-shik cry and blame it on the sardines.
Joo-hyuk thinks about Woo-jin telling him to make things right, and Jong-hoo saying to live as he likes, and he thinks that it would be too selfish and shameless of him. But then he wonders if he could do it, if he could be greedy just one more time. He runs all the way to Woo-jin’s house and breathlessly asks her what she’s doing this weekend.
Somewhere under the city, the doomsayer sees a newspaper article about a star that’s turning into a black hole. Almost as if compelled, he starts rapid-fire ranting about a time wormhole caused by the black hole, and singing a strange song about the moon.
Traffic is bad as Joo-hyuk drives to pick up Woo-jin due to an accident, so he takes an alternate route to her house. When he sees her all dolled up, he tells her she looks pretty, and she teasingly asks why he dumped her before if she’s so pretty. Instead of addressing him familiarly, she asks what she called him in the old timeline — he says she called him “Ssaem” (Teacher), until they got married, then she just called him “hey.”
Joo-hyuk takes Woo-jin to the beach, where they went on their first date. She asks what they did there, and he says they just looked at the sea and ate nice food. Woo-jin notes that it’s strange how he remembers everything when she doesn’t, then decides that they can just make new memories together.
She jokes that she just hopes they didn’t chase each other around the beach, which would be too cliche, and Joo-hyuk looks guilty and accuses, “It was your idea!” LOL. He teases her until she chases him this time too, until a call from Manager Byun wipes the smiles from both their faces.
Joo-hyuk runs to meet with Manager Byun and Branch Manager Cha, who tell him to call Hye-won’s father. It seems that the business owner whose loan Chairman Lee pushed for has now filed for bankruptcy just a week after getting his huge loan.
Chairman Lee wails that he was betrayed too, because he also lent the man a lot of money, and that even yesterday he didn’t notice anything strange with the man. He says he can’t reach the man, and he feels bad because the damage to both companies will be massive.
On Monday morning, Branch Manager Cha is called to headquarters to explain why he lent so much money to a customer without doing a due diligence inspection on his company. Jong-hoo says that he heard the man took out a lot of loans all over the place, meaning this was planned in advance. The team is worried that Branch Manager Cha may be fired or their branch even shut down, and only Woo-jin notices that Joo-hyuk is being particularly quiet.
Branch Manager Cha returns looking dejected, and he tells Joo-hyuk in private that he admitted cutting corners, but headquarters also suspects that he got a bribe for approving the loan. They don’t believe his denials, so he’s convinced he’ll be fired. Joo-hyuk looks helpless while Branch Manager Cha tells his wife over the phone that everything is fine, then hangs up and starts to sob.
On the roof later, Joo-hyuk tells Woo-jin that he feels responsible for introducing the scammer to Branch Manager Cha and not insisting on an inspection. Woo-jin tells him that the blame falls on the scammer, and that he and Branch Manager Cha were just unlucky to be chosen as his victims. She adds that the more you try to avoid misfortune, the more the universe pushes you towards it, so sometimes you just have to accept it.
Jg brings Joo-hyuk some documents he found on the scammer’s so-called company. He noticed that the seal on their certificate doesn’t match the one on their meeting notes, which means the papers must all be faked. Joo-hyuk looks through them and finds mention of Jason Lee… Hye-won’s father.
We see Chairman Lee calling someone about money he wired, and telling them to stay in Hong Kong for a while because this won’t blow over as easily as he thought. He hangs up and turns to see Joo-hyuk standing in his office doorway — he’s busted.
Chairman Lee explains that his original plan was to establish a corporation, and that he intended to return the money once he secured the deal, only it was canceled. He asks if Joo-hyuk can just look the other way and makes veiled threats about what might happen to Joo-hyuk if he reveals Chairman Lee’s involvement, since people will assume Joo-hyuk knew the truth, too.
Joo-hyuk goes back to Jong-hoo’s place and says that he’ll tell his friend everything later. He sits up all night, and when Jong-hoo wakes in the morning, Joo-hyuk is already gone. He goes to the bank headquarters and tells them the entire story, but they’re skeptical that he was ignorant of the scam, so they confiscate everything from his bank branch for an investigation.
Branch Manager Cha gets a call from headquarters, and he tells everyone that Chairman Lee’s company was behind this whole thing. They all guess that Joo-hyuk is under suspicion since they’re taking all of his documents, and they can’t deny that his family connection to Chairman Lee looks bad.
But they agree that they know Joo-hyuk better than to believe he’s guilty, especially since he voluntarily admitted his fault in the debacle. They decide to spread the word about what a good, honest employee Joo-hyuk is, so they use the company website to post anything positive they can about him and demand he not be fired.
Joo-hyuk is still being grilled about what he knows when Manager Byun and Jong-hoo arrive at headquarters with documents proving that the paper company’s seal was fake. Almost as soon as he’s released, he’s contacted by a prosecutor who’s already on the case, wanting to retain him as a witness.
Sang-shik and Joo-eun field simultaneous calls from Joo-hyuk’s parents, who are worried that he’s going to be fired and go to jail. They reassure his parents that Joo-hyuk is only a witness and will be just fine.
The bank employees get nothing done during the disciplinary meeting, too worried to work, and they all freeze when Branch Manager Cha’s phone rings. They wait anxiously while he hears the verdict — he’s getting a three-month pay cut, but Joo-hyuk has been fired. The team is devastated, and Branch Manager Cha feels guilty that he couldn’t save Joo-hyuk’s job.
Woo-jin’s mom drags her carer to a convenience store for gum, where she runs into the doomsayer. They stare at each other silently for a long time, both of their expressions suddenly lucid, then smile and nod to each other like old friends. When they turn away, confusion clouds their eyes again.
Joo-hyuk learns that he’s fired, so he goes to the subway station to talk to the doomsayer. He brings soju and snacks, and tells the doomsayer that he won’t be visiting him anymore. He says that he’s learned he’s an unlucky person who makes everyone in his life unhappy, and he wonders if this is happening because he dared to be greedy again.
The doomsayer shows him the article about the black hole and tells him that he still has a chance to make everything right. But Joo-hyuk says that he doesn’t want to become even more shameless, and besides, he’s too scared.
The doomsayer grumbles that Joo-hyuk was desperate to go back before, and asks if he’ll regret this. Joo-hyuk asks if the doomsayer regrets making the same decision. The doomsayer just looks at him, then they both laugh wryly.
When they can’t find Joo-hyuk, Jong-hoo and Joo-eun call everyone they can think of, but nobody knows where he is. Sang-shik starts to sob pitifully, and Joo-eun reminds him that he swore he’d never see Joo-hyuk again anyway, ha. Sang-shik is scared Joo-hyuk might do something to himself, and they wonder if they should call the police.
Woo-jin calls Joo-hyuk over and over, while she runs around looking for him everywhere. He’s currently sitting on the beach looking out over the ocean, ignoring his calls, but he listens to Woo-jin’s frantic voicemail.
Woo-jin finds Mom still awake when she finally gives up and goes home. She tells Mom that she has to go somewhere and asks her to allow it this one time, and Mom says that she knows Woo-jin has to go. Mom tells Woo-jin to take something that she needs more than Mom does, and gives her a 2006 coin. Wait, does this mean… ?
Mom tells Woo-jin that everyone has a moment they want to turn back, even if they don’t know how it will turn out, but chances to actually do it don’t come often. Woo-jin asks if Mom had a moment like that, but Mom just tells her that there’s not much time and shoves her towards the door.
After Woo-jin goes, Mom talks to her picture of her husband: “Honey, I did a good job, didn’t I? If I had been a little faster, I would have been able to save you, then. Woo-jin is faster and smarter than me, so she’ll be able to change it as she wants, right?” Oh no, now I’m sobbing. Poor Mom.
Woo-jin speeds to the beach, where she finds Joo-hyuk about to walk into the water. She grabs him, screaming that he’s crazy to try and kill himself, but he finally makes her listen and says he’s not planning to die. She screams at him again for making her so scared, and her screams have him backing away, saying that he got her in trouble again.
Woo-jin tells him firmly that it’s no big deal that he got fired, and that things might be hard now, but he’s got her. Joo-hyuk says that he can’t keep making her suffer because of him and tells her to leave. He says that she shines the brightest when he’s not with her, and he knows now that he was a shadow of bad luck to her.
He says he’s sorry, and that they should stop here. But Woo-jin refuses to accept that, saying that she wouldn’t have come here if she were planning to leave him. She tries to drag Joo-hyuk back up the beach by the wrist, but he just keeps telling her to go.
Finally Woo-jin says that she’ll go if he wants — she’ll go back in time and change the past back in their favor. She repeats Mom’s words that chances don’t come often, then turns and runs back to her car, leaving Joo-hyuk standing alone.
Joo-hyuk looks up at the moon, which is turning red, and realizes that time has caught up to the day he went back in time. Scared, he runs after Woo-jin.
Woo-jin drives under the full moon, determined to fix everything herself if she has to. She finds the billboard that urges its readers to change their lives, and continuing on, she eventually comes to the mysterious tollbooth. She tosses Mom’s 2006 coin into the basket, and the arm raises, allowing her through.
Behind her, Joo-hyuk races to catch up. He just barely manages to slip through before the arm comes back down, and he pulls alongside Woo-jin as she speeds up the road. But she’s set on her course, and she keeps accelerating until finally, both cars disappear.
Joo-hyuk wakes up in his college apartment with Joo-eun pounding on the door to be let in. A quick glance at the calendar shows that he’s back in June, 2006 for the third time.
Across town, Woo-jin wakes on the couch in the living room. She also stares at the calendar in shock, as a younger Mom tells her not to be late to school. She grins widely — she did it.
YES, go Woo-jin! I have goosebumps, that was so awesome. Trust her to just go for it, because she knows what she wants and she’s not going to let some mopey guy decide the course of her life. I didn’t think I would have ever said this when this drama first started, but I freaking love Woo-jin. She’s so strong and determined, and I love how she refuses to let Joo-hyuk make unilateral decisions that affect her life and insists on making her own choices. In fact, it’s exactly this quality that caused her to become so loud and angry in the original timeline — she refused to admit that she needed to lean on Joo-hyuk, but she also refused to stop saying what made her so angry. The problem was that she channeled that energy in a negative way, but in this timeline she’s using it to keep him from making the idiotic decision to give up on their fate to be together.
This episode is the first time that my heart has really gone out to Joo-hyuk, particularly when he was asking himself if he has the right to be greedy just one more time. Yes, he made a stupid decision, based on the self-centered impression that Woo-jin’s personality change had nothing to do with him, but he’s suffered so much because of it that to me, it’s beginning to feel like a little unfair. He’s lost absolutely everything — his home, his job, his family, and his love — because of one stupid, impulsive decision that he didn’t even think would work, and he’s regretted it almost since the moment he did it. He’s at his lowest point, and he’s being given another chance… even if he feels he doesn’t deserve it, I think he owes it to the people who love him to at least try to make things right. The doomsayer is proof that going off to just suffer alone doesn’t do anything to fix the problem, and is just a cowardly way of getting out of facing the really hard stuff.
This show has done such a good job with Woo-jin’s mother and her role in everything that’s happened (and Lee Jung-eun is just knocking it clean out of the park, she’s wonderful). With her dementia, it’s been so hard to know if her recognizing Joo-hyuk was just a convenient coincidence, or if her illness somehow allowed to her remember things from the original timeline. I got goosebumps all over when she told Woo-jin, in a completely sane voice, not to hate Joo-hyuk… that’s when I knew that Mom knows something. And her moment of clarity with the doomsayer cemented it, that there’s something cosmic going on, and that both of them have parts to play.
Mom’s dementia makes it difficult for her to express what she knows, or to be taken seriously, but I’m floored to realize that she’s known all along that they were in the wrong timeline. And thank goodness, because her knowledge gave Woo-jin a reason to believe Joo-hyuk’s story. But I wasn’t expecting that Mom once had the same chance to change fate but failed, and it makes sense now how Woo-jin said that Mom started to change right after her father died. If she tried to go back to save him and couldn’t, then I imagine she retreated into her own mind out of grief and loss, to a place of innocence where she didn’t have to feel her guilt. And it also makes sense why she can be suddenly very clear and lucid when she needs to be, because her dementia is more of a choice than anything else. And Mom is another lesson in not giving up — the fact that she even has another coin shows that she could have tried a second time, but didn’t, out of fear.
But I was NOT expecting Woo-jin to take the reins in getting them back to the right timeline! I lovelovelove this twist, because Woo-jin is also partly responsible for her and Joo-hyuk’s marriage decline by not talking to him and letting herself grow shrill and angry. So it makes complete sense that she should help put things right, and as spunky as she is, it wouldn’t have been in line with her character to just sit back and do nothing once she knew the truth. I also wasn’t expecting Joo-hyuk to go back with her, and I’m excited for next week to see what sort of ridiculousness they get up to, with Woo-jin trying to change things back and Joo-hyuk trying to sabotage her efforts. He had no chance against her dogged determination the first time around, so what makes him think he can deter her now that she has full knowledge of what’s happening? I don’t know about you guys, but my money is on the lady with the, uh… will of steel.