Fox Bride Star: Episodes 3-4
Yeo-reum learns a bit about the mysterious Soo-yeon, which only serves to make her even more curious about him. He’s not at all happy about her curiosity, which threatens his desire to live quietly and without being noticed, especially since her primary goal is get noticed. They clash in a big way, but underneath their animosity, a grudging respect begins to develop.
EPISODE 3: “Relative inferiority complex”
Flashback to loner Soo-yeon’s interview for his airport job: He tells the interviewers that it was his dream to be a pilot, but he was injured in high school and had to give up that dream (“This is the truth,” he thinks). But he says his heart still races at the sight of an airplane, and he wants to work at a place that makes his heart race (“This is a lie.”).
He narrates that over a thousand airplanes and two hundred sixty thousand people go through Incheon International Airport every day, and that it employs sixty thousand people. But there’s only one thing he wants to do there: “I wish to conceal myself.”
He spends his days trying not to draw attention, or to appear strange or special. But then he met Yeo-reum, who recognized him from the time he saved her life. She thanks him for helping her get to her interview and landing this job, but Soo-yeon maintains that he’s never met her before.
Earlier, team leader Seo-koon spoke to Soo-yeon about the fact that his confrontation with the schizophrenic passenger was caught on security camera. She warned him that this incident could spark rumors, so he should just ignore situations like this if he wants to keep a low profile and stay at the airport. So she must know his secret, then (but did she just advise him to let people, even children, get hurt?).
The following day, a worker at the phone help desk speaks to a caller who says he planted a bomb at a transfer route. We don’t see his face, only that he has a tattoo of an anchor and the word “peace” on his right index finger. Security is mobilized to look for the bomb.
While putting away some barrier poles, Yeo-reum stops to check an Arrivals sign and smiles when she locates a certain flight. A male passenger bumps into her, hard, but just keeps walking without saying anything. She sees him again a few minutes later, looking nervous, then he takes something from his duffel bag and places it carefully into a trash can.
Yeo-reum doesn’t know there’s a bomb scare in progress, or that everyone has gotten instructions to call Security if they see something odd. She reaches into the trash can and opens the bag, and what she sees inside makes her gasp.
Manager Gong is upset about the bomb threat, mainly because it’s inconvenient and annoying. Soo-yeon takes a call from Yeo-reum, who tells him that she found something in the trash, and Manager Gong grabs the phone and orders her not to touch it. She cringes and apologizes, confessing that she opened the bag to see what it was.
Manager Gong yells at her that there’s a bomb threat in progress. Yeo-reum wails that in the bag, she found… gold bars. Wait, what?
In another part of the airport, a maintenance lady alerts the security team to a suitcase that’s been sitting unattended for half an hour. The guard in charge, DAE-KI, calls for the explosives experts, and his superior orders the passengers moved to safety and the voice recording of the bomb threat call analyzed.
Meanwhile, Manager Gong takes more security guards to check out the gold bars in the trash can. Yeo-reum beams proudly over her find, and Manager Gong is fixated on whether there’s a reward for finding the gold bars, but Soo-yeon just shakes his head at them in disappointment. Manager Gong and Yeo-reum discuss their plans to split the reward, and Soo-yeon looks like he’d rather be anywhere other than with these two idiots.
After Manager Gong leaves, Yeo-reum crows that she finally got on his good side, but Soo-yeon deadpans that she’s a pushover. He criticizes her for touching suspicious objects instead of reporting them, and when she says it was just gold bars, Soo-yeon snaps that it could have been a bomb. He warns her not to do it again, and Yeo-reum coos at him, “Awww, are you worried about me?”
A pair of oddly dressed passengers shuffle up to the trash can and look for the gold bars, but they’ve been confiscated by Security.
As they head back to Passenger Services, Yeo-reum asks Soo-yeon if his arm is bruised from yesterday, and if he’s trained in martial arts. He just sends her back to her task of picking up barriers, and as he watches her go, he thinks about his conversation with Seo-koon, and how she told him to just ignore things around him if he wants to live normally.
Seo-koon is asked to transfer to Terminal 2, which has had a string of bad luck in its leadership. She asks Manager Kwon, who’s in charge of Terminal 2, if she can turn down the offer, but she’s informed that she starts her new job in a week.
On her way out, she runs into SEO IN-WOO (Lee Dong-gun), who seems to be an old coworker and possibly an old flame. He asks if she’s going to be working in Terminal 2 along with him. Annoyed, she says that Manager Kwon insists, and that she’s heard rumors that he’s angling to be the next vice-president.
In-woo just chuckles that he’s missed her, but Seo-koon ignores that and asks if he knows anything, and he says she’s getting more beautiful. Seo-koon snaps that she’s still technically married, and when In-woo asks if she’s still mad at him after two years, she calls him a crazy jerk and walks away, ignoring his invitation to lunch.
When Yeo-reum returns to where she left her cart, it’s gone, having been appropriated by a security guard. They use the barrier poles to set up a perimeter around the abandoned suitcase, and the bomb squad begins investigating the suitcase’s contents.
Rumors about Soo-yeon are already starting to spread, and one gift shop employee asks how he got so strong. He tries to ignore it all, but that just results in him walking right into a passenger.
Yeo-reum finally finds her barriers being used by Security, and seconds later, the couple who were looking for the gold bars admit that the abandoned suitcase is theirs. As security guard DAE-KI checks their identification, the young man Soo-yeon bumped into joins them and gets yelled at for leaving their luggage unattended.
The head of security, TEAM LEADER CHOI, gets a call, and he tells Dae-ki that he thinks the bomber is close, because the call was made from inside the airport. Meanwhile, the luggage is found to be harmless and the family is allowed to continue on their way.
Yeo-reum asks for her barriers back from the Security team, and she’s offended when the female guard, whose name is YOUNG-JIN, just leaves them for her to clean up. Young-jin says they were abandoned, confused at why Yeo-reum objects so strongly to helping clean up after the emergency, and Yeo-reum says she ran all over collecting them earlier and now has to clean them up again because Young-jin just took them without asking.
Young-jin says haughtily that she’ll clean up the barriers later, but Dae-ki offers to do it now. Yeo-reum relents, but she warns Young-jin not to do it again. After she leaves, Dae-ki makes Young-jin clean up the barriers.
Further down the terminal, Yeo-reum overhears the tourist family making a phone call, saying that the black bag wasn’t in the trash can. Soo-yeon shows up and she gestures towards the family, but he ignores her and says they need to go perform an inspection. Unluckily, the mother notices Yeo-reum’s wild arm movements and hustles her husband and son away.
Once they’re gone, Yeo-reum blurts out that she thinks they’re smugglers. Soo-yeon snaps that it’s customs’ problem, and when Yeo-reum wants to follow the family, he threatens to report her to Seo-koon for insubordination.
But Yeo-reum isn’t deterred, saying that she wants to restore her reputation by catching gold smugglers. She tells Dae-ki what she saw and heard, and he takes her to tell Team Leader Choi. When she returns to Passenger Services later, Yeo-reum breaks out into a wild victory dance, but Seo-koon isn’t amused when she catches her.
She tells Yeo-reum that she reported the possible smugglers to the wrong people, and asks if Soo-yeon told her about the additional inspection. Yeo-reum stammers, knowing that she ignored Soo-yeon when he tried to tell her about that, and she immediately leaves to find him. She’s downcast, not having earned praise from Seo-koon like she’d hoped.
When she finds Soo-yeon, she tells him that Seo-koon nagged her for not helping him. She complains that catching smugglers is more important than citing gift shops for having sale signs out without permits. But he informs her that a little boy was injured by one of those signs, so his family missed their flight, causing his mother to miss her sister’s wedding.
He tells her to do her job properly and on time, and it will prevent such problems.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Yeo-reum mocks Soo-yeon, who’s too cool to brag when he saves someone’s life, but she says she’s not like him. As a graduate from a no-name college, she needs recognition in order to stand out to her superiors. She’s yelling by the time she says that she has to try her hardest all the time, but Soo-yeon calmly asks why.
She says that she’ll be thought of as mediocre otherwise, but Soo-yeon asks confusedly, “Is it wrong to be a mediocre person?” Incredulous, Yeo-reum says he must not know how it feels to be considered useless because everything works out for him, but he retorts that his education doesn’t tell his whole story.
She sneers that life is easy for him, and he grumbles that she’s got a victim complex and lacks self-awareness. He says they live in completely different worlds, so he has no advice for her, and she accuses him of being a superior jerk.
For a moment, it looks like Soo-yeon might lose his temper. But he sighs and just gives her instructions to finish the inspection, then leaves to take care of a different area. They both grumble to themselves about how annoying and wrong the other is.
Soo-yeon runs out of steam first and turns to look back towards Yeo-reum. His right arm swings into a maintenance cart, and the whole thing goes flying and shatters from the impact, drawing stares.
He ducks into an employee corridor, where he hears a voice talking about the bomb. The bomber is on the phone with the help desk again, and Team Leader Choi listens in as he says he put the bomb on a plane that’s leaving in half an hour.
Soo-yeon zeroes in on the bomber, and when he hangs up his call, he finds Soo-yeon standing very nearby. It’s dark, and Soo-yeon slowly reaches towards the light switch… and reveals Seung-hoon, the son of the smuggler couple.
While all this is happening, Yeo-reum spots the man who dropped the gold bars into the trash can and alerts security guard Dae-ki. The man’s flight is delayed by the bomb threat, allowing Dae-ki to find him and ask for his identification.
Soo-yeon tells Seung-hoon that he heard him making the bomb threat. Seung-hoon threatens to kill himself if Soo-yeon doesn’t leave, and Seo-koon’s advice to ignore problems or he’ll have to leave rings in Soo-yeon’s mind. He tries valiantly, even letting the kid walk right past him, but then Seung-hoon sneers and Soo-yeon snaps. He grabs the boy by the shirt, lifts him into the air, them slams him back down.
He pins Seung-hoon against the wall one-handed, and in the security office, Team Leader Choi watches Soo-yeon’s show of superhuman strength on the CCTV feed. He sees Soo-yeon take Seung-hoon’s phone and make him turn himself in.
The bomb threats are determined to be a prank, and when his parents come to the security office and start fussing at him, Seung-hoon yells that he didn’t want to go on this trip because he knows they paid for it by smuggling. His parents try to play innocent, until Soo-yeon says the gold bars were found and sent to customs. He tries to leave quietly, but Team Leader Choi stops him to ask which department he’s from.
After the bomb alert is lifted and the suspicious man’s ID is checked, Dae-ki allows him to board his plane. Yeo-reum runs over to ask why they’re letting the guy go. Dae-ki says that the man is Japanese and has no criminal record, so they have no reason to stop him.
Yeo-reum insists that the man left the gold bars in the trash, but Dae-ki says that’s not illegal. His partner tells Yeo-reum to report these things to customs because Security is too busy, leaving Yeo-reum gaping in surprise.
She reports to Manager Gong that there will be no reward for finding the gold bars, since Security located the broker, which is her fault for calling them. It lands her right back on his bad side, and she wilts, having thought she was doing the right thing. But Soo-yeon watches her from a short distance, looking a little bit proud of her.
He follows her as she finishes the inspection, and she’s totally phoning it in, so he calls her on the walkie-talkie to correct her. But he admits that he was too harsh earlier, and he apologizes. Yeo-reum sees how dangerous the signs can be when one nearly falls on a little boy right in front of her, and it gives her renewed energy to complete the job properly.
Team Leader Choi visits the Passenger Services department to talk to Seo-koon. He asks if she’s seen In-woo, and she says she’s too busy to chat and declines his offer of lunch, but she doesn’t look up until he mentions Soo-yeon.
He says that he looked into Soo-yeon and found that he didn’t even go to the army, but Seo-koon cuts him off to say that Soo-yeon is simply a competent employee. Team Leader Choi leans in and says, “So I guess you know why, then.”
While putting some things away, Yeo-reum overhears two maintenance ladies complaining that Soo-yeon broke one of their carts. They tell her that he only barely bumped it, but the cart is in pieces.
Team Leader Choi asks Seo-koon who Soo-yeon really is, and she insists he’s just a new hire trying to live a normal life. She tells him to forget what he knows and keep his mouth closed, and when Manager Gong comes in, Team Leader Choi leaves without saying anything else.
Yeo-reum is distracted at lunch, telling her friend Eun-seob that she’s very curious about Soo-yeon. Team Leader Choi joins Soo-yeon and says he saw him on the CCTV feed. Soo-yeon gives his usual answer, that he does a lot of martial arts, and walks away while Team Leader Choi is still talking.
With his lunch interrupted, Soo-yeon boils some water in the electric kettle in the break room to make instant ramyun. Yeo-reum joins him and she also apologizes for being too harsh before. She gives him a sandwich and offers to eat the ramyun, but she knocks the still-boiling water and spills it all over Soo-yeon’s right hand.
His hand turns red and Yeo-reum freaks out, grabbing ice to cool it down. But Soo-yeon doesn’t even flinch, and he keeps saying he’s fine, and he finally tells Yeo-reum, “I can’t feel pain.” Well, that explains some things, but not nearly everything.
Yeo-reum slaps him without thinking, testing his no-pain claim, and Soo-yeon clarifies, “Just in my right arm and hand.” PWAHAHAwhoops. She gives him some ice for his face, too, and he smiles at her fussing as he thinks about the fact that he’s already told Seo-koon he wants to quit, because he’s revealed too much.
The airport is much calmer by that evening. Manager Gong calls his wife to say he’ll be home late because there’s a bomb threat, even though the threat is long over and he’s just playing computer games.
Seo-koon goes to Manager Kwon to say that she’ll work for him under one condition — she gets to bring her team members along. He says she has no authority to request such a thing, and that her transfer wasn’t a request, but an order. Seo-koon says that she’ll be taking a leave of absence in that case, and In-woo looks impressed as she gives Manager Kwon one day to decide.
On her drive home, she talks to In-woo on the phone about Manager Kwon, and she hangs up on him when he starts to ask her out. He grins, saying that this place is going to be interesting.
Still at the airport, Yeo-reum waits at the gate while passengers disembark from the flight she checked on earlier. She calls her mother, who was supposed to be on that flight, and her mother says there was an emergency at work but she’ll be back soon.
Yeo-reum fibs that her new team is great and her superiors love her, then she tells her mom all about her coworker who can’t feel pain. She wonders what happened to cause his strange condition, admitting that she’s growing more and more curious about him.
Soo-yeon doesn’t go home after work, instead visiting a restaurant and talking to the owner very familiarly. The name of the restaurant is Fox Bride Star.
So, we know a little about the mystery that is Soo-yeon, but honestly, the revelation that he can’t feel pain in his right arm/hand only brings up more questions for me. He can still be injured, because he bled after stopped the metal pole with his arm, and his hand turned bright red when he was burned. But he can’t feel the pain (which is a real condition that can be caused by several different factors), and it seems that he can’t sustain serious injury in that arm because we’ve seen him do several things that should have resulted in a broken bone at least, yet he’s perfectly fine.
And that doesn’t explain his other abilities, like why he’s so strong — the way he stopped the flipping car, picked up the luggage cart, and threw that kid kid around are not normal, not even with an arm that can’t feel pain. And it’s not a complete secret, because Seo-koon obviously knows whatever is going on, and it’s something that Team Leader Choi was able to discover with a little digging. My guess is that Soo-yeon probably has some kind of metal in that arm, possibly from the accident he mentioned from high school (which could also account for the arm being magnetic). It’s likely medically documented, which could be how Team Leader Choi found out the secret, and would explain why Soo-yeon is so sensitive to drawing attention — anyone curious enough about him could just look him up.
I’m a little more frustrated with Yeo-reum’s decision-making skills (or lack thereof) in this episode, because seriously, what adult is dumb enough to walk up to a potential bomb and touch it? It’s just common sense, but also, anyone working in an airport will have been given extensive training on what to do in potentially dangerous situations like a suspicious package. It bothers me because her terrible choices are being presented as enthusiasm or the desire to help, but she’s now put herself, her coworkers, and passengers in serious danger multiple times, and she’s only been on the job for two days. In reality, touching possible criminal evidence would result in immediate suspension and retraining at best, if the employee in question was otherwise exemplary, but for someone like Yeo-reum, she’d probably just be fired on the spot. To be a little fair, she’s being given mixed messages — first she was told to call for help if she sees something suspicious, then when she did, it put her back on Manager Gong’s bad side.
But still, picking a fight with Security over the barriers was just petty and belligerent — if Yeo-reum had spent half as much energy just picking them up instead of complaining that Young-jin didn’t ask to use them, she’d have been done in thirty seconds. And it was a true emergency, it’s not like Young-jin took the barriers to be rude! I think that Yeo-reum’s priorities are just all screwed up by her personal issues and reinforced by bad management. She’s created a fatal loop she can’t escape — she wants to be recognized by her superiors, so she makes reckless decisions in her attempt to gain that recognition, which backfires and gets her in trouble, which reinforces her need to be recognized, and ’round and ’round and ’round. But she can’t seem to understand that she’s the very definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Until Yeo-reum breaks the cycle and starts making different, less dangerous choices, nothing is going to improve.
Having said all that, at least it gives a plausible reason within the story for Yeo-reum and Soo-yeon to clash, because they’re fundamentally very different. She’s frustrated that Soo-yeon doesn’t feel the need to be appreciated and so doesn’t understand her, and he’s understandably irritated that Yeo-reum is causing issues that could get his secret outed. But I love that they just yell at each other then feel bad and apologize, because it just feels cathartic and healthy for them to get it all out, and they’re not afraid to admit when they’re wrong. Despite their differences, they seem to recognize that there’s a connection between them, and hopefully they can each help the other come to a better, less extreme, normal.