Fox Bride Star: Episodes 17-18
This drama is all about dealing with the weaknesses that come along with being human, and how and when to fight them. But there are times when the bravest thing you can do is to admit that you’re vulnerable, even if it means risking the respect of those around you. It’s time for Soo-yeon to make a choice – does he fight, or does he give in, and which decision is really the right one?
EPISODE 17: “Things that change”
After kissing Yeo-reum and promising he’ll be okay, Soo-yeon interrupts the airport smugglers, who are beating Team Leader Choi for interfering with their schemes. When he realizes who he’s saved, he freezes up, just long enough for the smuggler boss to hit him in the neck with a taser.
The electric jolt shorts out Soo-yeon’s prosthetics and knocks him to the ground, half unconscious. But when Yeo-reum brings the cops, only the smugglers that Soo-yeon knocked out are still there.
Team Leader Choi calls Dae-ki to tell him that he can’t make it to Young-joo’s housewarming party. He has Soo-yeon in a taxi, and he notices when Soo-yeon’s phone rings with a call from Yeo-reum, but he doesn’t answer it. He takes Soo-yeon to the Fox Bride Star restaurant and leaves him with Bartender Jang, then calls Seo-koon over to ask her for the truth about Soo-yeon’s arm and leg.
She won’t tell him anything without a promise of silence, but Team Leader Choi says that he’s got orders to report everything he learns about Soo-yeon. He says that what he’s seen on the CCTV footage and in person aren’t normal, and that there’s no guarantee Soo-yeon is safe to be around.
Seo-koon is willing to stake everything on the fact that Soo-yeon is safe: “Because I’ve seen him from the very beginning!” She tells Team Leader Choi that she’s been there for every step of Soo-yeon’s recovery, so she knows he only wants to be normal, not special.
Neither of them is aware that In-woo is outside the restaurant, and that he’s heard their entire conversation through the window.
The private area of the bar looks like a science fiction laboratory, with computers and sketches and prototypes scattered around the room. Soo-yeon lies on a couch, hooked up to a monitor and still unconscious.
At the airport the next morning, Young-ran seems to be in a great mood as she chirps to her husband on the phone about the business trip he’s leaving on. But something stops her in her tracks, and Seo-koon sees her looking upset, then she notices the man that Young-ran seemed to be staring at. Oh no, it’s Young-ran’s husband, and he and the young woman he’s with seem awfully cozy.
In-woo and Team Leader Choi end up in the same elevator, where In-woo asks how the investigation into Soo-yeon is going. He mentions that Seo-koon seems very invested in Soo-yeon and that he’s worried that will influence Team Leader Choi.But Team Leader Choi snarls that he’s not an idiot who can’t separate personal and private matters.
Seo-koon tells her team that Soo-yeon is out sick and won’t be back for several days. Yeo-reum looks particularly worried, having tried unsuccessfully to call him, and even gone to his apartment to look for him, after he disappeared last night. She heads to the break room to try again to call and text him, but he’s still sleeping, and Bartender Jang turns off his phone.
Yeo-reum wonders out loud if Soo-yeon is hurt, and In-woo, entering the room, asks if she’s talking about Soo-yeon. Yeo-reum admits that she doesn’t know what’s wrong with Soo-yeon, and she asks In-woo why he’s so curious. He tells her that he and Soo-yeon used to be brothers, surprising her.
When Soo-yeon eventually wakes, he finds his arm burned and his muscles damaged from the taser jolt. Bartender Jang suggests he quit working and rest, saying that it’s for the best since he was brought here by the head of security anyway.
He informs Soo-yeon that he can’t wear his prosthetics for a while, bringing out an advanced, but still very unwelcome, wheelchair for Soo-yeon to use in the meantime. He also forbids Soo-yeon to use his cell phone for now, and says he’ll close the restaurant for a few days.
In-woo continues telling Yeo-reum about himself and Soo-yeon — their parents were married for three years, so they were brothers briefly, until the divorce. He says that they don’t speak now due to “misunderstandings,” but he claims to be worried about Soo-yeon because of his special circumstances.
Yeo-reum says she knows what he means, but she admits to herself that she really doesn’t. Probing for information, In-woo asks Yeo-reum if Soo-yeon is badly hurt, but she says she doesn’t know. Later she realizes that in fact, she doesn’t know much about Soo-yeon at all.
At a managers meeting, Manager Kwon gossips about a former congressman who was caught cheating by his wife. Young-ran is uncharacteristically quiet, but then she blows up, yelping that the congressman’s wife slapping him wasn’t nearly enough.
When she realizes that everyone is staring at her, she gets embarrassed and excuses herself from the meeting. Seo-koon follows her after briefly mentioning the Christmas concert planning, and Team Leader Choi makes an excuse about rifle training and takes off too.
Manager Kwon can’t figure out why everyone just bailed on his meeting until Team Leader Lee mutters that he gathered together busy people to gossip about a cheater, ha. Manager Kwon gets up to leave himself, and Team Leader Lee grumbles that he’s taking it out on him and walks off, telling In-woo on his way out that the meeting is canceled. HAHA.
An elderly man disembarks from his plane and wanders the terminal, seeming confused about where to go next. He buys a red ginseng gift set made to boost energy, telling the clerk that it’s for his daughter-in-law.
Things are still awkward between Young-joo and Dae-ki, but as they do their rounds, they both insist they have nothing important to discuss. Dae-ki starts to tell Young-joo that she’s being too sensitive about what he said to her, but she’s distracted when she notices the elderly man, who’s been standing in the same place for the past two hours.
They learn that he’s supposed to be meeting his son and daughter-in-law to move with them to the U.S., but the ticket for his overseas flight has been canceled and his family hasn’t shown up. Dae-ki calls Yeo-reum over while Young-joo tries to get the son’s contact info from the man, but he’s stubbornly refusing their help.
Yeo-reum approaches the man to ask if they can call his son and find out what’s going on, and when he hesitates, Young-joo wants to take his passport and do an ID check. Dae-ki snaps at her to wait, and eventually the man admits to Yeo-reum that he’s been trying to call his son, but he doesn’t answer.
Soo-yeon is staring glumly at his wheelchair when Seo-koon arrives to talk. She apologizes for not letting him quit when he wanted to, adding that Team Leader Choi takes his job seriously, so she doesn’t think he’ll go easy on Soo-yeon.
She thinks Soo-yeon should quit, because he’ll get hurt again if information about his condition goes public. He sighs that people will stare at him in his wheelchair, like they did when he was first injured. Seo-koon asks if he can handle it, and he just gives her a wry smile as answer.
Seo-koon tells Bartender Jang that she doesn’t think quitting is the right thing for Soo-yeon. Although he only ever intended to work at the airport for six months, she thinks that now, he has a reason to stay.
Yeo-reum has taken the elderly man to the office to wait until his family is found. Manager Gong pitches a fit, because that’s what he does, but he grudgingly agrees to let him stay and even chastises Yeo-reum for not getting the man something to eat yet.
Dae-ki calls Yeo-reum to tell her that the police found the man’s daughter (and ouch, he actually gives Young-joo The Hand when she asks him about it). Though they’ve managed to contact the daughter, they still can’t find the man’s son.
Eventually Soo-yeon gets into his wheelchair and crosses the room to check his phone. He sees all of Yeo-reum’s text messages, and he hesitates.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Eun-seob calls Yeo-reum, and she tells him sadly that Soo-yeon is out sick. As she complains that she’s been unable to contact him, he’s trying to call her, but his call goes unanswered. Eun-seob cheerfully offers to be Yeo-reum’s drinking buddy after work, but after he hangs up, his coworker Je-in says that women don’t like nonchalant men because they seem disinterested.
Dae-ki is in the office when Yeo-reum returns — they’ve found the elderly man’s son, but he’s already in the U.S. with his family. Manager Lee had kept the elderly man company and learned the man’s son promised to take care of his father and proposed moving the family to the U.S. The elderly man sold his house and land for the move, but the son took the money and went without him. Luckily, his daughter is on her way to get him.
Despite Bartender Jang’s warning that using his prosthetics before he’s healed could cause irreparable muscle damage, Soo-yeon stares at them as he thinks, “I understand, but… I miss her.” He recalls Seo-koon’s challenge and wonders if he can handle going to work in his wheelchair.
He smiles and thinks of Yeo-reum, then he puts on his prosthetic arm and leg and leaves his apartment, taking Bartender Jang’s car keys. Bartender Jang notices that Soo-yeon and his keys are gone, but Soo-yeon doesn’t answer his call, so he calls Seo-koon to tell her that he thinks Soo-yeon went to the airport.
He doesn’t answer Seo-koon’s call either, but she’s smart, so she asks where Yeo-reum is right now, then heads there. Yeo-reum is at the departure gate with the elderly man when his daughter shows up, apparently having just learned of his abandonment by her brother.
She yells at him until they’re both crying, and Yeo-reum has tears in her eyes too when she sees Seo-koon nearby. She tells Seo-koon confusedly that she’s not meeting Soo-yeon, since she still can’t get in contact with him, and she only now sees the two missed calls from him.
Soo-yeon is actually at the airport to talk to Team Leader Choi, and they go to a storage room to talk. Soo-yeon pulls up his sleeve to show Team Leader Choi his futuristic-looking prosthetic arm and tells him that there’s a matching one on his leg. He says that he can’t walk or move his arm without them.
Team Leader Choi asks what the prosthetics are capable of. Soo-yeon says he hasn’t tested their limits, but that he can lift a human easily and has blocked a flipping car, and he explains that nerve damage means he feels no pain.
He continues that the only time he’s used the prosthetics against a person was with the kid who made the bomb threat, and last night was the first time he fought with them. When Team Leader Choi asks if they ever malfunction, Soo-yeon thinks about the times his prosthetic accidentally becomes magnetic, and the times they suddenly stopped working.
But he lies to Team Leader Choi that they don’t malfunction or get out of control. Team Leader Choi is curious why Soo-yeon is suddenly being so forthcoming, so Soo-yeon says that he has a favor to ask.
Yeo-reum, Seo-koon, and Bartender Jang all search the airport for Soo-yeon, worried that he may be harming himself by using his prosthetics. Yeo-reum finally finds him looking out over the runways and calls Seo-koon. Team Leader Choi finds Seo-koon and asks her why she wants so badly to keep Soo-yeon’s secret.
She looks like she’s trying not to cry as she says, “Soo-yeon is Ji-hoon to me. My younger brother couldn’t live a normal life where he wasn’t discriminated against or pitied, but I want Soo-yeon to have one. It looks like he can’t anymore, though.”
She walks away without giving Team Leader Choi a chance to respond. He thinks of Soo-yeon’s request for a month to just live normally like he is now, then he’ll quit.
Soo-yeon finally sees Yeo-reum watching him, and she goes to him to pepper him with questions about what he’s doing and where he’s been and why he hasn’t responded to her messages. With a smile, Soo-yeon asks if she was worried, and she snaps that of course she was.
Irritated, she asks how he can smile right now, so Soo-yeon asks, “Can we just love? Let’s just love. Tonight. Now.” Having effectively shocked Yeo-reum speechless, Soo-yeon steps closer and kisses her lightly.
As he does, she thinks, “There are so many things I don’t know about you.” She pushes him back to look at his face, thinking, “If there’s something I do know, tonight, now, he is sincere.” Then she wraps her arms around Soo-yeon’s neck and kisses him, and this time there are no interruptions.
In the office, In-woo checks in with Manager Kwon about his stake sale proposal, but Manager Kwon isn’t convinced it’s a good idea for the airport or his career. In-woo offers to set up a meeting with a Chairman Shin of Geosan Group (who I assume has successfully done a stake sale with his company) before Team Leader Choi comes in to talk to them.
He tells them that he’s checked out Soo-yeon, and his personal opinion is that there’s no problem in regards to his prosthetics. Manager Kwon is relieved, but In-woo narrows his eyes at Team Leader Choi and demands documentation to prove that everything checks out.
Offended, Team Leader Choi grinds his teeth as he asks if In-woo would be okay with him demanding documentation regarding his team’s business, such as the papers he’s holding right now. Recognizing the danger, Manager Kwon says that he’s sure that Team Leader Choi did his job and dismisses them.
Outside the office, In-woo makes it clear that he thinks Team Leader Choi caved and took shortcuts. Team Leader Choi says that sometimes it’s okay to turn a blind eye, and that from now on, his and Seo-koon’s departments will be in charge of everything concerning Soo-yeon. He saunters away, grinning, but In-woo’s grin is a lot more sinister.
Hiding his own smile (which is smeared with hot pink lipstick, PWAHAHA), Soo-yeon joins Seo-koon and Bartender Jang, who lights into him for ignoring his medical advice. Seo-koon notices the lipstick and quips that Soo-yeon seems fine, but she still orders him to take his remaining days off to rest. Bartender Jang just hands Soo-yeon a hankie and grumbles at him to do something about his lips, pfft.
At the end of the work day, Young-joo tells Dae-ki that she wants to switch teams because she feels uncomfortable working with him. Yeo-reum declines Manager Gong’s offer to go out after work, saying that she has plans. And Seo-koon orders a drink in the airport bar, as nearby, Young-ran drinks alone and sneers whenever her husband tries to call her.
Yeo-reum texts Soo-yeon when she’s off work, and Bartender Jang catches him smiling again. He tells Soo-yeon to take off his prosthetics, but Soo-yeon asks cutely if he can just wear them tonight because he has a date. Bartender Jang asks which is more important, his arm or a date, and Soo-yeon doesn’t even hesitate: “The date.”
Eun-seob shows up at Yeo-reum’s building with a cake and flowers, having decided to tell her how he feels. He sees Soo-yeon leaving and wilts to realize that he’s Yeo-reum’s neighbor.
On his way to Bartender Jang’s car (which he borrowed without permission again), Soo-yeon’s arm suddenly goes unresponsive, but only for a few seconds. He reaches down to pick up the keys he dropped, but they fly up to attach themselves to his arm… oh no.
Yeo-reum is stopped on her way out of the office by In-woo, who says he needs to talk to her about Soo-yeon.
As Soo-yeon is trying to process what’s happening, his arm suddenly crashes into the car with enough force to dent the door and crack the window. Oh noooo, it’s getting worse! He struggles to free his arm, but the magnetic force only continues to strengthen, making the car door buckle and the window shatter.
Oh, this is so, so bad. Soo-yeon just earned himself a month to be with Yeo-reum and continue working without his disability being outed, but he had to lie to Team Leader Choi to get it. And now he’s ignoring advice and using his prosthetics while injured, which Bartender Jang warned could cause him irreparable damage. But that’s not all… his prosthetics are going haywire, and the magnetic glitch is now out of Soo-yeon’s control, which makes even the truth he told to Team Leader Choi — that they’ve never been dangerous — into a lie as well.
I understand why he just wants to go on a date with the woman he loves without having to worry about all this, but Soo-yeon needs to get serious and come to terms with his limitations, or he really is going to put himself or someone else in serious danger. I hope we learn more soon about his prosthetics, and how they came to be and what their true abilities are, because the recent malfunctions have me especially worried. The magnetic glitch is obviously dangerous, but even the periodic loss of function could have disastrous results if it happens while Soo-yeon is using his arm to save someone.
So far, this show has mostly been about how knowing Soo-yeon is changing Yeo-reum for the better. But in this episode, we’re beginning to see how it’s working the other way around, and I like that a lot, because it feels more balanced now. Soo-yeon is loosening up, relaxing, and taking advantage of the opportunity to date like a regular guy, which is awesome. But it’s not all good — he’s also lying to get what he wants, ignoring advice, and letting his emotions control his actions. It’s exactly what he used to chide Yeo-reum for doing, so while I’m happy that he’s happy, I’m scared that he’s earning that happiness by doing things that will get someone hurt or worse.
I’ve been assuming that there’s something supernatural about Soo-yeon’s prosthetics and that that’s why he guards the fact of their existence so carefully, but after this episode, I think it’s more than that. Clearly they are much more advanced than what’s available to most disabled people, and I do still think there’s more to them than meets the eye. But I believe that the main reason Soo-yeon hides them is just that he wants to be like everyone else. So while yes, he has to keep the technology a secret, for Soo-yeon it’s equally about just not being seen as someone who isn’t physically sound.
Part of me applauds him for that — for not using his disability to get special treatment, and for just wanting to be a “normal” guy. But there’s also a part of me that’s enraged that people don’t see him as a whole person just because he had an accident and needs help getting around. It’s a harmful mindset, because it was the stares and pity that made Soo-yeon so self-conscious that now he’s scared to let anyone know his secret, when it shouldn’t even be a secret. There’s nothing wrong with people who need a wheelchair, or a prosthetic, or medication to be like “normal” people (whatever that even means), and admitting that you need help doesn’t mean you’re somehow defective.
It makes me proud of Soo-yeon for doing his best to appear like everyone else, while I’m simultaneously angry on his behalf that it’s even something he has to worry about. I think it makes me so upset for him because I know that he’s hiding something very important about himself from Yeo-reum out of fear that she won’t care for him once she knows the truth. We know she’s not that kind of a person, but society has conditioned Soo-yeon to believe that his disability makes him unlovable, so he’s only brave enough to approach her while she thinks he’s “normal.” I want him to be able to trust that Yeo-reum likes him for who he is, not because she thinks he’s physically sound, but I think that he’s been so conditioned to think that he’s defective that it’s going to be a while before he gets there.