Fox Bride Star: Episodes 21-22
It’s time for our hero to come to terms with the fact that he’s not perfect, no matter how much he’d like for his lady to see him that way. He’s backed himself into a corner where the only way out is to tell her the truth, but he’s still convinced that the truth makes him unlovable. Until he finds the self-confidence that he’s lost, he’s living down to his own fears… and it’s only honesty that will make him worthy of her love.
EPISODE 21: “Knowing your pain versus embracing your pain”
Soo-yeon tells Bartender Jang that he’s figured out why his prosthetic arm sometimes turns magnetic. Every time it’s happened, the one thing in common was that he was emotional over Yeo-reum — and the more his feelings for her grow, the stronger the reactions are becoming.
When Yeo-reum calls, Bartender Jang slides Soo-yeon’s phone towards him and gives him some privacy. Yeo-reum tells Soo-yeon that she’s fine, and that he doesn’t have to explain what happened in the break room, willing to trust that there’s a reasonable explanation even if she doesn’t know what it is.
Her acceptance has Soo-yeon choking back tears, wondering, “Is it really okay? I’m not sure if it’s okay to like you.”
Secretary Yoon from the Terminal One office notices Team Leader Lee talking to the men who drive taxis at the airport on his way in to work. One of the men tucks a thick envelope into Team Leader Lee’s pocket before they part ways.
Everyone on Seo-koon’s team balks at yet another undesirable assignment, so yet again, Soo-yeon volunteers himself and Yeo-reum to do it. Secretary Yoon just happens to sit at the next desk over, and Team Leader Lee notices that he’s being watched.
Soo-yeon acts awkward with Yeo-reum, and when he suggests they split up to do the inspections separately, she says she’d rather stay together. He just stares at her, so she walks away, but she bounds right back and ends up a little too close, startling Soo-yeon.
She asks him when they’re going on their date that he had to cancel, and as his emotions flare, Soo-yeon hides his right arm behind his back. He takes a step back and says they’ll talk later, leaving her to sigh at his back.
They end up in an elevator together with a crowd of people, which squishes them together until their hands are touching. Soo-yeon tries to move his hand away, but Yeo-reum doesn’t let him get away with that and brushes his fingers with hers. He looks at her, but she just gives him a cutely defiant Whatcha gonna do about it? face.
Yeo-reum takes Soo-yeon’s hand in hers, and he looks so shaken he might pass out, while she looks pretty pleased with herself. Soon the elevator clears out except for the two of them, and Yeo-reum lets go of Soo-yeon’s hand to exit. But Soo-yeon grabs her hand again, closes the elevator doors, and pulls her up to the roof where there are no CCTV cameras.
He says he has two things to ask her, the first being whether she finds him strange. She says that if he means his arm, then yes, she found it strange ever since her compass gravitated to his arm. Soo-yeon asks if Yeo-reum was scared by what she saw yesterday and the fact that he has a serious disability, and she replies that everyone is born and lives differently.
She says that, for example, she wants to be special while he wants to be ordinary, and he agrees that he hates attention. Yeo-reum asks what he’s so afraid of, and he says shakily, “I keep breaking down. I keep breaking down because of you.”
He touches Yeo-reum’s face, thinking, “I like you so much. But the more I like you, the more my heart aches and flutters for you, I break down even more.” He slowly moves closer, but then he lets go and backs away, apologizing and asking for some time before walking away.
Back in the terminal, Soo-yeon sees a couple who look very much in love… and the man is in a wheelchair. He smiles at them, then he gets a message from Seo-koon summoning him to the operations department.
Yeo-reum has found Ajusshi, and is telling him about her difficulties with Soo-yeon. He’s curious about what part of her friend gets broken, assuming he means emotionally. He asks Yeo-reum if she’s told her friend that she likes him, and she sighs that she hasn’t yet. She notices that he’s using Dae-ki’s radio as a nutcracker (!!) and tells him it belongs to the airport.
Dae-ki realizes that Young-joo has been gone a while, and one of his teammates is cagey about where she went. She’s out looking for Ajusshi, but nobody seems to have seen him.
Seo-koon is waiting for Soo-yeon with Team Leader Choi, and they tell him that they’re limiting his tasks to ground services. Team Leader Choi reveals that In-woo went to him about the magnetic episode, unhappy that Soo-yeon lied that his prosthetic never malfunctions, and warns Soo-yeon that he might not be able to give him the month he asked for.
Soo-yeon says that he knows why it’s malfunctioning and is taking steps to control it. Team Leader Choi asks if it can be fixed, and as Soo-yeon hesitated, In-woo interrupts to say that if it can’t, then he should quit. Seo-koon orders In-woo to stay out of this, but he says that this isn’t just a problem for her team, but for the entire airport.
When In-woo mentions safety, Team Leader Choi snaps that safety is his job, but In-woo threatens to make an issue out of this if he has to. He orders Soo-yeon to keep quiet when he tries to talk, but Soo-yeon yells that this is his problem, so he wants In-woo to discuss it with him. He accidentally calls In-woo “hyung,” surprising both Seo-koon and Team Leader Choi.
Yeo-reum talks Ajusshi into returning Dae-ki’s radio, and they head to the Security office. Yeo-reum leaves Ajusshi in the hallway to wait, where he overhears Soo-yeon telling In-woo to stop harassing others just because he hates him. In-woo just says that Soo-yeon should have left when he first told him to, and asks if he’s here to get revenge.
He perceives Soo-yeon’s very presence as a personal threat, but Soo-yeon doesn’t understand why he can’t just remain the successful, level-headed guy he claims to have been before. He asks if he reminds In-woo of how he left him like a coward, and if he makes him feel guilty.
In-woo growls that only someone with a conscience would feel guilty, and that he’s never even tried to become a good person, because he wasn’t born that way. He tells Soo-yeon to quit and stop worsening their relationship, but Soo-yeon counters that if In-woo hates him that much, then he should quit.
In-woo says vehemently that if that were an option, he’d never have started working here in the first place. He tells Soo-yeon that there are people who have unimaginable plans, and that he’s only a small piece of their big picture, and yells at Soo-yeon to leave before he gets hurt again.
He storms off, passing Ajusshi, who hides his face and mutters that he’s lost. In-woo stares at Ajusshi, and when Yeo-reum returns he asks her who that man is. She says he’s just a guy who found something belonging to the security team. In-woo leaves, but Soo-yeon is drawn by the conversation, and he stares at Ajusshi and says tentatively, “Ajusshi? It’s me, Soo-yeon.”
Back in his office, a flustered In-woo gets a call from the smuggler he met with earlier, Director Jo.
In the break room, Secretary Yoon tells Mr. Nam from Seo-koon’s team that he saw Team Leader Lee taking a bribe from the taxi drivers. The rumor spreads like wildfire, even making it to Seo-koon, where Manager Gong hears Young-ran talking about it.
Dae-ki finally locates Young-joo, who’s still searching for Ajusshi. He says she’s embarrassing him, but she says she’s doing it because she wants to. She apologizes for embarrassing him in front of the other hoobaes, but he says he didn’t mean them… he means her. Awww, I’m melting.
Looking a little vulnerable after that admission, he tells her to forget the radio and starts to leave. But he goes back to give her an energy drink, adorably unable to look her in the eye, and he trips over his own feet in his attempt to make a cool exit. Dae-ki, you’re killing me here.
Soo-yeon and Ajusshi sit to catch up, where Ajusshi asks after Soo-yeon’s mother and how he’s doing since his accident. Okay, Ajusshi is definitely In-woo’s father. He tells Soo-yeon that he lost contact with In-woo around that time and hasn’t been in touch but a friend told him that In-woo works here.
Yeo-reum brings them food and coffee, and excuses herself after exchanging a charged glance with Soo-yeon. Ajusshi immediately picks up on it and asks Soo-yeon if he’s the “broken” guy, which he finds highly amusing.
On her way back to the office, Yeo-reum passes a man who’s being dragged away by Security, screaming to an embarrassed terminal worker that he loves her. She takes Dae-ki’s radio to Young-joo, who sighs that she wishes she’d caught Ajusshi herself. Yeo-reum assures Young-joo that Ajusshi didn’t have any nefarious intentions.
Young-joo gives Dae-ki his radio back, which elicits impressed hoots from the other hoobaes. But Dae-ki snaps at her for disobeying him when he told her to give up the search, and even Team Leader Choi is all, Dude, just say thank you! Young-joo explains to Dae-ki that Yeo-reum found it, so Dae-ki relaxes, and Team Leader Choi says that since Young-joo found it for him, he’ll let the loss of the radio slide.
Dae-ki thanks her, and she heads back to her desk with a small, pleased smile. In flashback, we see that Yeo-reum actually brought the radio directly to Dae-ki, but he told her to give it to Young-joo instead. I’m serious now, Dae-ki, you have to STAHP.
EPISODE 22 RECAP
Yeo-reum finds the office teeming with rumors, and the little cliques break up guiltily when Team Leader Lee returns. Young-ran urges Seo-koon to ask Team Leader Lee if it’s true he took a bribe, but Seo-koon already believes he’d never do such a thing. Manager Kwon overhears them and asks who took money, and although Young-ran comes close to cracking, Seo-koon says that he needn’t worry about false rumors.
When he asks if it’s about Team Leader Lee, the look on both ladies’ faces give them away. He beelines for Team Leader Lee, sees the envelope still in his pocket, and orders him to his office. But instead of yelling at him for taking a bribe, he just says to be more discreet about it.
Team Leader Lee says that they’ve only given him two envelopes, so Manager Kwon threatens to embarrass him in from of everyone if he doesn’t “get everything organized.” He growls to Team Leader Lee that their twenty-year friendship ends here. The whole office watches as Manager Kwon takes the envelope from Team Leader Lee’s jacket. Team Leader Lee grabs it and opens it, and out tumbles… sweet potatoes. LOL, apparently one of the drivers’ mom sends them to him.
Out in the terminal, Soo-yeon confesses to Ajusshi that he likes Yeo-reum a lot. Ajusshi advises him not to do anything he’ll regret, because “seasonal” relationships are rare and not meant to last.
Young-joo turns down an invitation to a team dinner, saying she has a date, which gets Dae-ki’s attention. But he shrugs it off and gets everyone ready to go.
Soo-yeon returns to the office and gets a close-up view of Yeo-reum stretching, particularly her adorable backside. She stops when she notices him there, and she admits that she stayed late to wait for him. She asks him out to dinner, admitting that she even researched some restaurants, but he says he has to be home early.
At her disappointed expression, he almost breaks, but she asks about what he said earlier and how long she should wait for him. Soo-yeon recalls Ajusshi’s advice not to have any regrets, and he starts to say something, but Eun-seob interrupts, “Don’t bother waiting. He said he has to go early. He rejected a woman who even researched restaurants, so you don’t have to wait.”
Soo-yeon says that’s not necessarily true, but Eun-seob coos that Yeo-reum is innocent and clueless when it comes to men. He throws an arm around her possessively and drags her off to have dinner with her instead, ignoring her pleading expression to stop acting this way.
Once they’re alone, Yeo-reum asks Eun-seob what his problem is, but he says he’s helping her. He tells her that Soo-yeon will be out in about three seconds, making Yeo-reum hopeful, but Soo-yeon disappoints them both. Yeo-reum wilts (Eun-seob is thoroughly bemused) and gets in the elevator to go home, so when Soo-yeon does finally run after her, he’s too late.
Later, as the security team is heading for round two, Dae-ki notices something strange… Young-joo, sitting in a convenience store eating dinner alone.
The same thing happens to Team Leader Lee — he spots Manager Kwon drinking alone at a bar. He joins him and tells him that the embarrassment he’s feeling is his own fault, and Manager Kwon accuses Team Leader Lee for being jealous of him when he got promoted to director. Team Leader Lee asks if Manager Kwon forgot how he stomped on others to get ahead, and Manager Kwon just grumbles, “But I didn’t stomp on you.”
Calling him affectionately by his name, Team Leader Lee asks Manager Kwon how many friend he has left who can address him that way. Manager Kwon admits that Team Leader Lee is the only one, but he says it’s because he works hard. Team Leader Lee corrects him: It’s because he loves his title more than his name. Team Leader Lee asks if he’s happy, but Manager Kwon can’t answer the question.
Eun-seob takes Yeo-reum drinking, where she pounds several shots as she wonders why Soo-yeon would tell her he likes her, then ask for time. Eun-seob says he doesn’t know since he’s not that kind of guy, and Yeo-reum quips that Eun-seob also never goes on more than two dates with the same girl, hee. She says he just hasn’t met The One yet, and he counters that maybe he has and just didn’t realize it… and that maybe it’s her.
She just tells him to quit joking, so he demands to know what she likes about Soo-yeon that’s better than himself. Yeo-reum thinks, then says dreamily that she just likes being with Soo-yeon, and his voice, and the way he looks at her like she’s special.
Annoyed, Eun-seob snaps at her to go tell Soo-yeon that instead of him. Yeo-reum surprises Eun-seob by deciding to do exactly that, right now. She pays the bill, and after she leaves, Eun-seob says sadly, “I didn’t want you to pay. I just wanted to be with you.”
Soo-yeon passes the Fox Bride Star restaurant on his way home, where he remembers confessing to Yeo-reum in the rain. Yeo-reum pulls up in a taxi, and after taking a moment to gather her courage, she approaches him. She trips at the last second and lands in his arms, and she admits that she stopped drinking because she needs to say something to him.
“I like you, too,” she tells him. “I said, I like you, too. So please don’t break down. I don’t know what it is, but I hope you’ll stop being broken because of me.” She turns to go, but stops to add that she’s good at waiting.
She tells him again that she was born in summer but loves autumn, because she first met her parents in the autumn. She had to wait to meet her parents, and she had to wait for her dad after they divorced, and she waited three years to get her job at the airport, “So, Soo-yeon, you can take as long as you want. I can wait as long as you need me to.”
This time she really does walk away, fighting back tears. But she turns back when she hears Soo-yeon following her, and he’s practically running by the time he pulls her into his arms. Crying, he whispers into her ear, “I love you,” and they stay like that for a long, long time.
The following day, Soo-yeon asks Yeo-reum out on a real date. She’s on Cloud Nine all day, and Young-joo guesses that she has a date. Dae-ki asks how Young-joo’s date went last night, and he looks like he’s confirmed something important when she vaguely says it went well.
Soo-yeon is off work, and as it grows closer to the time for his date with Yeo-reum, he looks like he’s making a difficult decision. He heads to a park where he’s supposed to meet Yeo-reum, but instead of walking, he’s in his wheelchair. People look at him as he passes them, but he studiously ignores them.
Yeo-reum is on her way out of the terminal when she hears a commotion nearby — it’s the stalker, who has the female airport employee by the throat and is waving a knife at her. She begs him to let go so they can talk, but he just yells that he knows she still loves him.
Yeo-reum runs over and tries to pry the stalker’s hands off of the woman, but he shoves her away with the hand holding the knife. Yeo-reum freezes in shock, then looks down to see blood dripping onto the floor. Even the stalker looks horrified as Yeo-reum slowly sinks to the floor, and luckily Dae-ki and Young-joo arrive in time for Dae-ki to disarm the stalker.
Soo-yeon gets a call from Young-joo on Yeo-reum’s phone, and she tells him that Yeo-reum is hurt. But before he can learn more, a kid bumps into him and he drops his phone, but it falls down a stair so he can’t reach it. Desperate, he leans further, until his wheelchair tips on the stair and he tumbles out onto the ground.
Now THIS is what I’ve been waiting for, and what I knew Soo-yeon was capable of once he shed his intense fear of standing out (although, as Seo-koon once said, he never stood a chance of blending in with that face). I’m so proud of him for finally being brave enough to show Yeo-reum his real condition – and not because he was threatened or because he’s afraid of something, but simply because he loves her and knows that she deserves the truth. Of course, this is a drama so that’s exactly when disaster will strike, but I hope this doesn’t set him back so that he loses all the traction he’s gained.
I’m not surprised that In-woo turned out to be Ajusshi’s long-lost son, based on the way Ajusshi seemed to be following him around the airport to watch him, and his reaction when he heard In-woo say that he’s not a good person. And honestly, this worries me because Ajusshi is a pretty pitiful character, so I fear that the show is going to use him too try to explain and redeem In-woo and his behavior. But I don’t think I can forgive In-woo for the things he’s done. He’s harassed Soo-yeon, blamed him for their bad relationship, and tried to force him to quit his job for no valid offense other than existing in In-woo’s space, and that’s before we even get into the part where he abandoned Soo-yeon to die. A halfway decent person would have at least felt some relief on learning that Soo-yeon survived, even if they felt deep shame about leaving him there. But not only does In-woo not care that Soo-yeon didn’t die, he’s using the disability resulting from that accident to make Soo-yeon’s life miserable.
These aren’t things that can be easily forgiven, so it’s going to take a lot more than a sad estranged daddy to make me care about In-woo and see him as anything other than a person completely bereft of redeeming qualities. I’m also afraid, because of the way he said he has no choice but to work at the airport, that his hinted involvement with the smugglers is much more insidious than I originally thought. In-woo made it sound like he’s being forced to work there in order to smooth the way for the smuggling ring, which means that losing his job would probably be very dangerous for him. That would also explain why he’s so insistent that Soo-yeon quit, because his knowledge of In-woo’s past threatens In-woo’s position. But I hope that the show doesn’t also try to sell us the idea that In-woo is being so mean in order to save Soo-yeon from getting hurt again. I have seen no evidence that he feels bad about the way he’s treating Soo-yeon, so I wouldn’t buy it for a second.
Dae-ki and Young-joo are absolutely my favorite thing about this show right now, because they’re both just so awkward and weird around each other. They’re a good example of why relationships with coworkers are often a bad idea, because Dae-ki has a measure of power over Young-joo’s job. As defensive as Young-joo is about how Dae-ki treats her, I won’t be surprised if she’s been a victim of power imbalance before and had to fend off unwanted advances by a superior, so poor Dae-ki has a lot of work to do to prove that his feelings are genuine. It doesn’t help that he’s (mildly, but still) abused his power over her already, and at least he regrets it and tries hard not to repeat it, but the solution may end up being for them to be on different teams after all. But they’re also just flat-out cuteness personified, and I love that their denial looks so different on each of them… Young-joo just pretends nothing is happening, while Dae-ki falls all over himself to act normal and makes a mess of it every time.
I’m not too terribly worried about Yeo-reum’s safety, because I know the show isn’t going to kill her off, but I’m extremely worried now for Soo-yeon. I’m scared that he’s going to abandon his plan to show Yeo-reum his true self, which is bad for their relationship but also for his overall well-being. For a guy who lectured Yeo-reum so vehemently on being honest with herself, Soo-yeon is in a lot (A LOT) of denial, and as wonderfully helpful as his prosthetics are, they are allowing him to ignore the fact that he’s NOT physically whole and never will be. There’s nothing wrong with the help they give him… until they’re hindering his ability to connect with people for fear that they’ll learn the truth about his physical condition. As strange as it seems, he needs to come to terms with his reality in order to have a truly close relationship with anyone, much less the woman he loves.