Fox Bride Star: Episodes 23-24
Our hero has been at a crossroads for some time, torn between the desire to be honest with the one he loves, and fear that he’ll be rejected when she knows the full extent of his reality. He still sees his disability as a weakness, something to be hated and feared, and it only makes things worse when he lets himself get out of control and do something he regrets. Until he accepts himself, he’s never going to be confident enough to let someone else love him.
EPISODE 23: “An excuse for being helpless”
As Soo-yeon moves through the crowded park in his wheelchair, on his way to meet Yeo-reum for their date, his voice narrates that he wonders if he’s been in a dream where he can have the life he’s always wanted… “So I thought maybe I was okay with the way I am now.”
Still at the airport, Yeo-reum is drawn to a crowd, where a female employee’s ex has her by the throat and is brandishing a knife. Yeo-reum tries to calm the man down, but he lashes out at her, badly slashing her arm with the knife. Dae-ki arrives and disarms the attacker, while Young-joo checks on Yeo-reum.
Dazed and bleeding, Yeo-reum thinks, “I have to go. What do I do? Soo-yeon…”
Soo-yeon gets a call from Young-joo, who tells him that Yeo-reum is hurt, and he can hear yelling in the background. A kid bumps into his chair and knocks his phone out of his hand, and as he’s trying to reach it, his chair tips over and he falls to the ground.
He pulls himself to his phone, but the medical team has arrived to help Yeo-reum and Young-joo has hung up. Soo-yeon tries to call back, but Young-joo doesn’t see the phone ringing, and he begins to panic.
Still holding the attacker, Dae-ki calls for backup. The attacker slams his head into Dae-ki’s face and breaks free, and although Dae-ki gives chase, the man gets away by reversing his jacket and boarding a bus.
As soon as Yeo-reum’s arm is bandaged, she asks Young-joo about Soo-yeon, and Young-joo tells her that she called him but they were disconnected. She talks Yeo-reum into going with the emergency team, promising to call Soo-yeon again for her.
Soo-yeon is still sitting on the step, his right arm and leg useless, silently crying with worry. He ignores offers of help as he narrates, “It was too early for me to dream of such a life.”
Ashamed, Dae-ki explains to Team Leader Choi how he lost the attacker. Team Leader Choi tells him to reflect on how a moment’s negligence is causing a lot of trouble for the airport. He asks if Dae-ki’s nose is okay, and Young-joo says it’s not broken.
Yeo-reum is taken to the hospital, where her arm is stitched up. Seo-koon calls Team Leader Choi to give him an update, and she notices Soo-yeon lurking nearby in his wheelchair, his clothes torn up, his hands and knees bloody, and his face hidden by his hoodie.
He looks angry as he asks Seo-koon who hurt Yeo-reum, so she explains what happened. She asks what happened to him, but he just turns and leaves.
Eun-seob goes to visit Yeo-reum and finds her mother there looking over her. Mom asks who this Soo-yeon is that Yeo-reum was calling for, before she fell asleep. Eun-seob tries to call Soo-yeon, but his phone goes unanswered, left behind in an empty house along with Soo-yeon’s wheelchair. Oh no, what is he doing?
Soo-yeon finds the employee whose ex hurt Yeo-reum and asks where he is right now. She’s scared to say anything, worried that he’ll just retaliate if he’s arrested, but Soo-yeon promises to make sure he doesn’t hurt her again.
She directs him to an internet cafe, and when the guy leaves for the night, Soo-yeon comes out of nowhere and started beating him without a word. The man pulls his knife, but Soo-yeon throws him across the alley.
He draws back his right fist to slam it into the man’s face, but the guy turns his head and Soo-yeon hit the wall beside his head. The blow cracks the concrete, and the terrified man tries to run, but Soo-yeon pulls him back and resumes the beating.
Dae-ki gets an anonymous call, and he deliberately leaves Young-joo behind and rushes out of the security office. Young-joo follows, curious, but Dae-ki goes into the men’s room where he finds the attacker in a stall, bloody and beaten and taped to the toilet.
The man is taken to the medical office for treatment, where some men show up to ask about him. The leader is In-woo’s shady friend, Director Jo, and though Dae-ki doesn’t know who they are, he tells Team Leader Choi that he has a bad feeling about them.
He also learned that the anonymous call came from a phone in the airport, and CCTV cameras show the man being dragged into the men’s room by a hooded figure. Team Leader Choi notices that the unknown person seems to know where the cameras are, deliberately turning his face away from them.
He shows Seo-koon, and despite looking nervous, she says that she has no idea who the person might be. Team Leader Choi says he can think of someone, but Seo-koon snaps at him not to make unfounded accusations.
They both know exactly who they’re talking about, and Team Leader Choi tells Seo-koon that he won’t be able to stay quiet if Soo-yeon uses his device to hurt people. She retorts that these accusations are also a form of violence.
But after she leaves the office, she goes to Bartender Jang to tell him what Soo-yeon has done. Bartender Jang insists that Soo-yeon would never hit anyone… until Seo-koon tells him that the man he attacked hurt Yeo-reum.
By the time Soo-yeon gets home, he seems horrified by what he’s done. He frantically tries to wash the blood from his hands and breaks down sobbing, unable to shake his memories of beating that man half to death.
When Dae-ki gets back to the office, Young-joo asks him what happened to the attacker. He tells her that he was arrested, and that he’ll probably go to jail for assaulting someone with a weapon. He asks Young-joo if she stayed just to ask that, but she says it was because of his nose.
She gives him some medicine that she says will help with the scarring, and at his flummoxed expression, tells him that she didn’t wait all that long. She turns to go home, but Dae-ki asks her to have dinner with him.
Young-joo lies that she’s meeting her boyfriend, but she heads to buy dinner at a convenience store like she did the other night. She settles in to eat, then she freezes with ramyun hanging out of her mouth when Dae-ki asks if he can join her. HAHA, busted.
He pretends to be surprised to see her, looks around dramatically; then asks, wide-eyed, where her boyfriend is. Young-joo mumbles that he had to go, so Dae-ki plunks himself down beside her. After a minute, he stiffly thanks Young-joo for the medicine, and they eat in silence, both of them smiling a little.
Yeo-reum’s mom and Eun-seob take her home and settle her in bed, and when Eun-seob is ready to leave, he finds Soo-yeon about to knock on the door. After an awkward moment, Soo-yeon goes into Yeo-reum’s room to find her still sleeping. After confirming that she’s okay, Soo-yeon turns to go, but Yeo-reum rouses enough to apologize for making him wait for her.
He looks so sad, so she croaks that she’s okay, but he remembers how she always says she’s okay. “That’s what makes me not okay,” he thinks.
Earlier, Bartender Jang had confronted Soo-yeon, who’d admitted that he hit someone. Bartender Jang had reminded Soo-yeon that when he first got his prosthetics, he’d told him that this new power wasn’t his, but a gift, and he’d warned him not to use it to hurt people.
Soo-yeon had countered that the guy was a bad person who’d hurt the woman he loves. He’d yelled that he has the strength to punish someone like that, but Bartender Jang had said that there are countless bad people, so punishing one bad guy won’t make a difference. Soo-yeon had said that at least he could protect his person, but Bartender Jang had warned him to be contented to live a normal life.
Now Soo-yeon thinks about how he’d dragged himself back into his wheelchair earlier, then been unable to hail a taxi to get to Yeo-reum. He regrets not stopping there, and just living a normal life.
EPISODE 24 RECAP
Yeo-reum’s mom recognizes Soo-yeon as the one who helped her on the plane. She bandages his hand as she asks him about his relationship to Yeo-reum, and he says meekly that he likes Yeo-reum a lot. He looks bewildered that she knows about his inability to feel pain, asking if Yeo-reum talks about him, and she tells him that he hasn’t even flinched while she cleaned his knuckles.
He tells her about his accident, and that it was her ex-husband who saved him from killing himself. He’d told Soo-yeon, “Your situation is tough, what can I say? It must hurt so much that it seems impossible to overcome. But that’s not right. Keep living. Try living for a while.”
His kindness had broken through to Soo-yeon, who had sobbed like his heart was broken as he said that In-woo had run away, saving himself and leaving Soo-yeon behind. It was the first time he’d cried since his accident.
Mom says that fate is incredible, and she invites Soo-yeon to have breakfast with her and Yeo-reum in the morning. Disarmed by her gentle acceptance of him, Soo-yeon looks relaxed for the first time in a long time.
The next day, Manager Kwon is furious about the number of articles that are being written about the violent incident at the airport. He says that the National Assembly is coming to ask some questions, and he orders In-woo and Seo-koon to help Team Leader Choi prepare. Team Leader Choi asks Seo-koon if she spoke to Soo-yeon (about the attacker), but she says there’s no evidence that he’s done anything so there’s nothing to talk about.
While Eun-seob shops for flowers for Yeo-reum, Soo-yeon goes through his entire wardrobe looking for something nice to wear to breakfast. Yeo-reum is happy to see her mom when she wakes, and Mom tells her to set the table for their guests. Yeo-reum turns to see both Eun-seob and Soo-yeon waiting politely to be noticed, lol.
While Yeo-reum runs off to get dressed, Eun-seob asks Soo-yeon if he’s told her his secret yet, reminding him that today is the last day or Eun-seob will tell her himself. Soo-yeon may as well have literal hearts in his eyes when Yeo-reum finally joins them, and she mostly ignores Eun-seob in favor of fawning over Soo-yeon.
Eun-seob finally gets Yeo-reum’s attention by giving the flowers he brought to Mom, and as they bicker, Mom notices Soo-yeon wilt a little. Yeo-reum gets a message, asking her to come to the police station to answer some questions.
Team Leader Choi is already there with Dae-ki and Young-joo, and they learn that the attacker is denying everything that happened at the airport. Team Leader Choi says it seems like he has a backer, but they have CCTV footage, and they just need some witness testimonies.
The guy is covered in cuts and bruises, but he has the nerve to sneer at Dae-ki as he’s led back to his cell. He does it again to Yeo-reum when she arrives, but Soo-yeon came with her, and the guy recognizes the dark look in his eyes and sees his injured knuckles. He looks away, suddenly scared, which Team Leader Choi notices.
After the guy is led away, Team Leader Choi asks Soo-yeon if he knows him, and when Soo-yeon says it’s the man who hurt Yeo-reum, Team Leader Choi asks how he knows since he wasn’t there. Soo-yeon thinks fast and answers that he knew by the way Yeo-reum tensed up.
In-woo leaves the airport to meet Director Jo at a park. Director Jo says that a friend of his caused some trouble at the airport, but In-woo tells him that he can’t help him since the police are involved.
Director Jo has heard about Soo-yeon from the attacker, who saw his name on his ID badge. In-woo claims not to know Soo-yeon, but Director Jo even knows that Lee Soo-yeon is the name of In-woo’s former stepbrother. In-woo tells him to stop wondering about his people and spend more time managing his own, especially when he’s trying to arrange a meeting between Manager Kwon and someone he refers to as “the chairman.”
In-woo is seething with anger as he gets back in his car to return to the airport. Director Jo calls someone and orders them to do a background check on airport employee Lee Soo-yeon.
After they all give their statements, Yeo-reum suggests that she and Soo-yeon have lunch with Dae-ki and Young-joo. Dae-ki accepts and pointedly asks Young-joo if she has plans with her boyfriend, and he barely hides a grin when Yeo-reum is all I didn’t know you had a boyfriend!
At lunch, the girls enjoy the food, but the guys struggle not to let on that it’s much too spicy for them. LOL, they try to act so manly, but they keep guzzling water and can’t even speak. They also have a hard time getting ice cream afterward, as the huge electronic menu overwhelms them, though the ladies easily figure out their orders.
At least they all enjoy the rail bike ride, giant smiles plastered on their faces. Yeo-reum experiences a moment of worry when she remembers a call from Seo-koon this morning, telling her that the man who injured her was badly hurt, and that she thinks that Soo-yeon is the one who hurt him. But Soo-yeon’s smile is so beautiful and carefree that she can’t help but smile back.
Dae-ki walks Young-joo home first, and after she’s inside, he calls her to ask dumb questions about the medicine she bought him, just to have an excuse to talk to her a little longer. That is so freaking cute.
Soo-yeon and Yeo-reum walk home hand-in-hand, taking their time as they talk. Yeo-reum asks Soo-yeon what kind of grown-up he wants to be, saying that she wants to be like Seo-koon — so perfect and charismatic that nobody remembers the current Yeo-reum who always makes mistakes.
Soo-yeon asks how she wants to be today, and she says she wants to try hard to improve herself. He asks if they can just think about today instead of the future, and when Yeo-reum asks what he wants to do with today, he gives her a quick little kiss. Smiling, Yeo-reum asks what else he wants to do, so he kisses her again, and again, joking that he can do this all night.
He remembers talking to Yeo-reum’s mom this morning, and how she’d told him that opposites attract, but once you’re in a relationship, those differences can cause problems. She’d advised him not to hide those differences, because knowing how you’re different can help you understand each other.
So he asks Yeo-reum to come to his place, because he has something to show her. Inside, he takes her hand and leads her towards his bedroom, asking her to wait and not to turn around.
He goes into the bathroom, and she looks nervous, standing so close to his bed and hearing him taking off his clothes. Mistaking Soo-yeon’s intentions, Yeo-reum stammers that she’s not ready for that, but Soo-yeon just asks her to turn around.
She peeks, and she yelps when she sees that he’s not wearing his shirt — but then she stops as she realizes what else she saw. She turns to look again, and sees Soo-yeon’s prosthetic arm, all metal and glowing lights.
He tells her, “This is the real me. I’m different like this. Will you be okay with me like this?”
Oof, this is so hard to watch, because I do trust Yeo-reum to love Soo-yeon no matter what… but let’s face it, she’s also emotional and reactive. I’m scared that in her shock and surprise, she’s going to say something the wrong way and make Soo-yeon regret making himself so vulnerable. I’m honestly more worried about Yeo-reum’s reaction to the prosthetic than to the fact that Soo-yeon is disabled, because that thing does look pretty frightening. I believe that Yeo-reum is open and loving enough to get past Soo-yeon’s disability, I’m just afraid of her initial reaction, and how Soo-yeon will interpret it.
I said recently that Soo-yeon is so cute that I couldn’t deal with it. I still think he’s precious, but he has a serious competitor in Dae-ki, whose crush on Young-joo is quickly approaching nuclear levels of adorable. I loved his bewilderment when Young-joo waited for him to give him the medicine for his nose, and the way he totally busted her for lying that she had plans with a boyfriend. His oh-so-innocent, “Oh, your boyfriend left, so I can eat with you then?” just about killed me, because he knows perfectly well that she’s lying about having a boyfriend. I think he’s just trying to be near Young-joo while still respecting her boundaries, which I still believe indicate some sort of trauma or abuse in her past. But if anyone can sneak under Young-joo’s defenses without making her feel attacked or disrespected, it’s the sweet security guard with the puppy dog eyes.
At first I was really worried that Soo-yeon was going to get stuck in a dark place when he beat that man who hurt Yeo-reum. The blank, cold look in his eyes when he found out that someone hurt her was terrifying. I don’t care how angry he was, Soo-yeon’s prosthetics give him the strength to easily kill a person, and that makes him potentially very dangerous when he’s not thinking straight. Until now, I’d only worried about someone getting hurt through a malfunction in his prosthetic, but now I’m concerned that Soo-yeon could someday really lose it and use his extraordinary strength to purposely end someone’s life. Thank goodness he almost immediately felt horror and disgust at himself and what he did, because that reaction is exactly what I’d expect from him, and it shows that he didn’t lose who he was when he snapped.
It’s still worrisome that he asked Yeo-reum to enjoy today and not think about the future, because it feels like he’s still planning for their relationship to be temporary. I think that he’s afraid to think about a future with her, for so many reasons, but mostly because he still doesn’t trust her to accept him as he is, or if she does, to be able to handle it long-term. I know he’s just scared, but I wish he had more faith in her to love him as he is. That said, I do think that he’s trying, because he wouldn’t have shown her his prosthetic otherwise, and I do think he did it for the right reasons. But even though it’s a step in the right direction, I can’t help but wish that Yeo-reum had seen him in his wheelchair instead, because that would have been showing his vulnerabilities, while revealing his prosthetic is still, in a way, hiding the full truth of his condition. I still believe that Soo-yeon isn’t truly being honest with Yeo-reum until he’s able to show her who he truly is, with nothing masking his flaws.