Fox Bride Star: Episodes 25-26
The problematic thing about secrets is that keeping them only leads to more secrets. You start with one big secret, but it will quickly balloon into many smaller ones, and before you know it you’re so busy trying to remember what you’re hiding that nothing feels true anymore. It’s easy for our sweet hero to believe that revealing his biggest secret will solve his problems, but what will he do when he’s still keeping others that threaten everything he’s gained?
EPISODE 25: “To belong to each other”
As we see a montage of Soo-yeon’s superhuman deeds, we hear his voice telling us, “It wasn’t to be different from them. It was to be similar to them. I didn’t want to be special. Actually, I wanted to look normal. So I chose. Now it’s time for me to be truthful with you.”
He takes Yeo-reum to his place and takes off his shirt, standing in front of her with nothing hiding his prosthetic. He tells her that this is the real him, and asks if she’ll be okay with him this way. He thinks, “Now it’s time for her to be truthful.”
While Soo-yeon gets dressed again, Yeo-reum gulps down several glasses of water. She looks a little startled when he returns, but she nods that she’s okay. Soo-yeon asks if he scared her, and she just gives him a nervous little smile.
Team Leader Choi goes to see Bartender Jang at the Fox Bride Star restaurant and asks for some noodles. As he eats, he says the noodles are great, but that he thinks they’re not what Bartender Jang really does. Bartender Jang stills as Team Leader Choi addresses him by his title — Doctor Jang.
Bartender Jang says he’s just a restaurant owner now, refusing to answer Team Leader Choi’s questions about Soo-yeon’s prosthetic. Team Leader Choi says that since Soo-yeon hurt someone, he needs to know how dangerous the device is.
Yeo-reum asks Soo-yeon why he said he keeps breaking down because of her. He tells her how his device malfunctions whenever he gets emotional over her, and she asks in alarm how it reads his feelings. Chuckling, he says it can’t.
He explains that there are eighty-six connectors in his arm and leg which are powered by chips, and that he thinks the chips respond to his changes in heartbeat. He asks Yeo-reum if she’s okay, and she says she is in that overly-bright voice. She thanks Soo-yeon for telling her and starts to leave, and the fact that she nearly walks out with Soo-yeon’s cup proves that she’s very much not okay.
After Yeo-reum is gone, Soo-yeon’s nose begins to bleed.
At the airport, a crowd of screaming fans surrounds a van, trying to get a glimpse of their idol oppas. Team Leader Lee goes out with a megaphone to try to control the crowd, and he and one girl seem to recognize each other.
Young-ran tells Seo-koon that the manager in charge of building the employee rest area is complaining that Manager Gong asks him to go for drinks every single day after work. Apparently Manager Gong was almost fired for abusing his power in the past, but Seo-koon spoke up for him.
She does so again now, saying that it was a misunderstanding and he would never do that, but she warns him that the construction manager is complaining. He says they’re old friends and it’s no big deal.
Yeo-reum and Young-joo are both home with the morning off, and Yeo-reum asks Young-joo for advice since she has a boyfriend (ha). She’s wondering how she should act after learning about Soo-yeon’s big secret, but Young-joo just says vaguely that she doesn’t know. Yeo-reum asks what Young-joo talks about with her boyfriend, but Young-joo awkwardly changes the subject.
Soo-yeon sees Ajusshi sitting in the airport looking a little ill. He runs into In-woo in the break room and says that he thinks Ajusshi sick and sleeping at the airport. In-woo denies having a father, and he corrects Soo-yeon for calling him “hyung.”
Soo-yeon continues, worried that Ajusshi isn’t well now that the weather is getting colder. In-woo snaps at him to mind his own business instead of beating up people, but he gets a call from Director Jo before he says any more.
Manager Gong is called into the Internal Affairs office for accusations of abusing his power. He protests his innocence, but he’s told that if there’s proof he abused his power, his whole team could be penalized.
Team Leader Lee brings the young girl from the parking lot to sit in the employee break room, where she overhears Young-ran gossiping that Manager Gong might get fired. Soo-yeon brings the girl a drink and tells Young-ran that she’s Manager Gong’s daughter.
Dae-ki and his team prepare for a very serious assignment — controlling the crowd of screaming fangirls while the K-pop idols make their way through the airport. The guards take a bad beating, but they manage to hold the line.
Eun-seob meets Yeo-reum on her way out of the medical center to walk her to work, and he asks if things are going well with Soo-yeon. She tells him that she learned a secret about someone and asks if it’s okay to act like nothing happened, or if it’s better to have a conversation about it.
Eun-seob knows it’s a secret about Soo-yeon and asks what she wants to do. She admits that she has a lot of questions, but she’s scared to offend Soo-yeon by asking the wrong thing. Eun-seob says that Soo-yeon would have known that was a possibility when he told her, and says that it’s weirder to act like everything is normal when it’s not.
He jokes that of course, he hopes she and Soo-yeon don’t work out, and he listens in as she takes a call from Soo-yeon and cheerfully agrees to meet with him. She hangs up and asks if she sounded natural, and he tells her honestly that she sounded extremely unnatural, heh.
She’s still forcing it a little when she meets Soo-yeon in the office, but he doesn’t call attention to it. He tells her that Manager Gong’s daughter So-hee is in the break room and he’s not sure what to do, but Manager Gong himself arrives just in time to hear raised voices coming from the break room.
So-hee is yelling at Team Leader Lee for making her wait for her dad, but he says calmly that her father should know she’s skipping school to chase after idols. Manager Gong goes in to discipline her, but she snaps that he’s never interested in her anyway, thinking that all he has to do is provide financially for her and his duty as a father is done.
She tells him to focus on his own job instead of worrying about her, yelling how everyone was talking about him abusing his power. Manager Gong follows her when she runs out of the break room and finds the entire office staring at them curiously. Seo-koon sends Yeo-reum after So-hee and pulls Manager Gong aside to talk.
Yeo-reum finds So-hee in the restroom but the girl just hides in a stall. She gets a call from Soo-yeon on the radio saying that he’ll be nearby if she needs help, and she’s touched by his thoughtfulness.
He comes across In-woo and Director Jo while they have a talk, and he recognizes Director Jo as the man who was beating up In-woo the night of his terrible accident. He watches In-woo, who seems nervous and uncomfortable.
Manager Gong insists to Seo-koon that he didn’t have any ulterior motives behind asking the contract manager to have drinks with him. He says that he just wanted to be friends, and that they only went drinking one time, when he even paid. Seo-koon explains that that may have been all Manager Gong wanted, but the contractor felt pressured.
She tells him gently that his authority also carries responsibility, so if the other guy felt pressured, then that’s Manager Gong’s fault. She offers to talk to Internal Affairs on his behalf and put someone else in charge of the construction site.
When Young-joo arrives for her shift, she finds Dae-ki’s parents and grandparents in the hallway looking for him. She takes them into the security office, where he looks kind of horrified as they tell everyone that it’s his birthday, but he left the house without breakfast, so they brought breakfast to him. Only Young-joo notices how uncomfortable Dae-ki looks, ha.
EPISODE 26 RECAP
In-woo complains that Director Jo comes to the airport too often, but Director Jo asks how he’d reach him otherwise. When In-woo says it’s better if they don’t talk, Director Jo takes offense to his tone. In-woo snaps that today is the day Manager Kwon and the chairman meet, the day he’s been working towards for ten years, so they shouldn’t ruin it for each other.
In-woo gives Director Jo an envelope to hand off to the chairman regarding the meeting, but Director Jo wants to talk about Soo-yeon and how well he recovered from his accident. In-woo growls at him not to cause trouble right before their big moment.
Soo-yeon asks In-woo why he was talking with Director Jo, but In-woo says it’s none of his business. Soo-yeon grabs him to sneer that he abandoned him back then, demanding to know why In-woo still associates with Director Jo, and whether he’s the one with the “big picture.”
Tamping down his fury with difficulty, Soo-yeon says that he thought In-woo was being mean because he felt bad for what he did, but now he knows he’s being pushed away because of the same people who broke him back then. In-woo just says that he warned Soo-yeon to go away, so anything that happens now is his own fault.
Manager Gong’s daughter yells at Yeo-reum to leave her alone, but Yeo-reum just tells her about the nickname her father gave her, “bombest of bombs,” because of her tendency to screw things up even when she tries really hard. She says it’s the same with So-hee following her idol oppas — she loves them, but to some people, she looks like a delinquent.
She tells So-hee that her father was only trying to be friends with the contractor, not thinking that it could appear he was using his position as pressure. So-hee finally comes out of the stall to defend her dad, but Yeo-reum says she should say these things directly to him.
So-hee finds her father clutching her backpack, and he tells her gruffly to have lunch with him before she goes back to school. They’re both still grumpy at each other, but Manager Gong takes his daughter’s hand as they go.
Yeo-reum runs into Dae-ki and his family, who take an instant liking to her. They talk up Dae-ki, asking Yeo-reum personal questions like her age and whether she’s married. Dae-ki sneaks glances at Young-joo, who just stands there expressionless. LOL, the pleading look Dae-ki aims at his grandpa is hilarious.
Young-joo pipes up, “She has a boyfriend,” making sure to clarify that it’s not Dae-ki. The whole family looks disappointed, and Dae-ki yelps in relief when their elevator finally arrives. He practically shoves his family inside, then turns to grin sheepishly at Yeo-reum, but Young-joo won’t even look at him.
After Yeo-reum excuses herself, Young-joo comments that Dae-ki’s family sure liked her, and Dae-ki makes the nervous mistake of saying that Yeo-reum makes a great first impression. Oooh, he’s gonna pay for that, and he knows it.
He quickly says that he doesn’t like that sort of girl: “I don’t like puppy faces, I like cat faces…” Young-joo deadpans that she wasn’t wondering, so Dae-ki wisely shuts his trap, and Young-joo barely manages to hide a smirk.
Yeo-reum finds Soo-yeon sitting alone, too preoccupied to even notice when she sits next to him. She tells him how she nearly got set up with Dae-ki until Young-joo saved her by saying she has a boyfriend. Soo-yeon is surprised that Young-joo knows about them when Yeo-reum was so worried people would find out, but Yeo-reum says that she wasn’t sure of her feelings back then.
Soo-yeon asks tentatively how she feels now, and this time, Yeo-reum takes his hand to lead him to an empty hallway. She shoves him against the wall and slams her hand next to his face, and when Soo-yeon asks what she’s doing, she quips that she’s always wanted to do that to a guy she likes, hee.
She asks if it makes him nervous, and Soo-yeon just stammers, “S…sooo, what happens next?” He looks excited, but Yeo-reum has to think about it, so Soo-yeon takes the opportunity to flip Yeo-reum around so that she’s against the wall. He moves in very close, making Yeo-reum remind him that they’re at work, and he quips that she’s the one who started it.
They both laugh, breaking the tension. Yeo-reum apologizes for her reaction last night, explaining that she ran away because she didn’t know what to say. She says that Soo-yeon always seemed so perfect, and he finishes, “… but it turns out, I’m not.”
Yeo-reum admits that she was shocked, then asks if that hurts his feelings, but he says that this is better than their awkwardness earlier today. They smile at each other again, relieved that that’s behind them.
Yeo-reum shocks Soo-yeon by saying, “I love you. I thought about it all night, but no matter how much I think about it, you already said everything that sounds cool. So I decided to say this first. I love you, Lee Soo-yeon.” He just stares at her, speechless, so she says it a third time, then again, obviously hoping for him to say it back.
Instead, he says softly, “I’m disabled. You must already know that, though.” Yeo-reum says she’s disabled too, by her victim mentality. She adds that she has an inferiority complex and is commitment phobic, and she repeats his words back to him, asking if he’s okay with someone like her.
Soo-yeon whispers that he is, if she’s okay with him. He pulls her in and hugs her, hardly able to believe his good luck.
Bartender Jang thinks about his conversation with Team Leader Choi, who’d demanded to know how dangerous Soo-yeon’s device is. First, he’d said that Team Leader Choi needs to know how dangerous the device is to Soo-yeon, and he’d warned that Soo-yeon might not last the month’s grace period that Team Leader Choi gave him.
Soo-yeon’s recent blood tests show that his body isn’t handling the prosthetics well, and that he’s experiencing abnormal levels of inflammation. But when Bartender Jang advises Soo-yeon to get checked out, Soo-yeon sharply insists that he’s perfectly fine.
Dae-ki’s team surprise him with little birthday gifts, stuff they bought at the airport gift shops on short notice. He demands to know who got him the socks covered in little rainbows, laughing that they’re awful and totally not his style, but nobody fesses up.
One hoobae asks him to choose his favorite gift, since they agreed that the person who got it for him won’t have to pay when they take him to dinner. Dae-ki had seen Young-joo run into a store carrying cutesie gifts earlier today, so he guesses that she got him the silly neck pillow/teddybear hoodie, and he chooses that one.
He’s floored when it turns out to be from someone else. Young-joo apologizes for getting him something not to his taste and tells him that he can exchange the socks. Poor Dae-ki — worst birthday ever.
Manager Gong reports to Seo-koon that he explained everything to Internal Affairs. The team invites him out for drinks to cheer him up, but he accuses them of mocking him. He gets up as if to stomp out, but he barks at them to hurry up so they can have dinner and leads them forth with a bit of his old spirit back.
Director Jo brings a car to take Manager Kwon to meet the chairman, but something about him unsettles Manager Kwon, who insists on riding with In-woo. He tells In-woo that he’s second-guessing his decision to meet this chairman person, but they head out anyway.
A man that’s been surreptitiously tailing In-woo all day nods to a pair of henchman to follow them. He goes back inside and runs into Team Leader Choi, whom he addresses as “sunbae” and says that he came to talk to him.
Soo-yeon is quieter than usual at the Passenger Services team dinner, though he enjoys watching Yeo-reum have fun. He gets another nosebleed and rushes out of the noraebang, and while he’s cleaning up, he notices a terrible bruise spreading across his right collarbone. He remembers Bartender Jang’s warnings about wearing his prosthetic too soon after his arm was damaged, and how he could end up unable to ever wear his prosthetics again.
On the walk home, Yeo-reum snuggles up to Soo-yeon, hugging his right arm comfortably. She asks if they should plan a trip together for Christmas, and even though he’s still planning on this only lasting a month, Soo-yeon goes along with it. Yeo-reum comments that Soo-yeon seems tired, but he blames it on the team dinner going late.
Yeo-reum tells him to go home and rest, but instead, he takes a good, long look at her then gives her a hug. He’s reluctant to let go, and they stay that way for a long time. Bartender Jang sees them there, but he doesn’t approach.
Instead, he visits Yeo-reum at her apartment and introduces himself as Soo-yeon’s guardian and says he came to ask her a favor. Soo-yeon sits in his apartment without his prosthetic on, examining the bruising that’s covering his arm and spreading to his body with alarm.
At the airport, both tower operators and passengers begin to worry about a sudden fog that’s rolling in. As Yeo-reum listens to Bartender Jang, a worried expression on her face, she thinks, “In a flash, just like that, we were approaching low visibility and couldn’t see anything ahead.”
I still have so many questions about Soo-yeon, such as why he wears such advanced prosthetics (I’m guessing it’s because current accepted technology wasn’t capable of helping him, but we don’t know that for sure), how he was chosen by Bartender Jang in the first place to be the one to receive them, and how Yeo-reum’s father fits into all this. I feel like Yeo-reum’s dad is dead because she speaks about him in the past tense, but we know almost nothing about him, and at this point in the story it’s hard to know if that’s because it’s still a secret, or simply not relevant.
I believe that Bartender Jang is the key to everything, since he’s the doctor who obviously invented and maintains Soo-yeon’s prosthetics. But why doesn’t he patent and manufacture them, and why has he apparently given up medicine to run Yeo-reum’s dad’s restaurant? The part that really worries me is that he’s using Soo-yeon as a guinea pig, while at the same time admonishing him every time he uses his prosthetics for anything other than normal living… if he didn’t want anyone who might wear them to have superhuman strength, then why did he make them capable of that in the first place? There’s a lot more to the story here, I’m sure of it.
At first I was disappointed with Yeo-reum for basically running out on Soo-yeon after he revealed his big secret, but I should have trusted her like I’ve been admonishing Soo-yeon to trust her. It’s so sweet that her biggest fear after learning Soo-yeon’s secret wasn’t about whether she can handle his disability, but fear that she’d offend him by saying the wrong thing. Of course she flubbed the whole thing by being awkward, because that’s what Yeo-reum does, but that’s why Soo-yeon is so good for her — he’s willing to wait for her to come to terms with things in her own time, and he trusts her enough to come back when she’s ready to talk.
I’ve said before that one of my favorite things about Soo-yeon and Yeo-reum as a couple is that, once they work out how they feel about something, they’re very open and honest with each other about it. Their conversation about Soo-yeon’s secret in this episode was such a great example — Yeo-reum just needed some time to work out her feelings about Soo-yeon’s disability, but then she was the one to go to him to initiate a talk. They admitted it’s a strange situation and apologized for their kneejerk reactions, told each other their true feelings, and worked it out. After seeing so many dramas where characters continue to not talk, well after it makes logical sense to just have a discussion about whatever-it-is, it’s nice to see a show that allows its characters to have that initial reaction, but then has them address it like normal people.