When the Devil Calls Your Name: Episode 8
Until now, our grouchy musician has been assuming he holds all the cards when it comes to guiding his new muse to fame and glory. Unfortunately for him, his muse has a mind of her own, and she’s not about to be told what to do when it comes to her own music. He’s also remembering more and more of the past and how he and his muse are connected, and it’s making it a lot more difficult to plan her downfall when he realizes that it wouldn’t be the first time for either of them.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
A young Chung-ryul sings his signature love song at a beach concert, and afterward, Dong-chun interrupts an autograph session to accuse Chung-ryul of stealing his song. Chung-ryul retorts that Dong-chun needs him because Liver and Gallbladder’s success isn’t due to his music, but Chung-ryul’s voice and looks.
In the present, Chung-ryul confronts Ha Rib, saying that he’s seemed very familiar since they met. He recognizes the hatred in Ha Rib’s eyes, and he asks how he’s connected to Seo Dong-chun. Ha Rib whispers that he’s Dong-chun’s son, and Chung-ryul falls for it, immediately switching to a more jovial, fatherly attitude.
Yi-kyung is in a press conference to apologize for canceling her busking showcase, but the reporters only want to know all the dirty details of her private life. They fire questions too quickly for her to answer, so Seo-young stops them. Yi-kyung continues her apology, explaining that she was attacked.
She confirms her past, and what happened between her and her stepfather. One reporter gets an “anonymous” tip (from Ra-in, who’s watching the press conference at the Soul Entertainment office) and asks if Yi-kyung used to be Ha Rib’s housekeeper.
Seo-young interjects again, saying that Yi-kyung was signed because of her musical talent. The reporters bring the conversation back to Yi-kyung’s assault conviction and whether Ha Rib was aware of it, asking Yi-kyung if she deserves to be a singer.
Gulping hard, she manages to say, “Have you ever lain in a pool of your own blood? Have you ever broken your ribs, twice? If I didn’t do something, I would have died. Do you still think I shouldn’t have done anything?”
She asks the reporters to stop hurting her family, but the one reporter says that people think she’ll be a bad influence to teenagers. He says that Ha Rib wouldn’t risk his career unless he has feelings for Yi-kyung, but before Yi-kyung can think of a reply, Ha Rib enters the room.
“I do have feelings for her,” he says clearly. He announces that he, too, was a victim of domestic violence by his father, so when he was eighteen he hit back. He says he was never punished and his music is now famous, and he vows that if his music is negatively influencing teenagers, he’ll retire right now.
He asks the reporters not to conflate assailant and victim, and says that Yi-kyung’s abuser is the one who ruined her future. He continues that he plans to support her dream, which explains the personal feelings he has for her.
Yi-kyung takes over when the reporter asks about Ha Rib making Yi-kyung his muse, saying that she wants to succeed on her own merits. Ha Rib nearly snarls, worried she’s about to undo the ground he’s just gained, but he suddenly sees Tae-kang appear in the room, gloat that Yi-kyung isn’t going to do whatever Ha Rib tells her, then disappear again.
Thinking again that he needs to isolate Yi-kyung and make her dependent on him, Ha Rib tries to tell the reporters how he’ll support her. She interrupts to say that she’s not trying to be a star or get rich, so Ha Rib turns off her microphone, but she just raises her voice to finish her statement.
Tae-kang reappears and tells Ha Rib, “The main point is whether she’ll help you have everything your way. As you know, humans have something called free will.” He shoots Ha Rib a smug grin, then he’s gone again.
After the press conference, Ha Rib tells Yi-kyung that she won’t succeed in the music industry by herself. Yi-kyung says gratefully that he’s helped her enough, and Ha Rib asks why she’s so determined to take the hard road.
Chung-ryul enters the room, announcing to Yi-kyung and Seo-young that Ha Rib is Seo Dong-chun’s son. Luka, who’s been following the press conference from the Soul Entertainment office, also arrives and he asks Ha Rib if it’s true, and where Seo Dong-chun is now. Ha Rib is forced to go along with his own lie… which makes him regret telling the world that his father used to beat him with a guitar.
Luka is smarter than he looks, pointing out that Ha Rib just said he only recently learned that Seo Dong-chun is his father. Everyone starts talking at once — Ha Rib says he met his father a few times when he was young, Chung-ryul claims that Dong-chun had a nasty temper, and Seo-young says he seemed nice when she met him. Ha Rib finds himself the reluctant center of a group hug, hee.
He shoves everyone away and pulls Yi-kyung out to talk privately. She asks why he didn’t tell her about this, knowing she’s looking for Seo Dong-chun, and if this is why he’s being nice to her. Ha Rib just says he knew nothing about her and that he doesn’t know where Dong-chun is, and orders her to stop asking about him.
He thinks that in truth, he did have a child he didn’t know about. In 2009, the mother had contacted him because their child was sick and needed an expensive surgery. Ha Rib thinks to himself, “If only I’d never known, that would’ve been better. If so, my life and yours wouldn’t have entwined like this.”
Ha Rib takes Yi-kyung to a penthouse restaurant to show her how everything looks great from the top, saying that nobody who’s been there wants to go back down even if it means selling their soul. He gives Yi-kyung what he says is another contract, one just between the two of them, and it turns out to be a blank check.
Yi-kyung is adorably impressed, and she teases Ha Rib for looking like a loan shark. But she gives back the check and says he should treat her like any other rookie. Recalling Tae-kang saying that Yi-kyung won’t just obey his commands, Ha Rib says that Yi-kyung needs a partner. She replies that having a Daddy Long-legs would be nice, but she just wants to earn what she deserves.
She takes her original contract to the coffee shop and celebrates with Dong-hee over her modest signing bonus, which feels like a fortune to her. In voiceover, Ha Rib says that everyone wants money, but to those who really need it, it can slowly push them to death.
We go back to the day Dong-chun met Seo-young ten years ago, when she’d been the assistant to the CEO of Soul Entertainment. She’d told him that the CEO asked her to listen to his demo, and that it was a beautiful song but it wouldn’t sell. Dong-chun had thanked her, hiding his disappointment, but on his way out he’d overheard the CEO complaining that at his age, Dong-chun was either relentless or stupid.
Ha Rib still has that demo CD, and he finally gets rid of it by putting it through a shredder. At the same time, Luka looks through a scrapbook filled with articles about Seo Dong-chun and asks a photo, “What kind of person are you?”
Seo-young calls Tae-kang to invite him to dinner, but he’s already standing outside her office waiting for her. It starts to pour as they walk, and although Tae-kang wasn’t carrying an umbrella before, he’s suddenly holding one over their heads… having magically swiped it from a passerby, lol. He must not have seen many dramas because he holds the umbrella squarely over his own head to keep his suit from getting wet, but this just makes Seo-young snuggle closer.
Over drinks, Seo-young tells Tae-kang Ha Rib’s story about being Seo Dong-chun’s son (his eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline, hee). She realizes to her embarrassment that she’s slipped into banmal, but Tae-kang tells her it’s fine. He asks if they’ve ever been to this restaurant, meaning Seo-young and the real Tae-kang, and he seems pleased when she says they haven’t.
Yi-kyung and Dong-hee get cheerfully drunk together, annoying Manager Gong. Yi-kyung walks Dong-hee home and tries to come in, but Dong-hee literally shoves her out the door and slams it in her face. She says it’s because she’s tired, but it’s really because of the men’s shoes in the entryway.
She looks scared when she finds the table set with wine and candles, and she stiffens up when her estranged husband comes out and says he misses her since she moved. She pushes him away when he tries to hug her, and his expression changes from loving to frightening in an instant.
Seo-young and Tae-kang ends up back at Seo-young’s place, where she tells her little dog, Puppy, to stop barking at “Daddy.” She goes to the kitchen for coffee, and Tae-kang gives Puppy his best red-eyed demon glare and points a fiery finger at it. Puppy isn’t impressed, and even bites Tae-kang’s finger when he’s distracted by Seo-young.
Tae-kang lets Seo-young bandage his finger, and she notes that he’s become such a good actor that he seems like a different person. He starts to say something, but Seo-young plants a kiss on him, and he feels his heart start to pound.
Later he tells Manager Kang about the kiss making him dizzy, and Manager Kang beams and says that’s what happens when you get excited. Tae-kang decides to try an experiment, and without warning, he kisses Manager Kang, then declares that he feels nothing.
Ha Rib hires an investigator he’s used in the past to look for someone, asking him to try again. The investigator also found Yi-kyung’s court-appointed lawyer from ten years ago, who said that she could have gotten away with a self-defense plea, but a concurrent theft charge got in the way.
Mention of theft reminds Ha Rib of the day he took Yi-kyung to play at a wedding with him. Chung-ryul’s son had been getting married at the same venue, and he’d insisted on introducing Ha Rib around. Annoyed at being looked down on by Chung-ryul, Dong-chun had given his entire pay for the day as a wedding gift and left, ignoring Yi-kyung’s excitement at meeting the other half of Liver and Gallbladder.
They’d hung around to eat, but all Dong-chun had been able to think about was the expensive, life-saving surgery his child needed. On their way out, Yi-kyung had tripped and collided with someone carrying a bag full of cash wedding gifts.
Dong-chun had slipped away, taking with him as much cash as he’d been able to stuff in his guitar case and leaving Yi-kyung to take the blame for stealing the money. In the present, Ha Rib only remembers all of this when the investigator mentions it.
He heads to the studio, where Yi-kyung is recording her song. He thinks to himself how one selfish decision of his had a major impact on her life. Seo-young decides to record another song of Yi-kyung’s, and Ha Rib recognizes the opening lyrics from the song he sang to Yi-kyung in the rain ten years ago. She’d finished the song at some point, and it’s incredible.
Ha Rib stops the music and asks Yi-kyung angrily, “How is it that you’re unlucky in everything you do?” Seo-young assumes he’s talking about the song and protests that she likes it, but Ha Rib continues, “You’re starting to bring bad luck to me as well.”
He leaves, recalling the investigator telling him that Yi-kyung refused to testify against the real thief, but she was released with a warning because she was a minor and it was a first offense. But it had led to a brutal beating at the hands of her stepfather, and this time she’d fought back. Because she had a prior record, Yi-kyung was arrested for attempted murder.
Luka finds Ha Rib in Yi-kyung’s rooftop garden and tells him he was too hard on Yi-kyung. He says he was raised by a single mother and can relate to how hard Yi-kyung’s life is, but Ha Rib snaps that he’s too young to know anything about life. He storms off, as Tae-kang watches them from a nearby rooftop.
Manager Kang can hardly contain his excitement as he shops for a dress for a little girl, then literally skips on the way to see his adorable daughter, Woo-ram. Woo-ram tells her daddy about her day, then they go toy shopping and to play at an amusement park.
When he arrives home, Manager Kang’s wife has filed for divorce. She screams that he’s been in denial about their daughter’s death for seven years, but Manager Kang refuses to admit that Woo-ram is gone. He shuts himself in Woo-ram’s bedroom, asking her picture through his sobs why her mother keeps saying she’s dead.
A year ago, Manager Kang had offered his soul to CEO Song (working for the demon) for the chance to see Woo-ram again. CEO Song had told him that he can’t bring back the dead, but he’d been able to grant Manager Kang’s wish to spend one day a month with his daughter. Nobody else can see Woo-ram, but for one day a month she’s as real to Manager Kang as when she was alive.
Yi-kyung uses her advance to hire a caregiver and a physical therapist for her stepfather, and she tells her mother not to even bother arguing. She gives some money to Kyung-soo, too, knowing that he’s saving to get married, and he reluctantly accepts it. He buys his girlfriend a purse, but when she sees it, she guesses the money is from Yi-kyung and doesn’t seem very impressed.
The next time they’re in the recording studio, Ha Rib and Seo-young discuss which song written by Ha Rib is most likely to be a chart-topper. Yi-kyung reminds Ha Rib that he promised to respect her story, and she says that these songs aren’t her. Ha Rib just barks that she should be thanking him.
In the break room, Tae-kang pops up to gloat that Ha Rib’s “birdcage” plan isn’t going so well. Ha Rib accuses Tae-kang of knowing the truth all along about Yi-kyung’s theft charges and asks if he’s having fun toying with the humans, but Tae-kang just asks what Ha Rib will do if Yi-kyung does turn out to be a grade one soul.
He admits that she seems pretty close to being one, but he wonders out loud if she could remain a grade one soul if she met the person who ruined her life, and discovered that he’s both Seo Dong-chun And Ha Rib. Seething, Ha Rib decides it’s time to do something inhumane.
We’re back in 2009 as Dong-chun visits the hospital. On one door, the name of a patient catches his eye — Ye Sung-ho, the same uncommon surname as his ex, Ye Sun-ah. He’d stared at the sick little boy until a nurse made him leave, then the boy had opened his eyes and they’d made eye contact, just once.
Dong-chun had barely made it to the hallway before he started sobbing. He’d given the money to Sun-ah, even admitting that he stole it. She’d been upset that he wasn’t curious about how sick their child was or what surgery he needed. Dong-chun just tells her never to call him again, so Sun-ah says she’ll tell the boy that his father is dead.
When CEO Song (acting as the demon’s representative) had offered to buy his soul, Dong-chun had asked why. CEO Song had said that a heart surgeon was forced off a plane earlier that day due to the airline double-booking. The doctor was meant to perform an emergency operation the following morning, but instead, another surgeon would do the surgery and the young patient would die.
Dong-chun had realized that CEO Song was talking about his son, as he continued that they were running out of time to arrange for a plane to bring the surgeon to Seoul (aha, this explains why their negotiation took place in an airplane). In voiceover, Ha Rib thinks that if he’d never known about his son, he never would have stolen that money or signed away his soul.
In the present, Ha Rib tells Tae-kang that he’ll get him his grade one soul when he sees proof that his son is alive. Tae-kang asks why he’s so obsessed when he didn’t even remember any of this for the last ten years, but he claims that he’s already proven to Ha Rib that his first wish came true.
Seo-young interrupts, saying they have a problem, and a minute later Ha Rib storms into her office. He grabs Luka and orders him to take down the recording of Yi-kyung’s song that he just uploaded, but Luka says he’s doing what he thinks is right.
Tae-kang’s voice intones: “Humans build relationships, and among all the complicated relationships, the most special of them all is what humans call a parent and child relationship. Every relationship is unique in its own way. Some people have mixed emotions of love and resentment… which can result in so many different relationships. The parent and child form a relationship, which then creates so many unpredictable events.”
As Tae-kang walks outside, a voice offers him a fishcake — it’s Manager Gong in his fishcake stand, right outside the Soul Entertainment building. Tae-kang glares at him and thinks, “Yes… Father.”
Wow, so much to unpack in this episode. I think we’ve finally unraveled at least two major mysteries — whether Luka is Seo Dong-chun’s son and whether Manager Gong is human or not. I hesitate to call him “God” because I don’t think the show is following a strictly Biblical structure of heavenly beings, but Tae-kang calling Manager Gong “Father” seems to at least confirm that Manager Gong is the fatherly figure that the demon previously complained left to go live with humans. We still don’t know why, or why he’s choosing to stay so close to Yi-kyung… unless it’s because she is a grade one soul, maybe even the only grade one soul in existance.
It also seems pretty clear, or at least the show wants us to believe at this point, that Luka is Dong-chun’s estranged son. Luka himself already suspects it, and he’s (probably) inherited Dong-chun’s musical talent. If it does turn out that Luka and Ha Rib are father and son, things are going to get a lot stickier once Luka’s disillusionment at learning his father’s true nature and Ha Rib’s truth that his primary reason for selling his soul was to save his son’s life come to light.
Ha Rib still isn’t a very sympathetic character to me, but he’s had a much more effed up life as Seo Dong-chun than it seemed on the surface. Now it makes sense why his past connection to Yi-kyung and that fact that he somehow forgot all about her hit him so hard. He didn’t just know her, he’s directly responsible for her hardships the past ten years by setting off the chain of events that ended up with Yi-kyung almost killing her stepfather. None of it was done maliciously, but that almost makes it worse. Ha Rib is realizing that his actions had consequences for someone other than himself, and that those consequences were devastating, while he just went living his life as if nothing happened.
The more we learn of his past, the more I understand why Ha Rib was willing to sell his soul. He had no friends, no love, and his child didn’t even know he existed and was going to die. He wasn’t just an unsuccessful musician, he’d failed at life in almost every way possible. But he had one positive quality going for him — he’d been willing to sell his soul to save a child he didn’t even know. I don’t even blame him for his other wishes, because being offered the chance to start his life and career over with a guarantee of success was a no-brainer when it cost him no more than he’d already paid. He may not be the nicest person, before or after his contract with the demon, but I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t make the same decisions if I were in his shoes.
It’s a given that Ha Rib would start to feel guilty for trying to sell Yi-kyung’s soul in place of his own, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s not for the typical drama reasons I anticipated. Generally a character will start to fall in love with the one they’ve wronged, which will prompt their regret for the way they’ve treated the object of their affections. But I’m impressed that the reason for Ha Rib’s guilt isn’t because he’s attracted to Yi-kyung, but because of their shared past, and because she’s someone he used to mentor and shared a connection with.
He’s realizing that actions on his part that he assumed were minor or affected only him, actually ruined Yi-kyung’s life and caused her to give up her dream. Now he’s offering her dream to her again, but only so that he can yank it away again and pressure her to sell her soul, and as his memories of her return, it’s not sitting very well. I wasn’t surprised that Ha Rib lashed out at Yi-kyung for causing him bad luck, because that’s pretty consistent with his personality — look for someone else to blame. If there’s one lesson Ha Rib needs to learn from the whole experience, it’s to take responsibility for his own actions, even when the consequences are unintentional.
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