Itaewon Class: Episode 7
Though merely a hole in the wall pub, Danbam makes a noteworthy impact with its first move against the giant Jang Ga. For our hero Sae-ro-yi, Danbam is a small but mighty creation of his own making, with much more brewing under the surface. He uses the humble appearance to his advantage and lets his enemies underestimate him while he gears up the next move in his revenge. As Sae-ro-yi carries on his revenge mission, his personal life begins to creep into Danbam, and he finds himself sharing his past with those who have joined his side.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
President Jang and Sae-ro-yi come face to face in Danbam, and the air is full of tension as they greet each other. President Jang takes a seat with Soo-ah and Geun-won, and Yi-seo openly recognizes President Jang, complimenting his reputation in the food business. She takes his order — their best stew and stir-fry — and relays it to Sae-ro-yi.
The Danbam team gathers to hear the order, and Seung-kwon nudges Geun-soo to share what he knows about his father’s taste. Geun-soo says that his father likes strong flavors, and Sae-ro-yi decides on the mung bean sprout pork belly stir-fry and soondubu. Yi-seo offers to inform the kitchen about the added flavor, but Sae-ro-yi stops her. He tells the team that he doesn’t want to show any flaws today and requests that they conduct business as usual.
Following orders, Geun-soo serves the appetizers to his father’s table as usual. Geun-won asks what his brother is doing at Danbam, and President Jang says that Geun-soo is in the wrong place. Geun-soo asks if he has a place in Jang Ga, and President Jang suggests that they discuss the topic later. Resuming in server mode, Geun-soo wishes them an enjoyable meal and bows to the customers.
In the kitchen, Sae-ro-yi spaces out and doesn’t notice the boiling water until Hyun-yi tells him. When Sae-ro-yi serves the two dishes to President Jang, he’s asked about his large investment in Jang Ga. President Jang presumes that Sae-ro-yi invested all of his father’s life insurance money when Jang Ga’s stocks plummeted 8 years ago, and he asks why.
Sae-ro-yi sensibly responds that he believed in Jang Ga to maintain their brand and quality products despite their bruised image as a result of Geun-won’s scandal. He considered Jang Ga to be a worthwhile investment in the long term.
President Jang remains skeptical of Sae-ro-yi’s intentions and then asks about his investment this morning. Geun-won looks shocked that Sae-ro-yi owns this much money. Sae-ro-yi insists that the reasons for his investment are the same as 8 years ago, but President Jang doesn’t believe him and calls him out on his lousy lies.
After President Jang finishes two dishes, he tells Sae-ro-yi that he had big expectations of Danbam, but now that he’s tasted the food, he hardly considers Danbam a worthy competitor. President Jang says that their non-competitive relationship is a relief, for the sake of Sae-ro-yi and as a favor to Sae-ro-yi’s father. He sternly advises Sae-ro-yi to give up and take it easy, and he gets up to leave.
Sae-ro-yi hardens at the mention of his father and tells President Jang that giving up is impossible, since he’s stubborn, rash, and has never given up in life. Yi-seo watches intently as Sae-ro-yi asserts, “Although it may be slow, I am taking the next steps, and you are my end goal.” Geun-won tries to belittle him, but Sae-ro-yi yells at him to shut up, and Geun-won obediently retreats.
Sae-ro-yi continues, “As a favor to my dad? You’ve got to be kidding me. The only thing you can do for my father is to get on your knees and receive fair punishment, and I’m going to make it happen.” President Jang sighs and approaches Sae-ro-yi to deride his bluff and foolishness as a mere growl. President Jang warns him that tigers don’t growl — they just shred you to pieces. He promises to show Sae-ro-yi how it’s done and walks out, followed by Geun-won and Soo-ah.
Yi-seo finds Sae-ro-yi on the rooftop looking up a video of a tiger growling, and she laughs. Sae-ro-yi accuses the old man of knowing nothing about tigers and says that he isn’t afraid President Jang. Yi-seo thinks that he should have suppressed his anger, but Sae-ro-yi is fine with President Jang viewing him as a non-threating child. It was a tactic to make President Jang underestimate him.
Sae-ro-yi messages his Ho-jin, his old classmate and present-day investment manager, and updates him about President Jang’s visit. He asks to meet up and tells Yi-seo that good defense is important in a fight. He adds, “Defense is used to stab [your enemy] in the back.”
Ho-jin agrees to meet up with Sae-ro-yi, and we see him in his fancy apartment. He thinks back to when he visited Sae-ro-yi in jail. He filled out the form for his visit and hesitated when completing the “relationship” field.
In the visiting room, Ho-jin asked why Sae-ro-yi punched Geun-won, and Sae-ro-yi responded that it was uncomfortable to watch and that Ho-jin doesn’t need to be too grateful. Ho-jin retorts that he was bearing the abuse and preparing for his own fight. He blamed Sae-ro-yi’s rash personality for his imprisonment.
Sae-ro-yi noted Ho-jin’s sharp remarks and explained that every person has different things that they’re able to tolerate. Then, Ho-jin shared that he got accepted to Hankuk University’s Business School, a product of him persevering through three years of hell in high school. Sae-ro-yi considered that an opportunity to forget his past, but Ho-jin said that forgetting one’s past is a luxury for people who haven’t experienced the abuse he suffered.
Ho-jin admitted that he still woke up from nightmares of Geun-won and would frequently find himself on the rooftop at night, contemplating suicide. He said, “Those three years were too long, and the only way I could bear the hell was thinking about revenge.”
Then, Ho-jin shared that his dream is to become a fund manager. Finally shedding his prickly façade, he thanked Sae-ro-yi for standing up for him. Sae-ro-yi shared that his dream upon release is to open up a pub that will take down Jang Ga. Ho-jin said that it would be hard to take down Jang Ga unless Sae-ro-yi had a talented fund manager on his side, and Sae-ro-yi takes the offer.
Sae-ro-yi put his fist against the glass and asked Ho-jin if he wants to be on his side. Ho-jin fist pumped against the glass and said that this was the reason he came to visit. Flashing back to the visitation form, we see that Ho-jin filled out his relationship with Sae-ro-yi as “friend.”
Back in the present, Sae-ro-yi meets Ho-jin at his apartment and hands him a beer. Ho-jin calls the 1.9 billion Won investment impulsive and says they could have waited a year for 500 million Won increase. Sae-ro-yi asks why Ho-jin didn’t stop him, and Ho-jin returns the question: Why did Sae-ro-yi trust him, a mere student at the time, with his father’s life insurance money?
Sae-ro-yi says that he doesn’t know much about stocks, but he knew enough about Ho-jin to trust him. Seeing that Ho-jin suffered through hell in high school and still got accepted to the best university, Sae-ro-yi knew that Ho-jin was tenacious. Ho-jin takes a drink and says that Sae-ro-yi makes him do all kinds of things. He says that he still gets goosebumps thinking about that meeting with Min-jung.
Flashback to Sae-ro-yi and Ho-jin’s meeting with Min-jung, where they came clean about Ho-jin approaching Min-jung with ulterior motives. While Min-jung was close colleague to Sae-ro-yi’s father, she said that she doesn’t act on compassion. Sae-ro-yi pointed out that Min-jung’s stocks doubled in value under Ho-jin’s management. Knowing Min-jung interest in Jang Ga’s prosperity, Sae-ro-yi offered to take her side in case there was ever a shareholders’ meeting.
Min-jung acknowledged Ho-jin’s skills as a fund manager, but she questioned Sae-ro-yi’s contributions. She lauded his pub establishment but noted that his pub wouldn’t be worth a fraction of Jang Ga. Sae-ro-yi asked if his contribution would be significant if he held 1% of shares, and Min-jung said that he would need 2 billion Won to hold that 1%, which she doubted a newbie like him would be able to get his hands on. Even then, she said that the 1% wouldn’t be much help.
Sae-ro-yi confidently responded that if he achieved that 1%, he would disprove her assessment of him as a newbie, and his 1% would surely help her one day. Then, he added that he isn’t desperate for her alliance, and Ho-jin nervously tried to stop Sae-ro-yi’s brazen approach. Min-jung laughed at Sae-ro-yi and commented on how he spoke as if he had already achieved these feats.
Min-jung asked Sae-ro-yi what he wants, and he said that he wants Min-jung to inherit Jang Ga. He implied that Geun-won, the heir apparent, isn’t fit to lead Jang Ga to prosperity. Sae-ro-yi promised to support Min-jung when they select Jang Ga’s new representative.
After some thought, Min-jung pointed out that unlike Sae-ro-yi, President Jang barely considers Sae-ro-yi as an enemy. She called him on his bluff, saying that his premature promises aren’t enough to move her pacifism. Sae-ro-yi let that rejection sink in and stood up to leave, but Min-jung wasn’t done.
She decided to uphold her expectations, based on the fact that Sae-ro-yi is Manager Park’s son. Min-jung said that she trusts President Jang’s intuition more that Sae-ro-yi’s words or her own discernment. She listed the food industry’s top companies after Jang Ga and said that these are places that President Jang eats at. Though achieving the 1% of shares may be significant, she isn’t moved by numbers. She challenged Sae-ro-yi to bring President Jang into his hole-in-the wall pub. If President Jang is bothered enough by Danbam, then Min-jung would consider him worth her bets.
When President Jang visited Danbam, it was much more than a reunion. The moment he step foot in Danbam, Sae-ro-yi could see President Jang’s back, ready to be stabbed.
After President Jang’s visit, Sae-ro-yi and Ho-jin meet with Min-jung, who acknowledges Sae-ro-yi’s move to lure in President Jang to Danbam with his sudden investment. Sae-ro-yi finds Min-jung’s withdrawal from other stocks and full investment in Jang Ga as a sign that she made up her mind, and Min-jung responds that he’s obnoxious. Ho-jin cracks a smile and agrees, and Min-jung says that it could also be his charm.
Min-jung agrees to the alliance and the shared mission to take down President Jang and Geun-won. She outstretches her hand to her new partner, and Sae-ro-yi seals the deal with a handshake.
President Jang summons Min-jung to his home for a game of baduk, and he shares his concerns about Jang Ga after he passes, especially since he doesn’t trust Geun-won. Min-jung carefully suggests that President Jang consider someone outside his lineage. She notes that it’s a trend nowadays and says that many others at Jang Ga who are better than Geun-won.
As President Jang puts down a baduk stone, he says that Min-jung is the person for the job. A tense silence ensues until President Jang puts down the stone in defeat. As Min-jung heads out, President Jang says that he only trusts Min-jung, and Min-jung reciprocates this. After she leaves, Secretary Kim enters, and President Jang pulls out the photos of Min-jung and Sae-ro-yi shaking hands. Ah! Of course he knows! Secretary Kim shares that it didn’t seem like their first encounter, and President Jang accepts this bitter reality.
Danbam closes for the night, and Yi-seo watches Sae-ro-yi as she analyzes his relationship with Jang Ga. She notes that although Sae-ro-yi seems like a pushover that lives as he pleases, he’s following a plan devised eight years ago. Yi-seo seems annoyed that she doesn’t know this part of Sae-ro-yi’s life.
Sae-ro-yi answers a call from Ho-jin and tells Yi-seo that he’s heading out. She asks to join him and asks where he’s going, but he doesn’t share. He tells Yi-seo and Geun-soo to close the shop after they wrap up, and dejected Yi-seo goes back to the counter to finish business.
Geun-soo recalls Yi-seo hinting at Sae-ro-yi’s history with Geun-won, and he asks Yi-seo to share what she knows. Yi-seo claims that she doesn’t know anything, but Geun-soo can tell that she knows something and insists that she divulge the information. Yi-seo angrily tells him to back off and stop asking her for his own family’s business, and she storms off.
As Sae-ro-yi reviews the list of President Jang’s shareholders, Ho-jin worries that they pounced prematurely, since they’re still 12% behind. Ho-jin notes that President Jang is highly respected within Jang Ga, so gaining that 12% will prove difficult, but Sae-ro-yi says that they have a card to play. Ho-jin seems doubtful that their card — a reluctant police officer — will have an effect, but Sae-ro-yi is determined to keep trying.
At Jang Ga HQ, President Jang scolds Geun-won for the squandered money on “The Best Pub” show. Geun-won explains that he spent the money to block Danbam from participating and was worried that Jang Ga would lose. President Jang insults Geun-won for his lack of talent and disposition, and he points out that his actions implied that Jang Ga was inferior to Danbam. He irately dismisses Geun-won and seems further convinced that Geun-won isn’t the right heir.
As Geun-won leaves his father’s office, he passes by Geun-soo in the hallway. He defensively asks what Geun-soo is doing at Jang Ga, and Geun-soo states that their father summoned him. Geun-won asks why, and Geun-soo says that he must be insecure. Provoked by those words, Geun-won slaps him, and Geun-soo says it’s been a while since he’s been hit by his brother. Geun-won seems bothered that Geun-soo calls him “hyung.”
Geun-soo realizes that all those beatings when he was younger were rooted in Geun-won’s insecurity, and Geun-won angrily grabs his brother. Unbothered by his brother’s anger, Geun-soo tells him to shake off his concern because he’s not interested in taking his spot. He pulls off from Geun-won and enters his father’s office.
When President Jang sees Geun-soo, he asks what happened to his face, and Geun-soo says that the question is familiar from his youth. President Jang puts brochure on the table and suggests that Geun-soo study abroad and visit his mother, but Geun-soo is here with other business. He asks his father to explain their relationship to Sae-ro-yi and admits that he was afraid to ask Sae-ro-yi because he knew that their family were the bad guys.
President Jang assures his son that he’s not at fault and reminds Geun-soo of his favorite idiom — “survival of the fittest.” He says that good and bad are decided by the winner, and he has always won. President Jang adds that fish in a bowl can only grow as big as a hand while fish in the wild can grow as big as two meters. He’s disappointed that his son would go out into the world and decide to work at a small pub.
President Jang orders him to quit working at the pub, but Geun-soo yells him to stop right there. Angry tears brimming his eyes, Geun-soo firmly tells his father that he won’t live following his father’s orders. Before he leaves, Geun-soo questions his father’s judgment, “Are you sure that Danbam is the small fish? Ro-yi hyung is stronger than you think.” He bows respectfully before leaving his father.
Soo-ah stops at a crosswalk and sees the bus stop where Sae-ro-yi vowed to save her from her limbo between him and Jang Ga. She calls him just as he crosses the street in front of her, and she honks to get his attention.
As Soo-ah and Sae-ro-yi walk together, they both ask each other what they’ve been up to, and neither of them share anything new. Soo-ah asks how Sae-ro-yi saved up so much money, and Sae-ro-yi says that it’s a secret. She wonders if he’s keeping this from her because she’s a Jang Ga person, but he explains that he doesn’t want to pull her into his fight against President Jang.
Soo-ah admits that she’s confused by her allegiances, unclear of where she stands between Jang Ga and Sae-ro-yi. As a self-proclaimed Jang Ga person, she’s doing her best for the company, but she also found joy in Sae-ro-yi’s promise to release her from Jang Ga. She wishes that he would stop but would find herself rooting for him. She laughs off her dual personality thoughts and continues walking.
Sae-ro-yi walks alongside her and shares why he came to like her. He reminds her of the day that she was late to her college interview and insisted on running the entire distance on her own without help. He watched her enter the college building and fell for her confidence, the way that she seemed to take full responsibility of herself. He tells her not to falter and assures her, “You just need to be on your side.” Swoooon. Soo-ah takes comfort in those words.
At Danbam, an English-speaking couple enters, and Seung-kwon immediately hides behind the glass (hehe). They just want to grab drinks and ask where they should sit, and Sae-ro-yi immediately looks to Tony to converse with the customers. Tony looks at them blankly and tells Sae-ro-yi that he can’t speak English.
The Danbam team sans Yi-seo and Geun-soo sit down together to confront Tony about his language skills. He never claimed to speak English — they just assumed that he could. Sae-ro-yi asks where he lived before coming to Korea a year ago, and Tony says that he’s from Guinea, so he speaks fluent French. Hyun-yi worries that if Yi-seo finds out, Tony will get fired.
Yi-seo and Geun-soo sit overlooking the river, and Geun-soo asks if she likes Sae-ro-yi, seeing that she gave up college to work at the pub. She asks how he’ll respond if she confirms that she likes him and asks if he cares. Yi-seo knows that Geun-soo likes her and admits that she approached him knowing that he came from a wealthy family because she thought the connection would help her. Then, she soon realized that he was completely unselfish when it came to pursuing her or his inheritance.
Geun-soo denies his crush, but Yi-seo isn’t convinced. She admits that she likes Sae-ro-yi, but she’s not super earnest about her crush. She finds human emotions shallow, since they sway in different situations. Then, she tells Geun-soo that he still has an opportunity and says that if by chance, he selfishly wants to pursue her, he should first take over Jang Ga. Geun-soo looks at her earnestly, but she says that she was joking.
Yi-seo walks over to his scooter, and Geun-soo watches her as he comments that she was brutal. Yet, he still looks at her with his puppy eyes. Aww, poor Geun-soo.
At Danbam, Sae-ro-yi asks Tony if he likes working there (ha, this is going to be his classic line), and Tony responds positively. Sae-ro-yi instructs him to learn English, just as Yi-seo and Geun-soo return from their outing. They brace themselves, and Seung-kwon holds Tony’s hand (lol).
Sae-ro-yi asks how the negotiations went, and Yi-seo updates them that she was able to score an ice machine. They try to make casual conversation to cover up their anxiety about Tony’s nonexistent English skills, and Sae-ro-yi heads out again. Yi-seo pouts that Sae-ro-yi is heading out on personal business again and quickly puts on her PPL lip tint before following him out.
The Danbam team looks relieved that Yi-seo won’t be around for business to catch Tony, and Tony asks about Yi-seo and Sae-ro-yi’s relationship. Seung-kwon says that they’re just owner and manager, but Tony seems to smell something fishy. Geun-soo stays silent and looks discouraged.
Yi-seo catches up to Sae-ro-yi and asks to be included in his personal business, since it could affect the pub. As Danbam’s manager, she wants to know more about his relationship with Jang Ga so that she can be more helpful. Even with personal business, she wants to help carry his burden.
Sae-ro-yi says that his personal business could be indirectly connected to work, so he invites her along with a warning that it may be an uncomfortable and long commute. Yi-seo smiles and happily takes Sae-ro-yi’s arm to follow him wherever he’s going.
In the bus to Pajin, Sae-ro-yi shares his story with Yi-seo, who finally learns about Sae-ro-yi’s past. She narrates, “In the racing bus, he talked nonstop about what his father meant to him, Jang Geun-won, the beginning of the ill-fated relationship with President Jang, the ensuing death of his father, the hidden truth, a friend named Lee Ho-jin, their plan for revenge, the time spent on the plan. He talked calmly and endlessly, and I listened carefully. I just listened.”
When they finally arrive in Pajin, Sae-ro-yi leads them to a house, where a father and daughter hang laundry. The daughter runs to Sae-ro-yi in delight, but the father, OH BYUN-HYUN (the former police officer on the Sae-ro-yi’s father’s case), doesn’t welcome him. The daughter asks why he visits despite her father’s dispproval, and Sae-ro-yi responds that he wants her father on his side.
As they eat, Yi-seo learns that this man is their distributor for Danbam, and his daughter, Hye-won brags that her dad made all the food. Sae-ro-yi credits Officer Oh’s produce for Danbam’s success, and Hye-won congratulates Sae-ro-yi for achieving his dream. Sae-ro-yi asks Hye-won what her dream is, and she shares that she wants to become a police officer.
Sae-ro-yi says that he also once dreamed of becoming a police officer, and Hye-won asks why he didn’t pursue his dream. Officer Oh cuts the conversation short by instructing Hye-won to collect the rest of the laundry. Sae-ro-yi asks Yi-seo to help Hye-won, and he finds a moment to speak with Officer Oh separately.
Sae-ro-yi comments on how Hye-won has grown to be vigorous and kind, unlike her father. Officer Oh asks Sae-ro-yi to stop calling him “Officer,” but Sae-ro-yi insists on the title, since he was the officer in charge of his father’s case. Officer Oh recalls his boss’ warning to stay out of the case if he wants to continue making a living, and he also remembers Sae-ro-yi’s sentencing.
Getting on his knees, Officer Oh apologizes and asks Sae-ro-yi to stop visiting him. Officer Oh promises to compensate him for everything, no matter how long it takes, but Sae-ro-yi isn’t looking for compensation. He tells Officer Oh that only thing he can do for him is to tell the truth and turn himself in. Sae-ro-yi adds that if anything, Officer Oh should be a father who can proudly support his daughter’s dreams.
Officer Oh cries about his daughter’s future without her father, but Sae-ro-yi shows no sympathy. He says that he’s a businessman, and he insists that Officer Oh pay his price. Crying helplessly, Officer Oh has no other excuse or defense.
Night falls, and Sae-ro-yi finds Yi-seo asleep. He puts his jacket over her as a blanket and watches the rain outside. Yi-seo wakes up and asks for an update on the plan to get Officer Oh to confess, which will lead to Geun-won’s imprisonment and poaching of President Jang’s shareholders. Officer Oh hasn’t budged, and this isn’t a surprise to Yi-seo.
Yi-seo rolls over to use Sae-ro-yi’s leg as a pillow, and she claims that she can’t sleep well on the floor. She asks to sleep there for a little bit, and Sae-ro-yi says that they need to head out soon to catch the last bus. Yi-seo opens her eyes and notices a large scar on Sae-ro-yi’s forearm. She asks what it’s from, and Sae-ro-yi says it’s from an injury during his deep sea fishing days.
Then, Yi-seo notices more scars on his bicep, and Sae-ro-yi says that those were from manual labor. She gets emotional and says that he must have been lonely. Sae-ro-yi admits that he was a bit lonely, and Yi-seo begins to cry. Sae-ro-yi gets a bit frazzled, and she narrates, “When I felt pain about his past, I realized that my feelings for him was love.” She grabs his arm and continues to cry.
Confused Sae-ro-yi comforts Yi-seo, and she continues to narrate, “At his melancholy voice, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I never want him to suffer alone, and I would kill anyone who hurt him. I love him. I love him.”
On the bus ride back to Seoul, Yi-seo nods off, and Sae-ro-yi looks at her with endearment. He lends his shoulder for Yi-seo to sleep comfortably, and he smiles.
The next morning, Yi-seo stops in her tracks at the sight of a line formed outside a popular pub. Soo-ah runs into her and comments on the pub’s popularity, and Yi-seo says that this is expected of a pub on the main street on a weekend. Soo-ah says that she was on her way to Danbam to borrow ice, and Yi-seo seems even more repulsed by Soo-ah now that she’s heard Sae-ro-yi’s full history.
Soo-ah says that Sae-ro-yi doesn’t really share his past with people and notes that Sae-ro-yi must trust Yi-seo. Then, Soo-ah asks if Yi-seo was behind the stock purchase, and Yi-seo accusingly asks if Soo-ah is going to tattle to President Jang. Soo-ah can tell that Yi-seo dislikes her, but Soo-ah claims that she’s actually kind of fond of Yi-seo. She asks to borrow ice, and Yi-seo rejects her.
When they reach Danbam, they find Sae-ro-yi outside, and Soo-ah gets permission from Sae-ro-yi to borrow ice. She thanks Yi-seo as she walks in, ha. Sae-ro-yi introduces Yi-seo to their building owner and seems to have bad news. As Soo-ah gets ice, Sae-ro-yi tells his team that the new building owner wants to increase their rent by 5%. But there’s more: The owner wants them to leave at the end of their contract and run his business there.
Soo-ah joins the conversation and asks how long they have until their contract runs out. Sae-ro-yi answers that they took over the lease, so they have about half a year left. Soo-ah looks at their contract and says that tenants are protected from getting kicked out of the space, but the annual 5% rent increase is allowed. Seung-kwon calls the new owner a gangster, and Hyun-yi stares at him. Ha!
Hyun-yi seems hopeful that they can stay in their current space, but Soo-ah advises that conflict with the building owner is unfavorable. She seems troubled by the owner’s plan to run his business in the building, and Yi-seo agrees. Yi-seo has seen these cases before and suspects that the owner wants to claim the rent premium for himself.
Soo-ah starts to give more advice about their legal rights, but Geun-soo concludes that the owner ultimately wants them to move. Sae-ro-yi says that he’ll give the new owner a call and try to work out a deal. When Sae-ro-yi calls the new owner, he introduces himself brightly, but the voice on the other end sounds familiar. The new owner introduces himself, “It’s me, Jang Dae-hee.”
I’m impressed by Sae-ro-yi’s approach to bring down Jang Ga Corp, and I find myself being surprised by the layers of the revenge plan that are revealed with each episode. With the present-day trials and tribulations of Danbam, I often forget that Sae-ro-yi spent seven years building his plan and preparing for his pub. Those seven years were not put to waste, and I’m sure we’ll learn more about how those seven years have built his strength, insight, and partnerships to confidently manifest his dreams. He’s a true testament to the proverb, “Slow and steady wins the race,” but the main question is: what race is he trying to win?
In the “race” to destroy Jang Ga, I found this episode to be a bit naïve and too optimistic about Sae-ro-yi’s prospects. While I’m fully supportive of the plan, I think Jang Ga overpowers Danbam by extreme measures, and I think anyone intimately aware of Jang Ga’s power was warning Sae-ro-yi throughout this whole episode to calm down. Despite the warnings (which were definitely foreshadowing that ending), I found myself trusting Sae-ro-yi and his determination to turn his goals into his reality. He has a subdued charisma and confidence, and I completely understand Min-jung’s observation that Sae-ro-yi can be simultaneously obnoxious and charming. Since I’m on Sae-ro-yi’s side, I obviously fell for his charm.
Each supporting character from Sae-ro-yi’s past offers a window into those seven years that we’re not fully privy to. I like how we’re putting the pieces together from his past, almost like pieces of a puzzle — a puzzle that only offers its pieces with the introduction of a new person from Sae-ro-yi’s history. Ho-jin’s introduction in this episode and his friendship origin story with Sae-ro-yi was satisfying to watch. The foundation of their relationship may not be the healthiest sentiment, but their teamwork and approach present a formidable threat to Jang Ga. They’re rising above the Jang Ga ways, and I rooting for them to deliver some big fat karmic revenge on the people who’ve unfairly evaded punishment.
I can’t make up my mind about Soo-ah, and I think that may be a constant confusion, seeing that she can’t even decide which side she’s on. In this episode, she seemed more favorable to me, but I’m not sure how long that will last, which is generally how I feel about her relationship with Sae-ro-yi. I think that Soo-ah and Sae-ro-yi are still romanticizing their relationship as something from their youth, but that that doesn’t exist anymore. I think Soo-ah understands this better than Sae-ro-yi, but as I’ve also experienced, his promises are irresistible, difficult to reject, and something you want to believe in. I wonder if Sae-ro-yi recognizes the distance between him and Soo-ah and the distance he’s intentionally creating because she’s a Jang Ga person. The void he’s creating is starting to be filled by someone else.
Yi-seo’s entry into Sae-ro-yi’s personal life felt a bit forced, but I still appreciated how she followed her emotions. If you want to get somewhere with someone, you’ve got to be selfish, and she did just that. I found it interesting that Sae-ro-yi openly shared his past with Yi-seo, and I wonder how that will change Sae-ro-yi’s relationship with her. It’s true that Danbam is intricately tied to Sae-ro-yi’s personal life, but I don’t know if Yi-seo really needed to know the full story to be an effective manager. Sae-ro-yi seems to be trusting her more and more, and I wonder when and if he’ll notice his changing relationship with Yi-seo.
While I’m on board with Yi-seo and Sae-ro-yi’s relationship growing beyond just Danbam owner and manager, I am quite sad about Geun-soo’s heartbreak. His unselfish and sweet puppy love for Yi-seo is adorable, and I’m sad that Yi-seo effectively dissolved any potential for their relationship. I think the potential for Geun-soo taking over Jang Ga is an interesting alternative to Min-jung taking over, though I’m not sure Geun-soo would be up for the challenge. I think that with enough confrontations with President Jang, he may fire up his temper and ambition to destroy Jang Ga. He’s definitely a solid Plan B. And then, maybe he’ll win over Yi-seo? Am I being to hopeful? I just want his earnest hopes and dreams to come true. Is that too much to ask?