Smile: Episodes 30-31
Surprisingly, rewatching these two episodes weren’t as torturous as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but just as soyjoy mentioned in her last recap, I can sympathize with the writer’s plight to stretch out a storyline by 16 episodes. Now that Smile has ended, I can look back and see how the frustrations of these two episodes fit into the big picture. But man oh man, it’s taking a circuitous and nonsensical route to get there. (More on this later.)
The one person that I’m enjoying immensely is Lee Chun-hee. I’ve recently finished watching the masterpiece, Conspiracy (BEST) in (DRAMA) the (EVER) Court (directed by the man behind Chuno) and my little crush on Lee has turned into a full on lovefest. I’m sure we’ve all had our fangirl/boy moments, so you’ll have to excuse my indulgence on all things Sung-joon in the recap. I especially found his scenes with Hyun-soo to be quite amusing and endearing. And the bathroom scene above where Sung-joon turns on the water is so reminiscent of Chunderella (see last recap by soyjoy) that it made me giggle with glee.
SONG OF THE DAY
Conspiracy in the Court OST – “일월지가” (Song of Sun and Moon) by Sunye of Wondergirls
[ Download ]
Hyun-soo whisks away Jung-in, leaving behind a crew of crazy led by Geum-ja. And what’s his brilliant idea? A deluxe apartment in the skyyy… actually a hotel suite. Jung-in is quite livid over his rash decision and yells at him furiously, but in the end gets dragged up to the room.
Meanwhile, over at the Kang house, the house turnover deal (between Geum-ja and Jung-kil) is now the main focus of the discussion. Grandpa Man-bok is visibly upset about Geum-ja’s decision, but tells her to carry on as she desires. By the end of the conversation, she’s pretty much given up and tells the Seos to just take Hyun-soo with them if he refuses to break up with Jung-in.
Following the aftermath, everyone’s involved in their own worries. Sung-joon teeters between waiting to tell the family about Ji-soo or just spilling the beans while everyone’s already at the height of confusion. (Seriously, how cute is Sung-joon!) Jung-kil is busy mulling over the meaning behind grandpa Man-bok’s words while Han-se is solely focused on getting the Seos out of the house.
Hyun-soo has a spread ready to celebrate the new year but Jung-in only responds with stink eyes. He tries to make a toast, but she cuts him off by downing the champagne in one shot. He makes an attempt to lightening the mood by laughing about the messed up dduk-mandoo (dumpling) soup but she won’t let up on the badgering.
Jung-in: You messed up more. Let’s go home.
Hyun-soo: Froggie, I’m not gonna go back. Even if it’s just to fix your stubbornness. How can you be so stubborn? Hurry up and eat, instead of regretting it later when you’re hungry!
The two of them end up stuffing the food down one another’s throats as they glare at each other.
The Kang/Seo household also “enjoy” their New Year’s lunch with the food that Geum-ja and Jung-in prepared the previous day. Geum-ja has basically given up on Hyun-soo and even asks Ji-soo to be their adopted daughter (which Sung-joon vehemently refuses. His thoughts are exactly the same as mine. You’ve already gone Winter Sonata on us, are you now trying Autumn in My Heart?) Each try to drink their sorrow away with Geum-ja and Joo-hee eventually yelling at each other in their drunken stupor. They basically vow to never see each other again once the kids return.
Working all his might to get Jung-in to stay, Hyun-soo calls home to ask Sung-joon to bring her some clothes. Geum-ja answers the phone and demands him to come home. When she threatens to torment Jung-in, Hyun-soo hangs up on his mom, sending her to a state of shock. She has a defeated look as Sang-hoon and Sung-joon ask about their whereabouts: “No, it isn’t our Hyun-soo. Honey, that wasn’t our son.” She breaks down into tears wanting to see her son come home.
I realize that people are hurt by feelings of abandonment by their children and each other, but is this any way for grown adults to act??
Seeing Jung-in’s reaction to the phone call, Hyun-soo’s next great idea is to develop a plan of action. He draws up a family tree and starts figuring out where everyone stands.
Hyun-soo: Sung-joon hyung is on our side. Jung-kyung, our side. Your parents. Just tell me how to win them over and I’ll do it. My father. He’s weak towards feminine charm, so you do it. My mom. We’ll need to do it together, but I’ll take the baton first… I think you should gain some weight also. She gets jealous easily so you don’t want to be prettier or thinner than her. The problem is grandfather. The Kang men are all weak towards feminine charm, so you take care of it. Why aren’t you answering? Fine, I’ll do it…
Jung-in, for the first time since leaving the house has a smile on her face, and answers, “Don’t drive yourself crazy. I’ll do whatever you tell me to.” She gives in but laughs at him for running away from home with so little in mind and gets even a bigger kick when Hyun-soo reveals that he got the idea from Sung-joon.
Grandpa Man-bok also drowns his sorrows with alcohol and the reasoning is again a selfish one. He’s upset that he wasn’t able to change Jung-kil and feels betrayed that his lifetime savings is going to used to cut ties with the chairman’s family.
He returns home drunk and wonders why Jung-kil is still living at the house. Jung-kil is also disappointed that Man-bok seems to have changed after finding out about Jung-in and Hyun-soo. Seeing his father upset, Sang-hoon takes things out on Jung-kil, accusing him of being the reason for opposing Jung-in.
Just as the mung-goo couple are about to head to bed, Sung-joon and Ji-soo interrupt them at the hotel room. (What’s with the choice of music? When did this turn into a B-rated horror flick?) Sung-joon pulls Hyun-soo into the bathroom and pretends to give him a lashing, but basically has come over at Hyun-soo’s request. He tries to be the protective big brother, but knows that Hyun-soo’s pretty innocent when it comes to affairs of the opposite sex.
Sung-joon: Nothing happened, right?
Hyun-soo: If anything did happen, how would I be able to look at your right now?
Sung-joon: You’re so frustrating. What a waste of a hotel room…
Hyun-soo assumes that the other couple will leave, but Sung-joon announces that he and Ji-soo will be staying with them. The four of them end up bonding over drinks. The talk eventually turns to their homes and Sung-joon lets the Geum-ja/Jung-kil contract slip out, to Hyun-soo’s dismay. Jung-in doesn’t let on but she definitely realizes that something is going on.
Hyun-soo comes home in the morning to speak with his father, but Sang-hoon only has harsh words to say to him.
Sang-hoon: Is Jung-in the only one important to you? How about your mom and I? Your grandfather really suffered yesterday because of you and Jung-kil… I finally wanted to be a good son to your grandfather but you’re messing it up. Who are you to mess it up?
Understandably, this response frustrates Hyun-soo. He pleads for some understanding and help from his father, acknowledging his own fault in the matter. But he’s unsure of what to do next in order to satisfy his family and hold onto Jung-in. Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by Geum-ja before the two can finish their conversation.
Jung-in tries to dump Hyun-soo off at the sauna and possibly head back home, but he somehow figures out her plans and waits outside for her. She uses getting underwear as an excuse to go back up to the hotel room and works up the courage to call the car center. She tells Sang-hoon that she’ll figure out a way to get Hyun-soo back home as soon as possible. Hearing her voice makes Sang-hoon finally give some thought to Hyun-soo and Jung-in as a couple.
Jung-in and Hyun-soo leave the hotel; he to meet his mystery phone call and she to pick up her free laptop, thanks to Secretary Kim’s scheming brain. Geum-ja and Jung-kil head over to catch Jung-in with Han-se and Secretary Kim. But just as Jung-in is about to open the door to the eager eyed group, she stops short.
Meanwhile, Hyun-soo’s secret date is with Han-se’s mom. He hands over research that he worked on overseas for a contract that meets his demands: for a fairly large sum of money and for Han-se’s family to stay away from Jung-in. Just at that moment, they find Jung-in watching from the cafe.
Jung-in: What did you have to sell in order to pay back the ring? I understand ahjumma now. It’s not my past that’s the problem. I’m messing up your future.
With that said, she runs off, while thinking over what Hyun-soo has done in the past and the implications that has on their future together.
Hyun-soo chases after her and goes back home to find her kneeling in front of grandpa Man-bok.
Jung-in: Please give me permission, grandfather. I’ll leave the house with my family. Please let me.
Man-bok: If that’s what you really want, go ahead. Everyone get out!
The whole house is in a frenzy as the Seos start packing, and Hyun-soo is left completely befuddled. He tries to convince Man-bok and Sang-hoon to force them to stay but doesn’t have any luck. He then turns to Jung-in but she’s in no mood to listen to his whining.
Jung-in: First the ring, and then a house for us to live. Then helping my dad. What next? You’ll need to get our old house back for us for you to be satisfied. And each time, I’m supposed to be thankful for the generous love that you bestow on me. If I wanted to live that way, I would have [married] Han-se. This is the last time that I’ll make things hard for the people around me. I can’t take any more of this. I’m not leaving because things are hard for you. I’m leaving because I can’t live like this anymore.
To be honest, this is the first time in awhile that I felt satisfied by a story development. I love that she takes a stand and even admits that she’s acting for her own benefit. Hyun-soo has been quite misguided in his actions and I’m glad that she stands up for her own thoughts instead of being pulled into something she doesn’t agree with.
After dealing with her boyfriend, she turns to her dad, demanding for the paperwork to their old house. He doesn’t want to give it up, but Jung-in is back in rare form and takes the papers.
As the Seos head out, the Kangs are not in good spirits either. Hyun-soo sulks up in Jung-in’s room. Jung-in gives her farewell to grandpa Man-bok, promising that her family will do well. Even Geum-ja, who’s wish in life was to kick out the Seos seems to be in a doleful state.
The Seos head over to Ji-soo’s house. Even though the parents emphatically argue that they should just go back to their old house, Jung-in insists that they need to either stay here or go sleep at a motel.
The happiest with the outcome is of course, Sung-joon: “Ji-soo, the heavens are on our side! I can’t believe we’re living together even before we get permission from my parents. Awesomesauce!” Have I mentioned how cute Sung-joon is?
The Kangs and Seos finally have their first meal apart, but it’s far from a happy situation. The Kangs are missing their son and busy looking out for grandpa Man-bok’s sour mood. The immature Seo parents complain about the small space and demand to go their old house. When Jung-in erupts at her father for selling her off again for money, Jung-kil slaps her on the head. She then gets teary, telling her dad that she knows he loves him and that they need to stay out of that house in order to show the Kangs that he really does love her. (The smack really isn’t worthy of such a visceral reaction and made me roll my eyes at the scene, rather than feel any empathy.)
The mung-goo couple spend their first night apart: Jung-in with tears and Hyun-soo with slight dementia. Did anyone else think Hyun-soo seemed slightly insane while watching the video and mouthing his lines?
The next morning, both are hard at work with their morning routine. Hyun-soo performs his morning exercises with gusto and Jung-in wakes up the family, even Chunderella, I mean Sung-joon, with a clanging pot. He goes off to start his new project at Global Motors and she announces that the family will go all-in at the dduk-bbok-gi restaurant.
When Hyun-soo returns from work, he beelines up to Jung-in’s room. But Geum-ja can’t stand to watch Hyun-soo continue his sulking ways and chases him into the spare bedroom. Watching his son suffer at the hands of Geum-ja, Sang-hoon decides to use his hidden card: Geum-ja got pregnant with Hyun-soo in order to convince grandpa Man-bok to allow them to get married.
Hearing about the tale of his birth, Hyun-soo does his best deranged joker impression and runs off. By this point, it’s pretty clear that Sang-hoon is fully on board with Jung-in.
As the Seo family acclimates to working together at the dduk-bbok-gi store, Hyun-soo saunters in as a demanding customer. Jung-kil chases him out of the store, but then falls for Hyun-soo’s juvenile tactics and ends up agreeing to buy him a drink.
As Man-bok sits outside and thinks about his possible cancer diagnosis, So-nyu runs into him and takes her scheming ways to the next level. He tries to run away from her, but she seems to have found her way in, when she mentions that her mother died of cancer. Hearing her talk of her family and facing health problems of his own, Man-bok opens up to her. So-nyu advices him to live his life to the full, instead of using his family, age, or anything else as an excuse to hold himself back. The two of them enjoy their time together and even promise to have rice wine on their next date.
Jung-kil takes Hyun-soo to Ji-soo’s place for a drink and even makes his own appetizer, much to Hyun-soo’s chagrin. But Jung-kil retorts that he doesn’t have any money and this is the best he can do. Either way, Jung-kil is only interested in hearing about the demise of Geum-ja, thinking that she’s been kicked out of the house.
When Hyun-soo finally yells out his secret, “I’ve learned about the secret of my birth!”, the Seos think that he’s not really a Kang. But the intrigue fully fades when he reveals that he was a pre-wedding baby, making Jung-kil laugh while telling everyone that Sung-joon was walking around when he married Joo-hee.
Jung-kil: Who cares, as long as you live well afterwards.
Hyun-soo: Oh… Of course… that’s what’s really important.
Sung-joon: Father, you really are cool.
Sung-joon then throws a knowing smile over at Ji-soo before having a drink with Hyun-soo. The two young men share a bond over how they could be living their lives.. basically getting their respective girlfriends pregnant. Hyun-soo’s all smiles with Sung-joon, but storms out when left alone with Jung-in.
Hyun-soo comes home to a worried Geum-ja and reassures her with these words, “Don’t worry. I won’t make the same mistake you made. … Anyways, you should be nice to grandpa. Think about how upset he must have been.” Sang-hoon has handed over gold to Hyun-soo, who plans on wringing every little drop out of this nugget.
Even though Jung-in may have left on her own accord, she still misses the house and the family, and comes back to see Hyun-soo looking out of the attic window. Han-se also comes by the house, hoping to find Jung-in and sees her return.
Han-se: Why did you leave if you were going to come back like this? Isn’t it because you were planning on breaking up?
Jung-in: No. It’s so that I can return. So that when I return, I can come back alone. If oppa can wait until then, I’ll come back.
The gravity of the words seem to have finally sank into Han-se, as revealed by his glum face.
Consistent with the schizophrenic nature of these episodes, Hyun-soo’s anger has now dissipated as he finds Jung-in and hugs her. He chastises tells her for being a moron and asserts that they tackle the problem together from now on. She’s still not ready to make amends and walks away, retorting that she’ll handle things her way.
Oddly, Hyun-soo responds by showing up at the store and announcing, “I’m this store President Kang Man-bok’s grandson, Kang Hyun-soo!”
Back at the hospital, grandpa Man-bok is dealt a fatal blow, finding out that he has third stage liver cancer. He initially walks away but returns to the doctor’s office to ask his first question: “Can this disease get passed down to my family?”
The one thing that I noticed during the rewatch was how selfish everyone is in the midst of the chaos. They are mostly thinking about their own feelings and pain, rather than thinking about the ones they love. The worst is that even in their selfish state, they believe that they’re acting on behalf of someone else, rather than their own interests. Jung-kil thinks he’s caring for Jung-in by accepting the house. Geum-ja thinks she’s protecting Hyun-soo by separating from the Seos. Hyun-soo thinks he’s loving Jung-in by running away with her. Even grandpa Man-bok is more concerned about his ties with the Seo family than his grandson. Jung-in’s the only one who atleast takes responsibility for her actions but is still selfish in thinking that that she needs to take care of her family by “breaking up” with Hyun-soo.
Initially, I had found everyone’s reaction to be just annoying. But knowing what’s to come (and the change that we witness in everyone), I can see that there is a reason for the madness. I don’t think the schizophrenic craziness is the best way to show the transformation, but I can atleast understand the reasoning behind it. If the writer had allowed the characters to develop organically (which was done so well in the beginning half of the series) and rationally, instead of making them jump from one emotion to another to create a false sense of drama and intensity, it would have been so much more enjoyable to witness the journey. Thankfully, the last line by Man-bok, does signal a change. During a time when he should be most worried about his own health, grandpa’s first reaction is to worry about his family.
As I started the recap with Lee Chun-hee, let me finish with Lee Chun-hee. Even though his character is pretty one dimensional in the drama, he’s really milking it for everything it’s worth. His one-liners really made me chuckle throughout these two episodes and pretty fun to watch the writer play up the Chunderella in Sung-joon. But don’t be fooled folks – his acting is not limited to goofy, which can be attested by everyone who’s watched Conspiracy in the Court. I sure can’t wait until he lands a lead role in a drama.
- Smile: Episodes 28-29
- Smile: Episode 27
- Smile: Episode 26
- Smile: Episode 25
- Smile: Episode 24
- Smile: Episode 23
- Smile: Episode 22
- Smile: Episode 21
- Smile: Episode 20
- Smile: Episode 19
- Smile: Episode 18
- Smile: Episode 17
- Smile: Episodes 15-16
- Smile extended to 46 episodes
- Smile: Episodes 13-14
- Smile: Episodes 11-12
- Smile: Episodes 9-10
- Smile: Episodes 7-8
- Smile: Episode 6
- Smile: Episode 5
- Smile: Episode 4
- Smile: Episode 3
- Smile: Episodes 1 & 2