Wish Upon a Star: Episode 15
Not the best episode; I thought it felt rather flat, particularly compared to the many adorable moments we’ve seen in recent weeks. There are a couple of reasons for this, namely: too much Jae-young, not enough kids. That, and almost everyone annoyed in this episode, except Pal-gang. (The kids don’t count, because they weren’t really featured.) I hope tomorrow picks things up and makes up for it.
SONG OF THE DAY
Wish Upon a Star OST – “그대니까 (내 사랑 너니까)” – Because It’s You (Because You’re My Love) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
After the family comes home, Jae-young maintains a fake-friendly tone that all the adults understand is not actually friendly. Kang-ha clenches his jaw and retreats to his room in silence, followed by Jae-young.
Now in the privacy of his room, she lets her anger show. What’s going on, and why is his face bruised and cut up? Tae-kyu bursts in to congratulate the couple, oblivious to the negative vibes in the air. Kang-ha feels tired from dealing with all this, and asks to be left alone.
The kids don’t sense the tension in the air, and just conclude that Kang-ha is out of the picture as their sister’s possible suitor. However, Pa-rang insists, “No! Mr. Lawyer ajusshi likes noona!” Cho-rok asks, “Would a guy like that marry someone else?”
Jun-ha faces his brother to ask what everything means — his face, his taking the kids to the park, everything. Kang-ha tries to dismiss it as merely fulfilling Pa-rang’s wish, but Jun-ha isn’t convinced and asks, “Since when have you ever listened to others?” He advises Kang-ha to figure this out between himself and Jae-young, without using Pal-gang.
Kang-ha asks, “Are you okay with me marrying Jae-young?” Jun-ha plays it cool, saying that she’d be a great sister-in-law, but he’s curious to know why Kang-ha changed his mind so suddenly. He doesn’t get an answer.
Alone in their respective rooms, both Kang-ha and Pal-gang think back to some of their happier moments. She can’t deny that she’s affected by news of Kang-ha’s impending marriage, but she tries to rationalize her response. With tears in her eyes, she says not-quite-convincingly, “Still, it was five years. That’s why you’re like this. It’s nothing — it’s just because it was five years.”
The next morning, Pal-gang oversleeps and hurries into the kitchen late to get breakfast started, but to her surprise, Jun-ha is cooking. With a smile, he says that she was probably tired from yesterday, so he took it upon himself to fix the meal. He declines her offers to help, and sets the table.
The kids all love the cooking, and No-rang in particular sings Jun-ha’s praises, calling him prime husband material. (Tae-kyu, feeling threatened again, is less than gracious.)
March means schooltime is back for the children, and Jun-ha offers to drop them off. The family piles into Jun-ha’s car, leaving Kang-ha to look back at them as he heads off alone. I wouldn’t say he looks wistful, but that’s what he’s got to be feeling, since not long ago he was the one in the middle of the big family whirl.
Jun-ha even accompanies Pal-gang to talk to the school administrator, acting the part of the concerned father, which makes Pal-gang uncomfortable. (They drop Nam off in daycare, where Pa-rang will also stay for a few days until his school starts.)
Jae-young wants Kang-ha to meet her parents again, since he missed the first opportunity to officially greet them as her groom. Kang-ha reminds her that she agreed to give him time, but she says that if he waits too long, he’ll just overthink things. The best thing for him is to follow her lead without protest. Knowing that Kang-ha has particular respect for Chairman Jung, she warns him not to upset her grandfather. He should show at least that basic level of courtesy. Fine words coming from a spiteful blackmailer.
But Chairman Jung already knows how Kang-ha feels, and expresses quizzical concern over Kang-ha’s change of heart. Not long ago he had been firm about not marrying Jae-young, so what happened? Does he love Jae-young?
Kang-ha ignores that and replies, “I will marry her.” The chairman won’t be fobbed off with non-answers, so he asks again. Kang-ha can’t lie, so he says, “I’ll do that later, after we marry.” Chairman: “And if you can’t do that later?” Kang-ha says grimly, “I’ll just live, then.” The chairman sighs, and Kang-ha apologizes: “This is all I can say right now.”
In the office elevator, most of the passengers exit except for Kang-ha, who hears a sniffle. It’s Pal-gang, crying to herself in the back of the elevator, who looks up and sees him. Caught, all she can do is try to leave quietly, but Kang-ha grabs her arm. Concerned, he asks, “What’s wrong?”
She stammers that it’s nothing, but he won’t accept that obvious lie and repeats his question more insistently.
He takes her to a nearby cafe, where Pal-gang remains quiet and declines to explain her tears. Kang-ha persists, purposely wording his question a bit harshly (“Are you just going to cry at the office all day?”) to get a rise out of her. She doesn’t respond, so he furrows his brow: “Aren’t you going to snap at me for saying that?” No reaction, so he continues, “You’re supposed to lose your temper and say, ‘I have a reason for crying. Why wouldn’t I, when the situation is bad enough to make me cry?’ That’s more like you.”
At that, she sighs and starts to explain, “Being like me is the bigger problem.” She was just starting to think she was doing good work, but now it appears she’s as useless as ever. She had been really thrilled about winning a new account, a particularly big one worth 2 million won. Yet only today, she found that their factory had caught fire. The grace period on the new policy expired so she couldn’t return their money, which means that they can’t afford their policy and have to cancel it. (I’m not sure about the finer details of insurance policies, but from the way she’s talking, it would appear that the 2 million is something like a deductible, which means that they have just lost that amount with no way of getting that back from the company.)
Kang-ha sees why this is bad but doesn’t think it’s something to cry over, because these things happen often in the insurance world. If she’s crying because she won’t get her bonus, well, she’ll just have to accept that.
But no, Pal-gang continues to tear up as she explains that this is her fault. She pushed the large policy on the clients, so it’s her fault they’ve wasted 2 million won. Kang-ha obviously feels bad to see her so immersed in guilt, but I suppose he’s not comfortable with being the shoulder to cry on (not to mention that he’s purposely distancing himself from playing that role) so he puts on his stern face and chides that it’s no big deal.
They’re sort of dancing around that unspoken issue of his engagement, but it’s there in the air; now there’s an awkwardness in the air between them. Pal-gang hesitantly begins, “Your marriage…” which makes him look intently at her. But she merely concludes, “Congratulations on the marriage. You two look good together.”
Having seen Kang-ha’s reaction for himself, Chairman Jung tells Jae-young to reconsider the marriage, since Kang-ha doesn’t love her. She maintains her position, and even points out that because of Kang-ha’s father, there’s always the possibility of company strife between the two factions. If she marries Kang-ha, the future of the company would also be stabilized.
The chairman shrewdly notes that it sounds like she’s putting the company first. Jae-young answers that the company is as important to her as a person: “I think it’s fortunate that I can have both important things at the same time.” She’s confident that she can succeed with both work and family.
However, Kang-ha sits down with In-gu and requests to be transferred to the U.S. branch, for six months or a year. He says he wants more work experience before marrying, which doesn’t make any sense to In-gu because Kang-ha hardly needs the work experience. Kang-ha requests the transfer anyway.
Confused, In-gu asks his daughter what this means, but she didn’t know either. Angrily, Jae-young bursts into Kang-ha’s office to demand what this is about. Kang-ha growls, “I just want to leave.”
Because Jun-ha had followed her into the office, Jae-young veils her threat in vague words. She reminds Kang-ha that there’s also something she can do in this situation, insinuating that she will reveal his secret as she warns, “Don’t make me do that.”
Of course, such cryptic words don’t slip past Jun-ha, who asks his brother what this means. It there something that he doesn’t know? Kang-ha answers that Jae-young just said it out of anger because he’s running away.
Jun-ha doesn’t buy this, so he confronts Jae-young about her threat. However, Jae-young’s threat loses its hold over Kang-ha if she spills the truth, so she uses another explanation: “It means I really could die.”
Jun-ha reminds her that she used that threat before, and it didn’t work. Jae-young reveals that her mother had poisoned herself in order to force her marriage with her father, and vows that as her mother’s daughter, “I’m not just threatening. I really can do it.” She had told this to Kang-ha, and that must have been what changed his mind. Amazing how Jae-young can sound so proud of something utterly mortifying to anyone with a normal sense of shame.
Pal-gang feels guilty for her unfortunate clients and apologizes to her supervisor, who must see that her remorse is sincere because she doesn’t scold her. Rather, she advises Pal-gang to offer her help to the clients; that’s as much as she can do as the person who involuntarily contributed to their financial difficulty.
Thus Pal-gang helps out at a client’s clothing shop. Since she has to work late, she tells Ju-hwang to pick up Nami from daycare. I think it’s telling that she chose daycare (which costs money) even though Tae-kyu offers to take care of Nam — it shows that Pal-gang doesn’t want to be indebted to Tae-kyu (or the Won family). Even if it makes her life harder, she wants to be independent of them.
(Cho-rok also takes this moment to point out that Tae-kyu’s losing ground against Jun-ha. The pizza Tae-kyu buys them is nice and all, but how does that hold up against preparing a full breakfast spread?)
The brothers drink at the jazz bar after work, where Jae-young joins them (uninvited). She sits down, intent on getting Kang-ha drunk and changing his mind about going to the States. He, on the other hand, is irritable and says that he’d asked for the six months to have some time to think things over: “I don’t want to marry you. But I have to. Then can’t you give me six months to myself?”
Clearly not: Just as Jun-ha joins the table, Jae-young says leadingly that Jun-ha looks exactly like his mother, while Kang-ha doesn’t. Why is that? Furthermore, Jun-ha’s personality resembles his mother’s while Kang-ha is starkly different.
Jun-ha’s perplexed, but Kang-ha tenses. Angrily, he grabs Jae-young’s arm and drags her away to the staircase landing, where he demands, “Do you really want to play dirty like this?” She counters, “You’re the one who made me into this!” At the end of his rope, Kang-ha loses his temper and yells, “Fine! Let’s go through with that damned marriage, then!” He storms out.
Jun-ha approaches a tearful Jae-young and points out, “You got what you wanted. Why are you crying?” She says, “It’s more ridiculous for a woman facing ‘that damned marriage’ to be laughing.” Jun-ha says that it’s not like her to cry, and since she’s getting what she wants, she’s better off laughing anyway.
Maybe she wants more sympathy, because Jae-young cries, “Won Jun-ha, how can you be like this too? You shouldn’t treat me like this. You’re my friend. In times like this, you’re supposed to tell me, ‘My brother’s a mean bastard. But since you’re marrying him, congratulations anyway.’ You’re supposed to say that!”
For once, Jun-ha eyes her with a disapproving look. He explains that he had always been on her side when she’d been proud and confident. “But strangely, seeing you crying doesn’t hurt my heart anymore.” (Thank goodness!)
That night, Jae-young comes home drunk, where her mother confronts her about Kang-ha going to the U.S. Does she really have to marry a guy who is so obviously running away from her?
Jae-young turns the tables on her mother, saying, “You did that too.” After all, Min-kyung risked her own life by taking pills in order to get the chairman to change his mind and consent to her marriage. Therefore, shouldn’t she be satisfied that her daughter is getting her way, and without injuring herself?
Min-kyung hates when Jae-young compares herself to her, because at least her well-off daughter didn’t have her own disadvantages, such as a helpless mother or worthless father, or three siblings to feed with money she earned at a hostess bar.
Jae-young retorts, “Isn’t this the life you wanted?” She tells her mother that Min-kyung did it all out of selfish reasons: “For choosing a marriage for ambition rather than love, you should pat me on the back. I learned from you, so you should be proud of me!”
Min-kyung slaps Jae-young, hurt by her daughter’s callousness.
Min-kyung: “That’s what everyone says. That Lee Min-kyung used a child without love as an opportunity to change her life and succeed. That she even used a suicide attempt to hang onto an indecisive man. She didn’t really mean to die, but did it for show. Yeah, my mom and dad did that, they told their daughter who took drugs and tried to die that she did a good job. That that’s the way to succeed. Why can’t I be proud of you? Because I really did mean to die. I didn’t want to bring you into this world where you’d be suspected of not being your father’s real child. So I can’t pat you on the back.”
Min-kyung says that it doesn’t have to be Kang-ha — she’d rather her daughter be a woman who is loved. Realizing she stepped across the line, Jae-young apologizes. She doesn’t know why it has to be Kang-ha, either — it’s just that when she was young, Grandfather doted on him instead of her: “He received a love that I couldn’t receive. After a while, I felt I had to marry him.”
Min-kyung starts to understand, and asks, “Did you want to receive the acknowledgment that your parents couldn’t earn from Grandfather?” Jae-young answers, “When I was younger, I think so. That’s what I did at first, but now I can’t see anyone but Kang-ha oppa. So don’t say this is because of ambition. Even if I can’t receive love, I want to live with the one I love.”
All in all, a pretty solid scene. (Surprising! I know!) Min-kyung now understands that she and In-gu have wronged their daughter, and wonders what they can do for her now.
Jun-ha waits outside the subway for Pal-gang, suggesting a(nother) round of drinks. She sits with him at a pojangmacha, although she doesn’t touch her shot, explaining that she doesn’t drink these days. She used to before her parents died, but not anymore.
Jun-ha had figured she would feel like drinking today, after hearing about Kang-ha’s marriage. On the contrary, Pal-gang explains that despite the one-sidedness of her love, it wasn’t a heartbreaking experience. It was actually a refreshing feeling to go around confident that she could win him over eventually, even if everyone laughed at her for it.
Jun-ha asks how Pal-gang knew he loved Jae-young. She answers that whenever Kang-ha came in with the kids, he looked to Jae-young’s reaction, looking like he wanted to punch his brother. Pal-gang wonders why he never confessed his feelings to her, since he knows that Kang-ha doesn’t love her. He says that it was because she loves Kang-ha. Plus, his mother always told him not to mess with his brother’s things
As they make their way back home, Jun-ha stumbling a bit drunkenly on the front steps, he confides another secret. Tonight he turned away from Jae-young even though she was crying, which is something he could never have done in the past. For some reason, he could turn away today.
Pal-gang reasons (perhaps speaking of herself?), “It could be that you felt even more hurt so you couldn’t stand to see it.”
Sneaky Jun-ha spies Kang-ha walking up the steps, and the brothers meet eyes for a moment. Suddenly, he grabs Pal-gang to him in a hug, saying with (false) urgency, “What can I do to make you believe that’s not it? Just as your one-sided love is over, I’m telling you mine is too.”
She starts to pull away, but he holds her tighter while Kang-ha looks on. Jun-ha asks, “Or are you not over it? Is that why you don’t want to hear I’ve given up?”
With more force, Pal-gang pushes back and tells him to stop: “If you’re sad, endure it on your own. This won’t provide any comfort. The most I can do for you is being your drinking partner.”
She heads past him to the house, not seeing Kang-ha’s arrival.
Kang-ha (thankfully!) is not fooled by Jun-ha’s act, and tells him, “You can cut it out. I’m going to marry Jae-young, so you don’t have to work this hard.” He points out that Jun-ha is persistent, and doesn’t change his feelings easily, “So quit that awkward game you’re playing with that woman.”
Jun-ha smirks, “And if it’s not a game?” Kang-ha doesn’t buy that Jun-ha’s for real, and says that there’s a key difference between them — Kang-ha doesn’t ever mess with a woman’s illusions, and he’s not interested in women who are otherwise taken. But Jun-ha, on the other hand, can’t let go — “Even if you don’t make her your woman.”
Kang-ha: “Have you ever thought that that could be even crueler?”
Jun-ha: “Are you worrying that Jin Pal-gang will be manipulated by a cruel guy like me? You’re marrying Jae-young, but still you’re worried that she’ll get used by a mean guy like me. Be honest — that you’re worried about her. That you don’t have the courage to choose her, but that you don’t have confidence that you won’t fall for her so you’re forcing yourself into marriage. Or if not, just quit everything. Let go of the woman you’re falling for but can’t choose, and don’t go through with a marriage you don’t want. Then Jae-young doesn’t turn into a wretch either.”
Kang-ha: “I’m marrying Jae-young.”
Jun-ha: “Then why worry about Jin Pal-gang, whether I play around with her or not?”
Kang-ha: “Because I don’t want you to be tormented wondering why you turned into such a cruel guy! That’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
Jun-ha has been making Pal-gang feel uncomfortable all episode by his excessive kindness, and now his pseudo-confession makes things worse. As a result, Pal-gang calls Grandpa Jung that night to ask him about his request to find her mother’s friend. If she can find the woman, will he really give her the 30 million won? She doesn’t have the information yet, but she needs the money in order to find a place to live.
Things come to a head the next morning, when Pal-gang walks into a chaotic kitchen. Spurred to compete with Jun-ha, Tae-kyu taken it upon himself to make breakfast, only his dishes are a mess and he has fallen asleep midway through.
Tae-kyu insists that he has to prove his love for her, but Pal-gang is at the end of her patience. As she loses her temper, Jun-ha and Kang-ha emerge from their rooms in time to overhear her raised voice. She declares that she will move out when the (new) contract is over, because she’s sick of this. She’s sick of being a toy for this house of rich guys! At that, Kang-ha shoots a look at his brother.
That night, Kang-ha finds Pa-rang sleeping in his bed again. This time, he carries the boy out of his room and heads downstairs, where he runs into Pal-gang and unceremoniously dumps the kid into her arms, then silently turns back to his room. Once inside, he turns back toward the door, almost ready to go back and take back his actions. But he refrains.
Of course, this means he wakes up to an empty bed. He looks a little regretful to find the bed lump-free, but as soon as he opens the door he sees Pa-rang sitting just outside, asleep.
I’m sure this is a touching moment, but Kang-ha is in a repress-all-emotion mode and marches the boy downstairs. He faces Pal-gang coolly and instructs her to get Pa-rang’s sleepwalking checked out by a doctor. Also, make sure he doesn’t come upstairs anymore. His curtness, once the norm, is so unexpected that Pa-rang asks his sister worriedly why the lawyer ajusshi is acting like this suddenly.
Once again, Jun-ha insists on escorting Pal-gang to the doctor, who says that the boy’s sleepwalking problem should gradually ease as he grows. However, for the time being he will prescribe medicine to prevent him from getting hurt.
Today, Pal-gang tells Jun-ha frankly that she finds his constant attention burdensome. Jun-ha asks, “Do you know you’re really mean?” but to us in the audience, this seems more like an act than a genuine sentiment.
Meanwhile, Kang-ha and Jae-young entrust Jun-ha’s ex with the engagement party and wedding plans. (Arg, TWO Jae-youngs in one scene? Granted, Jae-young Clone is nowhere near as offensive as the original, but she hardly helps matters.)
Jae-young v.2.0 helps Jae-young try on wedding dresses while Kang-ha waits outside disinterestedly. The Clone asks (as a compliment) whether all the company’s women have such nice figures, explaining that a woman named Jin Pal-gang came by a while earlier regarding insurance policies. The Clone had thought it odd that Jun-ha would introduce her, so she had put her in a wedding dress to see his reaction and gauge what kind of relationship they had. She also freely admits that she likes Jun-ha. All this is a surprise to Jae-young.
(Can I say that I kind of love how this drama isn’t even trying to make Jae-young appear attractive, either with her personality or her appearance? Compared with Pal-gang’s wedding dress glamour shot, Jae-young’s dress is dowdy and unflattering.)
Still, the Clone presents Jae-young to Kang-ha with a flourish, expecting a grand response… only Kang-ha isn’t there. He had received a phone call and rushed out.
At the hospital, Jun-ha and Pal-gang race through the hospital in search of Pa-rang, who had managed to get lost when he stepped aside for a bathroom break. Kang-ha spots Pa-rang walking on the sidewalk as he drives by, and rushes to check on him.
Pa-rang explains that he got lost, but Kang-ha wonders why he called him rather than Pal-gang. Then, a thought occurs to him: “Did you really lose your way?”
Starting to cry, Pa-rang hugs Kang-ha and admits that he didn’t really get lost. The reason he called was because he has something to tell him: “Ajusshi, don’t marry someone else.”
This is lukewarm consolation, but I like the episode better after having written about it than I did immediately after watching it. Plot-wise, I suppose we needed this stuff to happen, so it’s not like the tedium was wasted on unnecessary threads. However, you could argue that Episodes 2 through 14 have been great about balancing the dramatic with the funny, heartwarming bits, so it’s not like it’s impossible to have a better (more enjoyable) balance.
(That said, I’m sorta hating Jae-young so much that it’s almost — almost! — fun to hate her. She’s an enjoyable villain, in that it’s SO not even a contest that it’s ridiculous to pit her against the lovable and caring Pal-gang.)
So the crux of this episode is to hammer in that Kang-ha and Pal-gang Cannot Be, which is part of why it’s both a necessary development but also a bummer to watch. At least in previous episodes, we could see them trying to fight the attraction in a funny way, but now they’re both pretty aware of their feelings and are walking away consciously, thereby bringing us up to our kdrama angst quota. I did appreciate that this episode was full of Kang-ha throwing lingering looks Pal-gang’s way, and disapproving ones Jun-ha’s way. Like I mentioned, previously he was the one who got to enjoy being in the midst of the bubbly family hubbub, but now that he has decided to marry Jae-young, he’s forsaken that role and has to keep himself apart. Hence the removal of Pa-rang from his room.
Jun-ha, in contrast, is really pushing it with his Prince Charming role, because it’s so false that it’s irritating. I can see why Pal-gang is frustrated with it, because she’s smart enough to realize that he’s not being genuine. It’s one thing to actually be helpful (and I think in previous episodes, he was being helpful) but it’s another thing to pretend to care. That’s what Kang-ha insinuates when he says he never plays with women’s fantasies — he’s always straight with them, but Jun-ha keeps jumping in to play the part of the good guy. Not to actually BE the good guy, but just to act the role.
I’ve rarely come across a drama that didn’t start to lag a bit in the last quarter, so I’m not surprised that we finally hit the rough patch here. I just hope that the drama recovers quickly, because it’s the better dramas that will get back on track quickly after the obligatory angst slowdown.
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 14
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 13
- Scripts and scenes from Wish Upon a Star
- Shin Dong-wook’s fan club treats drama staff to holiday meal
- No episodes of Wish Upon a Star this week
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 12
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 11
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 10
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 9
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 8
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 7
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 6
- Wish Upon a Star: Episode 5
- Wish Upon a Star: Episodes 3-4
- Wish Upon a Star: Episodes 1-2
- The new Monday-Tuesday lineup: First impressions