Secret Garden: Episode 16
It’s the Episode of Answers, as all the puzzle pieces fall into place and get neatly locked together. It’s certainly about time, as all of this has been set up for a while now, and this particular theory concerning Joo-won and Ra-im’s father has been circling the wagons for what seems like half a century now. Finally, an episode where we find out enough to change how we go from here on out.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Back in their own bodies, Joo-won collapses in the elevator, gasping for breath. Ra-im screams into the phone but he doesn’t answer, so she calls Ah-young in a panic, to tell her where Joo-won is trapped. She calls 119 (Korean equivalent of 911) and then grabs a taxi to rush over.
In voiceover, we hear Ra-im’s father say a prayer to the gods for the strength to save a life, as he lives in fear, praying for it to rain. He asks to be prepared and that if he is destined to lose his life to save another, he asks the gods to take care of his wife and daughter. I don’t necessarily read this as happening in the present, as it is probably what he regularly prayed when he was alive. (But it can be read as an actual monologue “looking down” on events; it’s open to interpretation.) Seeing as how he’s a firefighter, it’s not surprising that rain would be seen as a salvation in his eyes, and why the rain motif holds the supernatural power that it does.
Secretary Kim, frantic and screaming in terror, gets the emergency crew to pry open the elevator, which is stuck between two floors. I’ve actually experienced this exact thing, and I can tell you, minus the claustrophobia, it’s still crazy scary.
Joo-won is already unconscious by the time he gets rushed to the hospital, and Ra-im follows the ambulance straight there. Director Park arrives as well, but can’t go in, for fear of what he’s done. He swears to his assistant that he was just curious to see if Joo-won would really take the elevator; this isn’t what he intended. But they sneak out anyway, unable to face him.
Ra-im comes up to the room as Ji-hyun comes out. She recognizes Ra-im from when Joo-wonda came to see her, but Ra-im doesn’t (although she should, from Episode 14, yeah? See, it’s confusing for everyone when you’re doing so much switchy-unswitchy-re-re-re-switchy.)
Ra-im walks in cautiously, and Joo-won sits up. Angry, he asks what the hell she was doing in the elevator. Crying, Ra-im says she’s sorry—she just wanted to show him (Director Park) that he could do it, and never imagined that it would get stuck.
Joo-won sighs and tells her to come close, and pulls her in for a hug. He apologizes as he holds her, saying that he was scared he’d never get to see her again. She says the same, and cries on his shoulder.
He asks how the audition went, and she looks down. Joo-won can’t believe she ditched her dream audition, but she counters that there was nothing else she could think of when he got trapped. He gets dressed and they rush out of there, against doctor’s orders, to try and make the auditions before they end. They arrive too late, and the cleaning crew is all that’s left.
It’s perhaps the first real consequence I’ve seen from their body swap—that he cares more than she does right now about her audition. It might be all that time he spent training and preparing to actually go in her stead, but generally it’s just nice to see him caring about HER life in some way that’s not you’re-so-lucky-to-be-in-my-sparkly-presence.
Oska earns back his good name, and the fickle press rushes him to ask how it feels to defend his honor. He thanks Chae-ri for coming forward about the songwriter selling her that same song, and brushes off questions about a scandal with her. Seul watches from afar, happy to see him clear his name.
She returns to her office to find Oska sitting there, eating tofu (symbolic of getting out of jail, a superstition to keep from going back). He wants to celebrate his day with her, but she’s not going to let him into her life that easily, and announces that she’s headed to LOEL.
Oska jumps up, asking if she’s still trying to marry Joo-won, to which she says “why not,” since he’s so awesome. Oska is quick to tell her how NOT awesome Joo-won is, and declares that he was going to go shopping anyway (for Chae-ri’s present) and offers to tag along. He gets the devil eye at the mention of asking her to help pick out another girl’s present (yeah, big no-no).
He thinks it’s cute how they’re bickering like the old days, but she sets him straight—who wants to go back to the old days? Those were the hardest days of her life, no thanks to him, and asks why he’s so quick to forgive himself. Ouch. She runs into her office and lets out a tear, as Oska watches from the window.
Joo-won and Ra-im end up back at her place, dejected from the missed audition. He hugs her and promises to make it so that she can audition, and she looks up at him like a little girl, wondering if such a miracle could happen. He tells her to trust him, and that he can’t stand to see her cry anymore.
On his way out, he runs into Jong-soo, who’s been waiting in front of Ra-im’s house and thinks that it’s still Ra-im in his body. He asks what happened with the audition, and Joo-won sets him straight about it being him back in his own body (for which he gets a long-awaited punch in the face, heh) and that he intends on getting Ra-im another shot at Dark Blood. Jong-soo doesn’t see how, as the director has already moved on to Japan.
So Joo-won heads over to Oska’s, where he’s greeted with another wary “Who are you?” Oska can tell right away from the rude word choice that it’s Joo-won, and he confirms it. He asks Oska for his help tracking down the director, using his contacts in Japan.
Oska: “So, if I do this for you, what do I get out of it?” Joo-won: “What do you want?” Oska: “Gil Ra-im.” Joo-won: “Wanna die?” Haha. Oska tells him to move out then, or get a hotel room. Joo-won can’t, as he doesn’t want to further advertise his instability to investors, who have already made bets on how long he’ll last after the PDA at the party.
Oska: “Yeah, so who told you to kiss her and advertise to the world that you’re crazy?” Joo-won shrugs and just says it couldn’t be helped; it was something he waited too long for.
Ra-im cries over the lost audition, while Joo-won spends the whole night calling the director and spouting his importance like the lunatic that he is. And because this has no foothold on reality, the director actually calls him back directly, as if leaving fifty bratty messages somehow gets you what you want in life. He hilariously charters a private jet to get the director to come back to Korea on his way to Hong Kong, just to give Ra-im another chance. Well, points for having that private jet handy.
He escorts the director to the set of Ra-im’s latest movie, where they watch her do her thing. As Joo-won promised, five minutes was all he needed to see, but he leaves with zero indication of interest.
This time Joo-won’s visit to the set is actually well-meaning and sweet, as he tells Ra-im that he just wanted to see her face (rather than have her be disappointed in having Dark Blood‘s director come all this way and dismiss her). He buys the whole crew lunch, and jokes that he’s going to tell this new director that she’s his Kim Tae-hee and Jeon Do-yeon right away, just to set things straight.
He heads back to work to find out who trapped him in the elevator, and it’s not long before Director Park is standing in front of him, confessing to the whole thing. He says that he just wanted to check if he’d really take the elevator, and Joo-won is surprised that he’s known about his condition all this time. He wonders why he’s confessing, and Director Park says sincerely that being a usurper is better than being a murderer; he’s happy that Joo-won is well, and offers his resignation. Joo-won hesitates, but accepts it, as Director Park’s face falls.
As Ra-im broods over the Dark Blood script one last time, her father says in voiceover: “That’s right, Ra-im. Don’t look back on it. That’s not something you were supposed to do. My daughter is okay now. I’m relieved.” This one is very much his present monologue looking down at her. Ten points for everyone who voted for deadly movie over deadly illness.
Oska interrupts Seul’s yoga class to write her a message on placards like she’d done for him many times. He writes asking her to forgive him, the guy who forgave himself too quickly. Another asks if it really wasn’t her who liked the roasted chestnuts. The last says that he’s leaving for now, and that she’s the prettiest one in the room…and he’s the second. HA!
He leaves to go meet Tae-sun, asking him to sign with him, since he’s decided not to sign with Seul. Tae-sun asks why he’s so obsessed; does Oska like him? Oska, not reading between the lines, replies that of course he does. Tae-sun tries again, reminding him that he likes dudes, and Oska just stupidly says, “Yeah, so go ahead and like guys! I like girls! So?” Simple, simple Oska.
Oska tells him that their fates were sealed the second Tae-sun decided to help him with the plagiarism scandal—now there’s a friendship there that he can’t escape if he tried. He steals Tae-sun’s mp3 player as hostage and leaves him to think it over. Tae-sun pretends to be surly in front of him, but as soon as Oska walks out, his face breaks into a smile. Aw.
When Oska gets home, he’s curious and picks up Tae-sun’s mp3 player, and finds a song he’s written, called “Oska.” Double Aw.
Ra-im arrives to pick up her stuff, announcing that she’s returned to her own body. He gives her a 2011 Oska calendar (imma need one of those to give jb for Christmas) and she asks him something she’s been curious about for a while: why does he always lose to Joo-won on purpose?
Oska smiles, surprised that she noticed, since everyone else always thinks that he gets run over by Joo-won instead. She says it’s because even while he’s losing, his face shows that he’s happy. Oska is impressed, and notes again that she’s quite a woman. He asks her to take care of Joo-won.
In answer to her question, he says that Joo-won experienced something when he was twenty-one that he shouldn’t have, and had a hard time and became depressed afterward. He stopped interacting and talking, so Oska did the only thing he could do to get a reaction: bug him and taunt him, that way he’d at least connect with him over annoyance. Aw, that’s the sweetest reason for a big brother taunting someone if I’ve ever heard of one.
She asks what the traumatic event was, and Oska tells her to hear it directly from Joo-won…when he remembers. He tells her that he has no memory of what happened, since he’s repressed it to survive.
She walks out with her bags, contemplating what Oska told her, when Joo-won pulls up to the house. He tells her she should’ve called, and wonders if Oska made fun of him. Ra-im: “My oppa isn’t that kind of person.” He offers to take her home and stop somewhere for tea, which she declines with a “I already had some…with my oppa.” Heh. I love when she uses her fan-oppa relationship with Oska to tease him.
He takes her home, and has finally had enough. He sits her down for a talk. Joo-won: “Stop calling Woo-young hyung ‘my oppa.’ From now on, I’m your oppa. If you call anyone else ‘oppa,’ I’ll consider it cheating.” Hahaha. Where was this conversation when we needed it?
She just looks at him sideways, raising his ire. He declares that she’s done weird things to steal his heart, given him strange liquor to steal his body, and shown up at the party to steal his lips. She scoffs at his ability to color the truth (I’d say more like rewrite history) and he counters that it’s the only way he’d end up falling for her and thinking that she’s so pretty.
She circles January 8 on her calendar, and he asks what it’s for. Duh, you were told when you were in her body. Is there some sort of memory wipe involved this time or something? He fixates on her reacquiring an Oska calendar for yet another year, and she calls him out on messing up the other one, which he deliciously points out he did with her own hands.
He pulls her down to the bed and she warns him that Ah-young could come home at any minute, which he brushes off. He wonders how her eyes are so pretty and what feature will be pretty tomorrow, and she gives him a little kiss, as a way to repay on a bunch of hugs owed, all at once.
Meanwhile, Mom gets the report that Ra-im is back at her place, and Joo-won is staying at Oska’s. Her secretary asks vaguely if she’s going to do that thing she does every year, and she replies that she always does.
Oska’s mom crashes the meeting with a panic in her voice. Well, let’s just say it’s slightly more shrill than her average shrill. She throws down a front-page story with Seul and Oska connected as a couple, and asks what on earth this girl is doing, going on a blind date with one cousin and starting a scandal with the other. Joo-won’s mom just assumes that Oska stole her out from under Joo-won.
Oska finds Seul on a location scout and presents the newspaper with a huge smile on his face, but her reaction is the opposite, as she asks him if he denied it, and to keep his phone on to answer any calls and kill any other stories. His face falls as he realizes…this is what he said to her when they were dating the first time.
He realizes that the things he remembers—the fun, happy times, are all conveniently happy memories from his perspective alone. He shouts, almost more at himself than at her, “What have I done to you?” She fields a call about the story and denies their relationship right in front of him, and he pulls her in for a hug in response, as the crowd snaps away around them.
Joo-won, back at Oska’s house, looks at the calendar as he remembers Jong-soo asking about the anniversary of Ra-im’s father’s death. He starts to put the pieces together…he died when Ra-im was seventeen, which makes it thirteen years ago, which matches up to his age (twenty-one) when he had his accident. He looks back to his calendar from thirteen years ago, and sees that it’s the same date exactly—the date of his accident, and the day Ra-im’s dad died.
Oska comes home and Joo-won tells him about the coincidence—not that he remembers the day, but that he has a record of that day from the hospital. He adds that when he was trapped in that elevator (which is news to Oska) he remembered something. He asks if his accident was actually an elevator incident, and not a traffic accident like his entire family has been saying all these years.
He goes to see Ji-hyun, and she pretends not to know what he’s talking about, but he calls her out along with his family for lying. She admits as much, because the shock was too much for him to handle after the accident, so they all decided to just tell him that it was a mild traffic accident. She advises him to try and move on, but he feels the need to remember it all, because he can’t quite put his finger on it, but he feels like he lost something important.
Ra-im helps Ah-young shop for a present for Secretary Kim, and Ah-young worries that the rumor is true—that Joo-won is dying of some terminal illness and only has three months to live. Ra-im insists that’s not why he collapsed in the elevator, but Ah-young’s imagination won’t let it go.
Ra-im leaves to go visit her father’s ashes, but finds that someone is already there with flowers…Joo-won’s mother. She asks how she knows her father, and Mom almost goes into shock to find out that Ra-im is his daughter.
Mom stumbles home in utter disbelief, as she remembers Ra-im’s hurt and angry words that her father is someone who risked his life to save countless others and that his memory is not something that she can just disrespect. She stares, horrified, “How can it be?”
Joo-won orders a handbag accessory to be designed after the cat that Ra-im likes, and he draws a version for them to use.
Ra-im goes back to work, teaching the trainees how to do wirework. One of the guys who has a crush on her uses the opportunity to flirt, and gets caught in the act by Joo-won. He gets all huffy that she tells the other guy he was brave, and declares that he’s brave too; whatever it is, he can do it. Cue chorus of laughs as Joo-won hangs in the air, flailing around and screaming for dear life.
They walk home together with groceries, as Ra-im plans to cook dinner. He puts his arm around her saying that he’s cold, and she shakes him off, replying that she’s hot. He takes it to the bow-chicka-bow-wow place, wondering why she’s hot when she’s with him, and tries to ask if they can **eyebrow raise** tonight, or tomorrow…
She’s about to shoot him down when she gets a frantic text from Ah-young, warning her that Joo-won’s mother is at the apartment. She ditches Joo-won with an excuse and rushes over alone.
She walks in and braces herself for yet another onslaught. But this time Mom is calm as she starts describing Joo-won’s accident from thirteen years ago…and the fireman who rescued him…and lost his life…
She realized it today, when she saw Ra-im at the cemetery, because she was there to honor the man who saved her son. Ra-im stands there in shock, not wanting to believe it.
Mom slowly gets down on her knees, as Ra-im gasps and tears fall. Mom’s eyes well up with tears as she says that she’ll repay her with unfathomable amounts of money. She begs her not to hold onto Joo-won any longer, and to please let him go.
While the connection between Ra-im’s father and Joo-won wasn’t really very surprising, it was played out well in this episode, as a matter of laying the pieces down throughout the hour as the main storyline, while other things went on in the background. I’m just glad we didn’t drag out each piece paaaaainstakingly over the course of the next four episodes, as I was really hoping to have answers to the past to change the character dynamics in the time we have remaining. Frankly, while I like the couple together, they’re less exciting in the lovey-dovey dynamic, and I found myself caring much more about the Seul-Oska-Tae-sun triangle because well, it’s still unfinished.
At least now we have our tragic twist of fate, and we can see how it changes the couple and how they see their happily ever after. Listen, any change of course at this point is welcome, as the plot was in a lull for a while. I’m actually kind of looking forward to some angst, with the big fat caveat that it be handled well, oh dear god. If everyone stays as forthright and talkative as they have in this episode, we’re good. If people start taking Noble Idiot pills, we will have words, Show.
- Secret Garden: Episode 15
- Secret Garden: Episode 14
- Secret Garden: Episode 13
- Secret Garden: Episode 12
- Secret Garden: Episode 11
- Secret Garden: Episode 10
- Secret Garden: Episode 9
- Secret Garden: Episode 8
- Secret Garden: Episode 7
- Secret Garden: Episode 6
- Secret Garden: Episode 5
- Secret Garden: Episode 4
- Secret Garden: Episode 3
- Secret Garden: Episode 2
- Secret Garden: Episode 1