Secret Garden: Episode 19
We’re almost there! Phew, what a roller-coaster journey this drama has been, and this episode is no different — it takes us from one extreme to another, serving up some silly moments, light romantic beats, cute comedy, and then more melodrama with lots of angsty tears. Talk about a wild ride.
SONG OF THE DAY
Secret Garden OST – “이유” (Reason) by 4men [ Download ]
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Ra-im pulls back as Joo-won asks if they’ve kissed before. She starts reciting Joo-won’s “Kim su-han-mu, the tortoise and the crane…” chant, saying that she’s protecting him till his memory comes back, like he’d protected her.
He balks at the frank way she speaks to him, but she’s unruffled and tells her not to order her around. Plus, if he wants to see her, then he should come to her, rather than having her summoned. Why could she not be this assertive with the 34-year-old Joo-won? In any case, 21-year-old Joo-won is startled and even backs up, which is hilarious.
He instructs her to move her stuff here until he figures out why he likes her — and later, to leave upon his say-so. Nice that his sense of romance is still intact.
Ra-im goes one step further by casually offering to be the Little Mermaid and disappear into bubbles. She tells him to think it over, and leaves.
He has no idea what to with her, and her newfound confidence in their love just compounds his confusion. From outside, she turns back to give him a jaunty wave, and Joo-won wonders, “Why is her smile so pretty?”
He chases her down to offer a ride, and she asks why it took him so long to catch up, as she was walking extra slowly and “looking totally pretty from the back.” Gah, maybe Joo-won left his conceit behind in her body after the last swap.
At the action school, Ra-im hears disappointing news: the Dark Blood crew have opted to go for a Hong Kong actress instead. She bears the news well and optimistically says that just getting the role was enough to fulfill her dream.
Jong-soo tells Joo-won not to forget who Ra-im is, or that he put up his own life for her. That confuses Joo-won, who asks himself, “I risked my life for a short-legged woman like that?”
Despite the cheery face in front of her teammates, Ra-im is more disheartened about losing the job than she let on, and she broods alone in the locker room, remembering all the work she’d put into the project. Joo-won finds her there and can see that the movie was important to her; she tells him that he’d made the miracle happen for her, and apologizes since it didn’t work out.
Joo-won takes this moment to ask Ra-im about one of her habits (how she makes use of leftover soap pieces), and she starts to reply before realizing that there’s no way that this (amnesiac) Joo-won would know that. He explains that he’d seen it in her locker, then realizes he hasn’t.
At this sign that his memory might be trickling back, Ra-im waits anxiously while he thinks, trying to recall more things… like Ra-im wearing sexy lingerie. Which earns him a swift kick to the shin.
Seul finds Tae-sun staying at Oska’s place, and they engage in a round of not-quite-jealous-sparring, with Tae-sun smirking that he didn’t leave Korea because Oska kept him back. He even pointedly asks Seul’s age, which raises her hackles — is the pretty boy actually trying to suggest he’s more appealing because he’s younger than her?
Oska joins them, as clueless as ever, and merely tells Seul that he’s gotta keep Tae-sun nearby in case he runs away. Seul snaps, “And what if I run away?”
He takes her aside for some business talk — he’s resuming activities with his new album and an MV — and Seul asks Oska if Tae-sun is gay. She’s shocked that Oska knew all this while, but he still hasn’t put two and two together and says that it’s “not like that” between them. Seul is sharper to pick up on the vibe and says that his thick-headedness is why he goes around hurting people without knowing it.
Joo-won interrupts the conversation, and is immediately taken with Seul’s beauty, to Oska’s disgruntlement. Joo-won flatters her while Oska blusters that she’s not for him, and she gets to enjoy the reversal of being the object of jealousy, rather than the one feeling it. Heh.
Mom drops by, and Joo-won tells her about the girlfriend he has discovered he has. Mom is pleased at Joo-won’s assessment of Ra-im as lacking feminine coyness and having only a so-so figure.
He can see from her reaction that she dislikes Ra-im, and she asks eagerly, “If I say I don’t like her, will you stop dating her?” But no, Joo-won shakes his head like a little boy and replies, “No~ope. I like her.”
Joo-won asks his mother about the firefighter who’d saved him from the elevator, wondering if it would be too strange to pop up now, 13 years later, to thank the man. Mom’s smile falters and she uneasily says that he shouldn’t since she already took care of it, but agrees to look up his information to satisfy him.
Ah-young is shocked to hear that her dreams were right-on, because she dreamt another one last night, and it was spooky enough that she’s afraid of sharing it.
Pressed to answer, Ah-jung explains dreaming of a tall black door, in front of which three children wearing white were crying. Joo-won was also on the side crying, while Ra-im yelled. Upon waking, Ah-jung had been filled with foreboding.
Joo-won calls Ra-im for some spa time, declaring that his purpose is to check out her figure. Oh, boys and their one-track minds.
She gets annoyed when he says he’s done this with other women, though she gets back at him by insinuating that she’s also had quite a bit of experience with men. She repeats the comments he’d misinterpreted at their first meeting (about men liking to “do it” on roofs and in cars, when she’d been referring to stunts and he’d assumed she meant more frisky activity).
Joo-won retorts that she can’t fool him with the same line twice — another slip that reveals that he’s getting back snippets of his memory.
She’s so happy that she hugs him, and he says suggestively that he might be on the cusp of remembering other things… while trailing his hand lower down her back. Incorrigible.
Ra-im twists his arm (literally), pinning it painfully behind his back, and shows him a more accurate representation of what their physical relationship was like. (I know that it’s a funny gag for this moment, but is anyone else bothered about the actual truth in that statement?)
When Joo-won drops her off at her place later that night, his reaction is just as it was the first time. Horrified that he’d be involved with someone so poor, he tells her to erase his number from her phone, and immediately leaves.
Oska loves Tae-sun’s song and ruffles his hair affectionately, which earns him an annoyed glare. I know Tae-sun may end up with a bruised heart, but I do love all the double entendres and hidden meanings in their interactions — meanings to which Oska remains solidly oblivious.
Joo-won comes in — wearing his blue tracksuit, earning him a round of mocking from both Oska and Tae-sun — and asks his cousin about what kind of woman Ra-im is. Oska starts to answer that she’s his fan, and hearing that is enough for Joo-won to decide that she won’t do. Ha.
It’s time for another Mom face-off as Seul meets with Oska’s mother, but this one thankfully yields much more instant gratification than the angst of that other Mom. Oska’s mother is insulted that Seul would date Joo-won and then switch to Oska, and starts to tell her off.
Oska arrives and asks his mother to back off, defending Seul, but that just earns him a whack on the head with Mom’s purse. She heaps disapproving scorn onto her son and raises her hand a second time to knock some sense into him… only to find her hand blocked in midair.
Both mother and son are stunned at Seul’s audacity, but she holds firm and merely suggests they talk things out over drinks. And so the trio relocates to a bar, to duke things out the Korean way: showdown by liquor.
Seul and Mom take turns taking shots — both in the drinking sense, and the verbal offense sense, volleying back and forth. I love that while these two ladies trade barbs, Oska sits there meekly, pouring drinks and trying to stay out of it, not wanting to get caught in the crossfire between his two women.
The mood takes a turn when Mom takes out her facial spray, worried that the alcohol will dry out her skin, and Seul notes that this is a habit they share. She takes her own spray out, and then Seul and Mom actually bond over their cosmetics preferences.
Oska can’t believe this — they’ve gone from fighting over him to acting like spa buddies, and when he complains, Mom just asks, “Are you still here?” Seul tells him that if he’s bored, he could sing (meaning: Get out of our hair and go occupy yourself with the karaoke, boy). LMAO.
In fact, Seul and Mom are still drinking later when he arrives home. He receives some good news, though — he’s been contracted as a spokesperson advocating nonsmoking, which means his public image has recovered and his days of hardship are over.
Oska drops by the action school to check on Ra-im and ask how things are with 21-year-old Joo-won. Ra-im answers that she finds him and his youthful energy adorable, even with his pervy tendencies. He’s also starting to remember in bits and pieces, which is promising.
Oska drives her home, and they banter back and forth in their mock-flirtatious way like they used to — until Joo-won interrupts to say, “What a pretty picture.” Just like old times indeed.
Joo-won protests at their cozy vibe — didn’t she say she loved him? What are they doing together? Thoroughly enjoying this, Ra-im links arms with Oska and invites “oppa” in for tea while Joo-won ineffectually demands an explanation.
Standing at a distance is Mom’s personal secretary, who has grown tired of this constant routine (you’re not the only one, buddy) and wishes dearly that Joo-won could be better about avoiding the secretary’s surveillance. The secretary reluctantly takes out his phone to report to Mom, who actually has the temerity to blame the Gils for forcing her to “stoop this low” for her next move. Responsibility, she knows not what it is.
While Ra-im fixes Oska coffee, Joo-won complains about the Oska poster hanging on her wall. But he gets back at them by saying that if Ra-im and Oska date, then he can have Seul (with her 36-24-34 measurements) — a comment that raises the hackles of both.
Mom calls Joo-won (in time to break up a brewing fight as Oska kicks Joo-won in retaliation) to admit the “truth” about the firefighter. She says that he was Ra-im’s father, but also that Ra-im had used this knowledge to bind Joo-won to her, preying on his guilty conscience.
Joo-won asks Oska to leave them alone, and gets straight to the point. Did her father’s death have anything to do with his accident? She confirms it, and tells him that to explain everything that happened between them would make for a very long story (and don’t we know it).
She starts to tell him the whole truth, but he declines to hear it, saying coolly that this is something he’ll have to remember on his own. If it’s true that she tricked him before and is trying to trick him now, he might fall for it again.
He goes home to work things through, and asks his housekeeper why she doesn’t clear away the cash on his bedside table. She answers that he’d been very attached to the 45,000 won, in addition to a few other items.
He sits there pondering the pile of seemingly random objects stacked in front of him, wondering what he could have possibly valued so dear about that vacuum, or basket of tangerines, or women’s clothing.
He calls Secretary Kim to ask about them, but Secretary Kim wails in frustration, “How am I to know that?”
In a bit of self-parody, Ah-young happens to get cappuccino foam on her lip, and Secretary Kim recognizes that as his chance to make a move. Offering to wipe it for her, he leans in and kisses her — only the reaction he gets is not as romantic as he’d hoped. Ah-young shoves him back and throws water in his face for kissing her without her permission, and he pouts that the guys never wait for permission in the movies. Yeah, well that’s the price you pay for thinking that scenes in dramas are acceptable real-life behavior.
Oska calls Seul out to take her for a walk, ignoring her protests that people will see since that that’s the point. Taking her hand, he walks with his head held high while bystanders gawk, and when people ask questions, he declares frankly that he’s dating Seul. He tells Seul that this is their first time walking outside holding hands, like a normal couple.
A few petulant fangirls complain that this is betrayal, but he says he wants to date too — he’s 36, not an idol boy — and urges them to jump ship to 2PM or Beast instead. LOL.
In his library, Joo-won finds the page left in his copy of Alice in Wonderland, and now the last line has been altered, with lines added:
“The Little Mermaid was about to disappear, and at that moment, the prince realized the truth and said to the princess, ‘Is this the best you can do? Are you sure?’ and broke off the engagement. He ran to the Little Mermaid, but she’d noticed the water bubbles and developed an air-bubble washing machine and became a chaebol. Meanwhile, the prince went broke with a bad investment and became the Little Mermaid’s Secretary Kim, and they lived a long, long, really looooong time.”
OMG. That’s priceless.
Joo-won initially scoffs at this childish story, ready to dismiss it, but then recognizes his own handwriting. Puzzling over that, he recalls Ra-im’s offer to turn into the Little Mermaid, and finally, that does the trick — it triggers his memories, which come flooding back to him.
Joo-won races outside, heading for Ra-im while his brain releases fragments in quick succession. They come in a barrage, in reverse order, starting with the most recent memories and finally landing on one we haven’t yet seen — from the firefighter’s funeral thirteen years ago, when a teenage Ra-im had sobbed for her father. That last one stuns him, because it’s one that’s been repressed for the last thirteen years (as opposed to the past week).
When he shows up at her door, she thinks he’s still upset about the news of her father and starts to explain. To her surprise, he grabs her in a hug, which awakens the hope that he’s recovered his memory.
However, Joo-won deflates her hopes by telling her that he hasn’t remembered, and furthermore, he announces that he’s planning to go on another blind date with another bride candidate. He says that the more she insists that they were in love, the more he can’t believe it, since she’s not his type.
Ra-im looks at him with hurt and confusion, as he tells her that she’s pretty dumb not to catch on — of course he remembers, that’s why he’s here.
Realizing that he was just pulling her leg, Ra-im starts to cry, which startles him enough that he apologizes for teasing.
He kisses her on the forehead, and tells her, “I love you. That one’s mine.” She’s still smarting from the lie and calls him a jerk, so he repeats the kiss and adds, “I really love you. That’s your father’s.”
Now that his entire memory is intact, Joo-won relates the story of his accident, when he’d been stuck inside that elevator with an injured leg, fearing that he was going to die. As Ra-im’s father had gone to check for more survivors, he’d prayed that prayer for safety.
When the doors opened, Joo-won saw a firefighter holding out a hand. But with his leg injury, he couldn’t reach, so the man had entered the elevator and given him oxygen. While the elevator had shaken on its unsteady cables, the doors had slammed shut and Ra-im’s father had radioed for help. Ra-im’s father had used his axe to force the doors open, and lifted Joo-won out.
Joo-won had reached down to pull Dad up, just as the elevator started to shake. Immediately Ra-im’s father had known he wouldn’t make it, and perhaps Joo-won had sensed it too, because he had grabbed the man’s hand even tighter and begged him to climb up.
Ra-im’s father, however, had pulled his hand out of his grasp, knowing that if held onto it, both of them might die. He’d insisted that Joo-won escape to safety, ignoring Joo-won’s sobs, and asked him to tell his daughter that he loved her.
With the cable ready to snap, Dad had shoved Joo-won back — just as the elevator crashed down the shaft into flames.
Ra-im sobs as Joo-won finishes the story, ending on her father’s last words and apologizing for taking so long to pass along the message. Ra-im tells him it’s okay and thanks him for letting her know how much she was loved.
Together, they visit Dad’s memorial vault to pay their respects, and Joo-won again apologizes (this time to Dad) for being so slow to convey his last words. In fact, he’d tried once before to pass along the message, but had been unable to — he means the day he’d seen Ra-im sobbing at the funeral, but Ra-im looks at him curiously at the comment.
Joo-won thanks Dad for saving him and asks for his daughter’s hand, promising to make her happy for the rest of her life.
Afterward, he wonders (with an uncertainty that is endearing) whether her father would’ve liked him, and seems genuinely upset when she says no — why would he like the guy who’s always making his daughter cry?
She tells him there’s only one way to remedy that — for them to love each other like crazy. He smiles at that, because that’s one task they’ve got well covered.
Joo-won’s mother expresses her joy at the return of Joo-won’s memory, but her smile fades when he asks pointedly if she’s truly happy rather than fearful. He trusted her, “But you were bad till the end.” Not only did she act wrongly to him and Ra-im, but to herself as well by making up such a horrible lie.
She shrills, “So what of that stupid little lie?” He replies evenly, “You weren’t always right, but when you weren’t being right, you were still always confident and cool. I loved that mother. But this time, you’ve lost both your confidence and me. So from now on, I won’t live as your son. I’m truly sorry, but I’ve lived as your son for 34 years. For the rest of my life, I’ll live as her husband.”
I sort of think this drama has a Monet-like effect — from a distance it’s pretty and seems to have all the elements of an engaging, addicting drama, like the beautiful scenery, wonderful acting, engaging music, pretty color palette, and so on. It’s up close that things start to fall apart a bit, particularly when we’re talking about plot logic — like the whole body-swapping gimmick, the magical element, the various different amnesias that Joo-won suffers. And, most frustratingly, the whole Mom-opposition dance. WE GET IT. Mom no likey the girlfriends. That’s really been the core conflict this whole drama through, and when even her secretary sighs from fatigue at this never-ending storyline, I wanted to tell him sympathetically, “Believe me, I’m right there with ya, dude.”
That aside, I’m thankful that people are FINALLY standing up to her, although Joo-won’s already stood up to her before on more than one occasion. But this time Ra-im is there with him, after having gotten her father’s permission to stop bowing her head apologetically (not that I see why she couldn’t have held her head high before that last wine-drinking dream).
But it’s more fun to think about the things I liked about this episode, like the Seul/Tae-sun showdown (mild though it was), and the Seul/Mom showdown (which was GREAT), and most of all, Joo-won’s awesome amendment to his Little Mermaid story. Truth be told, despite Hyun Bin’s awesome portrayal of Joo-won I haven’t really liked the character for much of the drama (and for an even more unpopular opinion, I haven’t really liked Ra-im much either — definitely not much until recent episodes).
But the story revision shows growth on his part, and I love that not only did he essentially concede that his whole Little Mermaid analogy was utter bunk, he reworked it to elevate Ra-im, to make her (well, the Little Mermaid) a self-made woman who created her own success. He didn’t just have the Little Mermaid marry a chaebol to become a chaebol through marriage, but made her a chaebol through her own effort.
- Secret Garden: Episode 18
- Secret Garden: Episode 17
- Secret Garden: Episode 16
- 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