Nice Guy: Episode 11
It’s everyone’s turn to play Hide The (Amnesiac) Chaebol, with no one excelling at the game quite as well as Maru. It’s nice to see him have purpose again, even if that purpose is saving our resident damsel in distress from Jae-hee’s evil clutches. Unfortunately for him, most of his forward momentum takes him out of the frying pan and into the fire, and he’s going to be facing his fair share now that we’re getting all our big players under one corporate roof.
Ratings for Nice Guy have been declining bit by bit lately, starting this week off at 14.3%. Not bad, but not Episode 7’s 17.3%, either.
SONG OF THE DAY
Nice Guy OST – Jo Eun – “A Good Person” [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
After Maru forces Jae-sik to come to a stop, he then proceeds to drag him out of the driver’s seat, demanding to know who ordered him to do the kidnapping.
Jae-sik pleads innocent until the end and claims he was just bringing Eun-ki to Maru, and Maru’s stopped from doing serious damage when Eun-ki intervenes. While Jae-sik uses this opportunity to run away, Maru tears into Eun-ki about her stupidity in getting into a stranger’s car.
Apparently she intervened without realizing that she’d even been drugged, and then when Maru tells her that he never asked Jae-sik to bring him, the conclusion Eun-ki comes to… is that Maru’s mad because Jae-sik was going to bring her without his permission? Oy, Eun-ki. I can’t be mad at you with your cognitive difficulties, but still.
Eun-ki: “Do you hate me that much? I didn’t think that you’d hate me, abhor me, that much. If I had known, I wouldn’t have looked for you.” He tries to drag her to his car, but she wrenches herself out of his grasp with tears in her eyes, apologizing for ever asking him to remember her, help her, or wait for her.
She still doesn’t think Jae-sik did anything wrong, and even tells Maru not to blame him, but her. The look on Maru’s face is something close to disbelief, but when he grabs her wrist this time, it’s no joke. Still, she wrenches free again.
Eun-ki admits to knowing she’s pitiful for clinging to him and confessing her love, but now she wants to end it. “Don’t make me any more miserable, please. Even if I’ve lost my memories, I know how embarrassing I am.”
Maru lets her walk away while she blames herself, and looks on silently. Why wouldn’t you just force her to watch Taken, point at it, and tell her that’s what was going to happen to her? Or, inversely, just tell her that you saved her from slavery?
As Eun-ki cries on her cab ride home, Maru sits in his car pensively. In voiceover, we hear him say, “Don’t you know what I had to do to send you away? What can I do now that you’ve returned? Seo Eun-ki, you fool.”
And Jae-hee is just as nervous as she stares at Jae-sik’s picture of Eun-ki. We flash back to reveal a conversation she had with her brother, who’d known enough to use her fear of Eun-ki returning against her.
Ah, so it wasn’t Min-young who paid Jae-sik to get rid of Eun-ki, because he’d told him that he didn’t have the authority to make that decision. Which is why Jae-sik took his footage to Jae-hee, threatening to reveal Eun-ki’s existence to everyone if she didn’t give him something in return.
The signs seem to point to Jae-hee ordering the kidnapping, having promised Jae-sik property and money as compensation. He sends her a text later that night that says the situation has been resolved. And by the way, can she give him that building any sooner?
Meanwhile, Secretary Hyun tries to get a reluctant Eun-ki to see her doctor for more therapy. She’s not sold on the idea since she feels like she’s made no progress, and continues to listen to “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, the very song she’d listened to with Maru on their first car ride out to retrieve his sister.
In order to drown out what she doesn’t want to hear from Secretary Hyun, Eun-ki continues to raise the volume on the song, until she remembers Maru doing that exact thing in the car. She remembers that ride, at least.
And Maru, still sitting in his car but in a different place, remembers Eun-ki telling him that she won’t cling to him anymore and makes a call.
Cut to Jae-sik betting away all he has in a smoky gambling den, clearly counting on receiving a boost from Jae-hee soon. He ignores seven missed calls from Maru in the process.
He calls Jae-hee to demand where his money is right after she’s ended a call to the police. Sirens flash as officers arrive to raid the place, and Jae-sik instantly suspects Jae-hee of calling them. “I know exactly what kind of person you are,” he grits out, like he’s suddenly in a higher place to judge.
But they’re two sides of the same coin, since Jae-hee knows exactly what kind of person he is, and knows that his blackmail and extortion wouldn’t just end at one measly building, or money. “You’d blackmail me, torture me, my entire life.”
Curiously, she then tells him, “Our Eun-ki. What happened to her? I’ve told you not to touch a single hair on her body. I told you specifically that if you touch my child, I won’t let it go. I won’t stay still even if you are my brother or anyone else. I warned you.”
That all makes it sound like she didn’t order the kidnapping, only for Jae-sik to fire back that she ordered him to do it. She acts innocent as she asks, “When did I? Where? Do you have evidence?”
Oh, man. So she did order it, but double-crossed her brother in the process. (Not that he didn’t deserve it.) She lets him know how easy it would be to lock him in prison for a decade, only then she tells him that she’ll give him immeasurable wealth once he gets out. Which is kind of like giving the poison and then the cure, isn’t it?
Jae-sik vows to kill his sister as soon as he can get his hands on her, but their conversation is cut short when he’s discovered by the police.
When Maru finally returns home from spending a night in his car, Jae-sik is waiting, bedraggled and grungy. Maru’s first reaction is to shove him against the door, but Jae-sik throws his hands up in defense: “Jae-hee told me to do it! To prevent Seo Eun-ki from coming back to Taesan, she told me to do whatever I want. She told me she would pay me well then.”
Eek. Maru doesn’t seem inclined to believe him until he remembers Secretary Hyun’s fear of Jae-hee where Eun-ki was concerned. Jae-sik claims that he’s telling Maru in order to do the right thing, but honestly, it’s pretty hard to tell when he’s being sincere.
The realization that Jae-hee would be capable of such a feat hits Maru like a ton of bricks, even as Jae-sik falls to his knees to beg Maru to save him from Jae-hee. Okay, now he’s exaggerating the truth. She threatened to throw him in prison, sure, but not that she was going to kill him.
Maru heads straight to Eun-ki’s house after getting her address from Jae-sik, except he’s not the first to arrive – Secretary Jo is already there and reporting via phone to Min-young that he’s found her hiding place.
Min-young’s expression is dark as he tells Secretary Jo that he’ll be sending people there, which just can’t be good in any universe. He’s interrupted when Joon-ha arrives to ask whether Min-young is having a good time trying to kick Eun-ki out of the company.
Min-young is straightforward, and asks Joon-ha why Eun-ki’s being hidden away if she’s living well, even though Joon-ha denies the fact that he knows where she is. Min-young knows better and suggests that he take Eun-ki abroad and live quietly if he loves her that much – that way, the secret he wants to keep from her will stay hidden forever.
Joon-ha isn’t sold and takes his leave (I love that his bow includes a side of “Bitch, please”), but Min-young knows their time is running out. He calls up some men to retrieve Eun-ki, stat.
Maru picks Secretary Hyun up on the way to her house, and asks how he can be of help. “How far is the objective you have? To drag Han Jae-hee down and become the CEO of Taesan, is that the objective?”
She doesn’t answer directly, but grows worried once she sees Secretary Jo snooping around the neighborhood, brainwashing ajummas as is his custom. Maru knows this means Eun-ki is in danger, so Secretary Hyun charges him with saving her while she tries to buy some time.
Luckily he’s the first one to make it to her house, though Eun-ki treats him like a stranger she wants nothing to do with. The last thing she wants is his pity, but when she mentions that he loses his cool and shouts her name to bring her back to her senses. She pushes him away in retaliation and heads inside alone.
Maru picks up the book she threw at him, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, before following her.
Meanwhile, Joon-ha gets a text from Secretary Hyun that Jae-hee found out about the hiding spot, while Secretary Hyun is faced with a smug Secretary Jo. He even makes the call for Eun-ki to be taken right in front of her like he has nothing to fear.
Eun-ki’s locked her bedroom door against Maru, who futilely tries to get her to open it. She throws his words back at him about going places with strangers, and since she now considers him a stranger, she refuses to comply.
While Secretary Hyun keeps stalling Secretary Jo, Maru and Eun-ki stand back to back against her door. Still holding the children’s book, Maru calmly begins to tell the story of their past; how they met on a plane when he performed first aid, and then when she had a motorcycle accident and he fell off the cliff trying to retrieve her doll.
Maru: “‘Why did you do it? What do you want? If you fell off and died, who were you going to blame? You found an easy target, so how much were you going to rip me off for?’ This was the first time I ever saw someone with such an attitude. She was as twisted as she could be. She thought that there was no one she could trust in the world. She was arrogant, overly-confident, cold, and picky. A girl with no manners, not knowing how to say thanks when she needs to, and not knowing how to apologize when she needs to.”
These words move Eun-ki, not necessarily because she believes him, but because she can’t imagine herself being like that. Either way, she opens the door, and Maru grabs her wrist for the umpteenth time this episode and tells her that they can finish reminiscing in the car.
Joon-ha arrives just in time to stop Secretary Jo’s men from scaling Secretary Hyun’s walls, and threatens to throw the book at them if they dare to trespass. Like Secretary Hyun, Joon-ha denies all knowledge of harboring Eun-ki, and succeeds where Secretary Hyun failed to keep them out of her house.
Secretary Hyun knows it’s just a temporary fix, and is relieved to find that Eun-ki’s already been taken away by Maru. Joon-ha stiffens the second he hears that name. Eek.
In the car, Maru reaffirms to Eun-ki that yes, she once was a rude girl. He explains that the third time they met was when she came to his house to find him and expressed herself in nonsense and “bullshit,” when really, she missed him.
More interesting than that is the reveal that he’d long since realized she had a roundabout way of expressing herself, and that her anger was a cover for emotions she was really feeling.
Eun-ki thinks he’s making all this up, and accuses him of pelting her with lies just because she can’t remember the truth. Even when he starts to tell her about the things that happened when they went to find Choco, she cuts off the end of his story by predicting the ending: “I guess I had a fit and was rude and all, right?”
Maru doesn’t correct her, and decides that this is enough reminiscing for the day. In order to cut the silence Eun-ki turns on the car radio, and since the only song on the radio is “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, memories of their car ride return to her.
While Joon-ha repeats Maru’s name over and over in his car, Secretary Jo gives his report to Min-young. He’s sure that Eun-ki is hiding with Secretary Hyun and orders them to break in if they have to, though he seems most curious about why they’d hide Eun-ki in the first place.
He’s called away to a meeting Jae-hee is holding with the board of directors concerning Eun-ki’s dismissal. One of the board members is quick to point out the suspicious nature of Eun-ki’s shares being sold along with this sudden meeting, and doesn’t see the problem with keeping her seat empty for however long it takes her to return.
He makes sure to remind her that she’s an interim chairman and not the actual chairman, which interestingly causes her to change her tactics. Now she speaks like a mother to Eun-ki as she proves to everyone present that she has no intention of returning by showing them the brief video of her.
It’s like she’s speaking from a pedestal she’s never stood on when she claims that, as Eun-ki’s mother, she wants her daughter to live the way she wants. Her tone is self-sacrificing as she admits that Eun-ki has chosen love instead of Taesan, so who is she to interfere?
After this speech, she again asks the members to vote on Eun-ki’s dismissal, and Joon-ha receives a text with the verdict of dismissal shortly after.
After a phone call with Maru, Jae-gil is sure that he must now be on the run. He’s not even surprised since he’s considered it an inevitability, even though it seems like Maru is suggesting that they move.
Regardless, he finds Eun-ki in Maru’s yard and practically dies of happiness to see her. He’s giddy as he tells her how much he and Choco missed her, and how he’s not so sure about Maru because he never said anything. But it was only after the accident that he figured out how important she was to Maru’s life.
He’s therefore a bit deflated when she has no idea who he is. He reminds her about the taxi ride, how he lent her thirty dollars, and how his face is not an easily forgettable one. Eun-ki: “Were we close?” Jae-gil: “…What is this? Is there a hidden camera?” Ha.
Jae-gil finds Maru packing in his room, and seems pleased as punch to have Eun-ki back even after finding out that she’s an amnesiac. Maru informs him that she’ll be living with them from now on and that he needs to pack his things too, because they’re not safe with Jae-sik and Jae-hee knowing where they live.
He’s more surprised that Maru wants to move now, and not the 189257 other times he tried to get him to move. Maru: “Seo Eun-ki came back, didn’t she?”
Ha, Jae-gil’s jaw literally drops: “Were you waiting for Seo Eun-ki all this time?” He ribs his best friend about actually liking her for her and not just using her for, you know, revenge. He’s about one step away from ‘Eun-ki and Maru sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.‘
Maru gets a late night text from Joon-ha asking to meet in a nearby coffee shop. He immediately confronts Maru about his intentions with Eun-ki, knowing that he used her for revenge against Jae-hee in the past.
He threatens Maru with telling Eun-ki about his real objectives and exactly what kind of person he is, to which Maru calls his bluff and tells him to go ahead – if Eun-ki’s final destination isn’t to become CEO of Taesan.
But then he asks Joon-ha, “Do you like Seo Eun-ki?”
Choco’s returned home at Jae-gil’s call, and frets over Eun-ki’s new state. “It’s because of my Oppa, right?” She then sweeps Eun-ki into a hug and assures Unni that she’ll help her regain her memories.
Curiously, she apologizes on Maru’s behalf, and begins to explain something about Maru that Jae-gil hushes her up about. Huh.
Though it seems like Joon-ha is intensely distrustful of Maru, he ends up asking for his help with Eun-ki. He seems dejected when he adds, “More importantly, the one Eun-ki trusts and likes the most… is there anyone else aside from you?”
Maru takes this all in stride, though he asks if that’s all there is to the request. We don’t hear Joon-ha’s answer.
Jae-hee hikes up to Maru’s house that night only to find that he’s long gone, and she sinks down on his porch in tears. Meanwhile Maru drives a car full of sleepy roommates behind the moving truck while Eun-ki grips his hand in her sleep.
The next day, Jae-hee revels in her new position as Chairman of Taesan Group during a celebratory gala. She even smiles to see her new title and name forming a header above the doorway, and launches into a speech to those gathered about how she saved Taesan from ruin during her year as an interim Chairman.
It’s the usual rhetoric said to inspire, though her face falls the second the main doors open. It’s Eun-ki, accompanied by Secretary Hyun.
She knows it’s Eun-ki, we know it’s Eun-ki, the audience is beginning to realize it’s Eun-ki, yet she still tries to carry on her speech, stuttering as she goes.
Only when Eun-ki reaches the podium does she stop, and makes a show about pulling Eun-ki into an embrace while she explains how worried she was. Eun-ki calls her ‘Mother’ and keeps apologizing, though it’s doubtful that her tears are fake.
Joon-ha watches from the audience with a smile as Eun-ki takes the stage, seemingly hiding her insecurities as she faces the crowd and apologizes for taking a year away to recover from her severe accident. Jae-hee’s hands are clenched tight as she sits nearby, her face scrunched up with anxiety.
Eun-ki explains to the crowd that she’s suffering from prosopagnosia, a disorder that affects her ability to recognize faces. “Because my body is still not in perfect condition, until then, I will need to get help from someone.” She looks into the crowd as she says, “Kang Maru.”
Maru stands from his table, having been present the whole time. Eun-ki: “I would like to introduce him to the Taesan family. He is my fiancé who will help me lead Taesan.” Omo. Omo omo.
Maru smiles, Eun-ki smiles, and Jae-hee makes a face like someone’s just stabbed her in the gut.
Hooray for declarations of company warfare, nay for what bringing Maru into Taesan might mean for our future: Endless Corporate Machinations. I have no doubt that Nice Guy will be able to handle its corporate ascension storyline better than, say, Rooftop Prince, but still. The grass does not seem greener on that side of the lawn quite yet, even though the introduction of Maru as her fiancé was an unexpected twist.
I’ve always found Jae-hee a nicely conflicted and layered villain, especially with her penchant for making really terrible gut decisions that always come back to bite her. In a show where retribution comes hard and fast, Jae-hee’s mostly suffered her share for the suffering she’s brought upon others. That’s something I like even though she’s currently enjoying a lofty position, since the fact that she’s always on edge lets me know that even if she’s where she wants to be, she can’t rest for a second because she knows she hasn’t earned her place properly.
However, as of late her greed has been winning out over any semblance of humanity, which is a new(ish) transformation for her. And though I could kind of buy that she had a moral compass she just chose to ignore up until now, selling one’s stepdaughter into what’ll probably be a short life of slavery before an untimely and horrifying death does seem a bit… much. The kind of muchness that doesn’t have me rooting for Jae-hee to find redemption anytime soon, because she’s got some serious explaining to do.
There’s no guaranteeing that she did it, though I’m inclined to believe that she did and denied the fact afterward just to save her own skin. Maybe she really wants to believe that she would protect Eun-ki and says as much to help her sleep at night. Who knows. But Jae-sik doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to do something if it didn’t benefit him, so the apartments he was elated about getting in the car points to a promise Jae-hee would have made to him, which would explain why he was expecting a payment without suspecting anything.
Even though those two siblings definitely seem cut from the same cloth, the level of trickery between them varies. While I can believe that Jae-sik started out worse and helped to make the monster that is Jae-hee today, she’s no less cunning because of it. How she operates from here is anyone’s guess, although I’m curious as to how much longer she can stand all the uncertainty her tenuous position brings.
We still don’t know much about the accident, so while Jae-hee bringing up Eun-ki’s wish to throw away the company for love came from a selfish desire to take her place, part of me wondered whether it was actually true. Once Eun-ki fell in love with Maru, Taesan seemed one of the furthest things from her mind. And if she did just drive to what she assumed would be her death after her Dad died, did she really have the company on her mind?
So the plot to bring Eun-ki back into Taesan by Secretary Hyun and Joon-ha is a curious one, since now more than ever we don’t know what it is that Eun-ki wants, since she doesn’t even know what she wants. Maru’s concrete reason for stepping in is unknown, though we can say it’s possibly to protect Eun-ki, or to get back at Jae-hee for what she almost did to her. Or both.
There is something interesting in this episode’s use of Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, especially when we take into account the moral of the story: Even if a liar tells the truth, no one believes them. This goes for pretty much everyone, but especially Jae-hee and Maru, who have both lied to themselves and everyone else so much that it’s almost impossible to believe a word they say.