You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 3-4
Aw, I like this show. It’s nothing new, but it’s endearing and lovable, with cute leads who have fun quirks and flaws and very down-to-earth problems. Sometimes it’s nice to settle in for some family drama comfort food once in a while, and it feels like a nice Ojakkyo-esque drama with an engaging younger cast. With three sisters we essentially get three mini rom-coms amidst the larger family hijinks, which makes for a really breezy watch.
Jun-ho just scoffs at Yeon-ah’s challenge to turn Soon-shin (a random crying girl in the street as far as she’s concerned) into a star, and says that he doesn’t need to sign Yeon-ah so badly that he’d waste his time with something like that.
Soon-shin, meanwhile, is still crouching in the street, sobbing as she tells her bestie Chan-mi that she got conned. Chan-mi launches into a nagging rant, so Soon-shin just swears her to secrecy and ends the call.
She happens to see that very same restaurant (downstairs from Gabi Entertainment) put up a sign looking for servers, and asks the owner for the job. Young-hoon is such a nice guy that he gives her the job even with his frownypants waiter waving his arms behind her frantically in protest.
She thanks him for the job and then adds a plea to hold that man (the con artist) if he ever comes back. Young-hoon hilariously gets up and gives her this speech about how the world is filled with men and she ought to move on, because that guy was likely married. HA. She belatedly realizes he thinks she’s some jilted lover, but lets it go.
Second unni Yoo-shin walks home that night and runs into boy next door Chan-woo, and apparently she’s a nag with everyone, not just her little sister. She chides him for choosing to work in cosmetic dermatology, when there are sick people everywhere. She insists she doesn’t believe in the practice and would never spend a dime on something like that herself. Uh-huh.
Soon-shin runs into the pair of them on her way home, and lights up to see Chan-woo oppa. He offers to take her out to dinner to celebrate becoming an actress, and is clearly disappointed when Yoo-shin declines to come along.
He gives her a present too, for a voucher to get skincare treatment now that she’s an actress. Aw. But it makes her feel even worse for not telling everyone the truth.
Their dads are drinking together at the same time, and Soon-shin’s dad confesses that he ran into Mi-ryung, whom he calls Kyung-sook.
Mi-ryung keeps getting calls from the manager she fired, and this time she warns him never to call again. He happens to run into a reporter while drunk and angry, and says that if he were to open his mouth, it’d be the end of Song Mi-ryung. Ruh-roh.
Soon-shin heads to work at the restaurant the next day, and presents Young-hoon with a sketch of the con man on a hand-drawn wanted poster. She says his name is Shin Jun-ho, and he cons people by saying that he’ll make them stars. Hee. He looks at the drawing again, “Shin Jun-ho? That’s his name?”
And who should happen to walk in but Jun-ho, who jumps to see Soon-shin again. But this time she’s the one who rolls her eyes at him: “Ajusshi, are you my stalker?” Young-hoon just looks on and chuckles to himself.
Frownyface waiter gives Soon-shin a uniform and tells her that Rule No. 1 around here is not to fall in love with him. Pffft. This kid is hilarious. He makes her repeat it after him like a mantra.
Jun-ho asks Young-hoon what that girl is doing here, and Young-hoon’s just busy comparing the con artist’s sketch to Jun-ho’s face, giggling to himself. Soon-shin arrives to take Jun-ho’s order, though she asks like a thug, with a nod.
Yoo-shin discovers the skincare coupon on her sister’s desk and swipes it for herself. Karma’s a bitch though, and in return, she’s lying half-naked on a table with her underarms exposed for hair removal when Chan-woo walks into the room as her doctor.
He’s not above rubbing in the fact that she swore she’d never step foot in a place like this, but he’s nice enough to treat her anyway. She comes home fuming mad, like it’s somehow Soon-shin’s fault.
Mom watches a tv interview with Mi-ryung and muses that she never ages, while Grandma looks at her askance, muttering that she looks an awful lot like Kyung-sook.
Mom is on cloud nine because of Soon-shin’s success, but the shit’s about to hit the fan because Chan-mi can’t keep a secret and blurts the truth about Soon-shin to her family. There are so many characters that I sort of forgot that Chan-woo was her oppa until this family scene, so thanks for the reminder.
Dad waits outside for Soon-shin to come home that night, and catches the tail end of her phone call with the bank, asking how she could’ve accumulated so much interest so fast. She avoids answering Dad’s questions, but he senses she’s hiding something.
Mi-ryung runs into Jun-ho’s parents at some fancy private club, and overhears Dr. Shin murmuring that the standards around here have gone down if they let in people like her. Eesh. He tells his wife to stop hanging out with her, and sets Jun-ho up on another blind date with a warning not to mess this one up.
Mi-ryung is there to see Yeon-ah, who mentions that she heard a strange rumor about her from a reporter, though it was too laughable to believe. Hm.
Jun-ho comes down to the restaurant and trips right over the mop Soon-shin is pushing around, and (after getting over his embarrassment) he’s reminded of Yeon-ah’s challenge to turn a girl like that into a top star.
He looks her up and down and starts to circle her, which she finds creepy and weird. After a long look, he sighs: “Forget it. I’m not a magician.” LOL.
Young-hoon says his dad called with a warning to hold him there until his blind date arrives, and with just a few seconds to spare, he jots down his phone number and asks Soon-shin to call him in five minutes and just hang up.
His date arrives and he sits impatiently through a really boring story and gestures over at Soon-shin to hurry up and call him. She rolls her eyes and complies, and then hangs up like he asked.
He coos into the phone, wondering if “jagi” got home okay last night, and that oppa misses her too. “Oh you bought oppa a present? How’d you know I only wear tighty whiteys?” He gets so into it that he just keeps talking and talking, and then his phone rings for real. HA.
He answers the second call acting like they just got disconnected, when Soon-shin walks right up the table, slams down the napkin with his number on it, and shouts into the phone not to ask her for this kind of favor anymore. Hahahaha.
His blind date chucks a glass of water at his face and storms out. Muaha. That was delightful. I love that he has to use his phone number napkin to wipe his face.
His assistant In-sung tells him that he looked into Yeon-ah’s plans to set up her own agency, and her investor is rumored to be a shady guy. Jun-ho pretends not to care, but then goes straight to see Yeon-ah to warn her.
She scoffs that she’s not looking for nice guys to do business with, and that power and ability is what she needs. She asks if he still has feelings for her, and Jun-ho tells her that’s ridiculous and storms out.
But clearly it messes with him more than he’d like, and he flashes back to being stood up by her when he’d planned a romantic dinner. He was still a starving artist then, and Young-hoon had told him that Yeon-ah wasn’t coming back now that she became a star.
He stubbornly believed she would, and even went to a fan signing, thinking that he could convince her. He cut through the crowd and called out her name… and she looked him right in the eye and put on a big fake smile and said thank you like he was just another fan. Ouuuuuch. That’s cold.
Back in the present, he’s taunted by ads with her face even on his drive home, and he swears he’ll make her eat her words.
First unni Hye-shin asks Mom if she and Woo-joo can just stay here, lying that hubby won’t be transferred for another year. Mom doesn’t think much of it, but Woo-joo stalks off. She says she hates it here, and blames Mom for getting a divorce. So you’re already divorced? And you plan on keeping this a secret from your parents? Lordy.
Woo-joo storms out of the house and picks up a creepy ajusshi on her tail, but it turns out to be a false alarm—it’s just the neighborhood bakery owner, but she mistakenly thinks he followed her into the bakery and runs away screaming. He picks up the phone she dropped.
Mi-ryung thinks over the cryptic comment that Yeon-ah made to her the other day about a rumor and decides to go see Jun-ho.
Mom goes to see Chan-woo’s mom, who can barely go two minutes without tripping over her own words trying to keep Soon-shin’s secret. Mom asks what’s going on…
Meanwhile, Dad calls Soon-shin wanting to pick her up from acting class to spend some time together, and she lies that she’s too busy and hangs up. He goes looking for her anyway, only to find that she lied about classes entirely.
He goes looking for the right agency and finds her waiting tables at the restaurant downstairs, and confronts her. Soon-shin stammers in shock, but Dad is even more surprised to see Mi-ryung getting out of her car just outside the window.
He hurriedly takes Soon-shin outside… only Mi-ryung turns the corner and heads right into their path. Uh-oh.
It’s a near-collision, but Dad sees Mi-ryung coming and hurries Soon-shin away before they can be seen. She tells him the truth about being conned, but insists that she’ll repay the amount herself, and asks him not to tell Mom because she’ll be so disappointed.
Jun-ho assigns his casting people to take a look at Soon-shin who works downstairs, and see if she has any potential as an actress. He still seems skeptical, but I think he’s stubborn enough to actually do this just to prove something to Yeon-ah.
Mi-ryung storms into his office, up in arms about the rumor that’s circulating about her. She refuses to tell him what the rumor is, and just orders him to fix it. Ex-manager Hwang is waiting on her doorstep when she gets home, in fixer mode because he heard The Rumor as well.
Thankfully she’s no dummy and suspects that he was the leak, though he swears he wasn’t. They just keep talking obliquely about The Rumor and her past, and despite Manager Hwang’s efforts to get back on her good side, Mi-ryung shuts him out.
Bakery Man answers Woo-joo’s phone, only to get her angry father on the other end, demanding to know who the strange man is. Hye-shin heads out and explains the situation to her ex-husband over the phone, sighing that she doesn’t see why it’s any of his business anyway since they’re now strangers.
Dad happens upon her in the street just in time to hear that last sentence. Aw, poor Dad. He’s having a rough day. Hye-shin confesses that she’s divorced, but asks him to wait because she’s not ready to tell the family yet.
She goes to the bakery to claim Woo-joo’s phone, and the ajusshi says that her husband is awfully quick-tempered. Already in a foul mood, she snaps that he shouldn’t have answered the phone, and leaves him an envelope of money before walking out.
He’s so flabbergasted that he stares at the money and chases after her, not knowing whether to call her ajumma or agasshi, but she ignores him.
Her moving boxes arrive and when Mom tells the family that Hye-shin is staying with them for a year, Yoo-shin pitches a fit at having to share a room with Soon-shin for that long. Dad shuts down the argument, but Hye-shin can’t stop the tears when she gets upstairs.
In-sung reports to Jun-ho that The Rumor about Mi-ryung is that her entire past is fabricated, and that her real past begins at an orphanage and even includes a daughter she gave up at a young age. The story hasn’t been published yet, and Jun-ho tells him to set up a meeting with the owner of the newspaper.
Meanwhile his casting people spend the day downstairs in the restaurant, taking pictures of Soon-shin in secret while she works. Well, attempting to do it in secret is more like it.
It just gets weirder when they call her over to the table and say that their eyes are bad, and ask that she read something aloud to them. Ha, it’s a page of tongue-twisters, and she naturally flubs the lines as they cringe.
Yoo-shin goes back to the skin clinic to try and get a refund (on her free coupon?) and has a near-run-in with Chan-woo, whom she avoids by donning a mask and sunglasses and blending into the sea of women wearing the same.
Mom stops by to see Chan-woo’s mom on her way to see Soon-shin, having decided to take rice cakes to her acting class. It’s only then that Chan-woo’s mom can’t stand to keep the secret any longer, and tells her that Soon-shin was conned.
Mom runs to the restaurant to see for herself, and her face falls to see how hard Soon-shin is working to try and repay that debt. She doesn’t go in to confront her.
It’s only when Soon-shin comes home from work and pretends to have learned sageuk delivery in class today (complete with terrible rendition for Mom’s benefit, ha) that Mom calls her a dummy for not telling her the truth.
Mom says this is her fault for putting the wind in her sails for some hopeless dream, while Soon-shin argues that this is her own fault for being so incapable. Dad follows her into her room and sweetly tells her that it’s going to be okay and that it’s not her fault at all—the bad guy here is the con man.
But Soon-shin is so down on herself that she cries this all happened because she’s so lacking, and wails that Mom and Dad should’ve just stopped with her two unnis, and not had a third child. Oh, honey.
Dad says he’s always been proud of her, but she tells him to stop lying and accuses him of not trusting her to handle the problem on her own, thinking he’s the one who ratted her out to Mom.
Mom cries that she was foolish to think it was all so easy, and that Soon-shin would never be in this mess if she hadn’t pushed her, all because she forgot her birthday. Dad comforts her warmly and says that anyone would’ve done the same thing in her situation, and that they’ll figure out a way to handle it.
She does the exact same thing that Soon-shin does, blaming herself and calling herself a dummy, and Dad tells her that she’s wrong—she’s a great mom and she should be proud of the work she’s done in raising these girls.
He tells her that they’re all grown up enough to make their own decisions now, and suggests that they just sit back and enjoy each other’s company as they grow old together. He teases that she used to think he was so funny when they were dating, and makes jokes and sticks his tongue out at her until she laughs. Awww, Dad is cuuute.
The next morning Dad tells Hye-shin that whatever she’s going through it’s okay, and that he’ll wait until she’s ready to tell him. Her eyes well up with grateful tears.
Jun-ho comes home to check with his mom that she and Mi-ryung were really classmates. Her answer is yes but her voice sounds shaky and noncommittal. They’re interrupted by a furious Dad, and Jun-ho runs away feigning a stomachache, while Dad fumes at his blind date behavior.
At the restaurant, Soon-shin sighs, lost in her own thoughts, and Mr. I’m So Awesome the waiter tells Young-hoon that her inevitable crush on him has begun. Young-hoon just rolls his eyes and nods.
Soon-shin starts an “I’m sorry” text to Dad but erases it with another sigh. At the same time, Dad stops by the local bakery to buy a birthday cake and then texts her to ask for a daddy-daughter date. How sweet.
Jun-ho calls Mi-ryung to make sure there isn’t any truth to the rumors, and she balks at the accusation. The owner of the newspaper keeps dodging his calls, so he intercepts him at lunch… and finds Yeon-ah there two steps ahead of him, already having sweet-talked the man into burying the story about Mi-ryung.
She’s soooo pleased with herself, and tells him not to let this hurt his pride, digging the knife further by offering to let him take the credit with Mi-ryung.
He returns to his office livid, and finds Soon-shin’s casting report on his desk. As expected, it’s rock bottom all the way down. He nods: “It’s perfect.” He means perfect as in blank canvas for him to mold, but In-sung just gapes, wondering if his boss just lost his mind.
He orders a contract for her to be prepped right away, because he’s going to bring her on as a trainee.
He heads downstairs to find her, and discovers the wanted poster of the con man with his name on it. He rips it down walks in (fumbling his cool entrance, ha) and asks Soon-shin if she wants to be an actress.
She laughs in his face, realizes he’s holding her wanted poster, and assumes that he’s messing with her on purpose. She slams his business card case shut before he even has the chance to tell her who he is, and blows him off royally.
Later Young-hoon invites Soon-shin out with the staff for drinks to welcome her aboard, but she declines because of her plans with Dad. They ask if it’s a date with her boyfriend and she says yes.
Dad gets an unexpected call from Mi-ryung though, and stops to see her at that private club, where Jun-ho’s father happens to see them together. He doesn’t want to stay for a drink but Mi-ryung pours one anyway, and finally asks—is he the one who talked to a reporter about her past?
He can’t believe she’d think that, and calls her Kyung-sook, but she’s already drunk and angry, and says icily that she knows no one by that name. He lets out one burst of anger, wondering what she’s so ashamed of that she lives this way, terrified of her own past.
He says that what she really wants to know is how her daughter is, how she lived, what she’s like. That rattles her, and she screams with tears in her eyes, asking why he’d bring her up.
He says they have no more to say to each other, and gets up to leave. Mi-ryung chases him down the street, still accusing him of starting the rumor, and he brushes her aside to keep walking.
She follows him as he crosses the street, and she walks right into the path of an oncoming car. He sees her, and in that split second he runs back and pushes her out of the way.
He gets hit instead, and falls to the ground. Blood pools on the pavement near his head.
Aaaaargh, it occurred to me when Dad got so many moments to shine that he might be doomed, but gah, they really went and killed him off, didn’t they? Why do nice dads always have to die, dramaland? WHY? Couldn’t they at least have gotten their one daddy-daughter date? So upset that he had to die.
Of course it ensures that Soon-shin’s birth secret will get buried for much longer, which is the point. But it’s the one plot thread that I dislike in the show, and really, Dad was kind of the thing that made it okay before (because he knew and could choose to tell his daughter the truth at some point). Now it’s going to be more annoying with all the fakeouts and delays and drawing out the reveal. The thing about family dramas is, they always come with one plot thread like this, so I fully expected that the drama would be My Two Moms. I just wish they didn’t have to off Dad to get there. Thankfully this isn’t the melodrama version of that setup—it won’t change who Soon-shin is, and the story is about her finding herself and the parallels between her and the mother who raised her.
I’m invested because it’s such a straight-up underdog tale for the two romantic leads. They both lack confidence (pretty severely), and just cope in opposite ways—Jun-ho blusters and puts on a show to hide it, while Soon-shin thinks so little of herself that she gets in her own way. But they’re both characters worth rooting for, and I already enjoy their dynamic together. So far I’m a big fan of the tone, which strikes just the right chord in the heartwarming family aspect, and then goes broader in the rom-com parts. It’s fun and full of heart, which is pretty much the only kind of family drama I’ll tune in for.