You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 23-24
There’s a whole lotta good stuff in these two episodes, which is much appreciated—the drama took some time setting up its conflicts and getting its story pieces in place, but now that we’ve sat through that it sure is gratifying to get to the payoff. Multiple characters step it up and advance our plot in more enjoyable directions, with some spiffy hair to boot. Now all we need is to turn up the heat on the Jun-ho and Soon-shin romance… We’re inching our way there, but I’m a greedy little bastard. More please now!
SONG OF THE DAY
전기뱀장어 (Electric Eels) – “최신유행” (Latest Trend). Love this band. A current favorite. [ Download ]
Mi-ryung slips out of her hospital room and heads for the exit, where she runs into Soon-shin. She asks to speak with her, but Manager Hwang and Yeon-ah rush up and pull her away insistently, with Yeon-ah shooting Soon-shin a dirty look for good measure because that’s what she does. She then rips into Manager Hwang for being too slow to take Mi-ryung to the hospital. Don’t you think it says everything about her character that Yeon-ah’s argument isn’t that Mi-ryung suffered, but that her image would take a hit if she were seen escorted “by a girl like that”?
Jun-ho’s mother calls Mi-ryung to chide her for her drunken behavior. Mi-ryung bites her tongue and repeatedly says sorry, but Mom won’t let up and says that Mi-ryung needs to marry because being alone too long turned her crazy. Gah, smug marrieds. Not all single women are Miss Havisham, y’know. Finally Mi-ryung snaps that yes, solitude has twisted her, happy? Even Dr. Shin comments that Mom’s picking on Mi-ryung instead of consoling her, which is true, but Mom is offended that her husband isn’t siding with her. C’mon, you were the one mom in this show who seemed all right.
The Lee family heads out for a hike and a picnic, despite Grandma’s hints that she wants to talk to Mom privately. Mom doesn’t want to discuss the whole maternity question anymore and brings along the daughters to keep Grandma quiet. Heh.
Even so, Grandma knows enough to connect dots and suspects that Kyung-sook is the mother, and Mom’s poor poker face convinces her that she’s right. For a family with so many secrets, don’t you think they could do a better job masking them? For instance, Mom makes Hye-shin promise not to tell Grandma about bio-mom’s identity. At this point I feel like they’re just trying to stop up a leaking pipe with chewing gum.
Mi-ryung crosses paths with the family while out on a walk, and though she tries to pass unnoticed, it’s Soon-shin who calls out to her. A few very awkward moments pass before Mi-ryung hurries on; she returns to the house in fidgets and orders her manager to put the house up for sale.
Yoo-shin and Chan-woo go on a date while lying to their respective families, but Chan-woo is getting tired of the whole sneaking-around act. He hesitantly proposes that they admit to their families that they’re dating because it’s too tiring to hide it forever. Yoo-shin points out that his mother would flip out to hear it, and though he protests that she wouldn’t, I’m pretty sure that’s just a courtesy defense. He’s a good son, but not a blind one… right?
Yoo-shin comes home to weird vibes and asks Soon-shin what happened to make Mom so uptight. Soon-shin, ever left out of the loop, doesn’t know since the only thing that happened was a chance encounter with Mi-ryung. Yoo-shin wonders if Mom was feeling overshadowed by Mi-ryung’s movie-star looks, and Soon-shin loyally says her mother is prettier. (Yoo-shin’s all, That’s sweet, but be real.)
Jun-ho looks over his Soon-shin Project files wistfully—okay, I’ll give you one more episode of that, and then you become creepy stalker guy, got it? He tells himself to get over it cleanly and move on. Is your new haircut your Felicity moment?
Yeon-ah calls him about Mi-ryung’s condition, and snipes at him for not doing his job properly. I would say prying into a client’s personal secrets isn’t his job but Yeon-ah’s just looking for nits to pick, which even Mi-ryung points out, saying that she’s blowing things out of proportion. Mi-ryung dismisses her weakened condition as a product of overwork and promises to be careful.
Yeon-ah asks to talk to Jun-ho afterward and notes that he’s changed—he’s so cold to her. She’s thought she was who he wanted and asks if she was wrong. Wasn’t that why he made the bet, to keep her close as his client?
Jun-ho says that he has changed, because he’s no longer stupid enough to put all his hopes into love, but answer firmly that it’s not because he likes Soon-shin. The bet was initially made out of pride, but: “Aren’t you even sorry to her at all? We took someone who didn’t know anything and used her for our amusement. If you were her, how would you feel? In any case, I’m just taking responsibility for and cleaning up after my own actions. That’s the minimum courtesy I can show to her.” Clap clap. Good speech.
Soon-shin realizes she still has Mi-ryung’s script and starts to act out a scene, which Mom witnesses. Soon-shin laughs it off and says that she doesn’t still harbor acting dreams, but I think we all know which way the wind is blowing.
Bread Man Jin-wook and his sidekick head to the bookstore for prep books, because they’d made a deal that once the bakery found its footing, they’d pursue their educations: Bread Boy with his high school degree, and Bread Man with university. Jin-wook cheers up to see Hye-shin browsing nearby, and upon seeing her English books he jokes that the only words he knows in English are: “Thank you, I’m sorry, Big Bang, TOP, Sistar, mother father gentleman.” Lol.
He tries to hide his prep book, which indicates that he needs to get his high school equivalency to test for university entrance. He lies that it’s not his, only to have Bread Boy cock-block by loudly mentioning the exam. Ha, he totally embarrassed him on purpose.
As Jin-wook and Hye-shin walk home together, he explains that he didn’t go to school regularly. He grew up poor and was raised by grandma, whose wish was for him to go to university. Sadly, she died before he could accomplish that.
Hye-shin tells him that his grandmother must be happy seeing him from heaven, and only now does he introduce himself as Seo Jin-wook. Oh ha, they don’t even know their names. She tells him her name and he lights up, saying, “Hye-shin-sshi.” Aww.
Jun-ho requests a meeting with Mom, and wouldn’t you know, they go to a new restaurant. New hair, new attitude? At Mom’s wariness, he apologizes for having upset her in the past and makes a request: Please help Soon-shin continue acting, even if it’s with a different agency, because he doesn’t want her to quit something she loves because of him. Because while she was pursuing her acting, she was happy. Okay, this new hair-attitude combo is really working for Jun-ho. Go you, being all mature and thoughtful.
After some serious brain-racking, Grandma is practically sure that Soon-shin is Kyung-sook’s daughter, and that Kyung-sook is Mi-ryung. One trip to the secrecy-inept Chicken Ajusshi confirms her suspicions.
Grandma rips into Mom furiously for withholding the truth, but on the upside, at least now she understands Mom’s prior behavior. She wants to meet Mi-rying and maybe rip out her hair like she says Mom ought to have done, but Mom begs her to let this rest—if Soon-shin finds out, the mess will just get worse.
Soon-shin is down to her last week working at the restaurant, which is a fact that saddens Young-hoon. I love him for being saddened about this. Aw, and now he’s suddenly switched to banmal; one minute he’s the polite boss, and the next he’s cut down to banmal like a friend. I’ll say, sweet oppa suits him way more.
He suggests that Soon-shin stay at the job until she decides what to do next. She admits to being tempted, but thinks that’ll just make her feel more pathetic. Young-hoon surprises her by saying he hopes she’d keep acting, which made her so glowing and happy. He advises her to read her heart, because the one answer to life’s questions is whether your heart responds or not. What’s up with all the forward-thinking life advice this episode? Everybody’s grown up! Not a complaint.
Jun-ho spots them walking out together, then follows ’cause he just can’t help himself. He doesn’t interrupt them this time (baby steps!), and returns to work muttering to himself that it’s all over.
A new problem crops up, or rather the resurgence of an old one: The rumors about Mi-ryung’s past and long-lost daughter are back and growing. Manager Hwang tries to bargain with Reporter Park to stop, but finds the reporter uninterested in making a deal. Manager Hwang asks what the point is of ruining somebody, which I think is a pretty good question.
Grandma wrangles Mi-ryung’s address from Chicken Ajusshi, then storms her house (you’d think a star would be more discriminating of who was allowed in). Using the name Kyung-sook, Grandma berates her for being shameless and subhuman and terrible.
Mi-ryung tamps down her reaction for much of the diatribe, but eventually bursts out that Grandma has the story all wrong and is blaming her for the wrong reasons—if she’s so upset to have raised Mi-ryung’s child, then maybe she should’ve allowed Mi-ryung and Dad to marry in the first place. She never asked him to take her baby, which was solely his decision.
She yells that she’s not Kyung-sook anymore, and that she doesn’t want to take Soon-shin away from them (so shut it). She orders Grandma taken away, which fires Grandma’s temper and sends her grabbing for the hair. Ha. To be honest I don’t know whose side to be on, since they’re both being pretty awful. I do think Grandma’s more out of line now, but Mi-ryung’s got a whole past of being awful, so maybe it’s a wash.
Mom gets the heads up from Chicken Ajusshi and hurries over with Hye-shin, and they arrive in time to take an enraged Grandma home. One silver lining in the mess: Grandma cries that she’s sorry to Mom, whom she’d misunderstood.
Mi-ryung reacts to this as she always does—drinking—and laughs bitterly. Admittedly much of it is her bad, but she’s got a point about Dad acting without her knowledge and Grandma misplacing her blame. Then Mi-ryung exclaims, “What did I do that was wrong?” Now is that a tragic question or what?
Practically feverish with anger, she declares that the news is bound to leak at some point, so she’ll leak it first: “I’m going to bring my daughter home!” (End of Episode 23.)
At home, everyone clams up around Soon-shin again. You know, one of these days she’s going to notice. You’re just lucky she’s not the sharpest knife in that drawer.
With Jun-ho’s words (and her own observations) weighing on her mind, Mom takes Soon-shin aside to tell her to pursue acting if she wants to. She says she was wrong to oppose her and advises her not to let anybody stop her from doing what she wants. She finishes by saying, “No matter what happens, you’re my daughter.” I know I can’t be the only one still smarting from Mom’s terrible treatment of Soon-shin who finds this exchange woefully inadequate.
Bread Man studies during spare moments, which leads to Woo-joo mocking him for his low-level English skills. He practices a few elementary phrases on her, to which she barks (in English), “I really don’t like you. Get away from my mom!”
Bread Man good-naturedly laughs it off, though Hye-shin apologizes and chides Woo-joo for her poor manners. As she goes, Jin-wook stares after her and wonders, “How can a person be so perfect?” Bread Boy tells him to get a grip, reminding him that they’d agreed to quit women to straighten out their lives (and also fighting). At home, Woo-joo beats up the teddy bear Jin-wook gave her on Children’s Day and talks back to her mother.
Yoo-shin and Chan-woo come home together after their date, and she insists he drop her off in the neighborhood while he’d rather drop her off at her door. Honey, are you trying to sabotage your secret-dating status? Actually, I kind of think he is, since he seems really eager to go public.
He finagles a kiss out of her, and it’s a good thing that they weren’t a few seconds later because their mothers come walking toward them in time to see Yoo-shin getting out of the car. She makes a break for it (smoooooth) while he feigns innocence and tells his mother some lady was just asking for directions.
Yoo-shin hurries home and pretends she was home all evening and just woke from a nap. Mom doesn’t press her, though she does tell her of her plans to start working in Chicken Ajumma’s kitchen, which Yoo-shin violently opposes. She insists that she can support the whole family (aw), but Mom doesn’t budge.
Chicken Ajumma, meanwhile, can’t shake her suspicion that it was Yoo-shin in the car and prods Chan-woo to admit that he’s dating. He confesses that he does have a girlfriend, but isn’t ready to say any more. His mother asks just to make sure—it’s not anyone she knows, right? Chan-woo uneasily lies in agreement, and it’s enough to keep her happy.
Needing a drinking friend, Mi-ryung calls Dr. Shin to a fancy bar and confesses that she’s going through hell right now. She once dreamed of marrying and raising a family with the one man who extended a hand to her in her miserable youth, and that was the only time she was truly happy. She identifies him as the man who died in that car accident, but when Dr. Shin asks if she means to turn herself in, she balks that she did nothing wrong so there’s nothing to confess. Said the psychopath.
She starts to cry at the mention of him raising the child without her knowledge, then falls over in a drunken sleep. Dr. Shin takes her home, and the next morning he instructs Jun-ho to pay particular attention to Mi-ryung. He lies that she wasn’t looking good when she dropped by the clinic, but Jun-ho’s mother finds his sudden interest odd and starts to wonder about it… and then cuts herself off.
Yi-jung proves she’s more delusional than even we thought when she suggests that Chan-woo might still be interested in her. She decides that his aloofness is merely his professional ethics regarding not dating the boss’s daughter, and Mom jumps at the idea. Because in their world, words that are spoken mean something other than what they mean. These two. Peas in a pod, I tell you.
To that end, Yi-jung sends Chan-woo an embarrassing aegyo selca, which he opens with a little bit of horror.
Mi-ryung comes clean about her hidden past to Jun-ho, explaining that the rumor he’s trying to block is not actually a rumor, and thus she doesn’t want to block it. It’ll leak anyhow, so she wants to call a press conference, thereby neutralizing the damage and commandeering the flow of information.
Manager Hwang argues strenuously against it, but Jun-ho—after taking a moment to react to the shock—agrees with Mi-ryung. He asks about her daughter, but Mi-ryung explains that the girl doesn’t even know yet so she’ll let him know after she’s taken care of it. With that in mind, Mi-ryung goes on a massive shopping spree for expensive gifts to take to Soon-shin’s family.
Hearing the news, shortsighted In-sung exclaims that Mi-ryung’s daughter is lucky and ought to feel like Cinderella. Jun-ho, on the other hand, expresses dismay on the daughter’s behalf, signing that she’s about to have her whole life overturned.
Chan-mi invites Soon-shin to tag along with her at work and offers to buy her lunch, but that gets postponed because of a work crisis. Chan-mi asks Soon-shin to help her when her assistant suddenly quits, so Soon-shin tags along to a drama shoot—which, coincidentally, is Yeon-ah’s—and watches an actress running her lines.
Yeon-ah clocks Soon-shin’s presence and flubs a line, then complains to get her kicked out. But that’s not enough, because when they run into her outside, she smirks that Soon-shin must be pursuing wardrobe coordinating now. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a coordi, but god Yeon-ah, could you be more catty?
Chan-mi, like everyone, figures that Soon-shin still wants to act. Today Soon-shin admits that it’s true, though she calls herself dumb for still having lingering wishes.
I just love the way Jun-ho lights up every time he sees Soon-shin, and he catches up to her to chat. There’s a moment when he asks why she’s here at the broadcast station, and then deflates a bit when she says she came to see a friend. Were you hoping she came to see you? I bet you were. And then she comments on his haircut and he reacts with self-conscious pleasure.
Jun-ho offers her a ride home, which she declines several times, but in the end he gets out of his car and opens her door. Which happens to be seen by Yeon-ah, who comes out just as he’s escorting her in the car. Serves you right. Muahaha.
In the car, Jun-ho wonders if her mother has said anything about acting, trying to find out whether his talk had any effect. She asks if he spoke with her mother, and he assures her no, that it’s got nothing to do with him. That comes out harsher than intended, sounding like he doesn’t care about anything to do with her, and he fumbles to take it back. Ah, foot still in mouth, I see.
Mi-ryung arrives at the house with armloads of fancy gifts, ignoring the fact that Grandma is fuming mad and orders her to leave. She remains put, intent on speaking with Mom, and waits while Hye-shin calls her home. So Hye-shin calls Soon-shin to stall her return home, making up a grocery list and asking her to drop by the market. Aw, Jun-ho hears Soon-shin taking the food orders and gets affronted on her behalf, asking if she’s still mistreated by her family. It’s super adorable.
He offers to drive her to the supermarket, then sticks around while she shops and insists on carrying her bags. He asks what she intends to do with her life now, and she points out that it’s not really his concern.
Jun-ho still struggles to get to the point and say what he means, but I do love to see him making strides—he IS trying. He’s just really bad at it. So he asks if she really means to quit acting, and blurts that she shouldn’t.
Soon-shin tells him he can stop feeling sorry now, because she doesn’t believe that he was only in the bet to use her. In fact, there are things she’s thankful for. But she needed time to think about herself, which is why she quit the restaurant; thus he doesn’t have to explain himself to her.
While he’s fumbling for words to argue, she cuts him off and says with finality, “Thanks to you I experienced a lot of good things. Stay healthy, and I hope you’re happy with her.”
Mi-ryung isn’t exactly supplicating, but she does apologize to Grandma for the other day and asks her to understand. The family, on the other hand, is nowhere near ready to be civil and demands to know why she’s here—is she going to take Soon-shin? Mi-ryung: “Can’t I?”
Mi-ryung fills them in on the rumors that have begun to leak and her plans to pre-empt them with an announcement. She also warns them on the probability of reporters coming to the house and instructs them not to talk. If they do as she instructs, she’ll get them through with the least amount of harm to themselves and to Soon-shin.
When Grandma protests and blames Mi-ryung, she points out that she never asked them to raise the child, so they can’t blame her for their choice. I hate to agree with her here, but I sorta agree.
Mom follows her out to argue some more and refuses to go along with the plan. She insists that Mi-ryung is rich and powerful—surely she can prevent the news from leaking somehow. Hasn’t she thought of how this would hurt Soon-shin?
Again, I hate to agree with Mi-ryung here but she states that this is out of her hands now, and that she’s done as much as she can to hide the truth, but it’s not going to stay hidden. And then she takes all the wind out of Mom’s sails by saying, “I’m her mother too.”
Tempers flare and moms get pushy, and just as Mom falls to the ground, Soon-shin arrives. She turns accusing eyes on Mi-ryung and ushers her mother inside.
Jun-ho spots Mi-ryung’s celebmobile outside Soon-shin’s house as he drives by, and wonders what she’s doing here. What business could she have with Soon-shin? Without batting an eye, Mi-ryung announces, “She’s my daughter.”
Now that more and more characters are discovering the long-held secret, the plot sure is zipping along quickly, and I’m really grateful for that. Remember when this show was just letting the secret fester and plodding along while glum characters sat on the info? Yeah, I’m glad that’s a question I can ask in the past tense, because if we were still there I’m pretty sure I would’ve given up on it. But now the plot is like a snowball gaining speed as it rolls down the hill, picking up momentum and speed and generally being a lot more exciting.
Or, to put it in terms of a different metaphor: Secrets are like contagious diseases in this drama (or in dramas as a whole); it’ll lay dormant for a long while and lull you into a false sense of security, but once it starts finding its way out it’s not long before it takes out everyone you know, till you’re all just huddled into a ball crying for relief. Just count yourself lucky if you’re able to escape unscathed, or barring that, at least set on the road to recovery.
For instance, Mi-ryung was quicker to react to the truth than I expected (based on watching Mom muddle through it), and I didn’t think we’d get the mom battle so soon after both sides figured it out. Nor did I think Jun-ho would know so soon. But I appreciate the constantly moving pieces, and what that does for the relationships: Mi-ryung takes Soon-shin under her wing, Mi-ryung rejects Soon-shin, Mi-ryung claims Soon-shin, Soon-shin (I predict?) rejects Mi-ryung…
Then, since the relationships are so interconnected, that one line has immediate effects on others, like Mi-ryung’s surrogate-mom relationship with Yeon-ah. I like how they were close at the outset, and then Yeon-ah found herself shunted to the side without warning, and then just like that she was taken back in. If I liked her more (or at all), I’d feel sorry for her being jerked around by a selfish mentor with too small a heart to play the mother figure to more than one daughter at a time, though you’d have to point out to Yeon-ah that she should expect bumpy roads ahead now that Mi-ryung is back to claiming Soon-shin. Honey, she dumped you the first time; there’s a good chance she’ll dump you again, just like all the shitty boyfriends of the world.
Since Bread Man is one of my favorite characters, I’m happy to see attention turn to his story now that the main plot is in full swing and we can devote some time to smaller threads. It’s a bit startling to realize that we didn’t even know his name until now (I knew it from the website, but nobody goes around calling him “Jin-wook-sshi”), and we actually know very little about his life other than that he’s got prison time in his past. Then again, it’s rather telling that we sure do know a ton about his character even without the cold hard “specs” like education or background—he’s a stand-up guy with a sunny outlook and strong work ethic who respects his elders and is hilariously clumsy, and good with children even when they hate his guts. That’s a pretty good start, I’d say.
I love where Jun-ho and Soon-shin are at this phase of their relationship, and I wouldn’t even mind letting them stay here for a while—she has gotten over much of the hurt and seems to enjoy talking to him again, so that even though she wants to stay “broken up” (for lack of a better term), the animosity is gone. It isn’t healed completely and it’s not been righted fully either, so it makes sense that they’re still struggling around each other, but it allows for their interactions to be tinged with wistfulness rather than angst. And wistfulness suggests longing and liking.
We see that most clearly on Jun-ho’s part (love his facial expressions when he’s being kept at a distance and trying to respect her wishes), and it’s nice to see him growing up and taking the mature approach to owning up to what he did. I really like that the drama is making him change for himself, not just for her—it’s not a matter of “fixing” that one mistake and making it up to her. First he has to become the kind of guy who wouldn’t make that kind of bet in the first place. That’s what he’s got to take care of by “taking responsibility” and cleaning up his mess, and after that the decision lies in her hands. It’s a subtle and very sweet approach to their relationship, and a slow building that suits this long-running format.
Of course, that’s what I tell myself because otherwise I’d just be too impatient for more drama, more romance, and more payoff. Patience. Breathe. Patience.
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 21-22
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 19-20
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 17-18
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 15-16
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 14
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 13
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 12
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 11
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 10
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 9
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 8
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 7
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 6
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episode 5
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 3-4
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin: Episodes 1-2