Modern Farmer: Episode 6
Now that the Olympiad is over, the village of Hadurok-ri turns it’s attention to a new problem — getting their last bachelor, Sang-deuk, married off. That won’t be so easy since an old love shows her face back in town, throwing the villagers’ matchmaking plans into chaos. Once again the EXO boys’ cabbage-growing success hinges on whether or not they can help the village, and once again it looks like an impossible task.
(And my apologies for the lateness of this recap — I had a little mishap early this week, but I’m much better now! This won’t be a regular thing, I promise.)
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Hyuk sits next to a sleeping Yoon-hee, and finishes up sewing Min-ho’s broken bookbag strap. When he’s done, he gently brushes the hair off her face. He thinks that she’ll catch a cold if she sleeps outside so he picks her up to take her to bed… and immediately drops her right on her face. Whoops.
Of course this wakes her and Hyuk tries to explain, but ends up insulting Yoon-hee’s weight. She also finds that he’s sewn both sides of Min-ho’s bookbag together and yells at him, ha. Poor guy was just trying to help!
The next day the boys are back at work helping Man-gu, and take a break when his mother brings them some corn on the cob. She denies spreading the rumor about Ki-joon and Bul-ja, and he swears he’s got better taste in women than that, but of course Bul-ja happens by right then and overhears him. At least he has the decency to look guilty as she just walks by without a word.
They finish up their work, and Man-gu finally agrees to teach them how to plant the cabbage tomorrow. Ki-joon takes off, only saying that he’s got something to take care of. He finds Bul-ja hunting snakes in a field, and sincerely apologizes for what he said about her.
Bul-ja tells him she’s fine and to just go, and picks up another snake. Ki-joon pushes his luck by insisting that she accept his apology, and he grabs her arm. She yanks her arm away, sending the snake flying into the air to land draped around Ki-joon’s neck. He tries not to panic, but the snake bites him right on the lip.
Bul-ja says that she thinks the snake was poisonous, and that there’s no time to call for emergency services. She sucks the poison out of his lip, very much against his will, which of course Man-gu’s mom happens to see. She gleefully assumes they’re rolling around in the field making out, and runs off to tell everyone.
As Min-ho is walking home from school, a group of bullies knocks him down and teases him about not having a father. He doesn’t respond, but only gets up and keeps walking as they laugh and point at him. Aww, poor little puppy.
Han-chul wonders out loud to his friends about whether Soo-yeon might have a boyfriend, and when Min-ki complains about his obsession with her, Han-chul only says he doesn’t have time and he’s got his reasons. The guys don’t know what he means, but Min-ki is distracted when he sees little Min-ho sitting alone under a tree.
Min-ki sits with Min-ho, correctly assuming that he got bullied again (and calling him Rockstar, so cute). He tells Min-ho that he’s got to fight back, but Min-ho says his mom told him not to fight, and besides the leader of the bullies, Wang-bae, is really big and strong. Min-ki says he’ll show him how to handle this, and I’m getting a bad feeling, because Min-ki’s way of handling things never goes well. Min-ki and Min-ho head off to find the bullies and put their plan into action.
Hyuk and Yoon-hee are at the house when Ki-joon comes home, with a black lip and blacker mood. Yoon-hee giggles that she heard that he kissed Bul-ja, and Ki-joon is so frustrated he just yells that sure, he kissed Bul-ja and they’re getting married and will live happily ever after, are you all happy now?! HA. Hong-gu comes looking for his missing boxing gloves, and suddenly I’m even more worried about Min-ki’s little plan with Min-ho.
Sure enough, Min-ki is refereeing a boxing match between Min-ho and Wang-bae, which starts out badly as Wang-bae gets in a good few shots then grabs Min-ho in a headlock. Min-ki telegraphs to Min-ho to use his “secret weapon,” and Min-ho twists free and just straight-up flattens Wang-bae with a left hook.
After the dust clears, Min-ki delivers a lecture and the boys shake and make up, and the former bullies head home. Min-ho gives the gloves back to Min-ki to reveal that he had a large rock in his hand, but Min-ki says it’s only cheating if he gets caught, and warns Min-ho not to tell his mother.
At home, Yoon-hee immediately notices Min-ho’s bruised face, and Min-ki says it was only a manly duel with a bully and that Min-ho won. Yoon-hee sends Min-ho inside and lays into Min-ki for getting him into a fight. For once Min-ki doesn’t back down at her anger, and admonishes her for not doing anything about the bullying. She says she’d rather Min-ho just take it, and that she’s thinking of her son when she lets things go.
Min-ki doesn’t believe this, and tells her that he thinks she’s worried that people might point fingers at her for being a single mother. He says that his own mother always told him to apologize and never asked why he did things that he did, always assuming it was his fault. He feels bad for Min-ho who doesn’t have a father, or a mother who stands up for him. That’s some painful truth, but it IS truth.
Yoon-hee goes inside where Min-ho is in bed, and he apologizes and says he won’t fight again. She lays down with him and says he must be good friends with Min-ki, admitting that he’s not a bad person. She asks Min-ho how he won the fight and Min-ho, even though he promised not to, tells her about the rock. Yoon-hee freaks and runs outside where Min-ki is washing up, and slow-mo kicks him right in the face.
The next morning, Man-gu takes the boys to their field to survey their preparations, admitting they did an okay job but fussing at them for not covering the ridges to avoid weeds. The guys insist they can handle it, and ask to learn to plant the seedlings, but apparently you don’t just plant cabbage in the ground. You have to grow them in the greenhouse. The boys don’t have a greenhouse.
They’re interrupted by Yoon-hee calling an emergency town hall meeting, where she announces that this Sunday, Sang-deuk has a blind date. Wait, that was the emergency? Apparently he’s the last bachelor in the village, which makes this a Very Big Deal, though Sang-deuk doesn’t look too thrilled.
Yoon-hee tells everyone all about the lady in question, and she sounds good on paper but Sang-deuk grumbles that she’s crazy to be interested in marrying a man from this town. He’s worried she’s either a con artist or there’s something wrong with her to be interested in country life, but a picture of a cute girl with a nice cleavage shuts him up.
The villagers ask the boys to advise Sang-deuk on how to court a Seoul woman, but they declare it’s impossible as this is a marriage blind date, and Sang-deuk and this girl are clearly not in the same class. Sang-deuk’s mother says that she heard they needed a greenhouse, and offers the use of hers in exchange for their helping Sang-deuk — but if the blind date fails, they lose the greenhouse.
When the guys head home, Min-ki greets Min-ho but gets the cold shoulder, and Yoon-hee warns him to stay away from her son. Min-ki can’t help but nag her about her ragged hairband, but she only says that when there’s a real man around, she’ll use a pretty hairpin (this makes Hyuk smile).
Later that evening the guys coach Sang-deuk for his blind date, with Han-chul playing the part of the date, ha. Sang-deuk is not on board with any of this, giving curt one-word answers and picking at his underwear. The boys declare this a lost cause.
In the morning though, they’ve got Sang-deuk all spiffed up and wow, I gotta say he cleans up nice.Rawr. He knows it too, saying that he usually doesn’t dress up because he looks like Won Bin, hee. Sang-deuk’s mom begs him to be on his best behavior and bring home a daughter-in-law, and they send him off.
On the way into town Sang-deuk is blocked a moving van in the road. He’s startled to see that the person moving in is a woman he knows, and she looks equally surprised to see him. They go to a park to talk (with her daughter in tow), and the woman, whose name is Mi-young, seems much happier to see Sang-deuk than he seems to see her.
Mi-young says that they’ve moved back because her father wanted to come back home to live, but tells Sang-deuk that he doesn’t need to go visit him as he’s got dementia. She tells him a little too happily that she was divorced two years ago, and asks if he’s married, but before he can answer, his mother shows up with Man-gu’s mom.
Suddenly our comedy becomes a makjang drama, complete with overwrought music and angry mother, who demands to know what Mi-young is doing back in town. She asks Sang-deuk how he can stand to smile at Mi-young after the hell she put him through, and screeches at Mi-young that he’s still unmarried because of her.
It’s finally time to learn how to plant cabbage! Man-gu shows the boys how to plant the seeds in trays, hilariously giving the same vague “not too much, not too little, just the right amount” instructions they got from the seed vendor. Not knowing the “right amount,” they immediately screw it up and get yelled at.
Yi-ji takes the guys’ side, reminding Man-gu that they’ve never done this before, which causes her brother to yell at her also and demand to know which one of them she’s fallen for. She insists it’s not like that and runs away, and Man-gu chases after her, after issuing a warning that none of them better even think about dating his sister.
Han-chul asks Man-gu’s gossipy mother (having seen the confrontation in the street) about the history between Sang-deuk and the new woman in town. For once she refuses to talk, but their apparent disinterest gets to her and she spills it.
We see Sang-deuk and Mi-young in a flashback, sitting by a river as Sang-deuk plays harmonica and Mi-young reads. She asks him if she should just marry him right after high school, but he insists that she go to college, offering to pay her tuition. He jokes that she can pay him back with a kiss, to which she responds with maidenly outrage, only to push him down and jump on him, HA.
Mi-young is accepted to college in Seoul, and she and Sang-deuk have a hysterically emotional goodbye scene at the bus stop. Sang-deuk even clings to the bus as it drives off, as Mi-young keeps a death-grip on his hair. Rewind, replay!
Sang-deuk had worked like a madman to pay Mi-young’s tuition and living expenses, but one day when he’d shown up to bring her groceries, he’d found her in bed with another man. He’d collapsed in tears and run out, never to see Mi-young again. The boys assume that’s when he’d started drinking, but Man-gu’s mom says that actually, he started drinking in elementary school.
For once lunch isn’t ramyun, but it’s not much better, only being an assortment of canned foods. Yoon-hee’s aunt overhears the guys complaints and promises to make something for dinner, which makes Yoon-hee’s uncle furious, but Yoon-hee tells him that they’ll have to learn sometime. I have a bad feeling about dinner.
Sang-deuk waits for his date to arrive, and his mother calls to tell him one last time to do well and not to think of Mi-young. His date Bok-nyun arrives and he stands to greet her, then recoils in horror to see that she’s… well let’s just say, her picture was more than a bit misleading about her appearance. To make things worse, she’s got this horrible snorting laugh, and Sang-deuk looks a bit sick.
Yoon-hee goes looking for Min-ho at dinnertime, and finds him at the river with the guys, playing and splashing and having a great time. She can’t help but smile to see her son feeling liked and accepted, but she still gives him a lecture for hanging out with Min-ki against her wishes.
Min-ki gets a wicked gleam in his eye and sneaks up on Yoon-hee, teasing that he’s going to dump her in the water, but she actually does trip and fall in, hurting her ankle. Hyuk checks it out back at the house (right, I forgot he’s a doctor!) and declares it sprained, but Yoon-hee says it will get better on its own in a few days.
But she’s got a delivery in Seoul the next day and she can’t drive with the injured ankle, and Hyuk jumps at the chance and offers to help her. Only, he’s never driven a car, and Min-ki is the only one with the right type of driver’s license to drive a truck. Min-ki resists, but he’s convinced when Hong-gu threatens to hurt his ankle, too.
Sang-eun shows up and talks to Hyuk in formal speech, obviously nursing a giant crush on him (though I didn’t miss that tiny hopeful wave in her direction from Hong-gu). Yoon-hee’s aunt serves dinner, and she reveals a pot of what she describes as carbonara mozzarella kimchi stew. Bleh.
Only the boys have the courage to try it, but one mouthful is enough to have them retching and spitting it out. They tell the truth, that her cooking is the worst they’ve ever had, and Yoon-hee’s aunt whines that nobody’s ever said that to her before as the rest of her family avoid eye contact. She finally puts the puzzle pieces together and figures out that this is why the family always asks for ramyun, and she runs off crying.
Sang-deuk arrives home from his date and tells his mother that Bok-nyun’s picture was photoshopped and that she was unattractive, snorted like a pig, and was just plain awful. His mom says that the girl liked him and begs him to see her again, assuming that his refusal is because of Mi-young.
She runs to Mi-young’s house to confront her, but Sang-deuk follows to tell his mother again that it really is just that Bok-nyun is horrid. His mother still doesn’t believe him and goes after a confused Mi-young, so Sang-deuk agrees to see the girl one more time.
Yoon-hee, Hyuk, and Min-ki head out in the truck to make the delivery in the morning, none of them in a very good mood. Yoon-hee pops in an old cassette tape of a female singer, which causes a strange look to cross Hyuk’s face. He asks Min-ki to drop him off, saying he’s got a date with his girlfriend, and yoinks money right out of Yoon-hee’s pocket to buy flowers.
Min-ki and Yoon-hee make their delivery, only to find out that the buyer has decided to go with a non-organic grower to save money. He promises to buy from them again when business gets better, but Yoon-hee refuses to sell to him ever again. She worries that the produce will go bad, but Min-ki offers to sell them for her in return for a 50/50 split of the profits. She can’t imagine how he’ll pull it off, but it’s better than nothing so she agrees.
As Han-chul and Ki-joon tend to the cabbage seeds, Han-chul thinks to himself that he doesn’t have much time left, but worries that it would be selfish to date when he knows he’s dying. On the other hand, if he’s dying then doesn’t he deserve to be a little selfish? He makes a decision, and runs out to find Soo-yeon.
Left alone with the cabbage seeds, Ki-joon decides to take a break but as soon as he gets outside he sees Bul-ja approaching with lunch. He tells her to just go, but she insists, and he backs into a stack of bags of soil. They both end up under an avalanche of bags, with Ki-joon lying on top of Bul-ja again, only this time they’re trapped and can only yell for help.
Min-ki takes the produce to a bar where he used to sing, and the bar owner buys the produce but gripes at what’s happened to Min-ki. When Min-ki takes the boxes to the kitchen, Yoon-hee notices the photos on the wall of the guys performing there, and she’s impressed when the owner tells her how popular they were.
Yoon-hee sees another picture of Min-ki, this time with his old girlfriend Yoo-na, but Min-ki comes back and says it’s none of her business when she asks about them. He leaves and the bar owner says he’s not over Yoo-na yet. Back in the car Yoon-hee notes Min-ki’s silence, and he gets prickly when she mentions Yoo-na.
Han-chul finds Soo-yeon, and he gathers his courage and confesses his love, complete with flowers on bended knee. She flatly refuses him, saying that it’s not the pooping incident or the puppy incident, but that she just doesn’t like him. She leaves and Han-chul tells himself to take it like a man, but ends up chasing after her and begging as she runs away.
Sang-deuk heads for his second date, grumbling about how his mother embarrassed him in front of Mi-young. Unfortunately he runs into her on his way, since she’s opening a coffee shop in town. Bok-nyun shows up and before Sang-deuk can stop himself, he introduces her as the woman he’s dating. Mi-young watches them go and has a satisfying little hissy fit.
Bok-nyun makes a bad situation worse by getting sloppy drunk at lunch, and for once it’s Sang-deuk who’s the voice of sobriety as he begs her to stop drinking. He thinks to himself that he’s not in a position to be picky and determines to try to find something to like about her. He really does try but she makes it impossible, and on top of everything else she spills her purse and Sang-deuk sees that she’s a smoker, too. She grabs her stuff but leaves her lighter, and he sees that it’s from a host bar. And that, folks, is what we call a last straw.
Yoon-hee and Min-ki are making great sales by selling to his club owner friends, but it’s put Min-ki into a funk. He stops at once place and tells Yoon-hee to wait in the car, and he goes alone to knock on the door of a private residence. There’s no answer so he throws a box over the fence, but it hits a dog who yelps, and Min-ki tries to slink away. A woman comes out, and she’s thrilled to see him, but he’s cold in response.
Yoon-hee didn’t stay in the truck, and she approaches and recognizes the woman, seeming happy to see her. The woman asks who she is, and Yoon-hee answers, “Don’t you remember me? I’m Yoon-hee!”
Well, I can only assume that this is Min-ki’s mother. We know very little of Min-ki’s past –- only that he lived with his parents and his grandmother (his father’s mother) in Hadurok-ri as a child, and that when his father died, his grandmother abused his mother terribly until she finally left town with Min-ki. I suppose I’d assumed that Min-ki had a good relationship with his mother, but apparently that’s not true. He cares enough to bring her something when he’s in town, but something keeps him from wanting to actually spend time with her. I suspect it has something to do with his outburst at Yoon-hee, where he said that his mother always assumed he’d done wrong and never took his side.
Again I’m impressed with how the storylines come forward and fade back among the four EXO boys, and after hanging out in the background for a while, this episode was definitely all about Min-ki. I find his interest in little Min-ho fascinating, because I can’t help but think that he identifies with the boy (and for the record, I don’t think he’s the boy’s father, because he left the village when he was young enough that nobody recognized him as an adult). He was also a fatherless child, though under different circumstances, and he really took it personally that Yoon-hee doesn’t stand up for her son like his mother never stood up for him. I think Min-ho needs a good strong father-figure in his life, but I also think Min-ki needs to grow up, and I can see them helping each other in that way.
I’m glad to see Han-chul moving to the foreground again, though I’ll admit that at this point in the story, I really hope he doesn’t end up with Soo-yeon. She’s not a nice person, and he doesn’t know a thing about her other than her looks. But that’s another thing I love about this show –- there are no obvious pairings, and who people may or may not end up dating by the end is very up-in-the-air. In fact I count more than ten possible pairing-off possibilities among the lead characters, just from little hints and glances I’ve seen between the EXO boys and different villagers. I think with most dramas, we get used to knowing the romantic end game from the very first episode of a show, and it’s a breath of fresh air to be kept guessing. There’s really only one couple I’m relatively sure belong together (Ki-joon and Bul-ja, because they couldn’t possibly be any cuter) but everyone else’s love-lines are still great big question marks. It’s fun not to know the romantic pairings, for once!
In fact that’s really what I love most about Modern Farmer –- that we never know what we’re going to get. This whole show, so far, has been pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. And while I have no problems with the traditional drama formula (it’s a big reason why we love them so much!), do adore that in this case, there are no givens and no telling what’s in store. One thing I’m certain of now, after these first few weeks: Whatever is coming, it will be buckets of fun, and I’ll love every minute of it.