Heard It Through the Grapevine: Episode 2
These are the faces of the condemned about to face judge, jury, and executioner in the form of In-sang’s parents. They’re in for a shock even greater than the pregnancy reveal itself, culminating in a strangely funny sequence of events as the Han Family gets turned upside down. The tone still swings from funny to serious and then back again, so much so that a part of me wonders if this drama was made as a meta parody on traditional family shows—or maybe it’s just a little off-kilter in general. It’s something different, that’s for sure.
Note: I’m still hesitant to take Grapevine on as my single longest recapping project ever, so for right now, future recaps are still just a maybe.
SONG OF THE DAY
Almeng – “Yes I Do” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Bom knows just how wealthy In-sang is before they even get out of the taxi, as she looks up at his house through the window and muses, “You must be really rich.”
In-sang distractedly makes an affirmative noise before realizing how snooty that seems, though his attempt to backpedal is funny and kind of sad with the way he stutters through it: “Uh, I mean no… I don’t know.” When confronted with how he’d lied about coming from an average family, at least In-sang admits that he would’ve said anything at the time just to sleep with her.
He’s all but quaking in his boots while Bom supports him as they enter the house, and she’s the one having to comfort him by saying everything’s going to be okay.
Daddy Han and Mama Choi do NOT know what they’re in for when they first see their son with his head bowed next to a pregnant girl, and only begin to put the pieces together when In-sang gestures to Bom and stutters that she’s his girlfriend.
In-sang is in desperate need of a tranquilizer as he has to struggle to get every single word out, but the mishmash of syllables ends up telling a rough story to his shellshocked parents: He loves Bom, and the child in her belly is a product of that love. And oh, he wants to marry her.
The first demand Daddy Han makes is to ask how they met, which In-sang explains with great pains—they met at a debate competition, they dated, and cemented their feelings at the study camp.
But when he can’t get through the rest of the story, Bom intervenes to gently add that they made a mistake and should’ve restrained themselves. Mama Choi goes weak in the knees at Bom’s affirmation that the child is most definitely her son’s, even though both Bom and In-sang admit that neither of them could restrain themselves.
Just then, Bom is hit with sudden abdominal pain that has her doubled over and crying. Mom and Dad look on in horror as Bom says her water just broke, and continue to do so as the house staff starts rushing around for towels and other supplies while Bom starts going into labor two weeks before her due date.
Mama Choi attempts to escape to her room, but finds no solace as In-sang bursts in with his pregnant girlfriend in and lies her on Mom’s bed. His sister Yi-ji is helping out at least, and sets off to google how to give birth at home at Bom’s request. Haha.
Daddy Han tries to act like he’s got it all together, but he winces every time he hears Bom’s labor moans through the walls. I don’t know why this is all so funny, but it is. (You know what would make it even funnier? If we could actually see it. This show must be sponsored by the color beige.)
Yi-ji literally reads instructions on home birth off her phone as Mama Choi puts earplugs in her ears to block out the noise. Daddy Han turns The Magic Flute up impossibly high so that when the EMS team arrives, he can turn them around by shouting that there’s no pregnant woman giving birth inside. He just really, really likes blowing out his eardrums after work.
Daddy Han has his secretary use Bom’s phone to text her father after he calls, dictating how the text would sound coming from his son. It’s super formal, stilted, and a little bit insane. I kind of like this crazy family.
Bom is the one calling the shots for her unplanned birth, having read enough on the subject to direct In-sang and his sister on how to assist her. The head maid handles the tougher part of the process while Yi-ji goes running through the house to proclaim how much Bom’s cervix has dilated.
For now, Daddy Han is choosing to delude himself by claiming that they’re just being good citizens by helping the randomly pregnant girl their son brought home—and that in helping her they’re not legally admitting anything. Like that’s their grandchild about to be born.
Mama Choi allows herself to believe the same lie, and finds it much easier to enter the birthing room now that she thinks of Bom as being totally unrelated to her and her son in every conceivable way. Even though In-sang is currently holding Bom from behind for support while she screams her way through another contraction.
The Han Family house goes on communications lockdown on Dad’s order, but Mama Choi still thinks it’s a good idea to answer the phone so her rich friend can overhear the sounds of Bom’s screaming. I’m sure that’s not going to come back to bite her.
The sounds of screams soon gives way to another kind of cry—that of a newly born infant. Bom’s just given birth to a beautiful baby boy.
At least a doctor is brought in to care for Bom afterward, even though she’s pretty much got everything under control, having studied about pregnancy and birth extensively beforehand.
Bom calls her mom to tell her the news, giving her the details in a surprisingly calm manner even when she can’t fight a few escaping tears. But she makes sure to stress that she’s being treated very well and that In-sang’s family will invite her over soon.
Her mom thanks In-sang over the phone, and he grants her request for pictures of her grandson, even snapping a selca of the three of them together for the first time.
Papa Seo, Mom, and Bom’s sister get to ooh and ahh over the picture while Papa Seo realizes that his former attitude regarding his daughter (embarrassment) was wrong, thanks to Mom knocking some sense into him. Aww.
Despite being in the same house, a faint Mama Choi gets all her updates on the baby’s status via her secretary. She’s not happy about any of it, which the staff giddily gossips about behind her back.
Similarly, Daddy Han doesn’t take the new family addition all that well and sets to breaking various things in the house so that by the next morning, he’s having to work from home while the staff sweeps up the mess he made.
While Mama Choi gets up to face the day and save the child—by which she means her son, not the newborn infant in the house—Yi-ji seems to be the only Han family member who seems to be having fun.
I can’t quite tell if it’s supposed to be funny that Daddy Han and his wife are conspiring on how to make Bom feel safe and well taken care of while they find a way to sneak in a paternity test. They’ll hire a good nanny in the meantime. (These and all scenes brought to you by Shooting Through Objects. Shooting Through Objects, because why provide visual clarity when you can just not?)
In-sang has to be roused from his sleep at the foot of Bom’s bed where he’s been curled up like a loyal dog while she chomps away at her breakfast unfazed. At least the head maid seems genuinely friendly to her.
Daddy Han is clearly holding back some serious rage when he confronts his son the next morning, and manages to talk around the elephant in the room. He hasn’t even seen the baby nor does he care to, since his only concern is convincing In-sang to go to school. He even finds a roundabout way of promising that the baby will be cared for without referring to him/it directly.
In-sang gets all dressed up to go to school before sneaking into Bom’s room to find her asleep with the baby. He very gingerly and very quietly puts his things down so he can snuggle up next to the baby, which he showers with adorable little kisses.
This wakes Bom up, even though she insists she’s fine when he tries to usher her back to sleep. She can tell by his uniform that he’s going to school and asks if his parents have come to see the baby yet.
“They will,” In-sang promises, though Bom is no fool—she knows that she and her baby aren’t that welcome underneath his parents’ roof. It’s cute how In-sang tries to assuage her fears, and leaves only after giving her and the baby a kiss on the forehead.
Mama Choi takes over once her son’s off to school, and makes arrangements with the staff to have Bom and the baby set up in separate rooms. The maid even dares to protest with what she sees as a cold move by Mama Choi, since she’d be separating mother and child before Bom’s first breastfeeding (which she’s been prepared for and looking forward to).
But Mama Choi closes the discussion by reminding them that she used a nanny to help raise her children, so Bom can too. Do Bom’s feelings count in this at all? Wait, this is a chaebol family. Why did I even ask.
In-sang, meanwhile, believes Secretary Kim (the family’s head chauffeur/butler/errand man) when he says that In-sang’s phone is still missing, if by “missing” he means “confiscated.” He does start to get a wee bit concerned when he’s driven past his school instead of to it, since his dad wanted him to see something.
Daddy Han can only look shifty at work when he realizes that one of his pregnant colleagues is now without a nanny because his wife just hired her out from under her. Whoops.
Meanwhile, the female secretaries at the law firm have figured out an ingenious way of gossiping in plain sight by using Japanese to talk to each other over their cubicle walls. They know all about the nanny situation and In-sang’s baby, and tend to just roll their eyes at the way chaebols behave.
Instead of school, In-sang gets taken to a tutor/hypnotist his father took great pains to acquire in order to help him ace the bar exam. But In-sang didn’t know that his family made plans for him to live there with his tutor, and protests the second he realizes what’s going on that he can’t stay there—he’s got a girlfriend and a baby to look after.
Secretary Kim immediately shoots back that In-sang should have thought about his future before he started a family all willy-nilly. Besides, nothing In-sang can say now will change his fate. He should think of this cram period as a time for reflection.
While Mama Choi’s hoity-toity friends consider using her stolen talisman to impose themselves on her, she reluctantly oversees the setting-up process of the new nursery. Though she can’t even wait to hand over all baby-related decisions to the new and expensive nanny.
The new nanny takes over mothering for Bom before she can get her first breastfeeding in with her newborn, and you can tell she’s just going along with the adults out of confusion and politeness.
The head maid sends her a sad smile as Bom is shuffled over to her new and separate living quarters within the house, where she’s told that she can’t stay in the same room with her own baby. Can’t she just, I dunno, walk back?
While Mama Choi orders her room cleaned and sanitized now that Bom’s out of it, she finds the nanny feeding the infant from a bottle and admits to not being sure whether she’ll allow Bom to breastfeed it. O-kay.
She tries to pretend like there isn’t a baby crying in another part of the house (is she really blaming the noise on stray cats?) when she meets with a matchmaker for her son, but Bom hears her son’s cries…
…Though her attempt to leave gets blocked by Mama Choi, whose sole purpose seems to be keeping Bom locked in her room. “Babies cry,” she says of the sound Bom’s so concerned about. He’s in the best hands money can buy, more importantly.
Bom catches on quickly that Mama Choi is doing this to punish her, and Mom doesn’t even have the huevos rancheros to admit it. Instead, she’s all smiles and niceties, acting like Bom is a precious gift in their household and not an unwanted pest.
So Bom takes her at her word, and politely asks if she can take care of her own baby, since she’s been preparing to do so anyway. And if Mama Choi is worried that she has any resentment against In-sang that could transfer over to the baby, Bom assures her that she doesn’t.
But Mama Choi’s had all she can take, and mutters under her breath about how Bom won’t stop talking back to her. “Don’t you have any shame? Don’t you realize what you’ve done?!” she yells, before launching into a tirade belittling Bom for being born a plebeian…
…Until her secretary clamps a hand over her mouth, whispering that everyone can hear her. Bom takes the opportunity to bow her head and tell Mama Choi not to worry, because “I’ll overcome the sense of shame.”
Mama Choi can only scream angrily behind her secretary’s hand as she attempts to claw it away so she can get at Bom.
I spoke way too soon about Mama Choi not being your atypical evil chaebol mother, and though we can see shades of her trying to seem more awful than she might be—like when she expressed even the most offhanded concern about the nursery room temperature—it doesn’t change the fact that she’s either willfully and dangerously ignorant or just another terrible mother-in-law (only not quite) in a long line of terrible mothers-in-law. Maybe she’ll grow and change for the better over the course of the series. I’m not ruling anything out, but I’m also trying not to call things prematurely either.
Bom is definitely a breath of fresh air, and in the most unassuming way possible, to boot. She’s not making her mark by being obnoxiously loud or opinionated, but by being unassumingly quiet and steadfast. Whether her maturity came with her pregnancy or before, she’s well beyond her years as a teenager and it shows. She’s still technically not a Grown Up in a world of Grown Ups which puts her at a distinct disadvantage, but unlike In-sang, she has no loyalty to the people trying to now take control of her life. She has a basic respect for the parents of the boy she loves, but already we’re seeing how her calling as a mother trumps her calling to be a grateful houseguest.
In that respect, it seems Mama Choi has sorely underestimated the girl she’s dealing with, and the fact that Bom is now the mother of her grandchild while still being an unwed teenager creates a very unique and interesting dynamic between them. Since the Han Family is stuck in the past, then tradition dictates that the mother-in-law holds all the cards until the poor, fledgling daughter-in-law bears a son. It’s only the second episode and Bom has been there and had that, so we’re left with a conundrum we don’t normally get to in other family dramas that toy with the balance of power between women of the house: What happens now?
It’s that aspect that makes Heard It Through the Grapevine a different kind of family drama in a sea of sameness, which shouldn’t be surprising given the expert team behind the show. There are literally an infinite number of directions it can go from here, whether it focuses on the love story between In-sang and Bom or the challenges of growing up in reverse. And I have to respect the fact that their love story starts where most other dramas end, because they’re going about this whole happily-ever-after thing completely out of order. That’s the fun part for us, even if it’s not so much for them.
In-sang is a funny one to be sure, and sometimes it seems like he may be acting in a slapstick drama Bom isn’t necessarily a part of. I think that’s just his immaturity showing, since Bom seems to have the wisdom of a grizzled mountain guru and ten times more grit. He’s got a lot of growing up to do comparatively, though his heart is in the right place, which does mean a lot after seeing how he all but wet his pants during the mental breakdown he had facing his parents with his pregnant girlfriend.
Lucky for him, his parents are too passive aggressive to take their true feelings out on him, and I’ll be interested to see if In-sang is capable of stepping up to the plate not only as a husband, but as a father and son. In the meantime though, no one would complain if the screen was filled with more scenes of In-sang kissing that adorably chubby new life form he’s way too young to be the father of. Bom earned her status as a new mother and awesome human being by having that baby with literally just sheer force of will and an internet search, so In-sang better not let an apartment with locks on the inside keep him from getting to where he’s needed most.