Falling for Innocence: Episode 3
If you were afraid that Min-ho getting a second shot at life would come with a complete metamorphosis where he shed his bullying suit and bloomed into a lovesick romantic, then I’m relieved to inform you that it isn’t the case here. In fact, it turns out that following around a bumbling hero who’s still very much an ass, but suddenly loves lollipops, try and piece together his scattered memory is pretty amusing.
All he has is one clue to work off of, and Min-ho will be in for quite a surprise when he finds out where that will lead him. Time will tell if Min-ho and those around him will pick up on any noticeable changes in him, but really all he has to do is one thing: follow his literal new heart.
SONG OF THE DAY
Nell- “기억을 걷는 시간 (Time Walking On Memories)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Not long after young Soon-jung had transferred to a school near the Hermia Cosmetics central factory, she’d been the subjects of gossip among the teachers and alienated by the factory workers’ children. But mini-Dong-wook had approached her first, encouraging her to make friends together. He’d refused her answer of “next time,” because he believed in the present and had led her away by the hand.
Living in the moment was always Dong-wook’s modus operandi—when Soon-jung once passed on a snowy date using work as an excuse, Dong-wook had asked, “My lady, are you going to forsake today because of tomorrow?”
Dong-wook had been there through thick and thin; he’d been by her side when her father passed away and spoke the same words we heard in the previous episode: “Happiness passes, but so does sadness. Plus, what’s important is that you’ve got me, today and tomorrow.”
“Today, tomorrow, and the day after… the one who had promised that he’d always be with me, his ‘next time’ and ‘tomorrow’ has slipped away.” Dong-wook’s funeral is a dismal affair, and with tears in her eyes, Soon-jung finishes, “And not just my today… but my tomorrow has slipped away as well.”
The next time we see Soon-jung, she’s busy drying another secretary’s tears. She shares a story about her own past blunder to cheer the secretary up about getting scolded for her manicured nails. Although Soon-jung is smiling, her white hairpin indicates that she’s still in mourning.
Min-ho’s plan to become Hermia’s largest bondholder works out in the end, after one investor sells off his bonds to Gold Partners. Should Min-ho demand repayment on the next bond maturity date, Hermia will have to file bankruptcy. So Chairman Kang puts a temporary bandage on the situation, ordering Director Yoon to look into funds from other creditors and private lenders, and Joon-hee to prepare for the worst.
Evidently all Dong-wook’s former partner (and Soon-jung’s friend) detective NA OK-HYUN has been doing for the past two months following Dong-wook’s fatal accident is trying to nab the culprit. She’s determined to get to the bottom of it by towing any suspicious cars that were captured on video that night, and angry by how there haven’t been any leads.
We enter Min-ho’s blurry dreamscape, where his vision pans to see a sobbing woman whose face is obscured. He doesn’t understand why she’s crying over him and wonders to himself: “Why does it sadden me to see you cry? It makes my heart ache.”
Honing in on her butterfly clip, he asks again, “Who are you?” With that, Min-ho’s eyes fly open.
He’s still at the hospital, where Secretary Oh arrives with snacks and tells his boss that the woman in his recurring nightmare is probably just one of his past flings haunting him. Heh. Min-ho’s sudden desire for junk food is unprecedented, and then he pops a lollipop into his mouth. Hm, didn’t Dong-wook enjoy lollipops too?
It’s kind of a relief to see that Min-ho’s resolute businessman ways haven’t changed despite his literal new heart. He’s as determined as ever to follow through with the plans to leave Hermia and his uncle in a state of destitute, but then stops when something sparkly catches his eye.
It’s that same butterfly hairclip that appeared in his dream, and Min-ho rifles around the bed eager to find more about the bed’s owner. He looks upon the patient’s mother curiously when her answers corroborates with the events in his dream. And then Min-ho takes it one step further by asking if she’d ever thrown herself upon him by accident. Oh boy.
Min-ho is hilariously matter-of-fact about it—in an attempt to reenact his dream, he lies down on the bed and invites her with open arms: “For undisclosable reasons, I have to feel something, so go ahead and lay on my chest.” Hahaha. Also, she’s gonna have to take a number.
His persistence only gets her more worked up, and soon enough, she’s brandishing the tray and chasing Min-ho around the hospital room and down the hallway with it. Cut to: Min-ho wearing a cantankerous expression, his hair disheveled. LOL.
They’ve attracted quite the crowd by now, and while Min-ho can’t explain the reasons for his inappropriate request, he does yell back at her: “You aren’t my type anyway!” He’s able to read between the lines of the ajumma’s dialect to pick up on her agitation, but that only upsets her even more.
Neither Min-ho nor his secretary are exactly sure what’s gotten into him lately, but Secretary Oh knows nothing good will come from coming on to that ajumma. Ha.
When Soon-jung comes through the hospital doors just then, Min-ho does get a few derisive remarks in before wondering if she’s here to see him. She isn’t and doesn’t have time to chat, and hilariously leaves him hanging in the lobby. Curiously, the sight of her makes his heart throb.
Soon-jung is here to meet with that same ajumma and her teenage son, who had occupied the same bed in the ICU after Dong-wook. She’s touched that her precious hairclip wasn’t lost or thrown away, and when the son asks if the bed’s previous occupant is alive and well, Soon-jung lies that he is. The teen exclaims that bed must be a lucky one, because he too was on the brink of death.
Still clutching his chest, Min-ho runs into Soon-jung and the teenager in the lobby. He sends the kid off to find his mother, then calls Soon-jung outside to chat.
Soon-jung apologizes for not coming to visit earlier, but Min-ho isn’t interested in words of the heart. Finding her willingness amusing, he challenges that unshakeable loyalty of hers: he’ll forgive her if she sells out Hermia’s secrets. Her astonishment leads Min-ho to believe that she isn’t sorry at all.
Min-ho hasn’t forgotten about their yet-to-be-settled negotiation regarding Dong-wook’s previous assault. He has no idea that his target is now deceased of course, and takes Soon-jung’s defense of Dong-wook as a challenge—Soon-jung will be itching to cast her fiance away once he’s through with him. “How long might you love a man who’s hit rock bottom?”
Those words break Soon-jung’s resolve and she asks in a horrified voice: “How could someone who came back to life be exactly the same?” A flicker of surprise passes over Min-ho’s face, then Soon-jung continues, “You’re… just a thug.”
Min-ho can keep his threats coming, but she won’t dare sell out company secrets as long as she’s still on Hermia’s payroll. She calls it a sense of responsibility, something a thug like him wouldn’t understand. So he can go ahead and try to use every dirty trick in the book, but none of them will work on her.
She storms off, but another round of throbbing chest pain keeps Min-ho from going after her.
After whisking Soon-jung away from running yet another company errand, Joon-hee tells her that her unaffected attitude in the workplace has spurred gossip among the employees. She laughs at the “pretentious smile” nickname, remarking offhandedly that putting on a smile is better than crying.
Joon-hee takes Soon-jung out to dinner and tells her to pick out a potential listing, since that’ll be the apartment he gets for her. He doesn’t like the idea of Soon-jung living alone in her house on the hill, not only for her safety but because he knows that the neighborhood will always reminds her of Dong-wook.
Tomorrow will mark 49 days after Dong-wook’s death (when it’s believed that the soul of the deceased will move on to the hereafter), and Joon-hee wants Soon-jung to move on too. He’d always worried about her, but Dong-wook had been around then, and he feels a sense of responsibility towards her since it’s just the two of them now.
His face falls when Soon-jung recites Dong-wook’s words about how everything passes in time. Then Soon-jung shows off the recovered butterfly hairclip; she knows it sounds ridiculous, but her finding it again feels like a message sent from Dong-wook.
Getting treated to fancy food is good enough for her as his friend, she declares, and they both dig in. When Joon-hee drops Soon-jung off with Ok-hyun, he takes note of the heel that’s been given her trouble.
Ruminating over Soon-jung’s words only bother Min-ho further, making him stomp in anger. He’s already aware of the year-long all-expenses paid vacay the Gold Partners chairman wants him to take—once Hermia files bankruptcy next week, that’ll be the end of his longtime revenge, Min-ho declares.
It may be time for that break then, and when Secretary Oh drops a not-so-subtle-hint about who will be accompanying him on said trip, Min-ho simply tells him to pick him up on-time tomorrow. He’s still able to hear the litany of curses his secretary mutters under his breath.
On his way back to his room, Min-ho stops to listen to the upbeat “Whenever” track currently playing. His heart starts beating louder and his eyes well up in tears involuntarily. It’s only when a tear falls does Min-ho snap out of his trance, unable to identify why he’s crying.
On the 49th day following Dong-wook’s death, Ok-hyun visits where the accident took place. Promising to bury her fellow detective once she captures the culprit, she hopes he rests in peace until then and leaves behind several lollipops on the spot.
Soon-jung pays a visit to Dong-wook as well at the columbarium. Every step of this mourning period has been met with fair weather, all of which only pains her more to know that he’s gone. “Because it feels like you’re thinking of [the living] even in death.”
Crying now, she pleads that he stop being so selfless and be in peace. “I love you, Dong-wook-ah. I love you.”
Doctor Jo bids Min-ho farewell, hoping that he’ll be well enough so that they never cross paths again. Seeing other patients surrounded by loved ones has Min-ho wonder if anyone came to visit while he was unconscious.
Secretary Oh has made sure that no one came, since Min-ho’s motto is basically “work first, work always.” You can tell Min-ho’s a bit disappointment, but he doesn’t say anything.
Because the boss has been away for weeks, the Gold Partners employees have been enjoying themselves. But as soon as they get wind that Min-ho is on his way over, they scramble to clean everything up.
This gives us an opportunity to glimpse the perception of the “corporate serial killer” in the eyes of his employees. They imagine all the things he could berate them about, like kicking back in the office with delivery food, criticizing their quality of work as a waste of their salaries, and ripping up their resignation letters in indignation.
So when Min-ho finally shows up, they’re all legitimately surprised when he praises them for working hard while he was away. Min-ho adds that he missed them, and one worker drops a tray in shock.
Ji-hyun leads Min-ho into her office where someone else is already waiting for them: Joon-hee. Judging from the lack of recognition on Min-ho’s face, this is their first official meeting.
Once Min-ho is filled in, he asks what Joon-hee would have to gain from orchestrating the Hermia Cosmetics tampering case. “Would you be okay if it’s Hermia?” Joon-hee returns.
They’ll need someone to do their bidding after Hermia goes bankrupt, Ji-hyun explains, and Joon-hee is the man for the job per the Gold Partners chairman’s orders. And Joon-hee has critical information: Hermia’s bankruptcy may not happen as soon as originally planned.
Min-ho is furious to hear that his uncle was able to somehow pay back his owed bonds to them, as he believed that they cut off all lines of funding. The word on the street is that Chairman Kang obtained those funds by selling off a subsidiary company. So now the proposed plan is to plant someone within Hermia to facilitate another financial strain for the company under the pretense of supervision.
Losing a dangerous card like himself would be quite the gamble, Joon-hee continues. With a smirk, he asks, “Do you think you need me now?”
Later that evening, Joon-hee surprises Soon-jung with new flats so that she doesn’t have to worry about climbing the hill home in her troublesome heels. Elsewhere, Min-ho is having a far more stressful evening, enraged that all of his hard work has been dismantled in just two months.
On the day of the next bondholders’ meeting, Min-ho runs into Soon-jung in the elevator. He tells her that this is her last chance to join hands with him, which she considers as a blessed relief. At her refusal, Min-ho cryptically replies that they’ll see if she says the same in twenty minutes’ time.
Before the boardroom decides on a delegate board member to oversee Hermia’s bond repayments, Min-ho barges in to announce that he’ll gladly take up that position. Chairman Kang can see through his nephew’s hidden motives, to which Min-ho says he’ll have nothing to worry about as long as he pays back those bonds on-time.
Willing to entertain Min-ho at his game, Chairman Kang appoints his nephew for contingent employment. Min-ho argues that he needs an employee too, and asks outright for Soon-jung.
At Joon-hee’s protest, Min-ho counters that he has every right to make demands in his new position. And plus, it isn’t like Soon-jung is someone who’d flap her lips and spill company secrets or anything, right? Jeez, way to humiliate a girl at her workplace.
He laughs off his pseudo joke, but then turns to his uncle for the final word. After a few tense seconds, Chairman Kang allows Soon-jung to work under Min-ho.
Joon-hee is none too happy about this turn of events, but Min-ho argues that Joon-hee should just do as he’s told. Rubbing salt into the wound, Min-ho has heard about Joon-hee’s reputation as his uncle’s lapdog. He then goes to straighten Joon-hee’s tie while telling him how handsome he is, a habit Dong-wook used to act with Joon-hee.
It’s unclear whether Joon-hee picked up on the eerie coincidence or not, but Min-ho notes that he seeing Joon-hee always makes him feel awful for some reason.
Min-ho cuts this conversation short when he spots Soon-jung and takes the opportunity to mock her earlier words of confidence. He extends a hand to commemorate their new working relationship, then pulls her in close when she takes it.
“You were right. Even if I come back to life, I only harbor thoughts of stomping all over people,” Min-ho scornfully notes. “Then who will be the first at bat in this company?”
Chairman Kang takes a private moment with Soon-jung to issue a stern warning about working with Min-ho. Compromising the company will only lead to great backlash on her part, so “don’t turn this company into your prison.”
Min-ho stays up review all of Hermia’s financial activity records from the headquarters to its subsidiary companies from the past five years. Delivering all these documents gives reason for Secretary Oh to display his annoyance and jealousy of Min-ho hiring another personal secretary—why he should go and task her to do this!
Seeing as Min-ho has shelved that year-long vacation until this project is complete, Secretary Oh observes that it’s quite odd that despite Min-ho’s new lease on life, he hasn’t changed at all in his tendency to work himself to the bone as if he had a month left to live.
Soon-jung has been staying with Ok-hyun for the past 49 days, and the latter feels apologetic when a case calls her away. She feels bad for being unable to help Soon-jung move her things back in and suggests on calling Joon-hee for help, but Soon-jung insists that she’ll be fine on her own.
That recurring dream of a woman sobbing over him at the hospital appears to Min-ho again, but this time, she places a hand on his cheek and he hears her voice telling him to rest in peace now. Min-ho jolts awake on the couch and surprised that he’s shed tears again.
Min-ho’s scathing words echo in Soon-jung’s head on the bus ride back. She tells herself that everything will come to pass. However, that familiar walk up the hill only brings back painful memories of Dong-wook, whose voice she can still hear in her head.
She imagines him walking towards her, asking how her day was. Dream Dong-wook can see past her lies and tells her not to be afraid because both the ups and downs of life come to pass.
Just the thought of him brings tears to Soon-jung’s eyes, and happy memories replay in her head as she trudges up the steps towards her home. Dong-wook would always be waiting for her, and ha—he once waited for her with a criminal handcuffed to him. Even if he was bloody and beat up, Dong-wook always knew what she wanted or needed.
Each step is heavy with grief and despite her best efforts, Soon-jung bursts into sobs and falls to her knees. She finally lets the tears flow, and I can only imagine the kind of catharsis she must feel in sitting with her sorrow after hiding it for seven weeks.
And then someone wearing sneakers comes walking down the steps playing that familiar “Whenever” tune from his phone—Min-ho. It would almost be too cruel of him to taunt her this way if he knew why, but he doesn’t and neither does he know why Soon-jung is here either.
Meanwhile Ok-hyun finally speaks with an eyewitness regarding Dong-wook’s accident. The man had seen a white car zoom by, and the description matches up with a particular car she’s looked into before…
At the same time, an anonymous call has Papa Ma baffled, but we see that those muffled cries are coming from that tampering hyungnim on the other end. He looks like he’s on the run and his white hatchback is parked nearby.
Back on the hill, Min-ho says he isn’t sure how he ended up here in her shabby neighborhood. He lets out a horror-struck yell when he spots the butterfly hairclip she’s wearing and demands, “Where do you get that hairclip?”
Grabbing her head, he wonders if this could be the same head of hair from his dream. Needless to say, Soon-jung is completely flabbergasted.
But Min-ho needs confirmation, and so he pulls her into an embrace.
This is going to sound weird, but I’m glad that Min-ho is still a douche and didn’t get a personality lobotomy to accompany his new heart. Instead of a complete 180 like I’d feared, we’re seeing slight changes in his behavior, some of which he isn’t even aware of. I doubt he’ll turn over a new leaf anytime soon, but he does exhibit the seedlings of a man that’s beginning to appreciate people other than himself.
It isn’t so much that Min-ho basically acts like the same horrible man after getting a second shot at life, but rather it’s the idea that he still is now bothers him more than he’d care to admit. He’d worked himself to the bone because he barely had enough time to exact his revenge, and it’s only now that he realizes that perhaps the person he’s been cruelest to is himself. Min-ho doesn’t know why this recurring dream continues to haunt him, but judging from how virtually everyone is either too scared of him or doesn’t care enough about him to visit him in the hospital, I can’t blame him for trying to track down the woman who cried for him… even if he doesn’t know that her tears weren’t for him.
Regarding the business politics that occur within Innocence, I must say that while the character motivations can be straightforward (e.g., Min-ho’s desire to see Hermia’s downfall, Joon-hee’s ardent wish to be Hermia’s next CEO) the presentation often leaves room for unclear explanations and answers later on. Take for instance the issue with Hermia facing possible bankruptcy: Chairman Kang’s temporary solution was to look into different creditors in the beginning of the episode, but somewhere off-screen during the episode, he allegedly sold off a subsidiary to keep Hermia running. For now. And because we know that Joon-hee harbors nefarious motivations, getting this intel from him isn’t exactly hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth.
So because I feel like the show will keep piling on more things without providing any proper explanation (and confuse us in the long run), let’s try to analyze the current situation together: Hermia issued company bonds to its investors who expect a principal amount of repayment on the bond’s maturity date, whenever that may be. Min-ho bought a whole bunch of these bonds (which can be sold from one party to another) and wanted Gold Partners to become the largest bondholder so that he can demand a large payment from his uncle by the aforementioned maturity date. But if Chairman Kang fears his nephew becoming the largest bondholder that must mean he doesn’t have the current means for repayment, hence the need to prepare to file for bankruptcy. But somehow (if the story is true) Chairman Kang found the cash by selling off a Hermia subsidiary to repay enough bonds to keep him afloat. So in order to ruin Hermia, Joon-hee’s plan is to plant a man on the inside and eventually cause enough of a financial strain that Hermia will end up having to declare bankruptcy anyway. Wow, that’s a lot of info.
The fact that we have to suss all this out in the first place shows a writing flaw in this area. And while in most cases, the background politics/business/palace intrigue bears little importance to the main storyline, knowing (and understanding) these events in Innocence is essential if we want to know these characters’ motives. It could be that the war over bonds and money isn’t at all important later on, but now I know I can sleep a little better at night knowing what the hell is going on in those boardroom meetings.
But getting back to our characters, it was heartbreaking to watch Soon-jung finally sit with her grief after putting up such a strong face. How interesting that the one person who she wouldn’t want to shed tears in front of is the one who finds her in her most vulnerable moment. I would love to see more agency in Soon-jung’s actions as the series progresses, but it’s also important to mourn the lost. Just like Dong-wook always used to say (I miss you, Jin Gu!), “happiness passes, and so does sadness.”
But I can’t tell you that applies to Min-ho because ever since he woke up, he’s having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 2
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 1
- From shark to sappy romantic in Falling for Innocence
- Falling for Innocence’s lighthearted teasers and posters
- Bickering behind the scenes of Falling for Innocence
- News bites: December 13, 2014
- Jung Kyung-ho and Kim So-yeon headline new JTBC melodrama