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Falling for Innocence: Episode 4

Tensions abound when our heroine gets recruited as Min-ho’s personal secretary, which turns out to be way more physically and emotionally taxing a job than it should be. Poor Soon-jung can’t take one step without getting herself into trouble this hour, and while she’s got one white knight with a dark streak, she also a has a ten-year-old boy to babysit instead of a boss. I’d normally say good luck, but when the universe has it out for someone like it does for Soon-jung, sometimes it’s better to just get out of dodge.

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Davink – “파라다이스 (Paradise)” from the OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 4 RECAP

We see a very young Min-ho attending his mother’s funeral with Doctor Jo, who clearly knew Min-ho’s parents very well. Though he tries to comfort the boy about how kind and giving both his now-deceased parents were, Min-ho’s cold answer even then was: “I won’t forget that my father was the dumbest man in the world.”

In voiceover, we hear Adult Min-ho muse that his life has always been cruel, forcing him to make a personal vow that he’d become crueler than his fate in order to survive.

“And then about twenty years later,” he adds, after we see a flashback of him receiving his grim three-years-to-live prognosis, “I became a cruel monster.”

But now he’s struck with a different memory, one that doesn’t seem entirely his own—the hands clutching his face in the hospital, the female voice telling him that it’s okay to rest now. “But I didn’t know then,” the voiceover continues, “that my fate was slowly changing course. And that an unimaginable future was waiting for me.”

After getting the bejeezus scared out of him by a cat that sounds way too much like an infant, Min-ho calls Secretary Oh in a fit because he doesn’t know where he is or how he came to be there. Blearily, Secretary Oh just tells him to take a picture of the street sign and send it to him.

That’s when Min-ho comes across Soon-jung crying on the stairs where Dong-wook always used to meet her, and disregards her tears entirely when he asks her why she’s here. (Asks the man who doesn’t even know why he’s here.)

But it’s the sight of her butterfly hairpin that has him all aflutter, though his embrace is quickly shut down by Soon-jung. “You were in the ICU, weren’t you!?” he asks accusingly. She shoots back that it couldn’t have been her when only family members can enter the ICU.

He loses the opportunity to find out how she really knows that intel by assuming that her experience comes from visiting her father in the hospital. Soon-jung doesn’t correct him, eager to get on her way.

As she trudges up the stairs, she hears Min-ho pick up his phone with the “Whenever” song ringtone and demand angrily of Secretary Oh, “Where am I?!” Hah. Does someone not know how to use a smartphone?

Even though she’s hot on the trail of Dong-wook’s murderer, Ok-hyun still finds time to call Soon-jung to offer some moral support for her upcoming meeting, since Min-ho is sure to give her trouble. “If that jerk bothers you, I’ll go arrest him!” Ok-hyun chirps. “Fighting!”

While Chairman Kang and Joon-hee prepare for the worst now that Min-ho is a delegate board member for Hermia, Min-ho prepares for his first board meeting with a snazzy new haircut and only the finest in suits. And a lollypop, of course.

Min-ho, Secretary Oh, and investment expert Ji-hyun are serenaded by Coldplay on their drive over, and Ji-hyun shares some juicy intel we just heard being discussed over at Hermia: if they can’t renew their contract with one of the biggest department store chains, they’ll be ruined.

Obviously, it’s in Min-ho’s best interests to make sure that contract doesn’t go through. He might not know what it is yet, but he has a plan. He also probably doesn’t know why he’s sketching a random house he’s never seen before.

The only reason they got that information about the department store in the first place is because Joon-hee leaked it, which Min-ho thanks him for when they’re alone. Joon-hee underhandedly mentions that Min-ho’s plan better work, causing Min-ho to raise his hand as if he’s going to hit him.

He stops when the elevator doors open to reveal Soon-jung waiting. They look straight at each other, and Min-ho feels his heart beating like crazy again. No luck still on figuring out the cause.

To say that the board meeting goes well would be an outright lie, since it’s more of a weewee measuring contest between Min-ho and his uncle than anything else. Chairman Kang calls Min-ho out on his lack of work experience, while Min-ho threatens to inspect Hermia’s accounting files to see if he can dig up some less than legal dealings.

Everyone in the boardroom is against Min-ho at present, but Min-ho is sure that’ll change—their loyalty to Chairman Kang won’t last if sales hit rock bottom. But Chairman Kang thinks differently, and reminds Min-ho that these are the same men who turned to him after his father’s betrayal.

After the meeting, Min-ho again runs into Soon-jung and feels his heart start to beat rapidly again. But he still doesn’t make the connection when he asks his new employee, “Aren’t you scared? It’s your first consummation night with a crazy thug.” He uses that term intentionally to hearken back to ye old wedding nights, which implies a slightly creepy amount of permanence and unwillingness to their situation.

Soon-jung is more matter-of-fact about the situation, and explains that she’ll work for him just like she’s worked for anyone else—her only condition is that he not ask her to do anything illegal or unessential to her job.

He agrees, but adds his own condition with a hint of malicious glee: “Should you fail to do what I ask, I’ll fire you immediately. If you make even one mistake, you’re out. Got it?” She does.

But he certainly puts her skills to the test when he gives her a litany of things to do, from changing the entire interior of the office to reorganizing all existing and incoming files.

Soon-jung accepts all his orders without blinking, only to chase after him as he prepares to leave the office. He’s so absorbed in what he’s doing that he doesn’t pay attention, and ends up accidentally slamming the car door on Soon-jung’s fingers.

Secretary Oh jumps to the rescue as she nurses her bleeding hand, but even that she takes in stride as she straightens up to give Min-ho what she was originally chasing him for. But his expression takes her by surprise—he’s crying, and he doesn’t know why.

“You’re the one who’s hurt, so why am I crying?” he asks, mystified. They share a moment to stare at each other, both thoroughly confused.

Later, Min-ho has his own freakout session about the whole crying business, since he can’t figure out why he couldn’t help himself. “Am I really crazy?” he wonders. Secretary Oh is pretty much like, “I’ve been wondering that myself.”

Then the funniest thing happens: Secretary Oh sneaks a talisman meant to exorcise demons out of his pocket, slaps it onto Min-ho’s face, and in a shamanistic voice, orders the evil spirit within Min-ho to get out. It’s the Buddhist version of The Exorcist’s “The power of Christ compels you!”

Even Soon-jung wonders why Min-ho cried when she was the one who got hurt, causing Ok-hyun to wonder if he’s just a garden variety lunatic. Soon-jung would rather believe that than Min-ho actually crying because he genuinely felt her pain.

That night, Min-ho has a nightmare of lying on a street, hurt and unable to move. Just like what Dong-wook experienced. It’s like he sees through Dong-wook’s eyes as he picks up an important detail: a wristwatch with a fish design on the face. Was it Dong-wook’s watch?

Soon-jung has no idea why Joon-hee’s called her out so early the next morning, at least until he cheerfully tells her he’s taking her to see a doctor friend of his after hearing about her hand. Aww.

He drives her to work after she gets a cast put on one finger, but their Moment is interrupted when he has to suddenly pull her out of the way of a speeding car.

The driver who almost hit her turns out to be none other than Min-ho, who offers the most unapologetic apology after hopping out of the car.

It’s a cause of animosity between the two men as they ride up the elevator together with Soon-jung, and though Min-ho won’t reveal it directly, it seems like he’s almost… jealous of their friendship.

Joon-hee standing by his concern for Soon-jung doesn’t help things, because no matter what Min-ho says about them, they won’t stop being friends on his account.

Min-ho is definitely jealous about Joon-hee taking Soon-jung to the doctor, so much so that he’s being bratty about everything she tries to do for him. He orders her not to involve herself with Joon-hee in the future, prompting her to ask if he’s being serious about asking her to break off a twenty-year relationship.

He asks her if this means she’s disobeying him, her boss, to which she replies that she’ll do as he asks… as long as they’re in the office. It’s a decent middle ground, even if it’s not exactly what he wanted.

After Min-ho tasks her with taking care of some French clients coming into town, Chairman Kang finds out that Min-ho is using those French clients to try and take Hermia’s contract from the big department store that they desperately need to stay afloat. They have to stop him.

The only person who doesn’t know what Min-ho’s up to with these clients is Soon-jung, because Min-ho is purposefully keeping her in the dark about why they’re really here while forcing her to be a good host. Even Secretary Oh is surprised at how Min-ho’s manipulating the poor girl, considering the fact that he’s also deliberately misled Chairman Kang about the clients being there to take Hermia’s contract when they’re not.

That’s when Min-ho spots a familiar symbol on a jewelry mail-out—the fish he saw on the watch in his dream. The company who makes the jewelry is called Pumpkin Club.

Soon-jung remains oblivious as to the French clients’ motivations until the president (named Wigo, cameo by the fabulously handsome Ricky Kim) tells her that they’re there to take Hermia’s spot at the department store.

She realizes belatedly that Min-ho’s tricked her into a situation where she can’t abide by his wishes without betraying her own company, but she doesn’t give in to Wigo’s request to be shown around the store. Even if it means disobeying Min-ho, which he specifically threatened her not to do.

In response, Min-ho tells her she’s fired. It’s only when he asks her why she didn’t turn a blind eye just this once that we begin to see he’s not completely serious… wait, was he just messing with her? Did he stage this whole charade to test her loyalty?

Soon-jung explains somberly that her decision was based on her karma, since she’s had to do bad things as a secretary in service to her bosses before.

Today was one of those days where she had the choice to do the wrong thing for the boss or the right thing for her morals, and she chose the latter. So she’ll take her punishment accordingly.

News reaches Chairman Kang that Soon-jung disobeyed Min-ho and turned the French clients away from the Hermia shop, since he still believes they were there to take Hermia’s contract.

But in reality, Wigo is a friend of Min-ho’s and a consultant with Gold Partners that Min-ho used to stage an elaborate prank/loyalty test on Soon-jung. He only wanted Soon-jung to believe that Wigo was looking to oust Hermia’s contract to see what she’d do, which is… well, really bizarre behavior coming from him. Or anyone.

Only later does Min-ho find out that his plan backfired in a big way when Wigo reveals that Soon-jung knew he was just pretending. She’d seen his Gold Partners cufflinks and had caught onto Min-ho’s ploy, which had impressed Wigo enough for him to promise to put in a good word for her with Min-ho.

That he does, even marveling at how well Soon-jung continued to treat him even after the reveal simply because he was still a guest of Min-ho’s. Min-ho is in shock as he wonders whether Soon-jung is perfect or just has no pride.

Soon-jung holds a subdued pity party replete with soju for herself at a pojangmacha, since she’s just been fired and can now do all sorts of things she couldn’t do when she was employed. Like drink herself silly.

She wanders home drunkenly, but when she slips on the huge set of stairs leading up the hill, someone’s there to catch her. It’s Min-ho, though she’s too bleary-eyed to recognize him.

She doesn’t even remember the encounter the next morning, though she has the strange feeling that something happened last night. Ok-hyun counsels her jokingly, but her smile fades when she receives a call at the police station from a man asking to speak to Dong-wook. We don’t see who it is, but he’s wearing a baseball cap.

While Min-ho tracks down the Pumpkin Club jewelry shop responsible for the fish watch he saw in his dream, Chairman Kang finds out that Min-ho’s French associates did steal their department store contract.

But he puts the blame in the wrong place and assumes that Soon-jung was the one intent on misleading them with the fake company headed by Wigo, which is why pranks are bad, mmkay.

Joon-hee hears about all that’s happened and beelines for Soon-jung, running into a totally oblivious Min-ho on the way. After threatening Min-ho that he’ll rain an unholy firestorm on him if Soon-jung gets hurt because of his actions, they both make it to the hallway in time to watch Chairman Kang march up to Soon-jung…

…And slap her hard across the face. Ouch. Joon-hee kneels next to her and calls for calm, since the chairman is operating on false information.

But Chairman Kang won’t listen to reason, and even with Min-ho (a man who’s made no bones about wanting to bring down Hermia) standing right there, he blames everything on Soon-jung and swears that she’ll never work as a secretary anywhere ever again.

Joon-hee helps her outside the building while Min-ho stands numbly by, and despite what she’s just been through, she smiles and works to ease Joon-hee’s concerns. He pulls her into a tight embrace as he wonders why she’s taking care of him when she needs it more right now.

“I’m sorry,” he breathes. “I feel like you’re going through this because I have no power.” She struggles to hide her own tears and tries to make light of the situation, even though he promises that if she just bears with it a little longer, he’ll fix everything and make her smile again somehow.

Min-ho feels extra bad (or should) when he returns to his office to find that Soon-jung changed everything according to his unrealistic and ridiculous expectations, down to the last detail. That sends him running to find her.

Just when he reaches her, the mysterious man in the baseball hat who called the station asking for Dong-wook grabs Soon-jung and threatens to cut her with his knife should Min-ho take one step closer.

Ok-hyun arrives on the scene planning to pick her friend up, but pulls out her gun when the assailant grabs Soon-jung. Min-ho is caught between them and panics for a moment before he takes stock and calmly asks the man, “Why are you doing this?”

He fishes in his pocket for the fish watch he must have bought from the jewelry store, which catches Ok-hyun’s attention—it’s the same watch Dong-wook had. In fact, the way Min-ho uses it to distract the assailant is the same as Dong-wook once did with a criminal.

Of course, his offer to trade the watch for Soon-jung fails when the assailant kicks and smashes the piece of jewelry. This makes Min-ho mad enough to approach the man, who luckily throws Soon-jung aside to lunge at Min-ho with his knife.

And to everyone’s surprise, including his own, Min-ho dodges the attacks skillfully. Before he even realizes it, he pulls out moves he didn’t even know he had in order to successfully disarm and down the knife wielding maniac.

He ends up at the station with Soon-jung, still hopped up on adrenaline from his ultimate smackdown. Ok-hyun informs them that the assailant had a grudge against Dong-wook because he’d put him in prison, and that’s why he targeted Soon-jung.

Even after the ordeal she’s been through, Min-ho waves his broken watch in her face like it’s her fault—buuut, he’s so magnanimous that he’s going to call it even between them now. This is his way of apologizing, weirdly enough.

He’s so unfamiliar with the idea of apologies that he doesn’t know what one is, and wonders honestly if he should be asking whether she’s hurt. “You’re really something,” she marvels, but agrees to call it even. Now they can cut ties cleanly without owing each other anything.

She explains that she only put up with him because she had to before, and that she realizes now that they’re just incompatible as people. Ending it like this is the best thing they can do for each other, and she wishes him well before she leaves. He yells after her like a petulant child, belatedly remembering a box he’d meant to give her.

Ok-hyun and another detective watch the CCTV footage of the confrontation later and both agree that Min-ho caught the criminal the same way Dong-wook used to. They can’t help but find that strange.

Soon-jung gets an unexpected call from Pumpkin Club that an order of hers has been completed, even though she made no such order. When she arrives, the jewelry maker tells her that Dong-wook commissioned a custom wedding ring for her, but that her friend already came and picked it up.

She’s doubly confused when she finds out that “friend” is Min-ho, and it’s only when she almost gets run over (again) does she remember tripping and falling into Min-ho’s waiting arms the night she was drunk.

They’d sat and talked a while, with Min-ho asking honestly why she pretends to be so strong when in reality, she’s weak. But he’d apologized for what happened that day, and had tapped her nose the same way Dong-wook would.

Now Soon-jung can’t help but think of the strange and uncanny way Min-ho’s been behaving lately, down to the way he cried when she hurt her hand—something Dong-wook did ever since they were children.

With tears in her eyes, Soon-jung hauls over to the address Min-ho gave the jewelry maker… only it’s not his address, it’s Dong-wook’s (the same house Min-ho found himself sketching). Still, she finds Min-ho outside, and both of them take turns wondering what the other is doing there.

“This is my house,” Min-ho matter-of-factly tells a very bewildered Soon-jung. “I moved today.”

“Who are you?” Soon-jung asks, emotion creeping into her voice. “Who are you?!

 
COMMENTS

I really wish we could see things through Min-ho’s perspective a bit more, if only because the logistics of the heart transplant as far as his personality is concerned are beginning to get muddled. Oh, let’s face it, they were never that clear in the first place—but we’ve clearly transcended reality if we’re watching a story unfold about a man taking on the personality traits of the other man whose heart now beats within him, so if that’s the case (and it is), it’s the show’s job to explain whatever alternate version of reality it’s presenting.

And to a certain extent it is, but it could be doing a much better job of making things clearer for us. For instance, while it’s inherent in the premise to buy that Min-ho is changing due to his new heart, it could only help to know how this is actually affecting him, and how he perceives these changes. Admittedly the childishness that’s come out as a dominant trait of his wasn’t all that present last week, so while having the emotional faculties of a young boy could account for him just not thinking some things through, at the same time he’s also a grown man who has to have a baseline level of self-awareness. If he does, what does he think of all this? How does he account for ending up in neighborhoods he’s never been to? Where did he think he learned advanced martial arts from? What did he think about finding the same watch he saw in a dream?

The most important question of all is whether he even realizes he’s acting abnormally. There was a tiny moment of awareness in his scene with Secretary Oh (the one that ended in an impromptu exorcism, which was kind of amazing), but past that, it’s like he doesn’t even know himself well enough to question this new self that’s literally invaded him. And to make matters worse, we don’t even know him well enough to guess at the why of some of the things he does (yet). He doesn’t need to know why he suddenly cares about Soon-jung so much that he can’t help but be that boy in class who pulls her hair, but he needs to at least wonder why. Nobody is self-aware enough to dissect everything they do in a day, but when you get to the point where you’re buying a house you visualized from a memory that isn’t even yours, maybe, just maybe, a little soul searching wouldn’t hurt.

What was definitely unexpected was for nearly everyone around Min-ho to start linking his behavior to Dong-wook’s so quickly, and I’m more than interested to see where that idea goes. Even if Soon-jung finds no concrete answers in her confrontation with Min-ho, the fact that the thought has come to her at all—and with so many eerie examples—hopefully means that she won’t be dropping it anytime soon. And if she can’t help but be reminded of Dong-wook when she sees Min-ho, it’ll add a whole new dynamic to their future interactions, even if Min-ho remains oblivious.

Soon-jung is a more complicated nut to crack, which I can’t help but like about her. She has a sense of self, strong principles, and an immense amount of inner strength. She knows when to pick her battles, but when she does, she goes for the win. Her best moment of the episode came when Min-ho found out that she knew his ploy the entire time and still treated his guests with courtesy. She didn’t even hate him for what came from his little prank gone awry, and while I would’ve liked to have seen more fight from her when it really came down to losing her job for all the wrong reasons, she’s clearly got way too much pride for that. Besides, for a girl who had her fingers smashed by a car door, her face slapped by an awful boss, and a knife held to her throat by a crazy person all without having the added benefit of self defense skills resulting from a life-saving heart transplant, I’d say she’s earned a few brownie points.

 
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this show confuses me...
I don't think I've ever used the word lacklustre before but it came to my mind when I watched episode 3
episode 4 on the other hand made me laugh and squeal and gasp, I loved it!
I'm gonna miss Min-ho's fabulous orange hair...
Soon-jung is such a strong, competent, grounded woman while still showing moments of hearbreak and vulnerability, I want more drama heroines like her!
can't wait for the next episode <3

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I think only this drama is worth watching at the moment...
Other dramas are so boring...
I think korean writers have run out of ideas :-(

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No way. you should watch Angry mom/Birth of a Beauty/Girl Who Sees Smells/Mr. Baek. they all are pretty good. check those out! you wont regret it! :)

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anyone know where we can get the jewlery from Pumpkin Club.....does it exist? I love the ring!!!

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I hate what they did to his hair.

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Me too. I loved the old hair...

Also, thank you ver much for the recap Heads ♥

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So much agree.

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second this

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I hope they change it in the next episode.

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Yes! Why????? When will koreans learn these manbangs don't work? He has a smallish face and huge eyes. The man needs his forehead!!! He looks like a dork now! Sorry for the rant! :)

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I felt the same way. He at least needs it styled so you can see his forehead.

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Manbangs suck! 99% of all drama men look better without them. Pretty faces half hidden under hair!

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Same here! I cringed when I saw the new bob hairstyle :D

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i do not think the show knows what it wants to do about "min-ho" and for me this is what hinges on whether this is a good show or a very meddled one

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Yeah, I agree. The first 2 episodes were okay but I found myself zoning in and out while watching episode 3 and 4.

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I didn't know heart transplant affected the brain like this... Memories and relexes...

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It shouldn't. lol.

A heart is just a pump, it shouldn't have memories. Man, sometimes, we have to shut off our medical knowledge to enjoy dramas.

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I just had biology class and we're learning about the heart :D This drama is as true as is the one with vampires.
Thanks for the recap, Heads!
Love the ost in this series. And Paksa ❤

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I disagree. Although evidences for cellular memory in transplantation are mostly anecdotal, there are cases where the recipients and/or their families believed that they'd changed.

Relationships built, other relationships fall apart, skills gained and lost, new appetite and cravings etc. What the writer depicts here is simply a summary of these evidences, all combined in one individual: Kang Min-ho.

Whatever we personally believe regarding this phenomenon, the fact that there are people out there who believe in it shouldn't be disregarded.

Not to mention that in various belief systems and religions, hearts are considered the core of existence. For us, hearts are just pumps. For the believers and for some of these transplant recipients, they're something else.

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+1

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Erm, no.
I'm convinced that the writer's intention wasn't some kind of "intelligent-design-like" mock-phenomenology.

It's simply artistic licence, based mostly on the metaphoric complex of "heart". Of course, it's very likely the same complex that produces the phenomena you listed ...

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And it is possible that the trauma of the heart surgery and recovery, as well as a complete change in health can account for changes as well.
A sickly person finally can live without tiring easy, or take certain medications or watch their diet. There could be many changes to appetite without getting another person's cells in your body.

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@jon and @jomo

Of course any fiction writers is entitled to their artistic liberty. Based on the premise and how the story is presented, the viewers have been made to understand that this story is not meant to be realistic.

Also, I was not saying that I personally believe in cellular memory or that this drama is a phenomenological study. Far from these.

What I meant to say was this. Outside of this drama's context when we simply dismiss other viewers' opinions as something unreal, unfounded, and superstitious is a violation to intellectual skepticism itself. Not to mention that for the people presented in the anecdotal evidences of cellular memory, their changes were real. To lightly judge them as irrational is to do fellow human beings disservice.

IMHO, Unless any of us here has conducted a rigorous research on this subject, we mustn't readily pass judgments.

To be fair to all three of us, I think I phrased it badly when I wrote that the writer summarized the evidences in this drama. I didn't mean to say that she was writing a research report, LOL.

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It does not, but the myth has persisted for decades, and has been the subject of several movies and shows, not just this one.

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OMG I am loving this so far. funny and cute but not overboard. kim so yeon and whoever is playing min ho is really good. He always adds these little characteristics to min ho. I don't think another actor could have made me laugh when he was mime his ass kicking abilities at the police station.

I don't want them to change min ho right now I'm enjoying him too much.

Also is it me or is Joohee a really good second male lead? Even knowing that he may or may not have killed dong wook I still root for him.

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Min Ho found himself standing in front of the house after the cat screamed. He had a moment of emotional connection once he looked at it. That's why he sketched and later bought it. However, I'm having trouble digesting that slap. Kdramas and their physical abuse of women is beyond annoying.....

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That slap was a bit too much even for a kdrama. It annoyed me a lot too.

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Agreed with you. I often watched kdrama using physical abuse in working place which is totally unacceptable at least in my culture. Such incident if happen can be reported to HR and go to internal disciplinary board and in worst case scenario you can even get sued!

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Well, I disagree. Violence is an essential ingredient in the K-drama genre, but physical abuse of women is rather scarce.
I really cannot feel upset about this one slap after watching so many K-drama characters beaten to pulp for the fun of it (and almost always men, btw). Very often, these scenes are used to either show how the victim has to learn how to behave better or how awesome the perpetrator of violence is (remember Dong-wook beating Min-ho in episode one?).

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Just a sidetrack, the Chairman Kang here is the same Chairman Hong in Angry Mom, same guy who beats people up.

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Great observation! It is the same guy! I thought he looked eerily familiar.

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>Violence is an essential ingredient in the K-drama genre, but physical abuse of women is rather scarce.

No, it is not, it seems not a drama goes by that a woman doesn't get slapped. Do you not find this violent???
I know you watched Misaeng and one of the greatest problems of that show was exactly how it dealt with office violence.

>Very often, these scenes are used to either show how the victim has to learn how to behave better

I don't know what you mean by that, I can't remember an example of that.

>how awesome the perpetrator of violence is (remember Dong-wook beating Min-ho in episode one?).

Maybe that was YOUR take on it, I thought he was way out of line there.

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"No, it is not, it seems not a drama goes by that a woman doesn’t get slapped. Do you not find this violent???"

It is violent. However, it happens only occasionally, much less frequent that other displays of violence, even much more brutal ones.

"I know you watched Misaeng and one of the greatest problems of that show was exactly how it dealt with office violence."

I partially agree. Workers got beaten up in the office without any consequences, and the viewers of the show didn't seem to care either. Until Young-yi got a paper cut of course, that was excessive violence for some reason. (Good old sexism, you can't live with it, you can't live without it.)

"I don’t know what you mean by that, I can’t remember an example of that."

One example trope: In family dramas, there is very often a scene where the inappropriate future-son-in-law is beaten up by his stern but well-intentioned future-father-in-law. There are many other instances where a hero has to take a beating by some non-evil person because that is part of his "character development". The shows try to accentuate that it's the hero's duty to take this beating with patience, without any resistance, and learn a good lesson. It also never has any negative consequences for the violent perpetrator.

"Maybe that was YOUR take on it, I thought he was way out of line there."

This instance was a little bit more of a subtle one, sure. However, Dong-wook gets A LOT of support for his action and never gets called out for it by anybody. The writer also strongly avoids to confront him with the very negative consequences and load them onto other characters without Dong-wook ever knowing about it.

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I guess the violence towards women in kdramas shock me because it feels completely out of the blue. Can we talk about an American show just for comparison? I watch Banshee and like it very much even though it is more of a fun show than a top quality series. It has so much violence but it almost never surprises me because the show is about dangerous, violent people, living a risky life, that is what they expect to happen to them.

Last night I was watching Angry Mom, or before when it was an ep of Smelly Girl, and those almost childish scenes when a grown men repeatedly kicks another in front of a crowd shocked me.

It is not the brutality that bothers me, it is the complete lack of motivation for the violence.

About Misaeng, I can't tell how others felt but the excessive abuse always bothered me, even when it was not physically violent. The paper cut and hot coffee scenes were just the worst of them. I hate the message the show sent in that area even if I think the writers had good intentions.

>One example trope: In family dramas,

I think I know what you mean. I avoid family dramas because I can never stand the parents or grandparents that feel entitled to scream and beat the younger members of the family. I don't know how much of this is still a reality in Korea. I hope it is not so common these days.

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@Lixie

"It is not the brutality that bothers me, it is the complete lack of motivation for the violence."

Are you talking about in-character motivation or story motivation?

Violence is a great tool for story-telling. Every person has experienced violence, it's something that is part of human nature. It is, however, a dangerous tool too, for the same reason.

At least in the western world, the psychological theories about violence have changed the way violence is used in story-telling (unless it's "simply" used for aesthetic purposes).
But K-drama never was a character-driven genre, violence works just as well without wrapping it up in some character motivation buildup.

Especially because in K-drama, very often the focus is not on the perpetrator but on the victim (the motivation of the perpetrator would only detract from the plot in a way).
Suffering is one of the most important things a K-drama hero has to go through.

"About Misaeng, I can’t tell how others felt but the excessive abuse always bothered me, even when it was not physically violent. The paper cut and hot coffee scenes were just the worst of them. I hate the message the show sent in that area even if I think the writers had good intentions."

I didn't care too much about the paper cut, to be honest. It wasn't worse than, say Chief Oh abusing his power by tripping people he didn't like. The latter was worse, in my opinion, by the fact that it was played for comedy instead of drama.

The coffee attack, on the other hand was WAY worse. I'm not against a scene like that per se, it's wasn't completely out-of-character for Mr. Ma to lose control there, but I REALLY disliked how the whole incident was dismissed as if nothing happened. Maybe that's how they roll in Korea (I hope not!), but I think the show has SOME moral responsibility to at least address the aftermath of a physical assault of that dimension. And by aftermath I don't mean Product Placement for Shirts (or the sexist "I will take the injury for my secret crush who is a helpless female and because I'm a macho male, I won't feel any pain anyway").

"I think I know what you mean. I avoid family dramas because I can never stand the parents or grandparents that feel entitled to scream and beat the younger members of the family. I don’t know how much of this is still a reality in Korea. I hope it is not so common these days."

I try to avoid them too, for numerous reasons, the glorification of violence being only one of many things. Generally, family drama really hurts me because of the Values Dissonances that are much more prominent there than in other subgenres of K-drama. The kind of values that the dramas propagate are the exact opposite of the values I learned from society, parents and peers.

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"Are you talking about in-character motivation or story motivation?"

Both. I don't understand how kdramas often choose to show violence in an ordinary manner when in real life it would be absurd. The character motivations, they are not so absent, but I still find many situations very unrealistic.

I agree on the coffee attack scene, I felt exactly the same way about the whole scene.

Maybe after a few years I am just tired of a few tropes. Yes, every kdrama hero or heroine suffers, but I just want it all to be worth it, I want them to be more realistic and take the slaps only when they are truly unavoidable or when they deserve them. :)

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As an Asian living in an Asian country with similar historical background to South Korea (feudalism, aristocracy, foreign occupation, economic boom, economic crisis), I can tell you that such horrible, violent bosses do exist. At least that's my experience. No, I wasn't violently manhandled myself, but to see it happened to a coworker or heard the story was quite traumatic. For instance, there was this ex- boss of mine who would throw her purse at her employees' faces when she was angry, call them names, and slam doors on their faces. Oh, and call them early in the morning to shout at them when they were barely awake.

Was she fired? No. She's thriving.

Why? Because our workplace culture values seniority and achievements more than humanity.
And that was at one of our major media corporation's subsidiaries.

And what with senior co-workers degrading their juniors and playing god? They exist, too. This time, I learned it by experience. They'd make me do things that were not part of my job description, they'd make me work the extra hours unpaid. And I can't even report this to anyone, because this is the fabric of the workplace culture.

Granted, the slapping was excessive. But well, South Korean members of parliament do brawl with one another at times, and this happens in my country from time to time, too. Although it embarrasses me to say this, but yes, sometimes we do resort to violence.

Do policemen beat civilians here? Yes they do, sometimes due to personal conflicts and such. This doesn't happen every day, as far as I know, but from time to time there will be news coverage on this subject.

So, although there are fantasy elements in this drama, IMO some parts of it are still based on this everyday life.

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@Selenette +1
Of course dramas tend to 'dramatise' the violence because drama but on the surface it's an Asian thing, one of the drawbacks of the Senior - Junior hierarchical system we are bounded by.
There are good values in the hierarchical system too, quite a lot, but there most definitely is violence, especially towards the younger/juniors at home/work.

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I have decided that the drama slap is just shorthand for
- this person is beyond evil
-this person needs to be avenged
-this person has no regard for the slappee and the slappee is only now realizing it to the full extent.
-Others witnessing this slap will remember it and either fear slapper more, or dislike him more.

Rather than spend a lot dialog, interaction and time, the slap lets us know EXACTLY where the pair stands with each other. It establishes and demonstrates the power imbalance like nothing else.

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Exactly, it was not "encouraged" by the drama, since obviously Joon-Hee took her defense. I am very sensitive to physical abuse and I wasn't bothered by this scene because the dramatic slap's purpose was to show exactly how trashy the CEO is, and most of all Soon-Jung was defended by another man in front of the other employees, he could lose his job for doing so, this tells us what the writers stand for as it sends an even stronger message.

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I'm invested in the characters, but I'm beginning to have some serious doubts about the writing, directing and editing of this show. This ep. felt kind of disjointed to me-- several of the scene transitions were rather awkward or abrupt. And what's with the weird editing at the end of eps 1, 3, and 4 where they rewind a scene and replay it with a different soundtrack? It was especially jarring in ep 1 because the first time they showed SJ coming out of the elevator and approaching MH's door, they played an upbeat, romantic song, then they showed the scene again, but set to an eerie instrumental track instead.

I think MH's new look is too boyish and dorky, and it puts a huge dent in his aura of power as well as his sex appeal. And I agree with Heads that we really need to see more from MH's POV.

But I'm still interested in seeing where they take this and I love both of the leads. Plus, I wouldn't want to miss a gummi & Heads ride. Thanks for the recap!

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The sound-edited replaying is a very common technique in these shows, very often combined with fake cliffhangers and stuff on daily dramas. I'm not a fan either, but I understand the intention sometimes.

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I don't think you're getting the whole point of his new haircut.

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Or see that IS the point of the new hair.
He is losing his sharp edge in ways he is completely unaware of. Style, hair, lolly pops - even though these are choices New MH is making as if he has complete control.

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I guess the new haircut reflect the changes he's going through. And I prefer this classic style, especially because I prefer when guys have their natural colors. Couldn't stand the first hairstyle.

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I have to disagree with Heads re. the house. I don't think it was Dong-wook's. It was Dong-wook's dream house. Maybe it's just a matter of phrasing.

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Yep, it was just the dream house!

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At least Secretary Oh thinks Min Ho is truly possessed by an evil spirit and acting strange. Loved that he stuck a charm on Min Ho's head.Funny scene. LMAO!

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Laughed and loved it too.

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Been watching Chinese stuff lately and I gotta say the slapping is a bit more commonplace there. Granted it's period dramas but still...

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Thank you for the recap. I enjoy your writing.
This is my favorite drama right now.

I am now watching "You Smile" or " Smile You" because of the the lead male.

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Watch Cruel City. It is way better. Park Sa is the best! :)

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Me too, I've added Cruel City to my "to watch" list, just because of JKH. :D

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I've read that a lot, it's on my list too!

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Smile, You is great! Have fun.

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I was trying to so some search on this writer, but there is very little on her(?) background.

Best show on TV right now. I hope the writer can keep up the pace.

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Regarding Min Ho, I have no doubt that he realize that something is wrong with him; however, he doesn't know what. That is the reason they showed that exorcism scene, which by the way was awsome.

You have to keep in mind that he is in the proces of taking revenge, which he has dedicated his life to. Showing weakness like this can sabotage his plans.

Besides there isn't much he can do about his symptoms. He can either get a psychiatrist or turn to exorcism. Another option would be contacting his doctor and ask if these symptoms could be from from his heart transplantation. Given he realizes this might be a possibility. Either way I don't think he will take serious actions unless his situation messes with his revenge plans.

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I think MinHo is not really that concerned about the changes in him to be bothered too much. He is clearly befuddled but he wouldn't dwell as he had something else to focus his energy on. He didn't have the time to get to know himself the whole time he was thinking of his revenge because he knew he was dying. All throughout his life he probably didn't stop to think what kind of person he is and was just focused on his goal to take his uncle down. Now that he has a new lease in life he probably is making choices in the personal front according to how he feels rather than what he thinks is rational whilst his logical self is just still focused on work and his revenge.

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My thoughts exactly! Seeing as he doesn't know himself well pre-transplant because of his revenge plans, only when he got a new chance in life did he (either subconsciously or consciously) start to get to know himself, and then we have Dongwook's traits thrown in the mix, which he'd understandably pick up and perceive as his own (even though not all of them). Also his mind is still hellbent on revenge after that, so he doesn't have time to worry about these changes, at least not yet. That is IMO the reason why he doesn't have much suspicion on this.

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@gammiron

We meet again way far from Soompi.

I like your take on Min-ho there. He lost his parents at quite a young age, when his personality and his identity were still far from being fully formed and established.

Thus, Min-ho's emotional growth and development are still far from finished.
Coupled with his driven need for revenge, he barely has time to focus on himself.

One of these days, like @jomo said, he'll look at his reflection in the mirror and question who is the man looking back at him.

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Oh, yes! I remember you! You posted a lot of insightful things over there, and one of them that sticks in my memory is your lens flare analysis. After reading that, I start to be on a lookout for the usage of the lens flare anywhere throughout the drama xD
And yeah, that is also what I had in mind, his emotional growth being neglected because of his parents' death. In order to get through it he assumed the persona of a cold and cruel man he's known for with one and only objective in life: revenge.
I also believe that he'll get the chance to confront himself later on, but I do think he needs help from people around him to make him realize that he needs to face that "weakness". At least Secretary Oh is already on his way to help him, and later on Soonjung will definitely join as well. Oh I can't wait for that already!

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@gammiron

Yes, 100% agree with you especially with regards to Soon-jung and Woo-shik (Secretary Oh). If I may add, I'd love to see if Dong-wook's father will interact with Min-ho later on. It will be a hurtful experience for the both of them, once they find out about the transplant, but if they're able to move on and forgive each another it will be their cathartic journey.

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Thanks for the recap!

MH likes to think he has it all figured out, that he bought the house because HE always wanted to, that he cut his hair cause he needed a change, that his new style was long overdue. His personality is not one to admit losing his grip on anything, or that someone else can influence him.

I think MH's changes will be gradual and he will remain relatively unaware of them, when suddenly - BAM! - he's going to see himself in a video or in a mirror and ask himself, "Who IS that guy?"

I love your idea that the changes have more to do with HER influence on him than his new heart. That's much more realistic, and he needs to admit he NEEDs another person to share his life with.

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@jomo
+1

I like how you captured the essence of Min-ho's character there, how he barely knows himself due to his revenge-driven way of life. Someday, he will realize that his development has been arrested and that he still needs a lot of growing up to understand what really happened in the past, what is happening around him and to him, and what he will do in the (hopefully bright and long-lasting) future.

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Am I the only one who already feels sorry for Joon-Hee? He sent her to the hospital when Min Ho hurt her hand, took her defense when the CEO slapped her, held her like tight telling the girl to hold on and he's basically gonna give her the world... *sigh* I'm already annoyed, and no he didn't kill his best friend, the ajhussi did obviously!

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Hate to break it to you but it sounds like you're experiencing the early stages of 2nd Lead Syndrome. :)

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I knoooooowww!!!1 I'm starting to suffer from SLS, thanks. Ottoke???

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I just got on this train
what are you, Year 2015? so many good dramas. except...
dramaland has learned a few lessons

now if it would just learn the lesson of not slapping women. you think you get people to sympathize with her more? if you need to resort to that, then no matter how good the rest of the story is you are a BAD WRITER. pathetic one.

it is like living out a sick fantasy. enough of that. I´ll complain to the UN.

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Thanks for the recap HeadsNo2.

Waited for subs to reach 100%...so I'm just now getting around to watching episode 4.

"Paradise" from Davink is my OST song of the week/moment. :)

The phrase “circle the wagons” came to mind after watching episode 4. Losing a competitive edge, recognizing the need to reevaluate strategy, up against external factors, and providing a form of defense amid a backdrop which arose out of circumstances misinterpreted and insufficiently known. Both Joon-Hee & Min-Ho are wagon trains — forming into a circle for the protection of Soon-Jung.

Looking forward to the next episodes.

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this drama is my new favorite! i think it tells the story of this "cellular memory" thingy very differently from another dramas i've watched, so it's refreshing. the directing is good, i like both leads, and the OSTs are AWESOME. i meant it. the music is good. gotta have it on my playlist! :D
2015 is sure a great year of K-dramas!

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That slap! Damn. Dear writer, there are million other ways of showcasing that scum's power than physically attacking the woman.

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Who knows the name of the English song that plays in the car when Kang Min Ho and his secretary from Gold Partners are on their way to Hermia? When he was drawing the picture of the house Dong Wook wanted to buy...

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Can someone enlighten me? I thought the house was just something DongWook wants to buy for SoonJung? Its not really DW's house right?

Anyways, i love it! The plot is not unique (heart transplantation, cellular memory, falling in love with the donor's lover) but the sequence and the way they connect everything is interesting. It keeps the show exciting. Im not bored at all.

I would like to applaud Jung Kyung Ho for his excellent acting. He's very versatile - rom com, heavy drama, and this genre which is like melo-comedic or smth...hes great everything!! :)

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@gogummaa

IMO the house is not Dong-wook's, but the house Dong-wook wants to buy.

Yes, Jung Kyung-ho is quite versatile. That shoe-beating scene was hilarious, I wouldn't imagine Paksa doing that back in Heartless City.

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Soory, but for me he is totally overact -_-

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@pooh

Everyone has their own taste of comedy, I think. For me slapstick stuff is fun.
Also maybe Kang Min-ho is written in such way that begs overacting? Who knows. :)

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*begs for overacting

My grammar's been hijacked by my brain.

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Goooodddd drama.
i like it more and more...

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Im enjoying this drama so far. I never expected this drama to float in real waters from the beginning, which has made it much easier to just enjoy it. Because while hearts retain some muscle memory to pump even after they severed (like a snake or turtles head.) I highly doubt they retain memory memory, since i'm pretty sure that's stored in the brain.
The unexpected bursts of humour in this drama are delightful. As I have expected this to be a hardcore melo with barely a ray of sunshine. (maybe i should watch more melo's? if only my emotions could handle them*sigh*)
His crying earlier when he hurt her hand and later are what I imagine how men would react if he suddenly had PMS for a day. yeah try and exorcise that.
While i wasn't really on board with destroying Hermia before. (mainly because i can't really follow the business dealings.) That slap! however has me ready to burn it to the ground. I'll pour the kerosene. (and chain him to chair, but that may be going a bit too far dont you think)

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