Falling for Innocence: Episode 8
Big changes are in store for our hero this hour, as he realizes that the head and heart aren’t as disjointed as he’d originally thought they were—transplant or no transplant. He also figures out (with a lot of outside help and counseling) that he can actually decide the course of his own life, and that seems to come as a shock to him. But at least now he can start making a difference doing what he believes in, which I’m not sure is something he’s ever attempted before. It’s amazing what a little conviction can do.
SONG OF THE DAY
Jessi – “나이고 싶어 (I Want To Be Me)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
One kiss, then another. And another. But just as both Min-ho and Soon-jung are beginning to lose themselves in the moment, a sudden bump jostles them out of it. They are riding in the back of a car that’s being towed, after all.
While Joon-hee settles on an engagement ring, Ok-hyun’s forensic analyst reports that there is no blood to be found on Joon-hee’s car. Ok-hyun doesn’t want to believe it and insists he perform the test again, which makes me think that she’s not that great of a detective if all she really wants to do is bend the narrative to prove Joon-hee killed Dong-wook.
Joon-hee reports to work the next day as acting CEO, but finds that he doesn’t like ordering Soon-jung around the old fashioned way. In front of the other board members, he happily proclaims that he can’t wait for her to start working in his office.
Even though both he and Soon-jung have spent a night thinking about their kiss, Min-ho still can’t seem to get it off his mind the next day. Oblivious to his emerging soft side, Ji-hyun prepares him for a meeting with the chairman of Gold Partners, where he’ll discuss who he’ll sell Hermia to.
She doesn’t understand that Min-ho’s reluctance is because he cares now, so when he claims that Hermia can’t be sold since it hasn’t yet gone bankrupt, Ji-hyun tosses out that it’s only a matter of time. Besides, isn’t Min-ho excited that he could become the next vice chairman of Gold Partners? (Short answer: Not really.)
Soon-jung becomes increasingly nervous at lunch when her coworkers discuss boys and intimacy, since she can’t help but be reminded of her kiss with Min-ho. But Joon-hee choosing to sit at her table sends her coworkers scurrying in order to give them privacy.
She’s a bit uncomfortable about how this will look to others, especially because Joon-hee’s using banmal with her and putting food on her tray. Joon-hee couldn’t care less about what others think, and asks her to dinner tomorrow night.
She acquiesces if only to get him to stop embarrassing her by feeding her. Hah.
Secretary Oh laments the fact that Min-ho’s car broke down the other day, since he’ll need it tomorrow to meet with Hermia’s prospective buyers. It’s funny how mum Min-ho gets when the breakdown is mentioned, but then he asks, just hypothetically, how he would act if a woman who hated him kissed him when she was drunk.
Of course, Secretary Oh knows instantly that Min-ho is talking about himself, and asks if he—er, “that idiot”—likes the girl. “A little,” Min-ho shrugs. So Secretary Oh’s advice is that he absolutely not cling to her after just one kiss. We don’t hear what he says next.
Papa Ma approaches Soon-jung with a new product planning report the central factory had been working on with Hermia’s research and development team, convinced that it could be enough to revive the company.
He wants her to take it to Min-ho in the hopes that he’ll want to save and nurture what his father once built instead of selling it off to the highest bidder like he plans to do. Soon-jung is at first reluctant, but agrees to try and help.
Soon-jung waits outside Min-ho’s gate and frets, ending up in such a state that she all but jumps when he appears behind her. He steadies her, but then takes a more hands-off approach as he remembers the advice Secretary Oh gave him: Girls like bad boys, so the more he acts like a jerk, the more she’ll like him. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s cute that in the flashback Min-ho had enough self-awareness to note, “I’m always the bad guy, so why did women not like me?” Hah. But in the present, his attempts to act cool fail as soon as Soon-jung hands over Papa ma’s planning report.
“Can’t you please give this company one more chance?” she asks, before he can get a word in edgewise. “Your father devoted his life to the company. It’d be a shame if you were to close its doors like this.”
But he interrupts her not to talk about the report, but because they haven’t said a word to each other since the kissing incident. She claims that she thought it best to keep silent since they’d clearly made a mistake, something which Min-ho takes offense to. She may have been drunk, but he was being sincere.
He’s actually hurt that she’s only there to talk about work, and none of her work-related apologies seem to land with him. So he switches to business mode and tells her to get that report out of his sight—did she think that sentimental garbage about rebuilding the company would get to him?
Soon-jung replies that she did, because she sees his secretly helping Chairman Kang and his solitary mourning period after his death as proof that he’s changed. He remembers how she’d told him before the kiss that it wasn’t too late for him to start leading a better life, and wonders if that’s what she wants him to do now.
But he’s scared of what the future might hold if he were to forsake everything he’s known to be that better person, and yells at her when she tries to intervene. He won’t change his mind or the way he’s lived so far. He’s going to keep doing things the way he always has.
“I’ll protect you,” Soon-jung proclaims. “I will help and protect you so that you won’t be ridiculed or confused. I’m being sincere,” she adds, that word holding extra meaning now that he used it when talking about their kiss.
In order to pave the way for Hermia to be sold and for their job titles to remain secure before, during, and after, Joon-hee makes clandestine arrangements with Director Yoon to break up and silence the strike currently underway at the central factory.
They’ll make it look like Gold Partners was behind it in order to deflect the blame—as long as they make sure Hermia goes bankrupt, Joon-hee adds, they’ll be rewarded handsomely by Gold Partners.
On the day of his meeting with the CEO of Gold Partners, Min-ho can’t help but think about what Soon-jung said to him the night before. “You came back to life from the brink of death,” she’d added. “Couldn’t you live a different life if you were given a second chance?”
She stressed that the people who were suffering most from his revenge are the hard-working and sincere employees of the company. It was his father’s dream to build that company, so she’d earnestly pleaded with Min-ho not to do anything that would disgrace his father’s name again.
But his answer is still the same, as he gives Soon-jung the report she purposefully left with him in the hopes he’d look over it. Her only job now is to go to the central factory and collect some account books for him, which means she has to call Papa Ma to tell him the bad news.
She doesn’t know that she’s about to walk into a warzone, since Joon-hee has already made the arrangements to break up the strike. Min-ho only finds out belatedly from Ji-hyun, who couldn’t be any happier that a bunch of people are about to get hurt very badly.
Min-ho heads off to the central factory to try and warn Soon-jung of the danger, but the buses full of club-wielding strike breakers get there before he does. They attack the well-meaning strikers, and Min-ho arrives just in time to see Soon-jung attempting to help an injured Papa Ma…
…Only moments before one of the thugs bludgeons her on the head. Blood trickles from her forehead as the world goes black.
Min-ho sits by her bedside in the hospital as Secretary Oh informs him that she suffered a minor concussion, but will otherwise be okay. As a sickly looking Min-ho gets up for some air, the injured employees from the central factory point their fingers at him and blame him for everything.
He doesn’t correct their misconception, but instead rails at them for being so reckless with their lives: “Who told you guys to do this? Why did you risk your lives over something you can’t change? What is this measly company to you?!”
Papa Ma answers from the crowd that it’s because they wanted to live like humans—and because people like Min-ho, who aren’t even human, treat them as less than human.
Min-ho’s anger seems to be directed at their plight and not at them as he asks them if today taught them that they can’t win in a fight against inhuman people, which only riles them up further. They think he’s confessing to the blame, only for Soon-jung to call for all of them to stop.
Standing between Min-ho and the angry mob, she proclaims Min-ho’s innocence and adds that him showing up to the protest is proof that he didn’t order the strike breakers. At her insistence, they calm down.
Looking pretty ill himself, Min-ho asks Soon-jung why she took his side, only for her to say that she didn’t—she just told them the truth. She knows he wasn’t behind the strike breakers because he wouldn’t have sent her to the factory if he knew she’d get hurt.
Flustered, Min-ho mutters for her to stop acting like she knows everything. “I promised you that I would protect you,” Soon-jung adds. Then she asks if he came to save her, and thanks him for it. Min-ho just gets more flustered as he says more to himself than her, “I’m going crazy because of you.”
“Who am I that you’re grateful toward me? Who am I for you to protect? Why do I keep getting tangled up with you?” he asks, genuinely confused. Today was an important day for him, yet he still dropped everything to go to her. He just can’t understand it, or her.
Ji-hyun is hopping mad that Min-ho missed the meeting with the CEO of Gold Partners, even though Joon-hee did a good job on his own. Min-ho can make up for it by meeting with the CEO and a prospective Hermia buyer at the central factory in a few hours.
While Joon-hee prepares a big spread for his dinner date with Soon-jung (which we know, based on drama history, that if a second male lead puts that much time and effort into anything the first female lead will not be attending), Soon-jung hears from a little birdie at work that Joon-hee might’ve been behind the strike breakers.
Joon-hee finds out that she might know at the same time, and sees her in her current state. She looks at him accusingly and draws back when he tries to touch her bandage, asking, “Why don’t you ask how I got hurt?”
Min-ho takes his internal troubles to Doctor Jo, emphatically explaining that his head and his heart seem at fundamental odds, and he doesn’t know which to choose.
“I keep finding myself wanting to be a better person for the woman who makes my heart race. I want to live sharing the same dream with her. But this… isn’t me. It’s just a physical symptom. It isn’t me,” Min-ho says.
Doctor Jo disagrees, though he admits it could be because he believes that God had a hand in Min-ho’s new heart. Then he proceeds to state the obvious: The reason for Min-ho’s revenge is now gone, he has a new heart and thus a new lease on life. As long as Min-ho realizes that his new heart is as much a part of him now as his head, and not some foreign body operating with a will of its own inside him.
Soon-jung confronts Joon-hee over what people have been saying, only for him to admit that he did call the strike breakers. She’s taken completely aback, horrified that he’d do such a thing when it resulted in so many injuries, and so much lost hope.
He argues that someone else would’ve done it if he hadn’t, which causes her to gasp, “Joon-hee-ya, why have you changed so much?” He tries to explain that this is just the way of the world, and that the factory workers would be better off finding jobs somewhere else—Hermia is past the point of saving anyway.
They go back and forth over the lack of merit in his argument before Soon-jung admits that she’s starting to become afraid of him. The Joon-hee she sees now isn’t the one she thought she knew, which shatters him. Out of all people, he was at least hoping she would understand him and accept him.
There’s a noticeable shift when Soon-jung stops calling him the familiar “Joon-hee-ya” and switches to the very formal “Chairman Lee,” adding that she’ll still do her job but that he shouldn’t expect congratulations from her.
Min-ho again skips out on his meeting with the CEO of Gold Partners because he’s had a change of heart, and shows up to crash Joon-hee’s board meeting instead.
What’s up for vote is Joon-hee’s candidacy for CEO, since it hasn’t been made official through a ceremony yet. Currently he’s the only candidate, at least until Min-ho submits his own name.
Joon-hee is unsettled by this sudden move, and even more so when Min-ho says that his goal as CEO will be to revive the company. When Joon-hee says he’s lost his mind Min-ho doesn’t deny it, but claims he lost it when he witnessed the violence at the central factory yesterday. That catches Soon-jung’s attention.
To further upset things, Min-ho declares that they won’t be voting on their permanent CEO today—it’ll be put to the shareholders. Oh, and Min-ho kind of maybe bought all his uncle’s shares in Hermia so that he owns the biggest stake in the company now. Even though the stocks will become worthless if Hermia were to go bankrupt now.
When Joon-hee asks what’s behind Min-ho’s sudden change, he answers, “I couldn’t understand why I had to keep living the way I used to. There’s no happy medium in life, and you can’t have everything you want. That’s why I want to decide which life to live. No matter what anyone says, I’ll save this company.”
Outside the meeting, Joon-hee again asks Min-ho what’s gotten into him, only for him to say that he realized yesterday that he has something he has to protect. “This company and Kim Soon-jung,” he clarifies. He won’t let Joon-hee have either Hermia or Soon-jung now. The fight is on.
Soon-jung approaches Min-ho to thank him for what he’s done, only for him to comically shush her. It doesn’t work, and he childishly pouts that this is all her fault. And that he’s afraid of heading into unknown territory—how did his father live with this burden?
“I already told you that I would protect you,” Soon-jung reminds him with a smile. “I’ll use all that I have to help you. Until you can become a good leader like your father, I’ll be by your side to cheer you on. I’ll help you.”
Min-ho pulls her into a hug, suddenly shocked by the fast beating of his heart and his own actions. But he asks if she could just let him lean on her a while, and maybe pat his back comfortingly. She does, which, aww.
So while Joon-hee goes on a destructive rampage about Min-ho throwing his hat in the CEO ring, Min-ho walks Soon-jung home and orders her to take three days to rest. “And I’m sorry,” he adds. “I’m sorry that you got hurt.”
Secretary Oh gets a similar answer when it comes asking Min-ho why the sudden change, since Min-ho blames it on his heart and Soon-jung. He doesn’t really give Secretary Oh a choice in staying with his crazy bottom when he tears up his plane ticket to America (remember that other job Min-ho’s supposed to have?).
But Secretary Oh manages to blow Min-ho’s mind when he remarks that now that Min-ho and Soon-jung are on the same side, there’s no reason for them not to be in love. Min-ho falls asleep that night with a lollipop in his mouth and a wide smile on his face.
Joon-hee returns to the dinner setup where he’d planned to propose to Soon-jung, unveiling a giant picture of her he had printed and hung on the wall. He stares at Mega Soon-jung regretfully, interrupted only when his father calls after hearing the news of Min-ho’s CEO upset.
After his father hangs up, something slips out of a bundle he picks up: It’s Dong-wook’s cell phone. In a very brief flashback, we see that he was the one who ferreted the still-ringing phone away from the crime scene, ergo he must’ve been the one driving the car that hit him. Dun dun dun.
And no sooner does Soon-jung go to visit Papa Ma does Secretary Oh find out that it was Papa Ma’s son who donated his heart to Min-ho. Min-ho has to temporarily drop his plans to surprise Soon-jung with a lollipop bouquet (“I’m giving her what I like best!”) in order to track down his heart’s last living family member.
Though he was explicitly warned not to be so obvious, he goes right up to Papa Ma’s house, readies to ring the doorbell…
…And gets caught outside by Soon-jung, wondering what happy coincidence brought him to Papa Ma’s house. Papa Ma, of course, is less enthused—he and Min-ho recognize each other sourly from the factory fiasco, even though only one of them knows who the other really is.
This episode was a nice change of pace from previous weeks, and I’d pin that squarely on Min-ho having a solid goal and motivation to accomplish it, which is definitely a change from where we were. Because try as this show might (and has, repeatedly) to tell us that the Min-ho Of The Past was motivated by cold hard revenge, they could’ve done a whole lot more in the way of showing us that. And by failing to establish that early on, what we got was something more detrimental to both our hero and story as a whole, unless we’re supposed to count things like Joon-hee making Min-ho look like an angel by comparison as a character trait.
I’d peg the trouble with Min-ho on an unwillingness to have him really commit to anything, despite all claims to the contrary. It’s almost weird now to hear characters tell their perspective as though they all knew that the only thing keeping Min-ho alive until now was his desire for revenge, when it so clearly just wasn’t. But then it so clearly wasn’t much of anything else, either. There’s a certain point where the cellular memory idea becomes more of a crutch or catch-all when it’s used to explain away idiosyncrasies in Min-ho that vary by the day, instead of showing a more gradual shift from the man he was (and who no one seemed to know, not even him) into the man he’s slowly becoming.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the man he’s becoming, because it means he’s at least becoming something. He spent the first half of the show only kinda-sorta-not-really wanting the most ambiguous revenge ever, which seemingly centered around his uncle seizing Hermia from his father but not revolving at all around Hermia itself, which Soon-jung keeps having to remind him is almost inseparable from the idea of his father. We haven’t been shown that Min-ho is such a filial son that he was out to snatch Hermia from his uncle based on principle alone, because if that were the case, it wouldn’t make sense that he was so interested in selling the company once his uncle was no longer running it. Why did he need a new heart to see that selling Hermia would be tantamount to taking it away from his father all over again?
More importantly, would even Min-ho be able to state the original aim of his revenge? Was it to take Hermia from his uncle and then just do what his employers wanted because…? And if the answer to all that lies in him just being a bad guy, you can’t buy into it without disregarding Min-ho’s amorphous motivation up until this point, because it’d mean he was just floating around doing things for purposes unknown. I’d even buy it if he were just that greedy and ambitious before, but even those ideas weren’t really hammered home. Up until Min-ho showed up at the board meeting all I found myself wondering was what he actually wanted.
But this week does mark a turning point by using Min-ho’s new lease on life to create tangible goals for his near future. We may never know what his old goals were, but at least now we can definitively say that he wants to save the company and ride off into the sunset with the girl his heart can’t help but beat for. That’s the wonder of character motivation at work, even though by that logic, we should all be sailing the Good Ship Joon-hee. But hey, on the bright side, at least he’s not a murderer. He’s just second lead, which might actually be worse.
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 7
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 6
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 5
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 4
- Falling for Innocence: Episode 3
- 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