High Society: Episode 14
What’s a few mental breakdowns when we finally have a hero to feel for, am I right? Or does it reflect badly on us if we’re willing to live and let live when it comes to Joon-ki putting the dimmer switch on his classism so he can turn up the charm instead? Y’know what, I’m not going to let myself feel bad over this one. It’s been fourteen episodes, and if Sung Joon needed twelve of them to wake up, then that’s just our cross to bear now. Better late than never, even though I desperately wish it had been sooner. So much sooner.
SONG OF THE DAY
Baechigi (feat. Ailee) – “눈물샤워 (Shower of Tears)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Joon-ki makes up an excuse to get Ji-yi out of the bar before she can spot Chang-soo closing in on Yoon-ha. But though their lips come close, they don’t meet, since Yoon-ha says flatly, “Move.”
Chang-soo’s not torn up about the rejection, since he wasn’t trying to kiss her because he liked her—which he finds weird now, in retrospect. He used to be able to toy with girls he wasn’t even attracted to, but in a post-Ji-yi world, that’s just not fun for him anymore.
He reiterates that Yoon-ha’s not a woman to him, but a dongsaeng, before he asks her how she fell so easily for Joon-ki when she claims to have had relationship experience before. She claims she doesn’t know, but that she attributed most of it to fate.
She blames the fact that she thought love was fate while Joon-ki believed love was a choice as the reason they are the way they are now. “But Joon-ki truly loved you,” Chang-soo corrects her.
Before she found out about him, Joon-ki had even told him that just because he met Yoon-ha under false pretenses doesn’t mean that the process of wooing her had also been false. Yoon-ha doesn’t see the point in him saying this now—what’s done is done.
Outside, Joon-ki decides to stick with Ji-yi for the evening since the alternative would mean going back into the bar and facing Yoon-ha. Neither of them notice Chang-soo watching them looking all chummy.
Yoon-ha calls Ji-yi to ask where she is, only to find out that Ji-yi had brought Joon-ki with her and left when he saw the two of them together. Yoon-ha makes sure that it wasn’t Ji-yi but Joon-ki who saw them, and Ji-yi doesn’t make an issue of it.
In fact, she’s still so loyal to Yoon-ha that she’s willing to send Joon-ki home before going to meet her, since Yoon-ha doesn’t want to see him. But Yoon-ha doesn’t show her the same courtesy when Chang-soo comes stalking back into the bar, and makes up some excuse to escape hanging out with her.
Ji-yi believes that something legitimately came up with Yoon-ha, but it’s clear from Joon-ki’s expression that he knows better. At least he has the heart not to tell her.
Chang-soo and Yoon-ha both commiserate about how comfortable Ji-yi and Joon-ki are with each other, both convinced that their ex-partners will do well no matter who they marry.
Joon-ki’s ex inevitably comes up and Yoon-ha claims with certainty that he didn’t love her, but whether she believes herself or is just trying to say what she wants to believe, even she doesn’t know. But she has to return to a job she only got through her connections and is terrible at. (Seriously, when did she go from zero self-awareness to having self-awareness in spades?)
While Joon-ki and Ji-yi work together on a new marketing strategy, Ye-won finds out from her secretary that there could be a chance Kyung-joon is still alive.
Madam Min finds out the same from Butler Hong, who thinks that Kyung-joon might have intentionally staged his death so he could disappear and live a new life. The thought that he’d do that to his family has Madam Min horrified.
Joon-ki returns to work later that night to see Yoon-ha’s also burning the midnight oil, and explains to his mother that he’s helping Yoon-ha out with her work because she literally doesn’t know how to do anything.
Mama Lee seems relieved to hear that her son is doing something out of the goodness of his heart, since she’d begun to suspect that he was… well, not so nice.
They share news about their lives, ranging from Mama Lee returning to work for Lady Kim and her pity for Yoon-ha, who grew up with all the money in the world but no love from her family. She wants to see Yoon-ha since she’s still at the office, but Joon-ki gently tells her no—Yoon-ha’s weak when it comes to her.
But Mama Lee picks up on how her son’s demeanor has changed, which he attributes to finally being able to be honest and open. He’d been shielding his heart from a young age, allowing himself only surface-level relationships. Having Chang-soo and Yoon-ha in his life broke down his barriers, which his mother sees as a good thing.
To that end, she asks how Chang-soo’s doing, since we can’t leave any stone unturned. “He’s hurt,” Joon-ki says. When Mama Lee asks how, he tells her honestly that they’re all suffering because they’re all maturing belatedly.
Mama Lee waits until Joon-ki’s headed back to his office to call Yoon-ha down to see her, resulting in Yoon-ha and Joon-ki meeting at the elevator. She asks him if he saw her and Chang-soo together at the bar, and begins to explain…
But he knows there’s nothing between them. Both Yoon-ha and Chang-soo are the same, and will act when they like someone. A bit petulantly, Yoon-ha asks how he’s so sure Chang-soo doesn’t like her, to which he replies: “It’s not that he doesn’t like you. But he gave so much of his heart to Ji-yi that he doesn’t have space for anyone else.”
Ji-yi walks home that night and voices her conflicting feelings about Chang-soo to herself, unaware that he’s around the corner listening. She brings up what he’d said about never having lived outside “the neighborhood” he knows, while she’d moved around quite a lot.
“It’s difficult to move,” she says to herself reassuringly. “It’s good to be able to live in one place.” Hearing her trying to justify his worldview after the fact is enough to bring both of them to tears.
Mama Lee appreciates that Yoon-ha comes down to the lobby to see her, since she knows it can’t be easy for her. Yoon-ha apologizes for not contacting her, but Mama Lee is nothing if not the most understanding person ever: “You broke up with Joon-ki. Of course you couldn’t contact me. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Still, Yoon-ha knows that Mama Lee liked her, and the feeling is reciprocated. “I’m sad that this is the end for us, but I’m happy I met you,” Mama Lee says proudly. Tears spring to Yoon-ha’s eyes at her kindness and understanding.
Chang-soo returns home stinking drunk and tears up his room in his angst before his mother comes in. His expression immediately morphs into a worrying smile as tears stream down his cheeks: “I’m really losing my mind.”
His mother doesn’t understand why, even when Chang-soo grips the space over his heart and cries at the pain he feels there. He crumples to the couch and sobs, “I can’t do this. I really can’t do this.”
“I thought I could get married even if I wasn’t in love,” he continues in a choked voice. “Even if I didn’t love her, I thought I could live.” But now he knows he can’t, and doesn’t want to live if that’s his future. He thought marriage was simple, that he could just go through the motions without feeling anything.
“Everyone marries like that and lives,” his mother says, very un-comfortingly. “I can’t do that,” Chang-soo cries. When his mother asks if this is all because of Ji-yi, he says yes. “Do you like her that much?” she asks darkly.
“No,” Chang-soo replies, looking his mother straight in the eyes. “I love her.” That’s the last coherent thought he can put to words before he folds in on himself in absolute, abject sorrow. It’s truly heartbreaking, though I’m worried he made a mistake in being honest with his mom.
Yoon-ha works late that night, and finds a little pick-me-up hanging on her door from Joon-ki. She finds him still in his office and returns the gift, only to find that he’s done a bulk of her work for her.
He has the list of contact numbers for her but jokes that his services aren’t free—though the only payment he requires is for her to enjoy the drink he’d given her. He also offers her some useful advice for doing her job at all competently.
His expression changes when Yoon-ha confesses that she met his mother, and he admits, “I was wrong.” Likewise, she admits that she acted childish with her whole revenge scheme against him. Joon-ki just shakes his head, amazed at her ability to listen and reflect upon her own actions. Because that’s a thing she does now.
Now that the ice caused by their breakup has broken somewhat, the two go out for some night air. Yoon-ha muses that all she ever wanted was an ordinary life, while Joon-ki had that sort of life but was never interested in it. Yoon-ha: “Do you know that you have what I dream of, and I have what you dream of?” Joon-ki: “I know.”
He figures there’s no harm in asking if she’d like to hold hands, acting all innocent when she checks him for going over the line. It’s funny how bluntly honest he is about her having no applicable work skills at all, and their open banter causes Yoon-ha to remind him that she still hasn’t forgiven him yet.
She admits that the conversation they’re having is strangely comfortable, though she attributes that to their familiarity, having communicated previously with their bodies more than words. She has no idea that what she’s saying can be construed sexually, which gives Joon-ki something new to smile and shake his head about.
Chairman Jang is happy to have his whole family at the breakfast table again, especially because of the announcement he has to make: Ye-won will become the sole successor to Taejin Group. He’d had higher hopes for Yoon-ha, but she needs to work harder. And So-hyun can just keep doing whatever it is that she does.
Afterward, both Chairman Jang and Madam Min hear the same information from different sources regarding the possibility that Kyung-joon is alive. And though this is the first Jang is hearing of it, he doesn’t act at all surprised to find out that his son could be living under a fake identity somewhere.
It all adds up, as his secretary tells him. His disappearance happened after Chairman Jang put a stop to him coming clean about the cosmetics scandal, and the coverup was all thanks to Ye-won.
Speaking of, Ye-won flashes back to when she’d confronted Kyung-joon about the USB data he’d been collecting that could damn Taejin Cosmetics. How could he do that as the company heir? “I didn’t choose to become heir,” he’d reminded her.
Ye-won hated him for that fact, since there was nothing she wanted more than the position he was given, but didn’t want. She’d suggested that he throw away everything he was given and step down so she could ascend the throne, but he’d maintained he couldn’t. Orrrrr could he?
Yoon-ha gives her unni as fake a congratulations as one can give when dressed as a disco ball, and confronts her about stealing her USB. Ye-won doesn’t deny it, but is amazed that her little sister didn’t even bother to check the security cameras. If she hadn’t been born into this family, natural selection would’ve weeded her out of the food chain by now.
Yoon-ha defends that she’s been more guarded lately, but Ye-won disagrees, saying it was only days ago that Yoon-ha walked around like she owned the place. (Thank. You.) But that seems to have changed now that Yoon-ha’s living in reality as opposed to avoiding it by working part-time jobs.
“I didn’t avoid it, I was confronting it in my own way,” Yoon-ha tries her hardest to sound sure of herself, but it’s doubtful Ye-won buys it. To that end, Ye-won mentions that Yoon-ha’s awfully easy on Joon-ki, who used her and then came to work for Taejin.
“He didn’t use me to get ahead, he’s just ambitious,” Yoon-ha replies. Ye-won’s look can best be summed up as: Bitch, please.
Chang-soo’s mother tries to get through to her son the next morning, and even concedes that she won’t force him to meet with Yoon-ha or that other chaebol daughter he hates.
She only grows more concerned when Chang-soo mentions that nothing terrible would happen if he were to die—she’d have two children left, after all. His suicidal talk has her horrified, for which he blames her: “You started this.”
At work, Yoon-ha admits to Ji-yi that she lied the night before when Chang-soo had re-entered the bar, though she makes sure to tell her that it was only because he’d seen her and Joon-ki together. Ji-yi comments on how comfortable she and Chang-soo look together, which Yoon-ha finds funny since her and Chang-soo said the same thing about Ji-yi and Joon-ki.
Yoon-ha guesses that they just found their similarities in each other the night before—she and Chang-soo are losers when it comes to love, while Ji-yi and Joon-ki are losers when it comes to money. “In the end, we’re all losers,” Yoon-ha half-jokes.
But Ji-yi brings up a scenario for Yoon-ha to think about: because she forgave Chang-soo’s rude and immature behavior toward her in the beginning due to him being a chaebol and not some nobody, does that make her love a lie? Yoon-ha knows exactly what she’s getting at, and wonders how her friend can be siding with Joon-ki more than her.
“It’s because we’re from similar backgrounds,” Ji-yi replies cheerfully, adding that she can’t help but root for him. And because she and Joon-ki are the only ones doing actual work, she proposes the cosmetics marketing idea they came up with (whether rich or poor, makeup is the same) to Yoon-ha.
Despite their conversation last night, Yoon-ha ignores Joon-ki at work and refuses any request to hang out. In a voiceover that sounds curiously from the future, Yoon-ha says that she once loved Joon-ki and was full of ambition when it came to the company and the future.
But when she found out what love was only to lose it, she lost her nerve and her competence as well. Now she looks back on the time where she was in the early stages of her false love with Joon-ki as the time when her inner self shined the brightest.
While Lady Kim refuses to take Madam Min’s offer to set her up in the United States and finds her connections to the chairman blocked, Chairman Jang informs his wife that he’ll appoint better people to work on Kyung-joon’s case.
Madam Min can only hope that it isn’t true that Kyung-joon disappeared voluntarily—and if it is, how does her husband expect to get him to reappear? As for the Lady Kim issue, Madam Min lays down the law that her husband is to have no more mistresses. My, how the power dynamics in this relationship have changed.
A supposedly unwilling Chang-soo joins Joon-ki for lunch at the Taejin cafeteria after all other attempts to get his friend out of the building fail. Ji-yi sees him and ducks out of sight, while Joon-ki jokes that he and Chang-soo can go ride their bikes—he’ll even lose for him, just like old times. Chang-soo quips back that fake winning is worse than the idea of just losing fair and square.
After a bit of friendly banter, Joon-ki finally admits that he’s sorry to Chang-soo. “I think I thought only about myself before,” he claims. Chang-soo’s determination not to forgive him seems to be quickly melting away, especially when Joon-ki notes that he actually likes Chang-soo more now than before.
Chang-soo calls him a weirdo for liking their relationship now that he doesn’t, and Joon-ki doesn’t quite know why that’s so either. “Maybe it’s because we were separated, or because I changed.”
But more to the point, he knows Chang-soo came to see Ji-yi, despite Chang-soo pretending that he’s fine just hearing that Ji-yi is doing well. He leaves, and Ji-yi follows from a sad distance until he disappears from view.
While Ye-won rests easy with the knowledge that Kyung-joon wouldn’t have chosen to disappear if he ever planned on coming back, Chang-soo comes home stinking drunk again. “Remember, Mom,” he slurs. “I chose you.”
That doesn’t make her feel any better, and she just makes things worse when she reassures her son that he doesn’t have to live like a beggar—he can have anything he wants. “Lee Ji-yi too?” he asks. “Let me have Lee Ji-yi. Let me have Lee Ji-yi too,” he begs before promptly passing out.
Now it’s Yoon-ha’s turn to tell her mother she’d rather be dead, suddenly agreeing with everything her mother ever said about her—like how she shouldn’t have even been born and how she’s always the problem. She cries as she says all this and beats her chest. Why does this emotional meltdown feel like it’s coming from nowhere?
“My life is cursed,” Yoon-ha cries. “Is it too much to ask to want a normal life? Is it so wrong to want to live giving and receiving love? Even the mother who gave birth to me hates me, so who would love me?” She’s back to her jinx-talk, saying that everyone she loves leaves her.
“Oppa died because of me, and the person who used to pretend that he loved me says he loves me now. Does that make sense? Mom, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being born.” This continues until Madam Min tells her to stop blaming herself—Kyung-joon isn’t dead, and they’re in the process of looking for him.
But Yoon-ha’s not ready to pull the plug on this pity party just yet, so she still goes on blaming herself even if Kyung-joon is alive. Her mother consoles her by saying that it’s not her fault, which is still super weird. When did she start caring about Yoon-ha again?
Madam Min spends the night on suicide watch while her beleaguered daughter sleeps, while Chang-soo’s mother does the same with her son. The next morning, she calls Ji-yi to request a meeting.
Yoon-ha finds a sandwich in her office the next morning with a note from Joon-ki that reads: “I’m not kind to just anyone. I’m kind to you because you’re Jang Yoon-ha.”
Meanwhile, Yoon-ha’s parents are given concrete evidence that Kyung-joon is alive and living well under an assumed identity, meaning that he planned extensively for this. Chairman Jang falls to his chair, his hand gripping his chest again.
Yoon-ha squints in the bright sunlight until a bit of shade moves over her in the form of Joon-ki and his extended hand. He’s happy to be her shade, and chipperly asks her if she enjoyed the snack he sent her, all the while walking backwards as she continues to walk forward.
But since he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head he stumbles a bit, causing Yoon-ha to rush forward and steady him. He smiles, wondering if this means she’s worried about him.
“Why would I worry about you?” she shoots back defensively. “Besides, it’s unsafe to walk next to me.” Quiiiit.
It’s then that she gets a call from Butler Hong saying that her father’s gone to the hospital again. Joon-ki doesn’t ask, and just takes her by the hand so they can run together to his car.
Phew, that was a lot of chaebol tears for one episode. I’m sure it says something that the only characters who could afford real breakdowns were the chaebols, since people like Ji-yi and Joon-ki have actual work to do. And even though Joon-ki has to work for two, he still doesn’t feel sorry for himself—and anything he may have felt got turned into positive, proactive energy as he sought to mend the fences he’d broken.
It’s almost bittersweet to see the current iteration of Joon-ki’s character, because it means that we could’ve gotten behind him and liked him for more than just the final two weeks of the show if his arc hadn’t spun in a dark and hateful place for so darn long. Even if his exact moment of change could’ve been mapped out a bit smoother, I like that we can see how free he feels now that he’s finally allowed to just be himself. Where he stands with his ambitions is still a bit of a mystery though, since it’s unclear whether he’s taken his goals down a notch or whether he’s learned how to be content with what he has when he has it.
At least for this episode, he was something of an emotional anchor for both Chang-soo and Yoon-ha, whether they liked him for it or not. (And they did.) But then came the histrionics, which I doubt I’d have such mixed feelings about if we hadn’t gotten two major meltdowns in a relatively short span of time. And by that I pretty much mean that Yoon-ha’s great big crying scene felt shoehorned in and timed so arbitrarily that it sapped some of the emotional heft from Chang-soo’s great big crying scene(s).
Because really, did both Chang-soo and Yoon-ha have to be so lost in their own despair that they both felt like dying? It makes me feel bad for Chang-soo, whose road to complete and utter desolation was actually paved and well-maintained for the journey. Yoon-ha, comparatively, had a dirt path with too many sudden stops and turns to lead her to the emotional breakthrough I can only assume she was supposed to be having. I’m honestly still a bit mystified as to how she could hear what should have been shattering news—that her previously dead oppa was actually alive—and still somehow make it all about her. That takes talent.
As for Chang-soo, feeling sympathy for him came as a double-edged sword this round, which was an enjoyable quandary to be in as a viewer. His heartbreak was certainly real and his feelings true, but instead of taking action to change what he saw as a life not worth living without Ji-yi, he just… didn’t. He’s drinking to numb the pain and raging against the system, but it’s like Joon-ki said—there’s nothing actually holding Chang-soo back but himself. He’s not willing to live without Ji-yi, nor is he willing to give up his wealth to live with her.
Right now it’s looking like his mom’s finally going to step in and fix things to stop her son’s self-destructive warpath, but I’m almost wishing that that doesn’t happen. It’d feel too much like a deus ex machina and would absolve Chang-soo of the responsibility of having to make a decision. But then again, this is a chaebol mother we’re talking about, and there are still two perfectly good episodes she can use to inflict psychological torture on her possible/maybe/probable future daughter-in-law. Either way, good luck. Everyone’s gonna need it.
- High Society: Episode 13
- High Society: Episode 12
- High Society: Episode 11
- High Society: Episode 10
- High Society: Episode 9
- High Society: Episode 8
- High Society: Episode 7
- High Society: Episode 6
- High Society: Episode 5
- High Society: Episode 4
- High Society: Episode 3
- High Society: Episode 2
- High Society: Episode 1