High Society: Episode 8
I’ll give you one guess as to who gets called out on their duplicitous nature and lies this episode, though the mental gymnastics the guilty party goes through to defend their actions is certainly something to see. What is it about Joon-ki that inspires such adoration in others when he gives nothing substantial in return? Is it just his dashing good looks that lead people to think he has a soul? Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But darn it, Joon-ki, throw me a bone here.
SONG OF THE DAY
Standing Egg – “I’m Not Yours” [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
The two couples enter the club and proceed to do the opposite of tearing up the dance floor, and though Joon-ki is wearing a tuxedo shirt unironically, he’s totally the hot guy on the dance floor who just plants his feet.
Meanwhile, one of Ye-won’s lackeys lurks outside Joon-ki’s house with instructions to dig up more about him so she can leak his relationship with her little sister to the press. “It’s like she was born yesterday,” Ye-won says disapprovingly of Yoon-ha in flashback. For once, I agree with her.
Mama Lee invites the lackey into her house when he claims he’s an old high school buddy of Joon-ki’s, but grows immediately suspicious of him. He confesses that he’s not Joon-ki’s friend, but is scouting him for a big company. Even so, Mama Lee doesn’t have a good feeling about him.
Joon-ki’s mind drifts to what Chang-soo said about not really knowing who he is, while Chang-soo gets a really random call from an old buddy of his who just happens to be the reporter Joon-ki’s been in contact with.
Chang-soo grows suspicious when the reporter offhandedly mentions that Joon-ki’s been giving him some good stories lately, and orders someone to find out who published the initial article on Yoon-ha’s part-time job.
There’s a strange cut from the four of them leaving the club via car to the four of them arriving at a pier overlooking the ocean, but this must be a different day because they’re in different clothes. (Or worse, it’s a montage!)
It’s all laughter and fun times for them, and at least for the moment Chang-soo seems to be enjoying his cryptic buddy as he playfully splashes water at him.
Cue different clothes/a different day as we find the four preparing a picturesque outdoor barbecue party at one of Chang-soo’s properties. Joon-ki helps Ji-yi out for the sake of helping, though Ji-yi points out that Yoon-ha’s face immediately went sour.
“Don’t do this for other girls anymore,” Ji-yi advises Joon-ki. She mentions that it’s the little things that work best with women, and Chang-soo scoffs that all the girls he knows like expensive things and nice places.
So then it’s Yoon-ha’s turn to come to Ji-yi’s defense as she tells Chang-soo not to mention his past with other women around his girlfriend like it’s nothing. The two girls declare their eternal love for each other while Chang-soo mutters that maybe the four of them shouldn’t hang out anymore.
Chang-soo makes it a point to follow Yoon-ha inside the house when she goes to get wine, and he actually segues pretty naturally into asking her about Joon-ki. Well, more about how much she likes him, which tells him that she hasn’t had a lot of dating experience.
Yoon-ha argues the opposite, and Chang-soo just pretends to buy it as he adds, “That’s why you should know well what men become.” She doesn’t know. But what Chang-soo wants to get across that she shouldn’t give her whole heart to Joon-ki—she has to leave some for herself.
“I already gave it all to him,” Yoon-ha says quietly. She’s not sorry about it, arguing that there’d be no reason to date him if she wasn’t going to give her whole heart to him.
But while they’re on the subject of dating advice, Yoon-ha tells him that if he truly loves Ji-yi, he should marry her. Chang-soo turns that same sentiment on her, and she unabashedly proclaims she’d marry Joon-ki. Chang-soo genuinely asks her if she thinks it’ll be that easy—her status in the company has changed recently, after all.
“My marriage has nothing to do with the company,” Yoon-ha says obstinately. “If I can’t marry who I want, what’s the point of living?” Chang-soo really does try to get her to understand that neither of them are in a position to marry whoever they want, but Yoon-ha still thinks she has the upper hand in her family. She’s independent, she claims. On some other plane of existence, maybe.
Outside, Ji-yi tells Joon-ki how much she respects and admires him before broaching the topic of how he handled Yoon-ha’s reveal. When he doesn’t answer she decides to share that she reacted with a mix of sadness despite recognizing hints about Yoon-ha’s lineage before.
Despite those hints, Ji-yi still thought Yoon-ha came from a background like hers, so it’s all still a little surprising. Joon-ki changes the subject to ask what she plans to do with Chang-soo. “I don’t have a plan to do anything,” Ji-yi responds a little mournfully. “He isn’t someone I can make plans with. We came all the way here without a plan.”
Joon-ki tries to cheer her up by reminding her of her inner strength, and Ji-yi thinks it’s cute that he’s worrying about her. But he doesn’t need to, because she’s no idiot—even when she sees the rich man/poor girl dynamic work out in dramas, she never quite buys it. So she’s not going to expect some fairytale ending for herself either.
She and Joon-ki share a moment of understanding and kinship before the two chaebols return, though it’s worth noting that when Ji-yi tells Joon-ki that Yoon-ha’s lucky to have him, a momentary look passes over his face—something like guilt, perhaps.
Ji-yi’s use of formal job titles for the boys is brought up at the dinner table jokingly, though Chang-soo means it when he suggests both women start calling them oppa from here on out.
Yoon-ha begins to cry, since that word makes her think of her late oppa: “I can’t make the word ‘oppa’ come out of my mouth.” Joon-ki leads her off to get some air, and at Chang-soo’s light insistence, Ji-yi switches from calling him “Director” to calling him “Oppa.”
In order to avoid paying loads of taxes and losing management rights over Kyung-joon’s assets, Chairman Jang’s secretary suggests that they continue to report him as missing, since the body was never found.
But in order to have everything of Kyung-joon’s, they’ll need to get Madam Min to hand over the rights Kyung-joon granted to her in his will, which Jang vows to work on in secret.
Now that she has her lackey’s report on Joon-ki’s family and business life, Ye-won is able to paint a disturbingly accurate picture of him: Growing up poor means he knows the true value of money, and he’s clearly attached himself to Chang-soo for his own ambitious gain.
Likewise, Ye-won figures out that he’s with her little sister because of all that he can gain from her. As far as learning about her father’s plot to file her brother as a missing person to avoid paying inheritance tax, Ye-won’s not surprised. She just has to focus on getting her mother on her side so she can have her shares.
After instructing his secretary to use muscle to scare Joon-ki off, Chairman Jang informs his wife that he won’t be reporting Kyung-joon as dead. She seems heartbroken when he tells her that it’s not because he agrees with her conviction that her son is still alive, but because he’ll save on taxes. And because he wants to apply to manage Kyung-joon’s properties while he’s “missing.”
Madam Min cries only when she’s in private, but it’s not long before Ye-won calls to invite her out in an effort to lift her spirits.
Joon-ki walks with Yoon-ha along the beach as she continues to blame herself for Kyung-joon’s death. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten hurt if she’d never gotten off that plane, she wonders.
But when Joon-ki thinks she’s done enough self-pitying, he decides to break her out of it by picking her up in his arms and carrying her into the surf. It works, and they kiss as waves crash around them.
Chang-soo finds out from his minion that the story on Yoon-ha was broken by Reporter Yoon, who’d claimed to be receiving intel from Joon-ki.
Now Chang-soo starts to put all the pieces together, realizing that Joon-ki must’ve known about Yoon-ha’s chaebol identity before Chang-soo told him. And if he did, then it means he was lying to him every time he claimed he didn’t know Yoon-ha.
Chang-soo confronts Joon-ki upon his return: “When did you find out about Yoon-ha?” As in, when did he find out that Yoon-ha the Part Timer and Yoon-ha the Chaebol were the same person? Chang-soo claims he was just curious on a whim, but Joon-ki knows thoughts like that don’t just happen.
So Chang-soo comes clean, and asks Joon-ki why he pretended not to know. “What about you?” Joon-ki returns. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Chang-soo doesn’t even know himself, but Joon-ki won’t let him off the hook that easily.
“You always say you like me. Fine, I know you like me. I like you too,” Joon-ki says flatly. “I know you don’t have any wickedness inside of you. You were like that since birth.” Chang-soo prickles at this and asks Joon-ki what he’s trying to say.
Joon-ki says it: “You have a sense of elitism down to your bones. If someone isn’t at the same level as you, you draw a subconscious line with them. In the past, I acted as if I didn’t feel your lack of awareness. But lately that insensibility is becoming more conscious.”
Chang-soo is floored by this whole new side of Joon-ki, accusing him of pursuing Yoon-ha only because he knew whose daughter she was. Even if that’s true, Joon-ki says, why would that upset Chang-soo? How are his actions immoral and Chang-soo’s aren’t?
Chang-soo claims that at least he’s been truthful, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Joon-ki. “This isn’t the face you’ve shown me until now,” Chang-soo grits out. Joon-ki gives him a patronizing pat on the shoulder as he replies, “You only saw what you wanted to see.”
The boys get into a fistfight that Chang-soo starts by accusing Joon-ki of being a twisted bastard. The girls find them wrestling like dogs on the ground before they break things up.
Ye-won finds an opportunity to bring up Yoon-ha’s love life to their mother, and like Chang-soo’s hyung, she acts way too supportive of having someone in their family marry for love.
Madam Min asks why Ye-won thinks she and Chairman Jang didn’t marry for love—because in their younger days, they loved each other very much. Then she sighs ruefully that old age, with all its problems, lasts far longer than youth. Life is unfair that way.
On his silent car ride home with Ji-yi, Chang-soo thinks back to his high school days, when Joon-ki had saved him from bullies. Similarly, Joon-ki remembers seeing Chang-soo only hang out with other chaebol heirs as his friend commented that they’d never become like them no matter how much they studied—because life is unfair that way.
While Yoon-ha just buys Joon-ki’s excuse that he and Chang-soo fought because that’s what men do sometimes, Ji-yi hears the same excuse and cries. She doesn’t care if it’s normal, she just doesn’t want Chang-soo getting hurt, so she makes him agree not to do something like it in the future.
“I won’t,” Chang-soo promises her, moved by how much she cares. Then he pulls her into a comforting embrace to ease her worries.
After submitting to Madam Min’s decree that she never go to the same spa as her again, Lady Kim returns home feeling defeated. She complains to Mama Lee that she’s always tried to be kind, but takes issue when Mama Lee doesn’t agree with her.
“I can’t lie,” Mama Lee says seriously. Haha. Their whole conversation here is just gold, with Lady Kim trying to figure out where Mama Lee disagrees with what she said only for Mama Lee to keep changing the subject to what’s for dinner.
Ji-yi calls up Yoon-ha to have a half-joking argument over which of their boyfriends started the fight, who’s more responsible, etc. Once they’re together, they both share their confusion over the fact that both their boyfriends told them that fighting is how men show affection.
They get all giggly and pleased with themselves when they point out that unlike the boys, they’re using civil discourse to work through their problems. If only they could spread their method to the rest of the world, life would be so much better.
Then Yoon-ha broaches the topic of Ji-yi’s job at the supermarket, if only to ask her if she’d like to work at her company now that she’s decided to work at Taejin. Ji-yi doesn’t think she can with only a high school education, though Yoon-ha tells her that her family is full of highly educated people—and look how nice they turned out.
Besides, Yoon-ha says, having a good heart is better than a good brain, and Ji-yi’s perfectly suited to a job where she gets to create make-up and win over women’s hearts. Ji-yi promises to think about it, though she’s concerned about how boss/employee relationships interfere with friendships after seeing Chang-soo and Joon-ki fight.
Yoon-ha insists that they would be equal in position (how?), so that wouldn’t be a problem. “We’re different from men,” she proclaims. “We’re not ignorant people who care only about status.” Even so, Ji-yi wants to think about it. This one’s got a head on her shoulders.
Chang-soo’s bad day continues when his mom confronts him over the part-timer she now knows he’s dating (thanks to his hyung), and when he doesn’t divulge any info, Mom calls Joon-ki. Joon-ki lies that he doesn’t know who Chang-soo’s dating, but Mom orders him to find out.
While brooding in front of a steamy mirror, Chang-soo thinks back to how much he treasured Joon-ki’s friendship above all things. Only now, he sees how one-sided their relationship really was. “Son of a bitch,” he growls.
Mama Lee sings Yoon-ha’s praises to Joon-ki, although no one’s told her that she’s not just a part-timer yet. Joon-ki asks his mother about concerns that are clearly on his mind, like whether she’d rather her son date someone more successful. Unfortunately for him, his mom would rather err on the side of love, not calculation.
He asks if his mother learned nothing from living with so little, and she sagely replies, “Even if I didn’t, I learned to live happily. Do you know how hard that is?” Joon-ki has no choice but to agree, but also finds no quarter with her regarding his father either.
Despite Joon-ki claiming he can’t understand his father the way he understands her, Mama Lee defends her husband without qualifiers. It’s not entirely clear why Joon-ki doesn’t speak highly of his dad other than that he’s crippled, and that he doesn’t seem to accept he’s crippled himself.
That’s when Mama Lee hands her son the business card left by Ye-won’s lackey, though she admits to not liking the man who gave it to her because he lied. “A person who lies from the beginning will continue to lie,” she says. Her words affect Joon-ki for reasons he knows all too well.
Someone’s been poking around about him at the office as well, where his douchey colleague was all too happy to inform him that he told them exactly what kind of person he is.
Joon-ki takes Yoon-ha to an art exhibit date, both of them unaware that someone’s watching and photographing their every move. When a despondent Chang-soo calls Yoon-ha to tell her he has something to say, Joon-ki starts to sweat. Ruh roh.
Madam Min sets to drinking again when she thinks about how heartless her husband has been regarding Kyung-joon’s disappearance, and confronts him to ask if he even cried when he first heard the news.
Despite his claims to the contrary, Madam Min furtively believes he didn’t even mourn, using his bid to file Kyung-joon as missing for tax credits as proof that he doesn’t feel a thing. While he forces her to acknowledge her alcoholism, she forces him to acknowledge that everything he’s doing is just to keep his current position.
“Have you ever thought that you’re living well because I’m keeping this position?” he yells at her. With tears running down her face, Madam Min says hoarsely, “Let’s divorce. I can’t live with someone like you.” She’s thought about it before but has only found the courage now, and leaves her husband with these cutting words: “I’m tired of hating you.”
Joon-ki knows something serious is up when Chang-soo’s disconnected his cell phone, and it’s only confirmed when he delivers documents for him to sign to his office. That’s a task above Joon-ki’s pay grade, Chang-soo says, so they should start acting only within the confines of their official positions from now on.
At least Joon-ki gets his permission to speak as a friend and not just an employee before he asks, “Am I really a friend to you?” Chang-soo thinks Joon-ki’s just trying to manipulate his sincerity like before, and for all we know, maybe he is.
Joon-ki doesn’t try to prove that he was a good friend to Chang-soo, only that he knows Chang-soo very, very well—well enough to have figured out how to use Chang-soo’s need for validation in order to earn his trust.
Likewise, he knows him well enough to have predicted this outcome should Chang-soo have ever figured things out: “You’re immature, just as I thought.” He re-establishes the distance Chang-soo wanted to put between them by acting as an employee again before leaving.
“Childish,” Chang-soo says after he’s gone. “So childish.”
First things first: You’re both being pretty childish. Second, though arguments can be made for how neither Joon-ki or Chang-soo are perfect, there’s a difference between deliberately using someone with malice of forethought and someone like Chang-soo, who maybe could work on his self-awareness, but who is for the most part not actively trying to take advantage of other people.
Intent matters when you have someone like Joon-ki claiming that he’s doing nothing wrong by manipulating his way up the social ladder, especially when he has so much contempt for Chang-soo just by virtue of him being born into a rich family. It’s kind of scary to think that the years Joon-ki’s spent with Chang-soo have only deepened his resentment for him, and that even after all that he still feels practically nothing for him. Does Joon-ki truly have no pity when it comes to chaebols? Even if Chang-soo’s naive and subconsciously elitist, is it really possible to spend that much time with someone and not find any humanizing qualities within them?
It really makes me wonder about Joon-ki, who believes in what he’s doing with such conviction that he’s unshakable even when faced with his own mother’s opposite values. Sure, maybe he feels flutters of guilt every now and then, but it’s clearly not enough to make him turn inward and really examine what he’s doing to other people. Though I guess to Joon-ki, people like Chang-soo and Yoon-ha aren’t people—they’re just walking bags of money to be used at will.
Which isn’t to say that none of Joon-ki’s grievances against Chang-soo are unsubstantiated, or that he can’t feel wronged too. But he’s talking like he’s on the highest moral horse when he just isn’t, and even if Chang-soo has a running undercurrent of classism, then Joon-ki needs to recognize that his victim mentality is way more conscious and pervasive. Part of me wonders what he actually wants to achieve by using people the way he is. If he has such hatred toward the privileged, is he trying to become one of them to change the status quo, or does he just feel that’s what he’s owed after losing the lottery of birth?
Whatever his true reasoning is, I do wish we knew enough about it to feel more for him. This episode was a positive step for him inasmuch as it showed the severely negative side of him simmering beneath the surface, but I also liked that it gave previously sidelined characters more meaningful moments. Ye-won isn’t just some corporate villain scheming in her own little world, Lady Kim is really quite pitiable, and even Madam Min has feelings. Well, whenever Yoon-ha isn’t within a five mile radius, anyway. Progress is progress.
- 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
- To be or not to be evil in High Society
- Four youths’ fates divided by money in High Society
- Blind dates and champagne toasts in High Society’s posters and stills
- High Society starts with a kiss