Marriage Contract: Episode 10
Just as half of our couple starts to realize their true feelings, the other half begins to pull away — though not for the reasons you might think. Hye-soo has more to worry about than a possibly-fleeting romance, and her daughter comes first. She’s even willing to sacrifice her honor to secure a future for Eun-sung, though I’m sure we all hope that in the end, love will win out over money.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Ji-hoon kisses Hye-soo, then again, more desperately. She kisses him back just as passionately, but then she backs off and, without a word, walks away. Ji-hoon is left on the beach, stunned and alone.
Hye-soo prepares Eun-sung to go home the next morning, and they stop to say goodbye to Mi-ran. Hye-soo asks Mi-ran one last time to please have the surgery, revealing that if they don’t do it soon, she may not be able to be her donor. Mi-ran tells Hye-soo that she’s not going through with the surgery, and thanks Hye-soo for everything she’s done.
They narrowly miss Ji-hoon on their way to catch the ferry, and when he gets back to the cabins, Mi-ran tells him that he should go home before his father gets angry. He sits with his mother but keeps craning his neck looking for Hye-soo and Eun-sung, and Mi-ran warns him not to get too attached to them.
When he hears that they’ve left, Ji-hoon runs to try to catch the ferry, but he’s too late. Eun-sung waves at him as the boat pulls away from the dock, but Hye-soo carefully avoids looking at him.
Ji-hoon arrives at his Promise apartment that night, but refrains from knocking on Hye-soo’s door. He notices that Eun-sung’s kittens are gone, and he asks Ho-joon if he’s seen them.
Hye-soo is at the hospital to meet with her doctor, and she learns that her tumor is growing. Her doctor tells her that her symptoms will worsen without treatment, and at this point, she only has a thirty percent chance of survival over the next five years. She urges Hye-soo to receive treatment, and Hye-soo readily agrees this time.
She arranges to start treatment right away, which will require four sessions a week for several months. She avoids a text from Ji-hoon and picks up Eun-sung at school, showering her with hugs and kisses until Eun-sung begs for mercy.
Ji-hoon surprises them on their walk home, and takes them for ice cream and a bike ride. How does he look so adorable wearing Eun-sung’s backpack?? He asks Hye-soo why she ran off without saying goodbye, and she just says she had something important to do.
Ji-hoon accepts her non-answer for now, and asks her to have a talk with him later, but Hye-soo says that she has nothing to talk to him about. She says that their kiss was a mistake, and stands to go, reaching out a hand for the backpack. But Ji-hoon takes her hand instead, saying, “I don’t think it was a mistake. I know you feel the same way, too. Let’s continue being a family.”
Hye-soo is flustered and doesn’t answer, hesitating long enough for Eun-sung to ride back to them and declare that she’s hungry. Ji-hoon offers to buy them lunch, still holding Hye-soo’s hand, and she doesn’t break the contact until they head off ( she doesn’t argue with going to lunch, either).
At lunch Eun-sung asks about Mi-ran, and Ji-hoon says that she should call her. After lunch they find out that none of Ji-hoon’s credit cards work, so Hye-soo pays for their meal.
Ji-hoon tries to prolong their time together but Hye-soo cuts things short, and asks for leave time from work as well. She says that she’ll be staying with Joo-yeon, and that she’ll come back to work after her business is done.
Ji-hoon visits Chairman Han to find out that his father cut his cards off on purpose, as well as his bank accounts. He’s also reported Hye-soo for fraud, and orders Ji-hoon to thank him for protecting him from her cons. Ji-hoon insists that she’s not like that, but the chairman only sees this as proof that he’s fallen for her lies.
He tells Ji-hoon again to divorce Hye-soo, but this time Ji-hoon isn’t ready to lie down and take it. He tells Chairman Han that he will accept whatever punishment he dishes out, but he doesn’t think he can give her up. He’s utterly respectful and even bows to his father, but leaves without bending to his will.
He tries to ignore Jung-hoon on his way out, blowing up when Jung-hoon grabs at him and demands answers. He snaps at his brother to ask their father if he wants to know what’s happening, and storms out. Jung-hoon calls someone and tells them to search Ji-hoon’s office, and let him know if they find anything fishy.
Ji-hoon texts Hye-soo that night wanting to meet up and talk, but she doesn’t answer him. He tries calling and strikes out there too, though Joo-yeon can tell with her usual insightfulness that it’s “that guy” calling again. She asks if he still plans to pay Hye-soo even though the surgery didn’t happen as planned.
When Hye-soo confirms that he will, Joo-yeon exclaims at her luck. Hye-soo won’t have to worry about money until Eun-sung is grown.
Madam Yoon takes Ji-hoon out to ask him about his mother, wondering how long her change of heart will last. When he declines to answer her questions she admits that he hurts her sometimes, since she took him in and raised him, yet he remains loyal to Mi-ran.
She warns Ji-hoon not to disregard her or Jung-hoon, though he swears that he’s not. Madam Yoon says that she’s willing to overlook this whole situation with Na-yoon, since Chairman Han has business connections with her family (and so giving her the brother she wants is beneficial to him), but in return she wants Ji-hoon’s promise that he won’t try to edge Jung-hoon out as the heir to the company.
Afterwards, Ji-hoon goes back to Mi-ran’s apartment, and cleans up the photo he smashed the last time he was there. He calls Mi-ran and offers to bring her anything she needs, though she says she needs nothing and tells him not to call her anymore. He agrees and hangs up, then immediately takes a selca and sends it to her. Ha.
Just as she gets the picture, Mi-ran’s brother finds her and asks why she doesn’t go back to Seoul, though I notice his voice isn’t as harsh as it was before. She cheerfully takes his arm and walks with him, and he shakes her off and says again to go back to the city.
Mi-ran follows him and asks him not to blame her for what happened to his wife — she says it wasn’t just her fault, it was his too, for traveling all the time and leaving her behind. That makes him angry again, but she begs him to forgive her.
She says that this is her last chance to make peace, and now he fusses at her for changing her name and speaking in the Seoul dialect. He starts to call Ji-hoon to have him take his mother home, and Mi-ran grabs the phone, which makes her brother ask if he has to be responsible for her death, too.
He starts to stomp off, but Mi-ran’s pitiful cries of apology make him stop. He almost turns back to her, but continues on his way.
Hye-soo watches families in the park, thinking that in five years, Eun-sung will be twelve years old, and she only has a thirty percent chance of seeing it. Chairman Han calls her to meet with him, and right away he lights into her for still hanging around Ji-hoon.
He tells Hye-soo that he’s cut off Ji-hoon’s money, still thinking that’s her only reason for seeing him. He tells her that this is his last warning — he’s sending her the divorce papers, so she’s to sign them immediately.
Hye-soo arrives at Joo-yeon’s salon at the same time as Young-hee and Seung-joo, who’ve come because Young-hee overheard enough about the surgery to worry. Hye-soo says it was a misunderstanding, but she accepts the red ginseng soup Young-hee brought for her.
Young-hee admits that she saw Eun-sung, and that she feels bad for blaming Hye-soo for her son’s death. She’d only felt that, if they’d never met, he might not have died so young. But after seeing Eun-sung she thought that her son wouldn’t be happy with her behavior, and she’d felt guilty about it.
She urges Hye-soo to take care of herself, so that she can be there for Eun-sung for a long time. She asks after Hye-soo’s new man and Hye-soo fibs that things are fine.
Soo-chang is whiny that Hye-soo is gone, though snippy waitress Ara says that she’s no better than any other assistant chef. Ho-joon breaks up the fight, and Soo-chang asks him if it’s true that Hye-soo and Ji-hoon are dating. It’s so cute how he says all these sensitive things in that gruff, booming voice, ha.
Ji-hoon arrives in time to hear him, so Ho-joon hustles him away, and tells him that Chairman Han called him. He demands to know everything so he knows what to say and not to say, assuming that there’s something going on with Hye-soo.
As soon as he mentions her name, Ho-joon can tell from Ji-hoon’s complete lack of a poker face that he’s fallen for her. Ji-hoon grumpily confirms it, and that Hye-soo returns his feelings, warning Ho-joon not to tell anyone about this.
Ho-joon asks what Ji-hoon will do if his father really does completely cut him off and kick him out, though Ji-hoon doesn’t seem terribly worried. Ho-joon points to all the employees cleaning outside the restaurant, and tells Ji-hoon that there were so many people wanting those low-paying jobs — Ji-hoon can’t possibly survive in that world.
That night Ji-hoon texts Hye-soo that he misses her, and she again ignores it. Eun-sung wants to go home and see her kittens, and when Hye-soo says no, she stomps out to ask Joo-yeon to take her.
Poor Ji-hoon is in agony waiting to hear from Hye-soo, hugging his pillows and whining to the empty room that he misses her. Awww, he’s actually crying a little bit with missing her.
Eun-sung succeeds in dragging Hye-soo to the restaurant, though Hye-soo wants to leave as soon as they see that Ji-hoon has been feeding the kittens. Eun-sung asks to stay a while, and Hye-soo can’t help but peek into Ji-hoon’s rooms to see if he’s there.
She finds him sleeping on the floor and covers him with a blanket, wanting to touch him but holding off. She bundles up Eun-sung and takes her home, but makes enough noise doing so that it stirs Ji-hoon.
He goes down to the street, right on their tail, but Na-yoon shows up and stops him from looking any further. She asks point-blank what relationship he and Hye-soo have, but his hesitation is enough answer, and she tells him not to say anything after all.
She tries to make him feel bad, saying that she chose him even though she knows he doesn’t have feelings for her, and that his apologies only make her feel worse. She tries a different tactic, expressing sorrow over his mother and apologizing for trying to force him to like her. Then she ruins it by telling him it’s time to stop, urging him to give up Hye-soo and accept his fate of marrying her.
Ji-hoon doesn’t respond as she expects, and tells Na-yoon to forget about him. He says that he was a coward back then and he’s still one now, and that he can’t be with her anymore. He lays down again, hugging the blanket Hye-soo covered him with, looking defeated and lost.
Guessing that something is off, Eun-sung asks her mother if she and Ajusshi had a fight. It’s as good an excuse as any so Hye-soo says they did, and Eun-sung pleads with her to make up and get along with him. She makes her mom pinky-swear, and in her little innocent mind, that’s all it takes to fix things.
After Eun-sung is tucked in bed, Hye-soo takes care with her appearance for once, fixing her hair and putting on makeup. Her hand trembles, and Joo-yeon catches her getting all gussied up, though Hye-soo says she just felt like it and she’s not going out anywhere.
Joo-yeon teases Hye-soo that she’s too old to be pretty now, which is a complete lie because she looks gorgeous. Hye-soo asks her friend to do her nails, which she can’t normally do since she works with food, and the pretty result makes her tear up a little.
She asks Joo-yeon a little sadly, “Do you think I can have a bright life, at least once?” Joo-yeon says that she’s still young, her debt is paid off, and she has no more money worries, so of course she can. That makes Hye-soo cry again.
She tells her friend that she wanted to date and kiss a man, and dress up and go out. Joo-yeon says that she can absolutely have those things, but by now tears are streaming down Hye-soo’s face, and she asks Joo-yeon half-jokingly what she’s done so wrong in her life.
Later Ji-hoon calls Hye-soo again, but she still doesn’t answer. She takes off her makeup while the phone rings over and over, feeling that the life Ji-hoon offers isn’t meant for someone like her. You can tell that it takes every ounce of her will not to answer the phone.
She meets with Chairman Han again, this time by her request. She says that she’ll divorce Ji-hoon, but first she asks Chairman Han to settle the balance that Ji-hoon owes her per their contract. She says that she won’t divorce him without that, and Chairman Han just laughs bitterly.
Ji-hoon is still trying to reach Hye-soo, and texts her that he’ll come find her if she doesn’t answer him soon. He sells his fancy car and expensive watch, and even borrows money from Ho-joon, promising to pay him back soon (and they get into the cutest fight over interest). But the money isn’t for him — it’s for Hye-soo, to pay her the rest of what he promised her.
Hye-soo finally answers Ji-hoon’s texts, asking where he wants to meet, and he gets all giddy and makes a reservation for dinner. He makes a stop to buy a set of wedding rings, and waits for Hye-soo looking like a kid on Christmas morning. He can’t stop grinning at her when she finally arrives, and happily gives her the money he owes her.
He says that their contract ends today, and grows adorably nervous. He brings out the ring and presents it to Hye-soo, practically bouncing in his seat in excitement. When she opens the box and looks at him in confusion, Ji-hoon asks her if she wants to not get divorced, and continue their relationship.
He promises to take care of her from now on, and Hye-soo holds out her hand. But instead of letting him slip the ring on her finger, she gently pushes his hand away, and gives him the envelope of money back. She holds her smile and says that she wants to get divorced.
She tells Ji-hoon that she already got the balance of the money from his father, which immediately wipes the smile off his face. She feels bad that she couldn’t help with the surgery, and she lies that she’s never seen him as someone she could have a relationship with.
Ji-hoon isn’t happy about this, but Hye-soo says that they just got a little too into their roles as a married couple and made some mistakes. She says that the kiss, especially, was a mistake, but her voice wavers just enough to give her true feelings away.
Unconvinced, Ji-hoon asks one last time if she really means it, and Hye-soo says that she does. As he stares at her, her words finally sink in, and Ji-hoon’s expression shuts down.
Oof, that was cruel. I mean, I understand why Hye-soo did it, because she doesn’t want to burden Ji-hoon with her illness when he’s already dealing with a dying mother. She’s trying to be kind, and in a way, she’s right — dealing with losing the two women he loves at the same time would be difficult for Ji-hoon, who we’re now learning is a giant emotional marshmallow. But seeing him go from being so happy and hopeful to devastated, in a matter of moments, was so hard to watch.
But backing up a bit, I can’t even express how much I loved Ji-hoon in this episode. It’s so sweet that he denied his feelings so hard and for so long, but once he admitted them, he just went all in. I knew he’d be a big old softie under all that gruff grumbling, but I never pegged him for the guy who would literally cry into his pillow just from missing the girl he loves. I never would have thought he’d be the sensitive, vulnerable one in this relationship, but I love the reversal. Though it shattered my heart into tiny pieces when Hye-soo rejected him, I love that he’s making himself so vulnerable to her, and it’s softening him around the edges in other ways too (that hug he gave Ho-joon was so cute, and you could tell Ho-joon loved it, too). I hope Hye-soo doesn’t hold out for long, because I want to see more of this sweetheart.
Let’s talk about Na-yoon for a minute. I’d rather not, because she still comes across as a bland, one-dimensional character, but she’s starting to make more moves towards Ji-hoon and I’m just getting fed up with her. You can see her calculating everything she says to Ji-hoon, changing her angle multiples times per conversation, and it’s just so frustrating watching her try her hardest to manipulate him. I don’t think she’s got any evil intentions, but she just flat-out doesn’t seem to care that he’s no longer interested in her — she wants him, and that’s that (and I’ll never understand the drama second-lead desire to possess someone who doesn’t want to be with them, it seems like such an empty way to live).
But when she went to Chairman Han for answers instead of talking to Ji-hoon, that’s when I was officially done with her. You can see that, if she married into the family, she would play by the “Father Know Best” rule and everything would go through Daddy Dearest, which would only cement Chairman Han’s control over Ji-hoon. If for no other reason, I’m against her marrying Ji-hoon because it would anchor him even more securely to the family and he’d never break free. She can go marry Jung-hoon for all I care, he wouldn’t mind her manipulations and deferring to the chairman first before her own husband. But she is not for Ji-hoon, whether or not Hye-soo was even in the picture. So I’m glad that Ji-hoon finally stood up to her and said a firm No, though I’m afraid she’s going to need to hear it a few more times before it sinks in, especially with Chairman Han offering his son to her on a silver platter.
Every time I think I can’t fall in love with Hye-soo any more than I already am, she does something amazing and strong and I just admire her that much more. I know it’s the mother in her that makes her willing to do anything to secure a future for her daughter, but it takes all kinds of guts to go to the man who thinks you’re nothing but a low, filthy gold-digger, and demand more money. With her sense of honor, you know it had to kill her to do that when the truth is that she loves his son — but for Eun-sung, Hye-soo will even let the chairman think the worst of her. I love how her strength is so ever-present and rock-solid, and she always does what she needs to do. I only hope that her love for Ji-hoon wins out soon over her decision to keep him int he dark about her condition, because she does deserve to be loved, and Ji-hoon deserves the chance to prove that he’s just the man to do it.
I just adore the little meaningful moments the show gives us, just small scenes that seem like throwaways but can mean so much. The one that killed me in this episode wasn’t when Hye-soo got fixed up and cried about not being able to live an easy life, but the scene right after that. Ji-hoon is calling her, over and over, and you know that she wants more than anything to pick up the phone and go to him. But instead she takes off her makeup, accepting that that life isn’t something within her reach. There’s no dialogue and it’s such a quiet moment, but so full of deeper meaning, and this entire drama is chock-full of wonderful, rich moments like that. It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with this show in the first place, that it never condescends to us or overexplains what people are feeling. The scenes are so well-directed and the actors are just that good, that we know exactly what they’re feeling even when they don’t say a word.