Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 12
The dust settles a bit, though while many are finally getting their heads on a little straighter, some continue to willfully dive down the delusional rabbit hole. A shift of focus will mean that it’s time for at least one person to face the truth of their past – is it okay to continue to coast on a lie, or is it time to face the truth and accept the consequences?
EPISODE 12 RECAP
From outside the restaurant, Joon-young watches Ajusshi and his mother singing and chair-dancing to an old song (“With You”) about building a house out in the country and living for one hundred years with the one you love. He joins them, and they dance happily together.
He narrates that his mother used to sing that song when she was happy, and that he grew up dreaming of living out his life in that house with the one he loves. Even when he found out his time was short, he didn’t give up on that dream. The time just shortened from one hundred years, to three months.
Now he sees that Eul is sending him a series of texts that echo her wish when in jail for him to come to her… “Now there’s five meters left. Now there’s four meters left…” and so on. Joon-young thinks that he may not have a hundred years, but he wants to spend his remaining time loving the person he loves. “So let’s not be sad or upset.”
He watches Eul count down to zero, than decide to give up, because he’s not coming. That’s when she’d finally decided to leave Korea, but Joon-young had made a decision too… that he’s not going to give up on his last dream. Maybe he can’t spend the last months of his live living with Eul in a little country house, but he can return the justice that he took from her.
He approaches Lawyer Cha, the prosecutor in charge of Eul’s father’s case, determined to find the person who really killed him. Lawyer Cha wants nothing to do with him, but Joon-young just follows him, determined to end the long winter that Eul has been living and give her a happy and free life when he’s gone.
Eul had decided to leave the country, but she doesn’t get further than a few feet before Ji-tae opens her taxi door and demands she get out. He yanks her out and sends Jik upstairs with their things, though Jik makes it clear that he wants an explanation on why Ji-tae disappeared on them.
He tells Eul that she doesn’t have to leave — he heard about Assemblyman Choi’s wife threatening her, but he remains cagey about how he knows. Eul yells that these people are scarier than he can imagine, and finally Ji-tae blurts out the truth: “They’re my parents!” Eul laughs, thinking that he’s joking.
People are growing curious as to why Ji-tae isn’t showing up for his engagement ceremony, but he’s far more concerned with explaining himself to Eul. It starts to sink in that he’s telling the truth and Eul walks away, realizing that she doesn’t know this man at all.
We flash back to Joon-young punching Ji-tae, and we see that Joon-young had admitted that he took Eul’s USB and nearly got her killed. But he wants to know what Ji-tae did that was so terrible. “What did you do when your parents threatened her, and tried to send her abroad?” Ji-tae did nothing, and that’s his shame.
Ji-tae’s parents try to call him, but he refuses to answer, and Jung-eun sits with her expression growing more and more uncertain. She tries to smile at Ji-tae’s mother, but the corners of her lips wobble, and she barely avoids bursting into tears.
Joon-young is doing his “charming but stubborn” thing to Lawyer Cha, and he even shows up with a gift for his daughter’s birthday. Lawyer Cha insists that the real killer turned himself in, sticking with the story, but Joon-young just blithely ignores him.
Things are not so great for Lawyer Cha — his daughter is in the hospital, and he’s estranged from his wife. She tells him he’s no father and to go away, but a flurry of excitement that Joon-young is in the hospital gets Cha’s attention. He’s holding court in Cha’s daughter’s room, though Cha’s little daughter Bo-ram just looks at him like he’s a crazy person while he recites his most famous drama lines for her, hee.
Lawyer Cha watches while Joon-young explains that he knows Bo-ram because he’s a big fan of her father’s, and that finally entices the adorable little girl to talk to him. He tells her that her father is brave, and just, and a great man, and that he envies her for having such a good daddy.
Later he finds Lawyer Cha in the stairwell, and Cha asks why he lied to Bo-ram. Joon-young says that he didn’t lie, and he does respect Cha. He sits (and digs into the cake that Cha dropped on the floor with his bare hands, ick) and guesses that Lawyer Cha traded his integrity in Eul’s case for his daughter’s chance to go to the best hospital in the country. By Cha’s guilty face, it looks like Joon-young nailed it on the head.
But that case got Cha demoted and he couldn’t stand the shame, so he quit his job, and lost his wife and daughter. Lawyer Cha tells him to take his drama back to the set and stands to leave, but Joon-young stops him, and says that he doesn’t have much longer to live. The truth will die with him, so he just wants to know what really happened.
Lawyer Cha grows angry and calls that a stupid drama plot, but Joon-young has one more secret to share: “Assemblyman Choi Hyun-joon is my father.” He says that Assemblyman Choi doesn’t know about it though, and not only that, but the victim of the hit and run was the father of the woman he loves. Joon-young jokes that he’s known for holding grudges, so he threatens to haunt Lawyer Cha forever if he doesn’t help him.
Eul decides to visit the Choi home, politely insisting on being let in even when the housekeeper says that nobody is home. She gets more demanding, thinking they’re there and refusing to see her, and Ji-tae finds her outside bellowing into the intercom.
She yells that she was going to get lost like they wanted, but she accuses them of sending their son to spy on her. Ji-tae is horrified that she thinks that’s why he befriended her, but when Eul collapses, he runs to her.
Haru and Ji-tae’s mom are on their way home from the engagement ceremony, and his mother asks her assistant to check if Ji-tae possibly got into an accident. Meanwhile Assemblyman Choi and Jung-eun’s father, Assemblyman Yoon, go to dinner to discuss matters.
Assemblyman Yoon gets right to the point — is Ji-tae seeing someone else? Assemblyman Choi defends that he would never do something like that, but Yoon doesn’t want to hear any excuses. He orders Ji-tae to come see Jung-eun before the end of the day… only if he does that can they still get engaged.
Jung-eun has gone from sad to angry, and she takes out her frustrations on her dressmaker, as if it’s the dress’s fault that Ji-tae didn’t show today.
Eul wakes in Ji-tae’s car, where he’s taken them to the Han River. She gets right to the point: If she were to date him, would his parents mind? At least he’s honest that it would, and Eul quietly figures that it would be the best way she could get back at them. “Then let’s date, Ajusshi.”
Jung-eun mindlessly drinks shot after shot, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get drunk enough. She staggers outside of the hotel bar to the pool area, still drinking, and she finally collapses and falls into the chilly water. Someone dives in to pull her to the surface — is that Joon-young?
He lightly slaps Jung-eun awake, and tells her that she can’t die yet, because she has a lot still to do for him. She blinks up at him, but when people finally arrive to help her, Joon-young leaves again.
As he goes, he thinks about what lawyer Cha told him, that it’s too late and there’s nothing he can do about Eul’s case. Joon-young had asked for just a name, the true killer’s name, before it’s too late. Lawyer Cha had told him the truth: It was Assemblyman Yoon’s daughter, Jung-eun.
Joon-young continues filming his documentary with a new PD, and he says with a smile that he has a bucket list now. Joon-young invites the new PD to eat with him and his team (why he hasn’t fired them and pressed charges, I’ll never understand), and his new, affable attitude surprises everyone.
President Namgoong is overly solicitous, feeling guilty about replacing Eul, but Joon-young seems pretty fine with it actually.
Eul’s former boss visits her at home, where she’s pretty much living in unemployed squalor. Her boss says that his boss, Director Choi sent him to offer her a job reporting on a top star’s movie, but he just can’t do it, and begs her to say that he offered it to her and she turned it down.
But the actor is notoriously meticulous, and even demands that all women around him look like models… so Eul, who is currently wearing noodles on her shirt and sauce all over her face, just wouldn’t do. Her old boss says he’ll find another job more suited to her.
So Eul calls his boss, but instead of turning the job down, she accepts it.
Assemblyman Choi arrives at work to find himself picketed, with a mob of angry people demanding that he resign. Their stores have been closed because of policies he instated, but instead of cowering, he approaches them and asks if those stores had the proper governmental licensing. They admit that they didn’t, and Choi tells them they were lucky to simply lose their street stalls, and that they weren’t fined or sent to jail.
But a strong voice speaks up behind him, asking if he’s certain he did his best to give them time to obtain the proper licenses. Choi recognizes the voice, and in shock, he turns to find Ji-tae standing there.
Ji-tae suggests that instead, Assemblyman Choi hired thugs to chase those people out of their stalls so that the government wouldn’t be burdened by helping them. Choi feebly counters that it was all perfectly legal, but Ji-tae argues back that whether or not is was legal, was it truly justice?
Choi asks brings up the taxes that went unpaid for years, and how it’s not fair to the shop owners who do everything by the book. Ji-tae says that if these men could have followed the law, they would have, rather than endure insults and possible loss of their livelihood.
Assemblyman Choi tells Ji-tae to stop pretending he cares, but again Ji-tae has a smart comeback, that Choi himself was once like them but now pretends he never was. His own parents even owned a street stall.
Ji-tae is yanked into his father’s office, but Assemblyman Choi only asks if he worked things out with Jung-eun and her father. He says that an upcoming life-changing event can cause a man to get distracted, as once happened with him.
Ji-tae just states that he won’t marry Jung-eun, and his father asks if this is about Noh Eul. Ji-tae says he won’t live his life for his parents, that he won’t do anything that benefits them, or would make them happy. If his father wants him out of the company or the house, he’ll go.
Ji-tae’s mother visits Jung-eun, and gives her, of all things, a movie script. She says that she was going to give it to Ji-tae to invest in, but she wants Jung-eun to have it “since we’re family now.” Jung-eun points out that Ji-tae dumped her, but his mother says with doe-eyed innocence that nothing was ever called off.
The engagement went exactly as planned, she says, seeming to really believe it. What in the what now? She pets Jung-eun’s hand and says that she’s her daughter-in-law from now on, and she will share her company’s workload and her family’s secrets with her.
The top star that Eul will be trailing, SEO YOON-HOO (Yoon Park), is predictably behaving like a spoiled baby. He’s angry that he got stuck with the PD who left Joon-young’s documentary, but her old boss promises him that she’s the best and that she only left the project because Joon-young kept hitting on her.
Knowing Joon-young’s high standards, Yoon-hoo finds that mighty interesting, and suddenly he’s eager to meet her. HAHA, Eul’s old boss tells him that she’s good at her job, but actually Joon-young just has weird taste and she mostly looks like a homeless person.
And then Eul walks in, looking like a million freaking bucks. She’s wearing a lacy dress, her hair and makeup just so, and even heels. She’s laying it on pretty thick, but the men lap it up like cream.
Ajusshi visits Joon-young’s mom’s restaurant and finds her doing something sneaky, directing her employee to warn her when Ajusshi arrives. He finds her packing a mountain of food and asks if it’s for Joon-young, and when she stammers and gives herself away, he tells her not to do it or Joon-young will just yell at her.
Mom actually defends Joon-young, and barks that she’ll take him food if she wants to take him food. Ajusshi just smiles and says that he’ll start the car. Awww, he’s so cute.
He drives Mom to Joon-young’s house and tells her she should at least stay to see her son eat something. They argue a bit, neither noticing Assemblyman Choi’s car pulling up to the driveway. Choi can only see Mom’s back and doesn’t recognize her… until Ajusshi spins her around, and Choi’s mouth literally drops open.
Shaking, he steps out of his car and calls her name. She turns to see him, and they both stand stunned.
Jik finds Na-ri waiting for him after school, ready to walk him home in case someone else decides to hit him with a car. Haru sees them arm-in-arm and approaches, annoyed, to tell Jik that she came because he’s been ignoring her texts.
With a smile for Na-ri’s benefit, Haru says says that she thought they were getting close, and HAHA, Jik is all… Nope. Na-ri throws her arm around Jik and even pats his butt, and hee, Jik looks thrilled to have two women fighting over him. Na-ri asks why Haru cares anyway, and she blurts out, “Because I like him, why??”
Eul isn’t quite as together as she’s pretending to be, and her heels give her blisters while she’s filming Yoon-hoo. She can barely walk by the end of the day, and when she trips over a heel, Ji-tae is somehow there to catch her. He doctors her blister, reminding her that he can do this because they’re dating now, not that it seems to make him very happy.
Apparently Seo Yoon-hoo has agreed to be in the movie Jung-eun is investing in, though they seem to know each other already, and the two have dinner together. They discuss his costar, and Joon-young’s name comes up, and Joon-young just happens to be there to overhear Yoon-hoo calling him a jerk.
Joon-young smirks that he’s changed his mind about the part in the movie he originally turned down, to Yoon-hoo’s dismay. Yoon-hoo gets a call from what sounds like a girl, and Joon-young teases him to watch out — there are reporters everywhere. Yoon-hoo shoots him a less-than-friendly gesture over his shoulder as he goes, ha.
Jung-eun remembers Joon-young, and introduces herself formally. As they’re shaking hands, Ji-tae enters the hotel lobby, carrying Eul on his back. All four stop and stare at each other, a million questions in their eyes.
I have to give an admiring nod to the absolutely beautiful cinematography and soundtrack, because really, it’s a large part of what makes this drama so melancholy and lovely. The washed-out color tones give things a bleak, wintry feel, adding to the chilly emotions that all the characters are displaying. And the music is some of the best I’ve heard, echoing perfectly the mood of each scene. I especially loved the song that played during Jung-eun’s drunk scene, it felt as though the singer was crying for the character and really made me feel her loss and rejection. And of course the unofficial emotional theme of the show, “A Little Braver” by New Empire, always seems to evoke a heart-twisting wistful longing whenever it’s played.
I’m not sure I care for Eul’s plan to date Ji-tae just to get back at his family. It wasn’t long ago that she wanted to date him for real, and was heartbroken at his rejection. But at least you can’t say that she’s using him, because she told him straight out that it would be for revenge. But I do like Ji-tae’s newfound spine, and seeing him stand up to his father made me want to cheer. He’s finally putting his money where his mouth is and seeing his parents for who they truly are, and he can no longer pretend they’re just a normal family who happen to have money and power. It’s time to admit that the money and power have corrupted them, and I’m glad to see him willing to give up that money and power for his own sense of what’s right.
Strangely, and I know I’m in the minority here (and it probably wont’ last as we move forward), but I can’t bring myself to feel anything but an odd sort of compassion for Jung-eun. As I said before, she’s been raised that the pinnacle of her dreams and hopes for her life should be to become a trophy wife. She’s rich and beautiful and nobody has ever held her accountable for anything, not even manslaughter, so I see her more as a victim than as a villain. Of course, a person with stronger character would know instinctively that covering up your responsibility for an accident where someone died is wrong, and that there’s more to life than getting a rich, handsome man, but she’s obviously not possessed of a strong character. So I just see her as a pathetic product of her upbringing.
So to see Jung-eun devastated was, for me, difficult to watch. No, of course she doesn’t deserve Ji-tae and he doesn’t love her anyway, but he did agree to marry her and he went back on his promise in a very public, very humiliating way. There may be people in the world who have it much harder, but in Jung-eun’s mind, she was about to realize her entire life’s dream. Her devastation may be shallow in most people’s eyes, but to Jung-eun, it’s the worst thing she’s ever experienced. So until now I mostly just feel pity for her, but she’s about to have a huge decision to make… whether to come clean and be a better person, or to continue to hide what she did. It’s what she chooses going forward that will determine, for me, whether she’s a good person under all that twinkly perfect facade her daddy’s money gives her, or if she’s truly someone who believes that she deserves what she wants regardless of how it effects anyone else.
I’m not sure I get where the story is planning to go at this point, because for now, it seems like everyone has retired to their respective corners and called a story-wide truce on making each other miserable. I’m sure we’re not done with the heartache yet, and I have a feeling that Joon-young’s new focus is going to be persuading Jung-eun to do the right thing. At least I hope — I really love Im Joo-eun as an actress, and I’ve been wishing for her to be given something more interesting to do than whine and simper. I want to see her struggle with her choice, to really dig deep and have to decide whether to confess to her crime. I feel like Jung-eun’s decision is going to be a huge turning point in Joon-young and Eul’s relationship, and in this case, I’m hoping for a lot of soul-searching and angst before we get there.
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 11
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 10
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 9
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 8
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 7
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 6
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 5
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 4
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 3
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 2
- Uncontrollably Fond: Episode 1