Fantastic: Episode 3
The harsh realities of cancer begin to set in for So-hye — both physically and emotionally. It doesn’t help that she’s got blast-from-the-past Hae-sung to continue to annoy and confuse her, even though he’s just as confused by her attitude towards him. Meanwhile, Sul continues to deal with her terrible husband and the in-laws from hell, but the introduction of a new character promises to shake things up (or so we can hope).
EPISODE 3 RECAP
After the surprise kiss, So-hye shoves Hae-sung away. She seems a little shocked by her reaction to the kiss, but quickly covers by telling him she was testing out his idea and since it seemed to work on him, she’ll be able to add those types of kisses to her script from now on. Then she calmly walks away — or almost calmly, because she stumbles a moment while bemoaning her impulsive decision.
Both she and Hae-sung can’t stop thinking about the kiss, although for So-hye it’s more out of irritation for her thoughtless actions. Hae-sung is pleased to find out via an internet search that So-hye’s reaction falls well within the signs that someone actually felt something during the kiss.
In the morning, Hae-sung bewilders his chef by happily kissing his food before he eats. Manager Oh arrives with information about the first shoot, and Hae-sung is delighted to discover that it’s the same place as his first drama where he previously worked with So-hye. He rolls around in his bed with glee, delighted to think that So-hye purposefully chose this location in order to relive those days.
So-hye continues to be distracted by memories of the kiss — so much so that she starts typing “kiss” instead of “K” as the hitman’s name in the script. No time to dwell on it, though, because she has an appointment with Joon-ki. Except the doorbell rings — it’s Hae-sung.
He was “just passing by” and decided to bring over a snack that “coincidentally” happens to be one of So-hye’s favorite treats. So-hye’s cute assistant Sang-hwa is thrilled by this “random happenstance,” but So-hye keeps trying to get him to leave (while also maintaining her professional cool towards him).
She’s shocked, though, to discover that the first drama shooting will be taking place in Pyeongchang, thus decrying Hae-sung’s belief that she purposefully chose that location. She excuses herself to go to her appointment, leaving Hae-sung behind with Sang-hwa, who admits that So-hye does talk about him, if only to say that she hopes he practices his acting to match the level of the script.
So-hye arrives at the hospital, but her spirits deflate a little when she sees Joon-ki with the pretty girl from before — who’s also a doctor — laughing together. With a sigh, she plasters on a pleasant smile to hide her disappointment as Joon-ki happily greets her. He introduces her to his female doctor friend, Jamie, but So-hye seems more aware of how young and pretty the woman is than the fact that Joon-ki purposefully asked her to the hospital to meet with Jamie.
Jamie gives So-hye a consultation, explaining the possibility of a clinical trial treatment she’s currently studying that would be beneficial. So-hye is hesitant to agree, promising to think about it and let her know what she decides.
Hae-sung meets with actor Park Won-sang (playing himself) in the hopes of getting acting lessons from the revered actor. The veteran actor explains he’s only doing this as a favor to the director who he’s worked with previously, which is a nice bit of meta since he has indeed worked with the director of this drama before.
Park Won-sang tries to politely tell him that he won’t teach Hae-sung anything, but when Hae-sung shows him a stack of cash, the actor changes his mind and begins his one-on-one master class. Hae-sung explains that his love of the stage began when he was a child performing in a nativity play. He was crushed when he saw his parents leave early, but the sadness he expressed onstage that night made him the hit of the show.
Ever since then, he’s longed to perform for audiences that will love him. He might have struggled through small theater roles for years, but a young So-hye noticed him one night and her applause was the sweetest he’s ever heard.
Swayed by Hae-sung’s sincere passion to learn, Park Won-sang tells him to read through the script. But despite Hae-sung’s earnest efforts, his script-reading is awkward and clunky, and finally Park Won-sang stops him to perform the role himself. Hae-sung marvels at his sunbae’s acting ability, but when he tries to perform the scene, he still sounds like a dying cow.
So-hye’s caught in a sudden summer rainstorm, and as she waits it out under a shop’s awning, she wistfully watches a mother and child hurry along, soon to be followed by a happy gaggle of school girls all trying to fit under the same umbrella. She ignores Hae-sung’s texts and instead holds out her hand to feel the rain against her skin, then purposefully marches out to enjoy the sensation of being washed by the rain.
Sul’s busy with her housework when her sister-in-law Jin-sook brings home a guest: the assemblywoman. While Jin-sook and her mother fawn over the woman, Sul struggles to hide her frustration at seeing her again. She glares at her husband when he explains he had no idea the assemblywoman would be invited to dinner, but he’s not about to go against his family’s wishes and begs her to just bear with it for now.
Jin-sook and her mother treat the assemblywoman more like part of the family than Sul has ever been. While she quietly serves them their dinner, the women are delighted to be invited to the assemblywoman’s villa for a holiday break. But Sul is clearly disgusted at the way she familiarly pats Sul’s husband’s leg, acting as if Sul barely exists.
KIM SANG-WOOK (Ji Soo) is a very meticulous, law-abiding young man who would rather call in and report a broken crosswalk light than scurry across like everyone else. Waiting for someone to repair the walk signal makes him late for his blind date, and it doesn’t help that his attempt to joke with her falls flat, too.
After dinner, they go for a drive along a secluded road, and when Sang-wook orders her to pull over, she coyly believes that he must want to use the privacy to kiss her. But instead he lists off all the minor traffic laws she’s broken and then orders her to switch spots with him. Offended, she drives off, leaving him stranded on the side of the road.
So-hye gulps down her medication as she endures a painful coughing fit. She’s ignored Hae-sung’s calls and texts all day, so he shows up at her front door to talk to her in person. But she collapses after coughing up blood and can’t even reach for her phone. Hae-sung continues to ring the doorbell and call her, but she just lies gasping on the floor, and he eventually leaves, embarrassed to be found with his ear pressed against her door.
Sang-wook walks down the deserted road, struggling to find a signal for his phone and jumping at every little sound. When he sees someone riding past on a motorcycle, he desperately flags the driver down (who he calls “ajusshi”) and begs for a ride back into town. The rider wordlessly hands him a helmet and they speed off into the night, finally arriving at Sang-wook’s apartment.
As he scrambles to figure out how to repay this “ajusshi’s” kindness, the driver takes off the helmet, and in glorious slo-mo, reveals that it’s none other than Sul. Sang-wook is dumbstruck as he discovers that his savior is actually a beautiful woman. Instead of payment, she asks if she can keep her motorcycle parked at his place. He stutters out an agreement and then dazedly watches her walk off into the night.
Hae-sung’s practicing an action scene with the stunt team, who notice that his acting has gotten better. He proudly tells him it’s because he’s been working with Park Won-sang, but when he shows up at the theatre where Park Won-sang is working on a play, it’s all the experienced actor can do to not try and hide from the “foot actor.”
He endures another lesson, attempting to coach Hae-sung through the script, but Hae-sung’s still cringingly terrible. He longs to take the money Hae-sung gave him and throw it back in his face, ordering him to get out. But instead he sucks it up and tells Hae-sung he’s getting better, much to Hae-sung’s utter delight.
On the drive home, Hae-sung is pleased by how impressed So-hye will be with his improved acting abilities. But when he sees that she hasn’t responded to him at all in the past day, he sends her a warning text that she’s breaching his “contract” with her.
In a creepy dream sequence where So-hye coughs up blood, causing all the old-fashioned toys around her to drip blood, too. She also imagines Hae-sung and Joon-ki both coming to her rescue. When she wakes up in a hospital bed, she looks over and sees — Hae-sung? Joon-ki?
It’s Joon-ki! He tells her that she has acute pneumonia, which So-hye knows is the beginning of the end. Even though he reassures her that she’s recovering from the pneumonia, she knows that incidents like this will only happen more frequently from now on — and only get worse and worse. She orders him to leave, and she silently cries alone in her hospital room.
Up on the hospital rooftop, So-hye stands on the edge of the building, looking out over the lights of the city. Taking a deep breath, she tries to psych herself up to take a step off the building, but her body refuses to obey. Later, Joon-ki arrives at her hospital room with her supper, only to find that she’s gone.
She’s at the shopping mall, dressed in the pajamas she wore when she was admitted into the hospital. She pulls out a pretty dress, and after only slightly wincing at the expensive price tag, tells the sales assistant to ring it up.
She then calls Mi-sun, and the two have a wonderful day out. They shop for designer clothes and visit a salon where they not only get their hair and nails done, but also endure a Brazilian wax. They didn’t forget about Sul, and So-hye has a gorgeous leather motorcycle jacket delivered to her grateful friend.
Seeing how eager Mi-sun is to show off her new look (and wax job) to her husband, So-hye tells her to go ahead and hurry home. But after her friend leaves, So-hye seems deflated as she realizes how alone she is.
Sang-wook carefully watches over the motorcycle left in his care, repeatedly reassuring himself that it’s still parked outside. But he has to leave it behind for a few hours when he goes to a job interview — with Sul’s husband. Yikes.
Sul’s husband is thrilled to offer one of the top law graduates a position at his firm, but Sang-wook admits that he’s always wanted to work at this firm and become a lawyer with integrity like him. Sul’s husband squirms at Sang-wook’s sincere praise to his false image, and invites him to a dinner outing. But the young man politely declines, stating he has other plans.
Ha, those plans are really an excuse to hurry back home to make sure the motorcycle is still there. Which it is, much to his relief.
Hae-sung manages to find out through Sang-hwa that it’s not unusual for So-hye to go radio silent when she’s holed up working on a script, so he’s surprised to find her leaving the high-end salon he frequents.
Despite her attempt to ignore him, she acquiesces to his request to dinner. When he tries to drag it out with his indecision, she calls the waiter over to order one of everything — she’ll pay and leave Hae-sung to enjoy his meal alone. She tells him to accept the dinner as partial payment for her debt — she spent too much money today to pay him back with anything else right now.
But he wants to know why she kissed him, and she says it was just a joke. It’s not like there was ever anything between them, anyway. He wonders if it’s because of what happened between them back then, and he’d apologize if she would accept it. But she won’t, and gathers her shopping bags to leave.
He runs after her, telling her it makes no sense that she wants him to apologize yet continues to insist that his apology is worthless. He’s sorry, but he had no choice. She just angrily orders him to never mention it again.
A flashback shows us that the reason So-hye had begged the director to think of Hae-sung as not worth his time was because the director was furious that Hae-sung had signed on to Jin-sook’s agency. Part of his new contract was that he had to quit So-hye’s new drama at the last minute. The director was ready to destroy Hae-sung’s reputation (and thus, career), but So-hye was able to smooth matters over by reassuring the director they could find a better actor.
Hae-sung works out late into the night, stopping to catch his breath and scroll through Instagram, smiling at the photos of a happy couple and their cute baby. Jin-sook finds him there, telling him that he has to attend an event for a wealthy Chinese CEO.
He’s annoyed, since he told her that he wouldn’t do any other projects once Hitman started shooting, but she makes it clear that she’s still his boss and he has to follow his contract. Which sounds like a truly terrible contract, since the only way he can get out of it is when Jin-sook says he can.
At a trendy nightclub, So-hye downs half a bottle of whiskey and then, totally drunk, hits the dance floor with abandon. She spots Jamie in the crowd with another guy, totally impressed that she’s the kind of free woman who would date multiple men at once.
Jamie seems more amused by her words and concerned for So-hye’s health, seeing how drunk she is. So-hye just reassures Jamie that she’ll keep it a secret from Joon-ki that she saw her there at the club. Jamie calls Joon-ki, letting him know she’s found his missing patient.
As So-hye gets her groove on, she shocked to see Joon-ki — and then Jamie, who tells her that she’s Joon-ki’s younger sister. So-hye is pleased to know that the “oppa” Jamie calls him is strictly blood related, and Joon-ki stays with So-hye, happily joining in with her ridiculous freestyle dancing.
On the way home, he sweetly watches over her as she dozes in the back of the cab — and then hurriedly has to tell the driver to stop so she can get out to vomit. He diligently follows after her, carrying all her shopping bags, as she drunkenly tells him about all her adventures during the day, especially the new clothes and salon.
She even whispers that she got a Brazilian wax, but he jokes that it’s pointless, since the chemotherapy treatment means the hair would fall out on its own, anyway. She has a hearty laugh over that, perhaps heartier than it should be.
As they sit in a park, she tells him that she canceled her trip to the salt flats — she spent her travel money on all her new clothes instead. She then wistfully tells him that her dream is to be like King Uija (or her in case, Queen Uija), who was the last king of Baekje and legend says that when he died, 3,000 handmaidens committed suicide. She sighs that she should have spent more time seducing men — she can only declare herself Queen Uija due to all her time sitting in a chair (which is also pronounced “uija”), writing scripts.
Mostly, though, she’s terrified to die alone. She doesn’t have a husband or children to be with her. As she begins to weep, admitting how scary it will be, Joon-ki gently reminds her that she still has him, her “cancer buddy.”
Suddenly, she asks him if he’ll date her. His silence makes her assumes that he’s rejecting her, but she tearfully begs him to go out with her.
I knew there would be more to the story behind both Joon-ki’s mystery woman and the reason the younger So-hye bad-mouthed Hae-sung to the director! I’m not totally convinced that Hae-sung dropping out of the drama last-minute like that was his idea, knowing how unashamedly sneaky Jin-sook can be. But I have a feeling there will be more flashbacks to come as we learn more and more what happened between So-hye and Hae-sung to have them be so distant from each other in the present day. Or at least So-hye attempt to be distant, because Hae-sung seems more than willing to make up (or make out).
I’m also happy we finally get to meet the cutie-patootie Sang-wook, who’s clearly smitten with his mysterious motorcycle woman. How much of a shock will it be when he realizes she’s actually the wife of his new boss (or how very much not a man of integrity is new boss is)? I’m still angry and frustrated on Sul’s behalf, and the sooner she can get out of her in-laws household, the better. For now, though, I’m happy to settle for moonlight motorcycle rides with a swooning noona puppy clinging to her back.
Over all, I’m still really enjoying the show. I love that we get such a contrast in So-hye’s personas. She has her professional one that she uses around Hae-sung, keeping him out of her private business. They might have potentially had a “thing” many years ago, but that doesn’t give him the right to suddenly have access to her every moment now (even if he somehow thinks he does). And then we get the vulnerable side, the fear and worry about what it means to have terminal cancer, especially when you’re so accustomed to being alone. This is the side the breaks my heart, since as a fiercely independent person myself, I could easily see myself in her shoes (or nails).
I love that her rekindled friendships are real and important — how cute was the “makeover” scene with her and Mi-sun? But she also knows that she’s secondary to her friends’ lives, because they have their own immediate family to take care of (whether they like it or not, as in Sul’s case). In that way, I can see how she and Hae-sung are similar. We’ve seen that he’s also lonely, in his giant house with only his manager and model trains to keep him company. While I’m still utterly charmed by Joon-ki’s dimples and fluffy hair and sweet, easy-going manner, I can see that perhaps Hae-sung and So-hye might actually need each other. (But I’m still rooting for Joon-ki, even if I’m convinced it will end in tears.)
I think this episode is the first one where the odd choices in editing have been truly noticeable. While I don’t mind “dream” or “fantasy” sequences, sometimes it’s not always clear to me when a segment is a dream or reality. I’m just going to assume that the scene of So-hye on the rooftop, thinking about committing suicide is real, but the way it was edited, especially in light of previous “dream” sequences, made me unsure. At the very least, I really don’t need to see another creepy baby doll with blood coming from its eyes. Thank you for those nightmares, show.
Finally, can I just have an entire series of Hae-sung taking acting lessons from famous actors playing themselves? I’m a huge fan of Park Won-sang (or “cheekbones ajusshi,” as he’s known in the odilettante household), so I think I was even more giddy than Hae-sung was at the chance to work with him. Can I pay a boxful of money just to have more scenes of him getting exasperated by Hae-sung’s terrible acting? In fact, let’s have an entire “master class” side-plot where Hae-sung gradually breaks the wills of everyone’s favorite veteran actors — and still never manages to actually get better at acting, of course.
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- Fantastic: Episode 1
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