Fantastic: Episode 5
So-hye is faced with the classic love-triangle dilemma and must choose between the sweet and considerate Joon-ki, who offers her a comforting path as she navigates the scary unknown of cancer, or Hae-sung, the sometimes annoying, sometimes adorable goofball who refuses to give up on what they once had. Then again, there’s always the option of choosing not to choose, since who needs romance when you have BFFs as awesome as Sul and Mi-sun?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Before So-hye can respond to Joon-ki’s “let’s date,” Hae-sung barges up to them, complaining that his ribs hurt too much to drive all the way back to Seoul. Joon-ki is ready to direct him to the nearest hospital, but Hae-sung reminds him that, as a “top star,” he can’t have news of him being hurt leaked to the press.
The catch is that the rest of the cabin’s rooms aren’t ready for guests, so instead the owners set up a netting outside for Joon-ki and Hae-sung to sleep under. Laid-back Joon-ki is charmed by the idea of camping out with a famous celebrity, and Hae-sung cheerfully tells his hosts that it’s convenient to stay so close to a doctor (because of his “rib injury,” y’kno). But as the boys settle into their makeshift tent, they each surreptitiously flood So-hye’s phone with messages.
Joon-ki’s messages are sweetly concerned about her working too hard and telling her how the night sky compares to sky at the salt flats, while Hae-sung is more desperate that she respond to him first. So-hye responds to them both at the same time by going outside and telling them in person that she has to work on the script, but the constant sound of her phone receiving new messages is distracting.
Hae-sung springs up, offering to help her with the script, but Joon-ki tells her not to work too hard and get some rest. Haha, Hae-sung just hates the thought of being one-upped by Joon-ki, and they both call after her in their cutest ways, wishing her good-night.
So-hye’s amused by the realization that this must how it feels to have two guys fighting over her, the sighs, wishing it could have happened before the cancer so she could at least have the chance to enjoy it. As she settles in to work on the script, her first thought is of concern for Hae-sung and how he’ll survive the night.
Apparently by keeping a close eye on Joon-ki. By the time morning comes around, Hae-sung’s passed out in a tangle of mosquito netting, having stayed up all night to make sure Joon-ki didn’t try to leave and “stumble into another room by mistake.” So-hye and Joon-ki let him sleep while they take a walk and enjoy the scenery.
Hae-sung’s soon woken up by one of Jin-sook’s men, who tells him that Manager Oh has been arrested for theft and embezzlement. He calls So-hye to let her know that he has to urgently return to Seoul, reminding her that she shouldn’t give Joon-ki a hasty answer to his dating proposal. So-hye is more concerned that Hae-sung will be able to drive back (since as far she knows, his ribs are still in bad shape).
Joon-ki is no dummy, and can tell that all the signs point to her liking Hae-sung. He jovially accepts his fate to be “just a friend,” joking that at least he’ll be second on her list of Queen Uija’s 3,000 men. However, he encourages her to be brave and confess to Hae-sung just as he did to her: “I like you. I have cancer. Is that okay?”
She still thinks it’s too greedy to confess like that, since if something happens to her, it will only end up hurting Hae-sung. But Joon-ki reminds her that their life is too short to be too considerate of others, and he jokes that even if Hae-sung rejects her because it would be too difficult being involved with someone who has cancer, So-hye will always have her “cancer buddy” to return to.
He then tells her that she should write out a “bucket list” — not a list of major events, but all the small, little everyday moments that she wants to cherish. That will help her solidify a goal and give her motivation, especially once the treatment starts. But before they can start the treatment, they’ll have to run some tests, so he asks her to return to Seoul with him.
At the police station, Manager Oh shamefacedly admits that was only planning to borrow the money to help pay off an emergency situation for his family — but Hae-sung’s personal chef is also apparently one of Jin-sook’s spies, and ratted him out.
When Jin-sook arrives at the station, Hae-sung chides her for using his manager to get to him. But she agrees to free him if Hae-sung goes to his previously scheduled event in China, which he does, reluctantly. Jin-sook tells him that if he had just gone like he was supposed to, then this all could have been avoided.
So-hye works on the script, but keeps getting distracted by thoughts of Hae-sung, wondering what his “urgent business” was. So she googles him, which brings up news articles about his airport fashion on the way to China. Haha! Then she gets a message from him, once again warning her to not to respond to Joon-ki’s suggestion to date. He even sends her a “special present” — a selfie of him posing with his own cardboard cutout. Pffft.
On a post-it note, So-hye writes: “Is it okay to fall in love?” and then sticks it to the corner of computer where it’s easily visible. She then gets to work writing out her bucket list. At first it’s cute little couple things, like sharing a tandem bike and going to Namsam tower.
The list starts to get a little racy with her wanting to buy sexy lingerie and spend a night at a fancy hotel with Hae-sung. She also adds attending the Hitman wrap party — and going to the Uyuni salt flats — with Hae-sung. Aw.
Later, she nervously goes through all the testing at the hospital to make sure she’s a good candidate for the treatment, and Joon-ki adorably cheers her on. But as she waits for the results, she can see through the doorway how serious he looks, listening to the technician tell him what they found in the various scans.
He gently tells her that they found new tumors in her stomach and intestines, reassuring her that they’ll do a biopsy tomorrow to get a clearer idea of what kind of tumors they are. So-hye tries to hide her tears as she pretends to remain calm, knowing that this means the cancer is spreading at an alarming rate. Joon-ki encourages her not to give up hope just yet, but when she gets home later, she weeps as she ruthlessly tears up her bucket list.
Back from China, Jin-sook is furious that her business deal fell through. She blames Hae-sung’s lackadaisical attitude, warning him that she could take this out on So-hye. But he tells her that she should be nicer to a top star who is nearing the end of his contract. Jin-sook reminds him what she’ll do if he decides not to renew with her agency, and he just sighs, repeating probably what he’s been told millions of times: that the top star will fall from grace due to the scandals she’ll release to the press. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Except there’s now a loophole to her usual threat — she won’t want to drag down the lead actor of her drama. Since she purchased Hitman’s production company, if that drama tanks due to scandals, she will lose more of her precious money. She yells after him as he saunters away that he’s not the lead of this drama, she is! Oh, please no.
Hae-sung calls his manager, asking him to find a good lawyer to represent him in his contract case. Manager Oh agrees it’s good that Hae-sung is breaking free from Jin-sook, but then he sadly says that Hae-sung would be better off without him, too. Aw. But Hae-sung won’t hear of it and instead asks where the nearest florist is.
He shows up unannounced at So-hye’s place and cheerfully hands her giant bouquet of flowers, telling her in Chinese that he likes her and would like to spend time with her. But she doesn’t understand him, and he covers by saying that he was just asking her to make him some dinner. She tempers his enthusiasm by telling him that Joon-ki will be coming over soon — she’s agreed to date him.
She thanks Hae-sung for saving her life that day, but that doesn’t mean she should feel obligated to date him. Instead, they’ll just continue on working together as a writer and an actor. Her businesslike attitude bewilders him, especially after the connection they shared while “stranded” on the truck, and it’s all he can do to not ring the doorbell and talk to her again.
But forcing him out was hard for So-hye, too. Even though she maintains her composed demeanor, there are tears in her eyes as she throws his flowers into the trash.
Hae-sung visits his grandmother, who at this time of night is cutely sleeping (because everything she does is cute), but once she wakes up, she’s thrilled to to see him again. He asks if she remembers that time when he told her he found the person he wanted to marry, and she said that the woman looked exactly like his mother.
He continues talking about how much So-hye meant to him back then, when he had nothing and no one, and how excited he was to see her after all these years. But he starts to cry as he tells his sleeping grandmother that, even after he apologized to her, So-hye still wants nothing to do with him.
Returning home, he searches for his manager, only to find a dramatic “good-bye” note from Manager Oh stuck to the fridge.
Mi-sun and her husband are scurrying home to get out of the rain when they see a drunken Hae-sung standing by their lettuce farm, dramatically screaming out So-hye’s name and guzzling from his juice box of soju.
Ooooo, Sang-wook and Sang-hwa are friends! Or neighbors? Classmates? At any rate, they definitely are comfortable with each other as they jog along and he talks about his mysterious motorcycle woman.
She finds it suspicious that the motorcycle woman doesn’t like lawyers — is she a prosecutor? Or an ex-con? Her writer brain goes into melodramatic overdrive as she guesses that the mystery woman could be married to a cheating lawyer, an idea that Sang-wook immediately dismisses as ridiculous.
Sul’s in-laws arrive home from their Jeju vacation, and they load her arms with speciality food they brought back. Of course the assemblywoman is there, too, and of course she stays for dinner. Of course. The whole dinner is as awful as we’ve come to expect, with the in-laws fawning over the assemblywoman who can do no wrong, while Sul gets reprimanded for not putting enough garnish on the plates.
Sul’s husband at least pretends to act like the doting husband, setting aside some of the meal for Sul to enjoy later when she has a chance after visiting her mother. Which is really just an excuse for Mom-in-law to show off how much they “care” about their daughter-in-law since they also pay for her mother’s nursing home.
But once the assemblywoman is gone, the truth comes out, and Jin-sook and Mom-in-law are furious that Sul would try to pack up some of the leftovers to take to her mother. Mom even dumps the food into the trash instead of letting Sul take it, and Jin-sook ransacks Sul’s wallet, taking the little bit of cash that her husband had given her. Because they are the worst.
Sul manages to hold her anger in, but she then takes a diamond ring that she’s hardly worn to a jeweler, and uses the cash from selling it to buy ingredients to make dinner for her mother. Except she needs a place to cook, and she arrives at Sang-wook’s place, offering to make him a meal in exchange for using his tiny kitchen space.
He’s impressed by her gourmet skills, and as she leaves, her purse falls, spilling its contents over the floor. They totally have a cute head-bump moment as they scramble to pick everything up, and after she leaves, Sang-wook discovers that her ID had fallen under the bed. He’s excited to discover his mysterious “Noona-ssi” has a name — but then he’s shocked to realize how much older she is.
Hae-sung’s still nursing a hangover as Mi-sun and her husband make him breakfast. Mi-sun’s totally in support of Hae-sung, reassuring him that there’s no way that So-hye is dating anyone else — she’s likely just playing hard-to-get after all that Hae-sung put her through years ago. But then she suddenly remembers the Brazilian wax — why would So-hye get a wax if she’s not dating?
Even though Mi-sun supports Hae-sung, she tells him that So-hye is more important to her, so if she is really dating someone else, then her friend’s happiness comes first. Aw, Mi-sun is the best.
So-hye is alone in the hospital waiting room, preparing for her biopsy tests. She sadly looks around at all the other patients with their family members, and when Joon-ki messages her an apology that his meeting is running late so he can’t be there with her, she reassures him that she’s fine. But she’s adorably happy to get a call from Mi-sun inviting her to dinner, which is convenient because she has something to tell her and Sul.
At the nursing home, Sul feeds her mother the dinner she made for her at Sang-wook’s. Her mother keeps referring to her as “unni,” and Sul happily plays along as her mother keeps telling her “unni” all about her daughter who’s infertile (and, fun fact, apparently absorbed her twin in the womb) but at least she married into a good family. Sul reassures her mother that “her daughter” is living a happy life.
Sul gets a call from her husband, who’s heard about the leftover drama, and warns her to be careful since she knows how sensitive his mother is. He also tells her that she should enjoy the afternoon with her mother, since he’ll be staying late due to a work function. Yeah, staying late to make hanky-panky with the assemblywoman, who arrives with a bottle of wine as she locks the door.
The three friends are happy to be reunited again, and Sul reveals that Jin-sook is having someone investigate So-hye. So-hye knows Jin-sook is just looking for a way to get out of paying her, and even though Sul warns So-hye that her in-laws are scary people, not be messed with, Mi-sun is confident that if the “three musketeers” band together, then Jin-sook is the one who should be scared. Yeah!
She then quickly segues into asking So-hye if she’s dating anyone, and when So-hye says that she isn’t, that’s Hae-sung’s cue to suddenly poke his head around the corner — and for So-hye to do a literal spit-take at this “coincidence.”
So-hye is suspicious, and Mi-sun quickly explains that Hae-sung stopped by to visit the farm. Of course they make it so he sits next to So-hye, and everyone notes how good they look together.
But So-hye says that the big news she wanted to share with her friends is that she now has a boyfriend. Her friends are adorably excited for her, and it’s only due to Hae-sung’s warning gestures that Mi-sun is able to rein herself in and remember who it she’s supposed to be supporting. Aw, he’s got such a sad face as So-hye pointedly says it’s nice that they could all be here “as friends,” and he goes to brood outside as So-hye talks about her “doctor boyfriend.”
Sang-wook also broods, but it’s over the seven-year age-gap between him and Sul. Sang-hwa thinks it’s because he’s shocked about how old his mystery woman is, but really he’s just worried that Sul will think he’s too young. He wonders if he should grow a beard or buy a car or do something to prove that he’s an adult.
After their dinner, Mi-sun and her husband drive Sul back home. They’re still curious about So-hye’s new boyfriend, but they’re also aware that Hae-sung is still totally head-over-heels for So-hye. Poor guy. Mi-sun sighs that she wishes she could date again, but Sul is just happy to be out with her friends — she’s had enough of marriage and romance.
She gets a call just then from Sang-wook, who tells her he has her ID. As she hurries over, she catches him doing his best to look cool and mature as he fills up the motorcycle’s tank with gasoline. He’s apparently been keeping it filled for her, and she offers him some money to pay for the gas, which he refuses to take at first, reassuring her that he has a well-paying job — like a real adult. But he takes the money anyway, and they both jump when their briefly fingers touch.
He excitedly asks about when she’ll be free for another ride, and she warns him that she’s busy with work these days. But as she turns to leave, she pauses for a moment, as though longing to go back and go on an impromptu ride. Instead, she keeps walking without looking back.
Hae-sung drives So-hye home, and it’s awkward silence until she finally exits the car. Sighing, he hurries after, telling her that he’s thought about it a lot and he can’t “just be friends.” It’s taken him twelve years for him to be able to stand in front of her again, and this time, he’s not leaving. At least, metaphorically speaking, since after they stare intently at each other for a few moments, he quickly wishes her good night and then drives away.
So-hye wakes up to Jin-sook at her door. Ugh, worst alarm clock ever. So-hye’s expression is like stone as Jin-sook rattles off all the expenses So-hye’s script is forcing her to pay for — tons of extras, exotic shooting locations, technical action scenes.
So-hye grits her teeth and reminds Jin-sook that she was the one who wanted a “blockbuster” drama, which is exactly what she’s writing. If she wants it changed, then Jin-sook should give her specific notes. The expensive script is really just an excuse to warn So-hye that if she doesn’t obey Jin-sook, then she’ll reveal a scandal between So-hye and Hae-sung and destroy her career.
But So-hye holds her ground, telling Jin-sook she’ll only change the script is for the quality of the work, and not the wishy-washy demands of a producer. Jin-sook just sort of dismisses her, and after she leaves, So-hye finds out that Jin-sook has refused to pay for their prearranged shooting locations.
That’s okay, because Hae-sung has offered up the use of his house to be used as the hitman’s fancy penthouse. The rest of the production team are thrilled and immediately start planning how to film there, but So-hye is subdued as she thanks Hae-sung, who tells her she has the place to herself while he meets with his stylist.
As she’s looking around, making notes, she stops in front of a photo of Hae-sung and gently reaches up to touch his “face.” The real Hae-sung quietly watches from another room and then steps in to ask what she’s doing.
She tries to distract by asking him if he’s planning to stay with Jin-sook’s agency and be ordered around by her forever. Just out of “friendly” concern, of course. But he knows that she’s concerned because she likes him, and he also knows that she’s been lying about dating Joon-ki.
She retorts that she really is dating Joon-ki, so what does he want — for her to date both men? Sure! That works for him. He and Joon-ki can work out a schedule of what days they can spend with her.
Angry, she orders him to stop. But he tells her, frustrated, that he can’t. He likes her so much that he’s willing to cling to whatever little hope there is. Even if it means she’s dating someone else. So-hye: “Do you want to sleep with me?”
Oh, show, with your frustrating habit of ending episodes with juicy questions like this. I say “frustrating” in the best way, though, because it’s a totally effective cliff-hanger. Although I’m worried we won’t actually get an answer since we’ve never gotten a straight answer with the “let’s date” endings, either. Then again, this is Hae-sung, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if is his answer is an immediate, “yes!”
While there is a gentle tease of a love-triangle, I do appreciate that Joon-ki knows well-and-good that he’s not the one So-hye truly wants (that means I can have him, right?). He seems to be trying more for her sake, so she knows that someone cares about her and her health — and probably just to rile up Hae-sung because that’s always entertaining. I think the problem with Joon-ki (at least for So-hye) is that he reminds her of her present, which a scary place right now. Hae-sung, on the other hand, reminds her of her past (when they both had adorable crushes on each other) and makes her think about her future (because 90% of her bucket list somehow involved him). Joon-ki may be the moral support she needs to get through each day of her new cancer diagnosis, but Hae-sung is the hope that will keep her going until the end.
Which is why I can also understand her working so hard to push him away. If the cancer is as bad as it is, then she knows her time is limited and it would be selfish to drag Hae-sung into it just to have him endure another heartbreak in the near-future. Better to spare him extra pain now by rejecting him before the cancer does. The again, it’s also selfish to take away his right to choose whether or not he wants to spend his time with her, no matter how short it may be. Hae-sung ought to be able to decide if he’s willing to take on the responsibility of caring for So-hye even when the cancer finally takes its toll.
As for the show itself, while I’m still enjoying it (largely thanks to the, uh, fantastic acting talent), there’s still something missing that I can’t fully pin down. Some of the scenes seem oddly edited or given importance that don’t seem warranted (the flatulence scene with Sul’s husband and the assemblywoman, for example), and while I love the main core of characters, the supporting ones bewilder me. Manager Oh is suddenly embezzling and going through some major angst, but it feels more like a convenient plot device to get Hae-sung to China. Sang-hwa and Sang-wook are coincidentally friends and neighbors! But do we know why? No, just that it’s the magical small world of dramaland.
Also I’m beyond done with Sul’s in-laws. I need her to find a way out ASAP — if not her sake, then at least for mine. I’m generally the type who will look for a way to redeem the unlovable, but right now I just want that whole family to be utterly destroyed. Make them go bankrupt and then have to take on jobs where they’re the ones who are treated like worthless slaves! I want a scandal to ruin that awful assemblywoman’s career, and I want Sul to drop everything to move in with So-hye to help care for her — while also rediscovering her freedom and the joy in going for for a bike ride whenever she wants. Sul can make money by catering gourmet meals that appeal to the palates of those going through chemotherapy until she can save up enough to open up her own “farm to table” restaurant (the farm, of course, is Mi-sun’s). Really, all I want is for my ladies to somehow be happy and free, in whatever that capacity that means for them, and I want it sooner rather than later, please.
- Fantastic: Episode 4
- Fantastic: Episode 3
- Fantastic: Episode 2
- Fantastic: Episode 1
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