Shopping King Louis: Episode 2
If I liked the first episode, I loved the second episode. This show is just so sweet and silly and heartwarming and ridiculous, in all the right ways. Louis and Bok-shil struggle to find their way in a big heartless world, and though everything seems to be going wrong, they have one thing they can count on — each other.
EPISODE 2: “A Whole New World”
We back up a little, to just after Louis’s arrival in Korea. He’d been heading to see his grandmother, driving as fast as he wanted for the first time in his life. But Louis’s car was hit by the Truck of Doom and flipped several times, bursting into flames. On that day, Shopping King Louis disappeared.
Louis wakes up on the steps of a building, among several homeless men. He says he’s thirsty in English, and a nearby bum takes offense, thinking he said the bum is dirty. Louis takes a beating for the supposed insult, before the bum stalks off.
Louis looks around and realizes that he has no idea where he is — but even worse, he has no idea who he is. Suddenly a strange girl grabs him, calling him Bok-nam, but she looks shocked when she sees his face.
It’s Bok-shil, and when she asks who he is, Louis asks her in return, “I’m not Bok-nam?” She starts to strip off his jacket, then flips him over and checks the back of his pants (while Louis whines, “She’s crazy!” Hee). They’re stitched with the name “Go,” and she demands to know how Louis got her brother’s clothes. Louis mutters in French that he doesn’t know, then looks at Bok-shil pleadingly: “Who am I? Do you know me?”
Bok-shil takes Louis to the police station, to a detective that’s been helping her look for her brother. She tells him that Louis (they don’t know his name, but we’ll keep calling him Louis to make things easy) has no idea who he is or how he got on those steps, but he’s definitely wearing her little brother’s clothing.
That means they must have met at some point, but Bok-shil already showed Louis her brother’s picture and he didn’t recognize him, so it must have been before Louis lost his memory. The detective offers to take Louis into custody, and Bok-shil asks if people with memory loss ever recover.
He doesn’t know, but he can see that Bok-shil feels bad for Louis, and he cautions her that it’s hard to care for someone like him. But Louis is her only lead to her brother — if his memory comes back, he could tell her where Bok-nam is. So Bok-shil decides to keep Louis close, though she warns him that she can only help him out until his memory returns.
Apropos of nothing, Louis asks if Bok-shil is North Korean, on account of her accent. She just fires back that he keeps speaking in other languages, and he says in English that he’s used to speaking English. Then he gasps as if he remembers something, but he’s just realizing that he must have been raised outside of Korea.
They walk past a car that’s been completely incinerated, and Louis guesses that the driver must have died, not realizing that it’s the car he flipped the night before. The sight of it alarms Bok-shil, and she hurries them on.
Louis’s watch is recovered from the crash site, and it’s assumed that he died in the explosion. Both Louis’s grandmother and Butler Kim are devastated.
Bok-shil is late for work, and she ignores Louis’s whining to be fed, promising him a good dinner tonight. An ajumma making egg sandwiches in a street cart gets his attention and he asks for one, and starts shoving it in his mouth as fast as he can.
Bok-shil yells at him for eating when he has no money, and she’s forced to hand over the cash for his mostly-eaten sandwich. Aww, he offers her the last bite, but she turns it down.
She gets in trouble for being so late to her janitorial job, and she can’t really explain why she’s being followed by a filthy man with ketchup all over his face, either. Her boss says to keep her personal life separate from work, and tells her that something big has happened at the company — the chairwoman’s grandson died.
Louis trails after Bok-shil, joking that her job isn’t that great, and she barks that it’s better than being a beggar. Ouch. She orders him to wait while she works, but he fidgets and says he wants to stay with her. He’s scared that she plans to leave him, but Bok-shil says again that she’ll take care of him until his memory returns, gives him a napkin to wipe his mouth, and gets back to work.
Louis sits at a table in the lobby, where he overhears two employees talking about the chairwoman’s grandson dying as soon as he arrived in Korea. But he’s not listening — he’s too entranced by the scent of their coffee, and it draws him over to stare at the drink longingly.
He doesn’t know what it is, only that he wants badly to drink it, and he sits right behind the ladies. He leans in close, closer, and nearly bumps noses with one woman before she realizes he’s there and bops him on the head.
They shriek for security, who drags a hollering Louis outside. He tells the security guard that he’s waiting for someone who works here, but he doesn’t remember her name, he only remembers, “Bok-nam’s noona!”
Bok-shil calls Joong-won to ask if he still has the ginseng. He tells her it’s in his fridge, and she urges him to take it to an herbal market and have it verified so she can get her money. Joong-won says he’s too busy, and just tells her to keep calling him every day. That’s a problem for Bok-shil, who has to borrow her boss’s phone to make these calls, and her boss is getting annoyed even though Bok-shil pays her each time.
Louis waits for Bok-shil on the steps of the building, and he’s still there when Director Baek and Joong-won head out together. Director Baek catches a glimpse of him from behind and thinks he seems familiar, but he brushes it off as nothing.
When Bok-shil finds Louis waiting outside, he whines that he was called a beggar and kicked out. He asks her name and snickers when she tells it to him (it’s an old-fashioned name), and she snaps that he doesn’t even remember his name. Touche. Louis gives Bok-shil his most charming grin, and wheedles for a cup of coffee.
Butler Kim brings a cup of Louis’s favorite fancy brew to his gravestone, sobbing loudly. Grandma and Director Baek are also there, as is Ma-ri, who turns out to be Director Baek and Jae-sook’s daughter. Joong-won watches from a respectful distance as Ma-ri sobs at Louis’s grave site, and he’s told that the two have been friends since childhood.
Bok-shil takes Louis to the sauna, and sends him to shower. When he comes out, she sees him in all his handsome glory for the first time, and goes a little starry-eyed for a moment. Can’t say I blame her.
We’re treated to a hilarious Aladdin “A Whole New World” montage, as Bok-shil introduces Louis to the wonders of the sauna. He particularly enjoys the pool, splashing and soaking with wild abandon.
Eventually they settle in to sleep, and Louis scoots his mat close to Bok-shil’s. She protests, but he says he’s worried she’ll run away. Bok-shil asks why Louis is so timid, and he doesn’t even hesitate. “I’m afraid of being alone.” He lists the things he’s scared of, all of which happened to him today: being hit, being looked down on, and being kicked out.
He gives Bok-shil a tiny thank you, then turns to face her and asks softly, “Please stay with me until my memory comes back.” Awww, how could anyone say no to that face?
He holds out his pinky for her promise, and Bok-shil pinky-swears. When she starts to pull her hand from Louis’s, he hangs on tight and doesn’t let go of her finger. They fall asleep like that, pinkies still entwined.
Ma-ri sobs to her mother that night, but not for Louis — she’s just upset she won’t be able to marry the future chairman of Gold Group. Then she perks up a little when she realizes that her father will inherit the company now that Louis is gone. That would make her the heir to Gold Group, and Jae-sook looks taken aback at her daughter’s avarice.
In the morning, Bok-shil tells Louis to stay at the sauna while she goes to work. He asks for lunch money, then he complains that she doesn’t give him enough, and dramatically collapses on the stairs, hee. Bok-shil goes back and gives him a couple more dollars, and he rewards her with the cutest little kittyface ever.
Ma-ri is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the elevator with Joong-won, who notices that she doesn’t seem to be mourning Louis anymore. He reminds her that she’s supposed to be sad, but shoots her some major side-eye when she says she didn’t sleep a wink last night. She tells Joong-won that her father is Director Baek, claiming that she doesn’t want special treatment, not that Joong-won would give it anyway.
Louis orders the cheapest coffee from the sauna commissary, and gets an itty-bitty paper cup of instant coffee. He eyes it suspiciously, but finds it to be surprisingly delicious (LOL, the coffee gets its own backlit glory shot — now that’s some clever PPL), and he ends up spending his lunch money on several more cups of the stuff.
Broke now, Louis takes himself to an empty room to lie down, accidentally colliding with a woman on his way. She bites his head off, and he lays down muttering that Bok-shil is the only non-scary person he knows. He gets lucky and finds a fifty thousand won bill (about fifty bucks) stuck under a mat, and runs out to buy a huge lunch.
Grandma lies in bed, and asks Director Baek to take over the company now. She’s going to Busan where she used to live with Louis, to live out her days there. Director Baek makes all the right sympathetic noises, but Butler Kim notices something avaricious flicker in his expression.
Joong-won is concerned about a rival brand, whose sales numbers are growing dangerously close to Louis Ssaton’s. One team member (Mr. Lee, who seems to be the team scapegoat) mentions that the plan he proposes to boost their own sales would require hiring more people, and Joong-won snarks that he always points out when there’s a problem.
Later Mr. Lee tries to work his way back in to Joong-won’s good graces by bringing him coffee, but he only ends up dumping it all over Joong-son’s phone. It causes him to miss Bok-shil’s call, and her boss refuses to let her try again since she’s using up the phone battery.
Her boss tells Bok-shil that she’s been scammed, that if Joong-won intended to pay her, he would have by now. Bok-shil didn’t think of that, but she shakes herself and decides that he would never do that.
Louis is having his own problems at the sauna — the woman he bumped into that morning sees him with a table piled with food, and accuses him of stealing her money. She shakes Louis violently, but luckily Bok-shil arrives in time to push her off of him.
She says she’s Louis’s guardian, so the woman demands that Bok-shil return her missing money instead. She claims it was a hundred dollars, but Louis tells Bok-shil that he only found fifty, on the floor. Bok-shil gives the woman the money anyway, but it causes them to be branded as pickpockets and kicked out of the sauna.
The wander the streets, Louis whining to Bok-shil that he really was honest about finding the money. She wonders aloud where they’ll sleep, and Louis says they can just sleep at her place. Bok-shil tells him that she doesn’t have a place, because she hasn’t saved enough money to get one yet. She tells him he’s from Gangwon Province, then is surprised when he has no idea where that is.
They pass by a convenience store where a pair of students are eating ramyun, and they both gulp with hunger. Soon they’re stuffing their faces with ramyun so greedily, even the students are shocked, heh. Louis pauses with his mouth stuffed full, and says that he doesn’t think he’s ever tasted it before.
Joong-won’s dad visits him to bring him some plum preserves from his mother, complaining about the weird stuff she makes him eat. Joong-won deadpans to either stop eating it, or stop complaining, ha. He heads off to bed and Dad rummages through his fridge, finding the container with the fifty-year-old ginseng. Nooooo, leave it alone!
After they finish their dinner, Bok-shil sees the ajumma who stole her bag on the train walking past the store window. Bok-shil runs out and confronts her, but the woman shoves her and runs off.
Bok-shil gives chase, with Louis staggering behind clutching his full belly, hee. The ajumma makes a u-turn and Louis gets a grip on her dress, but she pushes him down and keeps running. Bok-shil tells him to stay at a nearby food stand and wait for her, and runs after the thief.
The ajumma is alarmingly spry, leading Bok-shil on a merry chase through the streets, and she jumps onto a bus. Bok-shil manages to cling to back of the bus like a monkey, and soon the ajumma gets off at her stop, thinking she’s home free.
Suddenly she hears a noise, and turns to see Bok-shil descending on her from above like a flying squirrel. Bok-shil tackles her, but the ajumma pops back up and runs into a playground, trying to lose Bok-shil among the play equipment. Bok-shil manages to keep up, and she finally grabs the woman by the dress.
The ajumma skinned her knee in her fall, and Bok-shil gets some medicine and patches her up. The ajumma apologizes about stealing her money, explaining that she came to Seoul to find her grandson, who ran away from home. She didn’t have any money so she stole Bok-shil’s bag on impulse, and she offers to turn herself in.
But Bok-shil decides to let her go, and just asks for her dress back in payment. She hurries back to where she left Louis, but the food truck is gone and without that landmark, she can’t find him anywhere.
Louis is huddled on the sidewalk when three schoolgirls approach him, and he smiles when they say how good-looking he is. They tell him to buy them dinner, and when he cheerfully says he’s broke, they suddenly turn vicious and threaten him.
Louis yells for help, but the girls drag him off to a park, where they say they’ll hit him for every penny they find on him. He’s so innocent that he hears this as good news, since he doesn’t have any money, so he won’t get hit.
One of the girls kicks him in the chest and knocks the wind out of him, and as he looks up at them he suddenly remembers a similar scene, only it was teenage boys standing over him. And lookey there, that’s Bok-shil’s little brother.
Before the girls can hurt Louis again, Bok-shil runs over, looking to Louis like an avenging angel. The girls take in her ajumma dress and size her up as a country bumpkin, and order her to give them her money. She refuses, dodging as one girl swings a fist at her, and it’s on.
Louis can only watch as Bok-shil and the girls grapple, and it’s hard to tell who’s winning at any given moment. But a while later, Bok-shil sits next to Louis holding an empty wallet, face cut and bleeding. She holds it together until Lois whines for her not to cry, and she blows up at him for passing out and not helping.
The three thugs make big plans for all the money they stole, and one of them comments that Louis’s jacket looked just like Bok-nam’s. Oh, they know him! They wonder where Bok-nam is, since they haven’t seen him in a while.
Once Bok-shil is calmer, Louis quietly thanks her for coming back for him, sighing that he was really scared. She says that she knows he has nothing and nobody, and that he feels helpless. But she says that it will be worse if he doesn’t get his memory back.
Louis meekly plucks at her sleeve and asks her to keep taking care of him. Bok-shil says he’s just a like a baby, heh. Louis suddenly finds a coin on the ground, and Bok-shil uses it to call Joong-won. It’s cute how Louis bounces anxiously, hoping Joong-won picks up the phone. But his phone is dead from its coffee bath.
They sit on the curb, completely out of options. Louis tells Bok-shil to hang in there, and he boldly promises to find Bok-nam and the thief who stole her ginseng. She gets the giggles, knowing that he can’t back up his promises, and teases that he’s sooo reliable.
The spend the night walking to Bok-shil’s workplace, Louis whining Are we there yet? like an impatient toddler. He refuses to let Bok-shil leave him outside while she goes in to work, and follows her in, still holding her sleeve. The end up in Joong-won’s office space, looking for something to drink, and find some of the instant coffee Louis loves.
Aw, Louis looks so proud to show Bok-shil something new for once. Louis wonders how rich the owner of this company must be, and thinks they should just live in the building secretly, and Bok-shil sighs at him. She tells him that her dress was her mother’s when he asks about it, and that her parents passed away when she was very young.
Louis complains that he’s sleepy, so Bok-shil takes him to a stall in the men’s room, telling him to stay there until she’s off work.
When Joong-won arrives later, he heads to the men’s room to settle a rumbly tummy. By now Louis is conked out on the floor and snoring, and he wakes when Joong-won hears him and pounds on the wall. He tries to sneak past Joong-won as he’s washing his hands, but Joong-won asks which department he’s from, and Louis makes a run for it.
Joong-won chases a screaming Louis down the hall and into an elevator full of employees. Unfortunately, the ladies whose coffee he sniffed are there and recognize him, and when he turns his head away, Ma-ri sees his profile.
Now Ma-ri chases Louis, and he makes for the stairwell where he runs into Bok-shil cleaning in a doorway. He hides around the corner, and Bok-shil quickly figures out that he’s avoiding Ma-ri, and she points her to a lower floor.
Later Bok-shil asks her boss if she knows of any cheap rooms for rent. Her boss leads Bok-shil and Louis up a steep street (while Louis gasps for air, hee) to a cute little rooftop apartment that her friend is leasing out. Louis isn’t impressed, especially since there’s only one room (so he’ll have to sleep outside), but Bok-shil loves it.
Bok-shil notices a weird smell, but her boss says it’s just the bleach used to clean the room. Louis grows unsettled because the room is completely empty, and looks positively scandalized when he realized there’s only one bathroom.
Bok-shil’s boss demands part of their monthly rent from her friend in return for finding a tenant, threatening to tell them that three people died there. Oh ew, that was the weird smell.
Joong-won has his phone repaired, but his entire call history is lost. He seems a bit disappointed when Bok-shil doesn’t call him, but he’s distracted by his parents. Dad proudly tells him that they sold that rare ginseng that was in his fridge, and Mom bounces excitedly over the five million won they made (about five thousand dollars). Oh no…
Butler Kim visits with Louis’s grandmother, and she asks him to tell her about Louis. Butler Kim says he has sensitive skin and was picky about his blankets, as we see Louis shivering under a newspaper on the rooftop patio.
It starts to rain, and Louis wakes and huddles by the door. His coughing wakes Bok-shil, so she takes pity on him, and they both settle on the floor of the empty apartment under newspaper blankets.
Out on the street, a strange person wearing a hood over their face watches the rooftop apartment, where Louis and Bok-nam are sleeping soundly.
The next morning, the hapless Mr. Lee fumbles his water bottle in the building lobby and spills water everywhere. He doesn’t clean it up, and Joong-won steps right in the puddle and goes down hard. He jumps up, embarrassed, and spots a janitor mopping nearby.
He assumes the janitor left the water on the floor and yells at her, and she rushes over to clean it up, apologizing. Joong-won recognizes Bok-shil’s voice instantly, and she looks up at him in surprise.
Louis waits on the rainy stairs of their new apartment, killing time until Bok-shil returns home. He hears a voice say in English, “Hello stranger.” He looks up to see a man standing there, his face hidden by an umbrella, wearing the exact same tracksuit Louis is wearing.
More mysteries! I like how each episode ends with a big question mark, leaving me wanting to know more. I hope there are lots of these little surprises, because I have a feeling I know exactly what happened to both Louis and Bok-nam. If I’m right, their fates are even more tightly entwined than we’ve been shown. I’ll save my theories for now, but if I’m thinking on the right track, then I hope there’s more to flesh out the story because it would be a shame to have figured it all out so soon!
I loved this episode even more than the first — some minor technical issues seem to have been smoothed out, and Bok-shil and Louis are even more adorable together than I’d hoped they’d be. Louis is just so helpless and trusting, and Bok-shil seems to actually like him even though she says she’s only keeping him around to help find her brother. They so quickly learned to lean on each other for support and companionship, and I like how connected and bonded they are already. They’re both alone in the world, but I love that they aren’t just together because they have to be, but because at least on some levels, they actually want to be.
It’s kind of adorable how Louis’s memory loss hasn’t affected his personality much, if at all. He’s still cheerful and impulsive, charming and happy-go-lucky. His reckless handling of money certainly carried over, and I have a feeling that’s going to be the main thing he’s going to learn from Bok-shil. I want her to teach him that you can have all the material wealth in the world, but what he really needs is to be with the people he loves. And I love all the little touches that highlight what a fish out of water he is, culturally as well as the effects of his amnesia — like the way he gets out of breath walking on the steep roads because he’s not used to that much exertion, how he keeps slipping into English and French, and his complete lack of social awareness. It’s fun that he’s retained what we liked about him from before, that essential Louis-ness that’s so darn charming.
I really love the chemistry between Bok-shil and Louis — at first they stuck together because they have no other choice, but it’s obvious that they’ve grown to like each other pretty quickly. I’m sure that subconsciously, Louis remembers Bok-shil’s face from the documentary he saw, and he’s inclined to cling to her because, even if only subconsciously, she’s the only familiar thing he has. But I think that only accounted for the first maybe half-day of their acquaintance, before they both started to feel some sort of camaraderie and maybe something more. There are little glimpses, especially on Bok-shil’s side, that there’s a more romantic attraction as well (at the very least, she’s noticed that he’s really, really ridiculously good-looking), and I’m eager to see that start to blossom and grow.
As much as I love these two together, my only complaint about the show, if it can even be called a complaint, is that in the process of giving us so much Bok-shil/Louis time, the other characters are beginning to feel a bit left behind. Joong-won in particular needs some fleshing out, particularly in regards to his motives for having Bok-shil continue calling him every day. I want to believe that the clues we’ve been given about him (that he doesn’t care for women with perfect looks, and his mention that he recognizes Bok-shil’s voice by now) are pointing to his already-budding attraction to our heroine. But the beats are so subtle, and the show moves past them so quickly, that they don’t really land with as much meaning as they should. Joong-won just hasn’t gotten much screen-time yet, but it’s early days, and I’m hoping that we get to learn more about him next week.
What I really appreciate about Bok-shil and Louis both is that, while they’re both from sheltered backgrounds and don’t know much about life in the big city, neither of them is stereotypically stupid, as we’ve come to expect in a slapstick rom-com drama. And while their world is most definitely not our world — it’s too over-the-top for that — the scrapes they get into somehow fit into their crazy universe and make an odd sort of sense, rather than crazy setups for comedy’s sake. The things that happen to them are hilarious and absolutely nuts, but within the framework of the drama’s universe, they don’t seem so insane that I’m mentally taken out of the show. The show has a way of finding humor in everyday situations, instead of trotting out the same old rom-com hijinks, and for me it makes the show just that much more entertaining.
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