Perfect Wife: Episode 2
The plot thickens! While Jae-bok is dealing with the very distressing but ultimately ordinary problems of a cheating spouse, clues and mysteries loom in the near distance. She’s unaware of some of the strange people and events that seem to be guiding her family into this situation, but it’s becoming clear that someone out there is carefully orchestrating everything. It’s almost as if someone wants to break up Jae-bok’s marriage — but why?
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Jae-bok lets herself into Na-mi’s apartment and finds pictures of her with her husband, Jung-hee. Before she even has time to process that her husband is having an affair, she hears the two lovebirds entering the room and hides in the closet. She witnesses them getting all cuddly, then Jung-hee goes outside to take a call.
While Jung-hee is out of the room, Na-mi opens the closet door and finds Jae-bok hiding there. They both scream, then Na-mi recognizes Jae-bok as Jung-hee’s wife. She starts to call out to Jung-hee, but Jae-bok claps a hand over her mouth and tells her to shush.
Jung-hee is ordered back to the office for losing a potential client, and he calls out to Na-mi. With Jae-bok glaring at her, Na-mi says everything is fine, and when she tries to follow him, Jae-bok holds her back. She asks Na-mi if she’s dating her husband, and Na-mi defiantly confirms it.
Jae-bok lets go of her arm in surprise, and Na-mi makes a run for it. Jae-bok chases her down the street, and she manages to grab a handful of Na-mi’s long hair. Na-mi breaks free, leaving a hank of her hair in Jae-bok’s fist, and escapes on a bus.
Jae-bok shuffles home in a daze, and her best friends Hye-ran and Won-jae find her on the street. They can tell what’s happened by the hair Jae-bok is still clutching, and they offer her a ride home. But she declines, saying that she’s embarrassed and wants to be alone.
While on the bus, Na-mi gets a text from a collection agency reminding her that a deposit is due. She calls a number listed in her phone as “part-time job,” and when a woman answers, Na-mi says, “I did it.” The woman (the same woman who previously gave Na-mi an envelope of cash) tells her she did well and says that she’ll make a deposit.
Lawyer Bong-gu, Jae-bok’s supervisor until they were both fired this morning, cleans out his office, humming to himself and ignoring the coworkers lurking curiously outside his door. He finds the files that Jae-bok neatly lined up on his desk and peeks out of his office, imagining that she’s still working there and feeling guilty.
Jae-bok sits in a park, reeling at her discovery that her husband is having an affair. She remembers how happy they were when they were young and getting their first jobs, and how Jung-hee had promised to love her forever.
Back at his office, Jung-hee is reamed out by Boss Jo, who doesn’t accept his explanations for losing the client. Boss Jo bonks Jung-hee in the face with an empty water bottle and taps him angrily on the forehead, and Jung-hee loses his temper. He twists Boss Jo’s arm behind his back, and Boss Jo suddenly collapses, convulsing wildly.
Jae-bok answers a call from Bong-gu with an annoyed, “What??” It throws him off, and he stammers through a weak apology for how he treated her before she was let go. She’s in no mood, and to save face, Bong-gu mentions that there are some documents missing. But Jae-bok only tells him to look again before hanging up on him.
Jae-bok takes another call, this time from the police station where Jung-hee has been arrested. He’s thrilled when she shows up at the station, and Jae-bok asks a cop if there’s still a law that lets them arrest adulterers. Ha, she thinks he’s here for that, and she’s shocked to hear that he was actually arrested for assault.
She quickly recovers and decides that instead of coming to an agreement so he can go home, she’d rather not. She shoots the pleading Jung-hee a look dripping with disdain and leaves his cheating ass to rot in jail.
On her way out, she bumps shoulders with a woman, and is surprised to see that it’s Eun-hee, the woman who showed her the gorgeous house yesterday. Eun-hee is pleased to see her, and she notes that Jae-bok seems upset.
Jae-bok thinks it strange that Eun-hee calls her by the familiar “unni,” but Eun-hee doesn’t say anything else to her. She walks into the station in her ultra-poised way, drawing Jung-hee’s attention when she stops to look at him.
Bong-gu wastes no time going on a job interview, but he finds the salary offered to be insulting. He calls Jae-bok again to ask about the missing file, saying that she must have taken it home as he offers to meet her to get it. Jae-bok swears she doesn’t have any such thing, tells Bong-gu never to call her again, and hangs up.
Bong-gu grumbles to himself that Jae-bok really must think he worked her to the bone knowing she’d be fired. He huffs that he’s too honest for that, protesting his innocence to the empty air, so caught up in his thoughts that he doesn’t see a woman approaching.
The woman screeches that she missed him and launches herself into his arms, and it takes Bong-gu a few seconds to slap on a smile and say he missed her, too. He calls her “noona” and she takes him shopping, and Bong-gu tells her he was fired. He hopefully asks if he should open his own office, and his face falls when she says that she can’t help him. HA, is this his sugar mama?
The woman seems to think they’re getting married as soon as her father gives permission. She says that once that happens, she can set him up his own office, and Bong-gu quickly tells her not to worry about him, not one little bit. She asks if he’s upset, then buys him an entire wall of suits.
Jae-bok’s son Jin-wook fusses at her for coming home late, then she gets it even worse from her mother-in-law. She gripes at Jae-bok for her unkempt house when she barely brings home any money, but Jae-bok tells her that that money put Jung-hee through college and even supported her.
Her mother-in-law just keeps harping about the undone housework, saying that she always worked and still kept a clean house and put dinner on the table for her husband. Jae-bok snaps that her husband never thanked her for it, he just cheated and gambled away their savings.
Her mother-in-law asks if something happened, like Jung-hee cheating on her, and Jae-bok says that he did. But the woman won’t hear anything negative about her son, and makes excuses for him even if he did cheat. Jae-bok gives up and calls her mother-in-law a cab.
When Jae-bok goes to check on her daughter, Hae-wook asks for her daddy, and Jae-bok says he’s working late. She feels a bit guilty about leaving him in jail, but decides that she can’t forgive him.
She goes back to the police station and gets Jung-hee out, though she’s clearly not ready to confront him yet. She says that his boss’s wife told them to come to the hospital tomorrow to talk with him about settling, and Jung-hee swears he didn’t hurt the man.
He says happily that he knew she wasn’t the kind of person to leave him in jail all night, and Jae-bok rounds on him, asking herself internally if she’s the kind of person he can stab in the back. His stomach growls and they head for home, while Na-mi runs toward the station doors behind them.
She nearly calls out to him but stops herself, and he motions for her to hide. She jumps behind a pillar, and Jung-hee follows his wife home.
Once home, Jae-bok glares daggers at Jung-hee as he stuffs his face, and snarks that she already ate. She asks if he feels betrayed that she filled her belly while he sat in jail. Jung-hee meekly says it’s fine, and repeats again that he didn’t hurt his boss.
He’s surprised when Jae-bok keeps scowling at him, saying that she’s supposed to believe him no matter what. She thinks to herself that she did — until she found out that he’s cheating. She asks if he has something to say to her, maybe something to apologize for, and he apologizes for cosigning a friend’s loan and costing them their lease.
Jae-bok says that’s not what she means, and Jung-hee begins to look cornered. His hand trembles and he gets the hiccups, then he’s saved when their daughter Hae-wook comes out to see him. Daddy and daughter cuddle, and Jae-bok is forced to drop the subject.
The next day, Jae-bok and Jung-hee visit Boss Jo in the hospital. He’s a twisted, shaking, drooling wreck, and the doctor says that he suffered nerve damage when he fell and is now paralyzed. Jae-bok thinks it’s strange that Boss Jo’s wife moved him to a smaller hospital, and the wife gets all offended and asks if she’s being accused of lying.
She refuses to settle and threatens to send Jung-hee to prison, and Jae-bok calmly says that if the investigation finds Jung-hee at fault, he’ll pay for it. But she tells the wife not to treat him like a criminal when nothing has been proven yet, having seen a post the woman made on the company website blaming Jung-hee.
They get chased out of the room, and Jae-bok mutters that the whole thing feels suspicious. She decides to get a lawyer and barks at Jung-hee to start acting like a responsible head of the family. He whines that he might get fired, and Jae-bok rolls her eyes, wondering how such a coward has the guts to have an affair.
As Jae-bok is looking for a lawyer, she gets a call from Eun-hee, who says she’s been worried about Jae-bok since seeing her at the police station. She reveals that she felt instantly close to Jae-bok when they met the other day, and tells her to come visit any time before moving into the house.
Jae-bok thanks her, but informs Eun-hee that they won’t be moving in. Eun-hee’s cheerful masks slips as she asks why, and when Jae-bok says she’s never rented out rooms in a house before, Eun-hee assures her that the second floor has a separate entrance, so it shouldn’t be uncomfortable.
Jae-bok still declines, and Eun-hee apologizes for calling her. She adds that she hopes that whatever is stressing Jae-bok is resolved soon, and they hang up.
Eun-hee makes another call, and tells the person on the other end of the line that she wants to redecorate the second floor. She says that she’s planning to rent it out to a family with two children.
Jae-bok goes to see a lawyer that Hye-ran recommended, but the man she meets says he’s just the CEO of this company. He’s arranged for a lawyer though, and in walks Bong-gu, who actually looks kind of happy to see Jae-bok. She’s most definitely not happy though, and says she’ll find someone else.
Bong-gu stops her and insists that he doesn’t want to take her case, then asks about the supposedly missing document. HA, he’s so fixated. The worst part is, Jae-bok did leave it at home and she knows it, but she says she didn’t and sails out of the room.
Bong-gu follows her, going on and on about how important that (three-year-old) document is, but he goes too far when he says that this is why she didn’t get that full-time job. It reinforces Jae-bok’s belief that he overworked her while knowing she’d be fired, but this time Bong-gu snaps back that he was fired, too.
Jae-bok thinks he’s lying, but Bong-gu insists he’s being truthful and offers to find her another job. She refuses, not wanting to owe him anything. He asks why she looks so gloomy and wonders out loud if her husband cheated, but Jae-bok ignores him.
For some reason Bong-gu finds this amusing, so he rattles on about how she’d be much more upset if her husband had cheated. He repeats what she used to say to clients about staying unemotional in these situations, smoothing her hair condescendingly.
He stops short when Jae-bok looks up at him with tear-filled eyes as she admits that it was easy to say when it wasn’t her. She calls herself a moron who let herself get used, and Bong-gu looks stunned when faced with her raw emotions.
Na-mi receives notice of a massive money transfer, about thirty thousand U.S. dollars. She thinks about how supportive Jung-hee was when her mother was ill, and she hesitates to accept the transfer.
Bong-gu doesn’t seem to completely grasp what Jae-bok was saying when she yelled at him, and he tells himself it doesn’t matter anyway. Next thing you know, he’s practicing an apology speech outside her apartment door, heh. Then he tries to hide when she arrives home, but Jae-bok sees him anyway, mainly because “looking the other way” isn’t a very good hiding strategy.
He’s adorably nervous, and all his fancy speeches fly right out the window so that he ends up just spouting word salad at her. She tells him flatly that she had the documents sent to his office by courier, then moves to go inside.
Her kids come flying out, and Jin-wook asks if their dad is going to jail, having heard about the “assault” from a schoolmate whose dad works with Jung-hee. Bong-gu tries to chastise Jin-wook for talking about his father that way, but Jin-wook just gives him the stink-eye and asks who he is.
Jae-bok ushers the kids inside and shuts the door in Bong-gu’s face, despite his trying to muscle his way inside. Before the door slams, he sees a family picture and gets a good look at Jung-hee. He calls his friend from earlier and asks for more information about the case.
Jae-bok explains to her children that their dad didn’t do anything wrong, and they should trust in him. She’s taken aback when Na-mi calls her, wanting to meet and talk.
At the hospital, Boss Jo heads to the men’s room, most definitely not paralyzed. Bong-gu comes in and uses the urinal next to him, then screams that there’s a roach on Boss Jo’s glasses (which he just reached over and placed there). As Boss Jo flails, Bong-gu takes a video of the perfectly healthy man.
As Bong-gu walks back to his car, gleefully anticipating Jae-bok’s reaction to the video, a man in black sneaks up behind him. He slams a board into Bong-gu’s head, knocking him out cold, then steals his phone.
To shore up her courage before meeting with Na-mi, Jae-bok goes to see Hye-ran and Won-jae. They scour Won-jae’s closet for a snappy suit, then do her hair and makeup. When her friends are finished, Jae-bok looks like a million bucks.
Jae-bok heads to the hotel, purposely thirty minutes late and unaware that her friends have followed her there. Na-mi spots her and her smart clothes and hikes her own dress up to reveal several inches of thigh. Jae-bok admonishes Na-mi for not standing for an elder before sitting herself down.
When the waitress arrives, Na-mi orders wine while Jae-bok orders a beer. Na-mi daintily sips her wine, but Jae-bok unabashedly gulps her beer down in one go. At their table nearby, not to be outdone, Won-jae and Hye-ran order straight whiskeys.
Na-mi apologizes for asking for this meeting, then wells up with tears when Jae-bok asks if that’s all she’s sorry for. Won-jae scoffs that Jae-bok won’t fall for it, and yep, she just slides Na-mi a tissue and asks what exactly she’s apologizing for.
Na-mi sniffles that she’s sorry for loving Jung-hee, and the word “love” leaves Jae-bok gaping like a fish. She raises a fist to smack Na-mi, but Na-mi grabs her wrist and stops her. Jae-bok raises the other fist, and Na-mi grabs that one, too.
The two women grapple for a minute while Na-mi desperately tries to explain. Her explanations (that Jung-hee was the one who insisted on having the same door code, and that he sometimes goes there alone to rest) just make Jae-bok angrier, and she deftly twists Na-mi’s arms and knocks a leg out from under her.
Na-mi goes crashing to the floor, and Hye-ran and Won-jae give each other a high-five. Jae-bok informs Na-mi that she may give it a fancy name like “love,” but it’s still an affair. Na-mi says this isn’t why she asked Jae-bok to meet today, and she starts to say, “Several months ago…”
But a scream rings out, and everyone looks to see Hye-ran caught by the hair by her latest boyfriend’s wife. She’s the same woman who caught them in a hotel together, and she’s brought her three daughters to enact some revenge.
She throws Hye-ran to the ground where her daughters begin beating her, and Jae-bok forgets her own troubles to confront the wife. The woman punches her and bloodies her nose, and surprisingly, Na-mi comes to Jae-bok’s rescue. The wife easily picks up Na-mi and tosses her across the room and into the wall, knocking her unconscious.
While Hye-ran flees from her attackers, Jae-bok piggybacks Na-mi to a nearby hospital. She’s diagnosed with a minor concussion, and Jae-bok asks Won-jae to get her a drink while she sits next to Na-mi’s bed.
Won-jae realizes that she has Na-mi’s phone when it rings with a call from Jung-hee, and she answers it with an impish grin. Pretending to be a nurse, she tells Jung-hee that Na-mi is at the hospital.
When Na-mi wakes, she sees Jae-bok sitting nearby and pretends to still be unconscious. Jae-bok gets up to leave, and Jung-hee comes running into the room, frantic and calling for Na-mi. He runs to her bed and gathers her up while she tries to fake sleep.
Jung-hee starts to yell for the doctor, but instead he finds Jae-bok standing in front of him. He thinks quickly and tries to say that he was just worried about his coworker. He babbles while Na-mi tries to make him stop, until she finally says quietly that Jae-bok knows.
Jung-hee runs to Jae-bok, saying that he didn’t mean to cheat, and she blows up, hitting him and calling him a bastard. Na-mi rushes to protect Jung-hee, but she backs off in shock when he falls to his knees in front of Jae-bok.
He looks up at Na-mi and says he’s sorry, correcting his casual speech to jondae. Stunned, Na-mi begs him to get up, but he tries to shake her off. Jae-bok interrupts to ask if Na-mi is feeling better, and when she says that she is, Jae-bok tells her to get on her knees, too.
Na-mi stands and says she doesn’t want to, and Jae-bok screams at the top of her lungs, “Get on your knees, NOW!”
Interesting, how Jung-hee is so quick to toss Na-mi aside when he’s found out — I think he’s a spineless worm, but he knows that he has a good thing in Jae-bok, and I do think he still loves her and values the life they’ve built together. Getting on his knees was a clear message that he chooses Jae-bok over Na-mi, though I doubt that Jae-bok even wants him right now. I can’t imagine how betrayed she must feel, and he’s going to have to do more than say he’s sorry on his knees before she forgives him. And it’s not going to be as simple as some time and counseling, with all the mysteries that will soon be coming to light.
It’s those mysteries that are really intriguing me, and I’m dying of curiosity to get some answers. I want to know who is paying Na-mi and for what — was she paid to cheat with Jung-hee then let his wife find out? That’s what it looks like, but if so, why? Did she meet with Jae-bok to confess what she’d been paid for? And how does the aloof and enigmatic Eun-hee fit into things, with her big, fancy, suspiciously cheap house for rent? My personal theory is that Blue Rose, Jae-bok’s online friend, is her first love that everyone keeps talking about. His wife is famous for her homemaking blog, and I can’t help but wonder — could it be that Eun-hee is his oh-so-perfect wife? The timing is certainly suspect, with Blue Rose telling Jae-bok about the house being ready to rent, and Eun-hee being the landlord who seems bound and determined to get Jae-bok to live there. I could be way off, but at this point, all the pieces fit. It doesn’t explain how Na-mi fits into things, but it’s an interesting start.
Bong-gu is such an interesting character, mainly because he’s just so odd. He has an over-inflated sense of self-worth (calling himself a “famous lawyer” at twenty-six, heh) but he seems insecure around Jae-bok, and while I suspect that’s because he respects her a lot, he can’t admit it to himself. So he ends up just flopping around like a half-grown puppy when he’s near her, annoying her and making her write him off as insignificant. He’s so awkward, but his heart is in the right place, and I love how hard he tries to get Jae-bok to like him. After this second episode, I still find their relationship the most fun to watch, and I think it will only get more so as they get to know each other better.
I also really love the trio of Jae-bok, Hye-ran, and Won-jae — they’re just so supportive of each other, and it’s great to see them stand together when one of them needs it. I adore a good best-friends-forever story, and these three friends are definitely there for each other through thick and thin. From telling Jae-bok the truth about her husband, to picking her back up again, to helping her confront Jung-hee’s girl on the side, Jae-bok is lucky to have such loyal sidekicks to help her through this terrible time in her life.
Although I think the show is a lot of fun, after seeing two episodes, I’m still a bit unsure of what story it’s trying to tell us. Is it about infidelity? Is it about friendship? Is it about a mysterious woman entering an unsuspecting family’s lives? Is it about a murder? I think the show could have done a tighter job setting up its basic premise, but despite the feeling that we’re getting several different stories at once, I think that each of those stories are interesting enough to hang in there and see where they take us. I can put together clues in ways that tie these stories together, so I’m feeling that the show has a destination in mind, and I’m willing to be patient and trust the process. One thing it does have going for it is interesting, quirky, unique characters that make me want to tune in and see what they do next. It’s a bit of a rocky beginning, but for me, it’s enough to keep me interested for a while longer.
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