Perfect Wife: Episode 4
The harder Jae-bok tries to control her changing life, the more it spins out of her grasp, until finally she’s just hanging on by her fingernails and hoping to hold things together for her children. With no place to live and a husband who can’t make up his mind from one minute to the next, all of the hard decisions fall on her shoulders. But does she really have a choice, or are outside forces pushing her to do what they want, for reasons Jae-bok doesn’t yet understand?
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Eun-hee calls her husband downstairs as Jae-bok tries desperately to process her discovery that he’s her first love, Kyung-woo. But when he gets downstairs, he and Eun-hee look around confused, because Jae-bok appears to be gone.
HA, she’s hiding behind the couch… smooth. She can see Kyung-woo’s feet, and recognizes a scar on his ankle that he had when they were dating. It’s definitely the same guy. Jae-bok scuttles out as soon as she has a chance and drives home, stunned by the fact that her old flame is the owner of the house she’s planning to move into.
Once home, Jae-bok checks the blog she knows is run by Kyung-woo’s wife, and sees a photo of them, but with Kyung-woo’s face partially cropped out. Now she recognizes other things from the house (like the giant aquarium) that she missed before.
Jung-hee is home with the kids and his mother, who fusses at him for getting caught cheating on such a strong-willed wife. He and the kids go for a walk where Jin-wook expresses his worries about his dad getting fired, but Jung-hee does his best to reassure them.
Suddenly Jung-hee freezes, seeing Na-mi standing right in front of him. But she walks by without saying a word — oh whew, he’s just imagining her face on a random girl.
Later, Jae-bok goes back to searching for a new apartment. She says they can’t move to Eun-hee’s house, telling Jung-hee that she took it impulsively to get away from him sooner, but it’s not an option after all. She decides that they’ll just have to look outside the area, which means Jin-wook will have to change schools, but there’s no other choice.
Jin-wook comes stomping into the room, having overheard this last bit. He throws an impressive hissy fit, angry that he’ll have to quit the school band he worked so hard to get into, and calls his mother a bully. Jae-bok loses her temper and starts yelling, and Jung-hee has to physically hold her back.
We get a lovely gratuitous scene of Bong-gu lifting weights shirtless and preening in the mirror. He strikes a sexy pose on the bed when his sugar mama video-calls him, but when she starts to invite herself over, he fibs that he has a trial in the morning. Heh, he’s so obviously just flirting with her for her money.
Jae-bok sends her chat friend, Blue Rose, a message asking how he found out about Eun-hee’s home for rent. She waits but never receives an answer, which seems strange when he used to always be online.
She heads out to where Jung-hee is sleeping on the couch, and hovers over him as he talks in his sleep. He keeps repeating the same thing, “Na… Na…” and Jae-bok correctly guesses that he’s dreaming of his girlfriend, Na-mi.
Jae-bok accompanies her friend Hye-ran to a doctor’s appointment (her ex-boyfriend’s wife roughed her up and hurt her back) and tells her that Eun-hee is Kyung-woo’s wife. Hye-ran thinks it’s not such a bad setup — even if Jae-bok has an affair with Kyung-woo while living in the same house, she’s says she’s owed one since Jung-hee cheated. Um, I don’t think that’s how this works.
Still, the thought gives Jae-bok some interesting fantasies. In one, both couples share a meal, and while Jung-hee attacks his food like a savage, Jae-bok plays footsie with Kyung-woo under the table. In another, Jae-bok and her filthy, destitute family beg for a place to stay, and Kyung-woo yells at her for leaving him if it only amounted to this.
In the hospital lobby, Bong-gu pops up out of nowhere and shoves his new phone in Jae-bok’s face, griping that she still hasn’t paid him back (for the phone he lost while getting evidence against Jung-hee’s boss). Jae-bok asks if he followed her here, and he’s all Of course not! as his eyes go all shifty. HA, he totally did.
He gets even more fidgety when Jae-bok says that she looked into it, and he’s asking for more than his phone was worth — and further, his “designer” phone case was a fake. He tells her to forget the whole thing if she’s going to be that way before flouncing off.
While he’s there, Bong-gu goes up to Na-mi’s mother’s room and finds a man there getting all touchy-feely with her. She introduces him as a regular customer at her store, suddenly very formal, and the man quickly leaves. On his way out he runs into Jae-bok, who followed Bong-gu to pay him what she could.
Bong-gu grabs Jae-bok and pulls her into the room, then defiantly introduces her as his fiancée. Jae-bok starts to correct him, but Mom seems so happy to see her that she stops. Bong-gu takes great pleasure in trying to shock Mom by saying that Jae-bok is older and has kids, then adds that when she marries him, she’ll abandon them like someone else he knows. Wow, ouch.
Mom tells the horrified Jae-bok that it happens that way sometimes, and sadly admits that she even did the same thing. Her voice hitches as she confesses that she left Bong-gu to get remarried, but she says that he grew up well anyway.
Bong-gu turns to go, but Jae-bok grabs his hand and stops him. She tells Mom that no child grows up well on their own, and guesses that she probably took care of him as best she could from a distance. Bong-gu’s eyes roll and he says her name in a warning tone, but Jae-bok continues, adding that he worries about his mother a lot.
In the parking lot, Bong-gu sarcastically congratulates Jae-bok on being such a great actress, and she smirks and says that she did it to make him mad. But she softens and says that as a mom, she knows his gruff exterior is just a cover for his pain.
She continues that nothing he does can hurt his mom, because her heart’s already been torn to pieces. Plus, just seeing him will make her happy, even if he’s being awful. She pinches Bong-gu’s cheeks and coos at him, and says that’s what all moms are like — their children are their babies.
Next, Jae-bok goes to Eun-hee’s house, and she finds Eun-hee sitting outside, crying. Eun-hee says her husband left for America to work on an important project for the next few months. Before Jae-bok can break the news that she’s not moving in, Eun-hee hugs her and thanks her for coming to keep her company.
Jae-bok thinks about how excited Jin-wook is about his upcoming concert and decides that it’s only for two months. She confirms that Kyung-woo will be out of the country for at least three months before deciding to take a chance. And even if they do run into each other, she tells herself she can be an adult about it.
Her newfound good mood deflates when she arrives home to find Na-mi waiting for her. Na-mi says she only came to bring back Jung-hee’s Jimi Hendrix poster and somehow gets invited inside.
Na-mi tells Jae-bok that she’s broken up with Jung-hee and plans to move, but Jae-bok sees right through her — she knows this is only a ploy to come to their house. Na-mi admits that she was curious about how he lived, and confesses to being the one who enticed him to cheat.
She says that she had many guys chasing her for her looks, but she just wanted someone who would love her. Jae-bok scoffs, saying that it was an affair, not love, which made it seem more exciting. She tries to kick Na-mi out, but Na-mi says she has something to tell her.
She tries to tell the truth about being paid to cheat with Jung-hee, but the mystery woman’s threats resurface in her mind. She’d threatened to kill Jung-hee as well as his wife and kids if Na-mi said a word.
Jae-bok fumbles to introduce Na-mi when little Hae-wook arrives home from school. Na-mi takes over and says she’s Mommy’s friend, and Hae-wook takes an instant liking to the pretty young lady, which makes Jae-bok jealous.
That night, Jung-hee goes to take out the trash, and he finds his Jimi Hendrix poster in the utility room. It makes him miss Na-mi, and after everyone is in bed, he sneaks out to her place. Oh, you absolute idiot.
He finds Na-mi’s apartment cleaned out, but she left behind a pink towel monogrammed with “I love you, Jung-hee/Na-mi.” He sits on the floor clutching the towel and dramatically moaning Na-mi’s name.
He arrives home to find Jae-bok waiting up for him, and she calmly sits him down and pours four soju shots. She reminisces about how her father beat Jung-hee to a pulp when he got her pregnant with Jin-wook, praising Jung-hee on his ability to take a punch.
She says that she was moved when Jung-hee begged her father to let him marry her, adding that that was when she decided to trust in him. And even though he’s cheated on her, she’s deciding to trust him again.
She looks Jung-hee in the eye and says that she loves him, but something in her expression makes him nervous. She hands him the soju shots one at a time, calling them her friendship, her love, her trust, and the last “to forget.” Jung-hee nods, understanding Jae-bok’s message, then downs all four shots.
Soon it’s moving day, and Eun-hee gets ready in the morning like she has a hot date. She finds Jae-bok outside arguing with her movers and reveals that she hired some men to move Jae-bok’s things in. But Jae-bok stops them, saying that her own helpers are on the way.
The “helpers” turns out to be Hye-ran’s friend Sam-kyu, the guy who keeps manipulating Bong-gu. And HA, he’s done it again — Bong-gu shows up in a snazzy suit, expecting to be meeting with a new client. Neither Jae-bok nor Bong-gu are happy about this, so Sam-kyu tries to talk Bong-gu into staying to help by saying that Jae-bok could become a client, since she may be getting divorced.
Bong-gu caves when he sees Jae-bok trying to move heavy furniture by herself. He’s not very gracious about it, and he bitches at Jae-bok the entire time, but at least he pitches in.
Jae-bok gets another surprise when she finds that Eun-hee has hired a service to clean the upstairs apartment, so Eun-hee says it’s a housewarming gift. One maid seems particularly nervous, and she refuses to meet Jae-bok’s eye. Then she hides when she catches a glimpse of Bong-gu.
The maid knows Na-mi, and she calls her to tell her that Bong-gu is here. Na-mi warns her not to let him see her, but the maid says they’ll both die if—…
But Eun-hee walks in, so she has to cut the conversation short.
Bong-gu grows curious when he sees a staircase leading to a third floor, but Eun-hee calls to him that he can’t go up there. She’s dropped the sweetness-and-light act she pulls out for Jae-bok — when Bong-gu asks how big the house is, she just gives him a hard glare before walking off. Weird.
Eun-hee has her perky mask back on by the time she finds Jae-bok, but her face freezes when she sees Jin-wook down the hall. She’s almost mesmerized, and she gives him a big hug even though they just met.
She behaves even more oddly when Won-jae brings in Hae-wook. It’s like the entire world disappears except for the little girl, and it’s as though Eun-hee doesn’t even see Won-jae there. She zeroes in on Hae-wook, beaming at her and introducing herself.
Jae-bok’s friends gape at Hae-wook’s room, full of toys and anything a little girl could ever want. Jin-wook is thrilled to see his room, which has a huge computer and video games galore.
Eun-hee says that they belong to Jin-wook now, but Jae-bok tells him no — they’re only borrowed from Eun-hee’s nephew. Jin-wook pouts and says he wishes they could just live here, then Eun-hee pats his head and tells him to live with her for a long, long time. Okay, now she’s just straight-up creeping me out.
Jae-bok’s friends join her in her new room, where she seems to be having fresh doubts about this arrangement. Hye-ran thinks it’s perfect timing that Kyung-woo went to the U.S. just now, and Won-jae realizes that Hae-wook already knew Eun-hee’s name even though Jae-bok didn’t introduce her.
Jung-hee keeps falling asleep on the bus after work, so when he sees what he thinks is another hallucination of Na-mi, it takes him a moment to realize that it’s really her. She’s wearing a skimpy outfit and passing out coupons in the sidewalk, and Jung-hee leaps off the bus to face her.
HAHA, the scene cuts to Na-mi running from Jung-hee, with him in hot pursuit. She trips and falls, then throws her heel at him, hitting him right in the face. She goes closer to check on him and he grabs her, shrieking that he’s missed her.
Back at the house, Eun-hee makes a fancy meal to welcome Jae-bok and her family to the house. Hye-ran and Won-jae both think that Kyung-woo must love having such a talented wife, but Eun-hee says that actually, he doesn’t like it much. She smiles as she says that he prefers boyish, tough women like Jae-bok.
As Jae-bok has a coughing fit, Hye-ran chirps that Eun-hee’s husband’s first love must have been that type of woman. Eun-hee doesn’t know, since he hasn’t told her much about his first love.
Eun-hee suddenly jumps up to fetch some mango juice for Jin-wook, then pours a glass for Hae-wook as well. She completely ignores Won-jae’s daughter Che-ri when she asks for some, which makes Won-jae’s eyes bug out.
After a long day of moving, Jae-bok collapses in bed, then gets a text from Jung-hee that he’ll be late because his coworker had a death in the family. Late that night, Eun-hee ghosts through the rooms, stopping to watch the kids as they sleep. So creepy.
Jung-hee finally makes it to the new house in the morning, where he has trouble finding the correct gate. He runs into Eun-hee out on her morning jog and she introduces herself as his new landlord, holding his hand just a bit too long when they shake.
Jae-bok seems suspicious of his excuse for staying out until morning, but she doesn’t say anything. She takes his dirty clothes and heads to the laundry room, but their washer hasn’t been hooked up yet. Eun-hee takes the clothes, insisting on washing them in her machine.
She comments on the lavender scent on Jung-hee’s shirt, but Jae-bok says that she doesn’t use lavender. She does remember Hae-wook meeting Na-mi and saying she smells good, and Na-mi telling her that she wears lavender.
Sure enough, Jung-hee was out all night with Na-mi, who’d begged him to break up with Jae-bok and be with her instead. He’d said that he can’t live without Na-mi, and promised to talk to Jae-bok today.
But when Jae-bok asks him if he’s seeing Na-mi again, he chickens out and reflexively denies it. Jae-bok doesn’t seem to believe him, reminding him that this is his last chance, so if he cheats again, they’re done.
Jung-hee escapes to the yard, then berates himself for being a coward and starts to go back in and tell her. But Jin-wook and Hae-wook want to play, so he stays out with them instead. Jae-bok watches them from the balcony, feeling in her bones that something is wrong.
Eun-hee brings out the wash to hang to dry, and she lingers extra long with Jung-hee’s shirt. She sees Jae-bok and smiles to her, then wishes Jung-hee a nice day when he finally leaves for work.
Jae-bok calls Na-mi, and the moment she answers, she snarls into the phone, “You broke your promise.” Na-mi doesn’t seem surprised that Jung-hee didn’t say anything, so she tells Jae-bok that she and Jung-hee are running away together. She politely asks Jae-bok to divorce him, then agrees to meet Jae-bok tonight to talk.
Thinking about how Jae-bok said that nothing he does can hurt his mother, Bong-gu goes back to her hospital room and stands over her while she sleeps. He reaches out to touch her hand, but Na-mi comes in and startles him.
They go outside to talk, and Na-mi tells him that she really is leaving town this time. Bong-gu figures out that her married boyfriend’s wife must have found out about the affair, but Na-mi just thanks him for visiting Mom.
She heads out for home, but when Bong-gu sees that she’s limping, he offers her a ride. She leaves a couple of tangerines for him on the dashboard, then hobbles off to her rooftop apartment, refusing his offer of money and giving him a happy wave goodbye. Why does this make me nervous?
It’s raining when Jae-bok leaves to meet with Na-mi that evening, and as soon as Eun-hee sees her off, she goes upstairs where the children are sleeping. She gently smooths Jin-wook’s hair, then climbs in bed with Hae-wook, snuggling her like Jae-bok does on stormy nights.
As Jae-bok rides the bus, the scene begins to look familiar — it’s the same scene from the very beginning of the show. She walks down a dark alley and is nearly knocked over by a man running past, then continues up a flight of stairs.
Eun-hee goes to another room in the house and says out loud that she always feels like something will happen on nights like these. She’s not talking to herself, though… the camera pans around to show us Na-mi’s mystery woman, there in the room with Eun-hee. Mystery Woman’s phone rings, and she looks up at Eun-hee nervously.
Jae-bok halts when she sees something on the stairs and realizes that it’s a woman’s body. She recognizes the body as Na-mi, reaching out with shaking hands to touch her face. Her hands come back covered in blood, and Jae-bok lets out a horrified scream.
Now we’re back where we started – the body Jae-bok found is Na-mi’s. I’m sure her death is a murder, though again, it’s a mystery as to who killed her or why. Mystery Woman threatened her if she were to tell why she was being paid, so I’m sure that somehow she knew Na-mi was going to talk to Jae-bok tonight and had her silenced before she could talk. But what is she hiding that’s so terrible that it’s worth killing her to keep a secret? And is Jae-bok being framed for the murder on purpose, or is her presence there just a coincidence?
I haven’t said much about Jae-bok as a character yet, because it’s taking a while to get a sense of who she is as a person. It’s difficult, because right now all of her sense of self has been swallowed up by her new identity as The Jilted Wife, so she’s understandably just a bundle of anger and resentment and hurt right now. I don’t blame her at all for her mood swings and her lashing out, both at Jung-hee and at Bong-gu when he’s conveniently in front of her, though I would like to see some facets of her personality besides this one side of her we’ve been shown so far. She seems like a very capable woman, a loving mother, and a rational thinker, and I’m looking forward to her realizing that Eun-hee is up to something and using her intellect to solve the mystery.
On the other hand — ugh, Jung-hee, I just have zero sympathy for him. Not only is he a cheating cheater who cheats (and I don’t care how many times Na-mi says that she pursued him, a person still makes the choice to cheat), but mere days after kneeling and begging Jae-bok for forgiveness, he’s back at Na-mi’s apartment looking for her. He’s just so sniveling and spineless, and while I do think he regrets cheating, he’s also not strong enough to resist when his emotions take over. Sure, Jae-bok doesn’t seem like the easiest woman to be married to, but I can see how a lot of her frustration and irritation is a direct result of Jung-hee being so useless and weak. And besides, no matter how hard Jae-bok is to be around, that doesn’t justify his cheating with another woman. By now my eyes are rolling right out of my head every time he says he’s sorry — at some point it’s time to stop being sorry, and just stop doing the thing you’re sorry for. Once Jung-hee proves he can do that, maybe I’ll stop finding him supremely frustrating.
I feel like all of my comments on this show are just variations on a theme of I have no idea what’s happening, but… I have no idea what’s happening! Thank goodness, the show is presenting its mysteries in a way that just makes me even more curious, and not so confused that I’m frustrated. I love the way each new piece of the puzzle we discover just leads to even more mysteries. It’s clear that whatever is going on, it’s definitely a web that someone’s been spinning for quite some time, and for a very specific reason. I’m beginning to be very afraid that it has something to do with Jung-hee and Jae-bok’s children — I don’t like the way Eun-hee focused on them to the exclusion of everything else when they moved in, even the other child at the table. We know Eun-hee hasn’t been able to have kids of her own. Is she trying to take their children away? Is that why she’s colluded with Mystery Woman to break them up, to make their family unstable? My mind is running wild, but right now I can see Eun-hee planning to split up their marriage, getting Jae-bok and the kids to move in with her without Jung-hee around, then doing something like slowly drive Jae-bok insane (or frame her for murder) and take her children. Whatever she’s doing, I can’t help but wonder why she’s singled out Jae-bok in particular, other than her past connection with Eun-hee’s husband.
Whatever is going on, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that every step of this process has been carefully calculated to maneuver Jae-bok and her children into Eun-hee’s home. Maybe the show is making me paranoid, but I still think that either Kyung-woo or Eun-hee is Blue Rose, and that s/he’s been carefully grooming Jae-bok online to trust him/her (and probably learning all about her life) in preparation for whatever they’re planning. I’m thinking that the meeting at the house that night was set up specifically for Jae-bok to realize that her old flame is Eun-hee’s husband — the wedding photo was even taken down when she first looked at the house, then put back up just in time for the meeting. And I don’t believe for one second that Kyung-woo’s sudden months-long business trip was a coincidence. I think that he (or Eun-hee) planned for him to be gone so that Jae-bok would feel comfortable moving in. I still can’t really see the why of what Eun-hee (and possibly Kyung-woo) are orchestrating, but all of these coincidences and chance meetings are looking less and less like accidents, and more like a very long, very calculated scheme.
- Perfect Wife: Episode 3
- Perfect Wife: Episode 2
- Perfect Wife: Episode 1
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