Perfect Wife: Episode 5
The further we delve into the mysteries surrounding Jae-bok and Jung-hee and their too-good-to-be-true landlord, the more we start to realize that more is at stake than simply a nice apartment. Eun-hee starts to show hints as to her true intentions, but she’s turning out to be a talented manipulator, so though Jae-bok senses something is wrong, she can’t quite put her finger on the problem. Let’s hope she figures it out soon, or she could very well lose everything she loves.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Jung-hee calls Jae-bok as she’s on her way to meet with Na-mi, and has a small freakout at the idea of his wife and his mistress talking together. He asks why she’s going there and Jae-bok barks, “I’m going to kill her!”
But as she’s climbing the stairs to Na-mi’s new place, Jae-bok finds Na-mi’s body lying on the stairs, blood gushing from a head wound. She tries to call for help but she drops her phone as well as her daughter’s hair tie from her pocket.
Someone has already reported the accident, and the EMTs show up just as Na-mi’s fingers twitch, proving that she’s still alive. Jae-bok is allowed to ride in the ambulance as they rush Na-mi to the hospital.
Jung-hee arrives on the scene just a minute too late, but he finds his daughter’s hair tie and knows that his wife was here. He goes inside Na-mi’s apartment, which is still mostly empty, and what’s unpacked is in shambles.
Jae-bok calls Jung-hee from the ambulance to tell him of Na-mi’s injuries, and of course Jung-hee assumes that Jae-bok inflicted them. She insists that she found her already unconscious, then her attention is diverted by the fact that Na-mi is opening her eyes. Na-mi reaches out a weak hand to Jae-bok and seems to be trying to say something, but her hand goes limp, and she flatlines.
A short while later, the hospital calls Bong-gu as he’s driving home. We don’t hear what they say, but it’s clear from Bong-gu’s expression that the news isn’t good.
When Jung-hee arrives at the hospital frantically calling Na-mi’s name, he sees Jae-bok and grabs her. He shakes her and blames her for hurting Na-mi, and Jae-bok has to slap him to make him let go. She snarls that if he deserved it, she would punish him instead of Na-mi.
Jung-hee asks the doctor to let him see Na-mi, and when he’s asked if he’s family, Jae-bok surprisingly says that he’s Na-mi’s husband. Jae-bok is shocked when she turns to see Bong-gu beside them, then her jaw drops when he tells the doctor that he’s Na-mi’s brother.
Both Bong-gu and Jung-hee are allowed in to identify Na-mi’s body. Jung-hee starts to cry when he sees that it’s really her, though Bong-gu remains stoic. The doctor tells them that Na-mi fell and suffered a head wound, but her official cause of death was heart attack. He also mentions that several sleeping pills were found in her stomach.
The men both look exhausted as they shuffle back into the hall. Jung-hee asks Jae-bok if she’s telling the truth about finding Na-mi already unconscious. She asks in return why he still thinks she’s lying, so he mentions that she said she was going to kill Na-mi.
Jae-bok says that she was angry, but that if she was going to kill anyone, it would be him. For the first time, Jung-hee speaks forcefully and tells Jae-bok that he’s only human, asking if loving someone is worthy of death.
Bong-gu has been listening this whole time, and he suddenly punches Jung-hee and says that yes, it is. He pins Jung-hee to the wall and reminds him that he’s married, yet he ruined the life of a young person. Jung-hee shoves back, asking what exactly Bong-gu did for Na-mi as a brother, considering that he left her alone to take care of her mother and run from loan sharks.
Bong-gu growls that he’s not Na-mi’s brother, and rears back to punch Jung-hee again. But this time Jae-bok grabs his arm and pleads with him to stop, turning tear-filled eyes up to him, and the violent glint in his eyes recedes.
A pair of policemen show up to take Jae-bok to the station, and on the way, she calls Eun-hee to ask her to watch the kids. Eun-hee agrees easily, but when Jae-bok hangs up, she goes hard. Eun-hee rounds on the mystery woman (who’s still at the house), demanding to know what she’s done.
Jae-bok tells the police that she found Na-mi already unconscious. She mentions that it’s strange that Na-mi would arrange to meet with her then take sleeping pills right before that meeting. She also wonders why Na-mi’s place was so messy, but the police think that was caused by the two women fighting.
Jae-bok loses her temper and screams, which just makes the cop ask if she has an anger management problem. She decides to stop answering his questions and says she’ll only speak with her lawyer present — then realizes she forgot to hire one, ha.
Eun-hee surprises Jae-bok by showing up to see her, though the food she brought is at least a welcome surprise. She says that she got someone to watch the kids, someone she’s hired before, and we see that she left Jae-bok’s children with the mystery woman.
Jae-bok admits that she’s a bit embarrassed to be seen like this, which causes Eun-hee to tear up. It’s almost as though she’s been through something similar, but she doesn’t explain when Jae-bok asks, leaving Jae-bok to silently wonder if her husband, Kyung-woo, ever cheated on Eun-hee.
The policeman returns to tell Jae-bok that Na-mi’s death has been ruled a suicide, since they found a note while searching her room. That sounds all kinds of wrong to Jae-bok, but regardless, she’s set free to go home.
By now Jung-hee is much calmer, and he meekly apologizes to Jae-bok for accusing her of hurting Na-mi. Jae-bok responds by asking for a divorce again, reminding Jung-hee that he blew the second chance she offered him. Jung-hee tries to convince her that he truly intended to break things off, but Jae-bok is unmoved.
Jung-hee argues that this is bad timing, and though Jae-bok admits that she feels bad, she says that Na-mi isn’t the only one who died — part of her died today, too.
Jung-hee is pretty honest with Jae-bok, telling her that he was shaken by Na-mi, but that he didn’t really have the courage to run off with her. Jae-bok says that she feels sorry for Na-mi for believing his lies, but she adds that she’s still angry that he suspected her.
As they argue, Eun-hee sneaks up the stairs in order to listen in on their conversation.
When Jae-bok repeats that she wants a divorce, Jung-hee defiantly says that he’ll take the children with him. He even tells Jae-bok that she’d be free to find a new man, but Jae-bok scoffs that she’s not like him. Jung-hee changes tactics and offers to stay together for the kids, but Jae-bok isn’t having that, either.
Neither of them is willing to give an inch, so Jae-bok threatens to take this to court. She spits that she’ll win the divorce and the kids, considering that Jung-hee cheated. Though he seems rattled at the idea, Jung-hee tells her to go to court, then.
Bong-gu, Jae-bok, and their friends Sam-kyu and Hye-ran gather at the columbarium to inter Na-mi’s ashes. Bong-gu seems angry as he silently accuses Na-mi of hammering a nail into his heart, but despite her own resentment, Jae-bok wishes Na-mi to rest in peace.
When Hye-ran spots Jung-hee lurking nearby, she and Jae-bok leave. Jung-hee moves closer, crying pitifully, but Bong-gu just glares at him. He’s still wailing over Na-mi’s ashes later, and Jae-bok looks on, telling Hye-ran that she came because she knew Na-mi and feels bad.
As they leave, Jae-bok bumps into a young woman who seems familiar. Sam-kyu approaches to smoothly ask if he can ride with them and catch up, but Hye-ran calls him a cheapskate for not bringing his own car to save gas. HA.
As she’s driving away, Jae-bok comes across Bong-gu walking down the road, already halfway into a bottle of wine. He says he wants to ask her a favor, though he says she probably won’t do it, and Jae-bok agrees that no, she won’t.
A little while later, with Bong-gu now in the car, Jae-bok calls Eun-hee to thank her for watching Hae-wook again. When she says she really needs to get her daughter into school, Eun-hee chirps that she enrolled Hae-wook in a kindergarten today. Wait, what?
She does apologize for doing it without asking, though she explains that it’s the best school in the area. Jae-bok seems very uncomfortable but decides that she trusts Eun-hee’s judgement. They hang up, and Eun-hee skips into the kindergarten to pick up Hae-wook, smiling ear to ear.
Jae-bok asks Bong-gu what favor he wants from her, and the last thing she expects is for him to ask her to go see Na-mi’s mother in the hospital again. Bong-gu explains that she doesn’t know of Na-mi’s death yet, so Jae-bok tries to kick him out of her car.
Bong-gu buckles himself back in and asks again, pouting and refusing to take no for an answer. He confesses that he can’t bring himself to go see her alone, which is both sad and sweet. He tells Jae-bok that he feels guilty for initially refusing Na-mi’s request that he visit, so Jae-bok reluctantly gives in.
On the way, Bong-gu heads to the restroom to change out of his black suit, and a woman bumps into Jae-bok. It reminds her of the girl she bumped into at the columbarium, so she asks Bong-gu about her, though he says he doesn’t remember Na-mi having any female friends.
Jae-bok gets into character to greet Na-mi’s mom, and Bong-gu does his best to give her a non-hostile greeting. Mom asks about Na-mi, who isn’t answering her phone, but instead of telling the truth, Bong-gu just mutters that she must be busy.
Mom mentions Jung-hee as well, who apparently told her he was being transferred out of town. She waxes poetic about how wonderful he is, then laughs when Bong-gu says that “nice” guys like that are always married.
Later, Jae-bok tells Bong-gu that she finds it strange that Na-mi would commit suicide, when she was planning to leave with Jung-hee. Bong-gu agrees that it may not have been a suicide, and asks what Jung-hee thinks. Jae-bok sighs that he’s wallowing in self-pity and accusing her of murder.
Before Jae-bok leaves, Bong-gu apologizes on Na-mi’s behalf, but Jae-bok tells him there’s no need. She says that it seems that it’s Bong-gu who wants to apologize to Na-mi, and she tells him not to regret being a bad brother.
He’s so cute as he denies any such thing, but Jae-bok tells him that he’s not fooling her. She gives him a friendly smile, and Bong-gu shyly smiles back. Jae-bok runs into Jung-hee on the way to her car, but she just snarkily asks him if he’s here to see his mother-in-law before walking away like a boss.
Jae-bok goes to pick up her daughter at kindergarten, but she’s not at any of the schools near their new place. She calls Eun-hee, but her phone goes to voicemail. Jae-bok remembers one of the cops saying that Na-mi was being chased by loan sharks who even threatened to hurt Jung-hee’s family, and she rushes home.
She’s in a pretty high panic by the time she gets to the house, especially when nobody answers her calls. She hears Eun-hee’s voice in her bathroom, and bursts in to find Eun-hee drying Hae-wook after a bath.
Jae-bok grabs Hae-wook away from Eun-hee, demanding to know why she wasn’t enrolled in any of the nearby schools. She yells at Eun-hee for choosing a school without her input and for not telling her where it is.
Jae-bok carries Hae-wook out of the bathroom and runs right into Mystery Woman, who introduces herself as Eun-hee’s housekeeper. Jae-bok thanks her for watching the children recently, but the woman’s answering smile looks more like a snarl.
Eun-hee brings some tea upstairs for Jae-bok, who apologizes for yelling at her. Eun-hee explains that she’s never been a mother so she didn’t realize how upset Jae-bok would be. She leaves, and Jae-bok thinks to herself that Eun-hee is making her feel like the guilty one.
Bong-gu and Jung-hee must have run into each other at the hospital, because they sit together, sharing a bottle of soju. Bong-gu shows Jung-hee Na-mi’s supposed suicide letter, which blames her debt. Jung-hee says that she was worried about debt, but that she’d told him her brother was helping her out.
Bong-gu says that he didn’t give her any money and wonders if she had another guy. Jung-hee loudly insists that Na-mi wasn’t that kind of girl.
Bong-gu asks if Na-mi was happy while dating Jung-hee, which sends Jung-hee into another round of tears, but he nods. Bong-gu says he’s glad, because she always acted like she was happy even though he knew she never was.
Bong-gu arrives home to find an envelope stuck in his door. It’s a copy of Na-mi’s bank statement, which lists a recent deposit of thirty million won (about twenty-six thousand U.S. dollars) from someone named Choi Deok-boon.
Choi Deok-boon turns out to be the name of the mystery woman, who now summons Na-mi’s little maid friend to ask if Na-mi had her hold anything for her. The girl says that she didn’t, and Deok-boon threatens that if she’s lying, she’ll die. She asks the girl how much she needs to pay off her own debt.
That night, Jae-bok thinks about how Jung-hee accused her of killing Na-mi. She tells her reflection in the mirror not to get angry, that feelings change, and that there’s nothing she can do but accept it.
Suddenly a face hovers over her shoulder — Na-mi, covered in blood. Jae-bok screams, bringing Jung-hee running, where he finds her in bed having a nightmare. When he shakes her awake she sees Na-mi’s face instead of his, and she shoves him across the room.
Jae-bok drives Hae-wook to school the next morning, but when she arrives, it’s much fancier than she was expecting. She finds Eun-hee there already, talking to Hae-wook’s teacher (an American woman), who assumes that Jae-bok is the nanny.
Eun-hee and the teacher walk off together, forcing Jae-bok to follow and explain in her limited English that she is Hae-wook’s mother, and Eun-hee is just a neighbor. Eun-hee admits the truth and follows Jae-bok out, asking if she’s angry. Jae-bok says she’s not since Eun-hee just did this to help, but she says that they can’t afford this school.
Eun-hee thinks that’s a shame since it’s a very exclusive school, but Jae-bok reminds her that they’re only living here for two months anyway. Eun-hee tries to convince her to let Hae-wook stay just that long, but Jae-bok argues that she’ll only be that much more disappointed when she inevitably changes schools.
Sam-kyu helps Bong-gu get ahold of the CCTV footage for his building, which shows a blonde girl putting the envelope containing Na-mi’s bank statement in Bong-gu’s door. Sam-kyu wonders if she’s a friend of Na-mi’s, and Bong-gu repeats that Na-mi didn’t have any female friends.
But he does remember Jae-bok seeing a girl she thought may have known Na-mi. Sam-kyu decides to look into her, sensing a big case, and Bong-gu warns him not to try to make money off of this.
When Sam-kyu asks after Bong-gu’s mother, he insists she’s not his mom, but he’s right back at the hospital the next day. She tells him to take some of the oranges Na-mi brought to her, and Bong-gu remembers Na-mi specifically asking him to peel some when he visits Mom. He reaches into the box out of curiosity, only to find Na-mi’s diary tucked inside.
He flips through it, finding a strange note saying “target reached.” He finds a loose slip of paper tucked in between the pages, and whatever is on it has him texting Jae-bok to find out where she is. She’s actually in the hospital getting an IV for her recent lethargy and dizzy spells, and Bong-gu scares ten years off her life by creeping up on the other side of her bed curtain. HA, her scream scares him just as badly.
Jung-hee goes home after being fired from his construction job, only to find he’s lost his gate key. Eun-hee arrives in time to teach him the code, then the closeness of their faces creates an awkward moment.
Bong-gu decides to get an IV as long as he’s here and settles into the bed next to Jae-bok’s. He hands her the note he found in Na-mi’s diary, which talks about the day she went to Jae-bok’s apartment to return Jung-hee’s poster. In the note, Na-mi says that Jae-bok seemed tough but also like a good person, and that she was planning to take Jung-hee from her if she weren’t.
She’d written that it was time to stop sinning, not even for the money. Jae-bok wonders what that means, since Jung-hee has no money. Bong-gu asks if she knows anyone named Choi Deok-boon, but Jae-bok doesn’t know the name.
Bong-gu gets a little emotional and throws an arm over his face, muttering that Na-mi was always cheerful and wouldn’t end her own life. Jae-bok asks if he’s crying, but he doesn’t answer, so she tells him not to regret it and treat his mother well. Bong-gu responds by snoring, hee.
Jae-bok lies down to rest, but Bong-gu keeps breathing in her direction, so she decides to cover his face with his blanket. She can’t quite reach because of her IV, so she tries to hook his blanket with her toes. The plan backfires when she gets a cramp in her hip and starts screeching in pain.
Jae-bok arrives home later to find Jung-hee cleaning and planning dinner, but she’s not fooled. He begs her to reconsider, saying they shouldn’t traumatize the kids, but she reminds him that he’s the one who performed the traumatizing acts. Jung-hee fires back that he’s been hurt too, like how she’s always telling him how he’s incompetent and useless.
He says that he liked Na-mi because she treated him like a man, and Jae-bok retorts that he never treats her like an attractive woman, either. They argue back and forth about who was the first to stop treating the other well, until Jung-hee asks what she even saw in him in the first place. Jae-bok can no longer remember, so she repeats that she wants a divorce.
Furious, she goes outside for some fresh air. Eun-hee joins her to take down the laundry, so Jae-bok helps. She asks if she hurt Eun-hee’s feelings by refusing the kindergarten, but Eun-hee says she totally understands.
Jae-bok asks about the “K&H” embroidered on many of the linens, and Eun-hee confirms that it’s her and her husband’s initials. She asks if Jae-bok and Jung-hee fought, then lies and says she didn’t overhear them.
Jae-bok tells Eun-hee that they found Jung-hee’s mistress’s diary, and that she’d written that she felt sorry toward her. She says that she feels bad, but she still can’t forgive Na-mi or her husband. But she adds that even though they were the ones who did wrong, she’s the one who feels like she’s sinning.
Eun-hee’s face hardens, and she says that’s because Jae-bok is still hurting from a deep wound. Jae-bok asks what Eun-hee was trying to say at the police station, and Eun-hee says that she also has a deep wound. She tells Jae-bok that her husband loves another woman, one from before she met him – his first love.
She looks up at Jae-bok, who is beginning to realize what Eun-hee means. She asks haltingly if Eun-hee knows who her husband’s first love is, and Eun-hee calmly answers, “Yes, I know. It’s you.”
So it’s just as I suspected, that Eun-hee is out for revenge on her husband’s first love, and it’s nice to know the answer to at least one bit of the mystery. That last scene was so creepy, the way Eun-hee changed, and her words became about what she’s been feeling. Whatever scheme Eun-hee is up to, at least we know her motive, if not her end goal. My guess is that Eun-hee wanted to give Kyung-woo children to hopefully earn his love, but when she couldn’t do that, she became a bit unhinged. So now she probably thinks that taking his first love’s children is the next best thing — if she can’t give him babies, she can at least give him the babies of the woman he loves, and in her twisted mind he’ll then come to love her for it. It’s psychotic thinking, but it’s been plain for a while now that Eun-hee isn’t all there. She’s actually beginning to become dangerous, and I’m both eager and nervous to see just how dangerous she’s capable of becoming.
As far as Jae-bok goes, I find her such an interesting character. I love how her whole world is crashing down around her and yet she never loses her strength or integrity. She may seem tough and heartless but it’s all a cover-up, which you can see when she grows emotional and blows up at Jung-hee. Nobody who’s stopped caring would get that upset. But she still has compassion, like when she told the doctor that Jung-hee was Na-mi’s husband so that he would be allowed to see her. You could tell that Jae-bok even hated herself a little in that moment, but she’s not so hard-hearted that she couldn’t see that her husband needed to see the woman he loved one last time.
Unfortunately, I think that as Eun-hee’s psychosis starts to spiral down into dangerous territory, it’s Jae-bok’s compassion (and probably a fair bit of guilt) that will keep her and her kids trapped in Eun-hee’s web. She’s going to try to be understanding of Eun-hee’s loss of the man she loves to another woman — which, now that I think about it, may very well have been Eun-hee’s reason for hiring Na-mi to entice Jung-hee into an affair. It’s possible that Eun-hee wanted to make sure Jae-bok knew how it felt to lose her husband’s love to another woman, and make her more willing to be soft with Eun-hee. We’ve already seen Jae-bok apologize to Eun-hee for hurting her feelings when many other women would have been hightailing it out of that house the moment Eun-hee posed as Hae-wook’s mother at the school. Eun-hee is beginning to push some pretty serious boundaries, particularly in regards to the children, and the way Jae-bok keeps getting tired and dizzy is making me worried — is Eun-hee slipping something into the tea? I’m afraid that Jae-bok’s sympathetic heart is going to give Eun-hee the benefit of the doubt for too long and allow her to take things pretty far before she realizes that it’s all been a deliberate trap.
I’m also very interested in learning more about Bong-gu’s relationship with Na-mi… they obviously aren’t both the natural children of the woman in the hospital, who seems to be Bong-gu’s real mother and Na-mi’s stepmother (though I’m calling her Na-mi’s mom, since Na-mi is the one who claimed her). But it’s strange how one minute, Bong-gu is saying he’s Na-mi’s brother, then the next, he’s insisting that he’s not. He’s clearly rattled by her death, but he denies being associated with her whenever he gets the chance. I believe it’s because he’s jealous of Na-mi for having grown up with his mother when she abandoned him. But he probably also knows it’s not Na-mi’s fault, which would explain Bong-gu’s conflicted feelings. I can’t help feeling that there’s more to it, and that the answers will shed a lot of light as to why Bong-gu is as over-confident and awkward as he is. Luckily he’s also intelligent and intuitive, because Jae-bok is going to need a friend like him as Eun-hee starts to tighten the noose on her.