Perfect Wife: Episode 8
Hold onto your hats folks, because the surprises this episode has in store for us go way beyond anything we’ve seen so far. I’m just floored at this show’s continuing ability to do the one thing I never expected, and yet I still never see it coming. I don’t know how Perfect Wife keeps one-upping itself week after week, but I hope it never stops. Now, just give me a minute to shake off the goosebumps, and we’ll get started…
EPISODE 8 RECAP
After Kyung-woo informs Jae-bok that he’s always been a bad person and leaves, Bong-gu hugs Jae-bok while she cries out her disillusionment. But soon it gets awkward and they push apart, with Bong-gu pretending that his wet eyes are just from bad air quality, ha. Then a frantic call from Jung-hee changes their plans when Jae-bok learns that her son Jin-wook is missing.
Jung-hee runs out to look for Jin-wook, asking Eun-hee to call him if Jin-wook comes home. Eun-hee sees a scared Hae-wook standing on the stairs and holds her arms out, but Hae-wook refuses to go near her. Eun-hee asks Deok-boon if she’s seen Jin-wook, and Deok-boon denies it.
Won-jae brings her daughter Che-ri over to look after Hae-wook, which upsets Eun-hee. Neither Eun-hee nor Deok-boon say a word to Won-jae, which she definitely notes as strange.
Bong-gu drives Jae-bok home, where Jung-hee reluctantly confesses that he and Jin-wook had a fight. Jae-bok thinks about how Deok-boon and Kyung-woo both commented that Jin-wook looks like Kyung-woo, and she asks Bong-gu to take her back to Kyung-woo’s hotel.
Eun-hee asks Deok-boon again if she really didn’t say anything to Jin-wook, but Deok-boon counters that she knows Eun-hee offered Kyung-woo a building to help her. She says Eun-hee is losing her mind, but Eun-hee calmly tells her to take care not to leave a trail.
She asks Deok-boon who keeps calling her from a blocked number, but Deok-boon changes the subject again. She warns Eun-hee to stop throwing her money around, or she’ll go broke and everyone will desert her.
Eun-hee accuses Deok-boon of ruining her own life for money, slipping and accidentally calling her “Mom.” Well, that answers that question. Eun-hee tells her she’s free to trash her own life if she wants, but asks why she had to ruin hers and Brian’s as well.
She says that money isn’t important, reminding Deok-boon that she knows perfectly well what is most important to her. Looking chastened, Deok-boon calls Eun-hee by a different name, but Eun-hee coldly reminds her that her name is Lee Eun-hee now.
Upstairs, Che-ri grows curious about the forbidden staircase, so she sneaks up to check it out. She finds a dim room full of dolls and antique items, then a familiar face catches her eye. She picks up a photo and sees that it’s Jung-hee, singing on stage when he was in his band.
Suddenly the lights come on, and Eun-hee is there, telling Che-ri that she has terrible manners. She snatches the photo of Jung-hee out of Che-ri’s hand, slicing her finger with it and making her bleed. Che-ri isn’t scared of Eun-hee, even when she leans down to growl, “Get lost.”
Jae-bok goes back to Kyung-woo’s hotel, guessing that Jin-wook may have been curious about the comments that he looks like Kyung-woo and went looking for him. She’s right — she finds a forlorn Jin-wook in the lobby, and she does that Mom thing where she yells at him even though she was actually afraid.
Jin-wook just looks at her with those huge eyes, and Jae-bok hugs him tight. Bong-gu fusses at the boy mildly for scaring his mother, seeming to enjoy seeing this maternal side of Jae-bok.
Everyone is relieved to see Jin-wook home safe, especially Jung-hee, who also does the fear-yelling until Hae-wook starts to cry. At one point Jin-wook glances over to Deok-boon, who gives him a tiny shake of her head.
At their home, Won-jae sees Che-ri with the first-aid kit and asks how she hurt her finger. Che-ri starts to tell her mom about Eun-hee and the secret room, but a call distracts Won-jae, so she never hears exactly what happened.
Jung-hee tears up as he washes Jin-wook’s scraped face, fussing at him never to disappear like that again. Later, Jae-bok talks to Jin-wook alone, and she asks if he really went to find out if Kyung-woo is his biological father.
She tells him that it’s silly to think that anyone other than Jung-hee is his dad. She asks if Kyung-woo told him where he was staying, and though Jin-wook says he did, it’s obviously a lie (I’m betting Deok-boon told him).
Bong-gu is still chuckling over Jae-bok and Jin-wook when he arrives at his apartment, but he realizes the door is open and goes into full alert mode. He grabs a bamboo pole and follows some suspicious sounds to the kitchen, where he nearly brains Sam-kyu (who apparently broke in to eat Bong-gu’s ramyun) before realizing who it is.
After Bong-gu calms his racing heart, he gets a text from his stepmother, who’s just checking in on him. She’s still in the hospital, wondering why she hasn’t heard from Na-mi in a while. A shadowy figure steps into her room, and she looks up with a tiny smile.
Fed up, Jae-bok sits Jung-hee and Eun-hee down to set the record straight — she’s never had an affair, so Jin-wook is Jung-hee’s son. She makes it clear to Eun-hee that implying otherwise is a grave insult, then tells Jung-hee to get the DNA test if he doesn’t believe her.
She even lashes out at Deok-boon, snapping that she needs glasses if she thinks Jin-wook looks like Kyung-woo. She warns all three of them never to mention this again, then storms out.
Deok-boon suffers from nightmares that night, and she wakes to find her phone lit up with a call from the blocked number. Terrified, she shoves her fist in her mouth to stifle her screams.
The following day, Kyung-woo calls Jae-bok while she’s at work. He tells her he’s still in town and asks her to meet with him so he can come clean about everything. Next, he calls Eun-hee to inform her of his intentions, which sends her into a rage.
Jae-bok heads out to talk with Kyung-woo, and they spot each other from opposite sides of a busy street. Jae-bok thinks about how Kyung-woo told her on the phone that he’s not Blue Rose, anticipating the full explanation he’s promised. But a bus obscures him from her vision, and at that moment a black van drives up. Two men yank Kyung-woo inside and drive away before anyone notices.
Jae-bok doesn’t see a thing, so she goes back to the office, confused. Bong-gu yells that she startled him like he wasn’t just staring down the hall waiting for her to show up. Ha, she doesn’t even blink before asking him for help with the computer.
Bong-gu is dismal with computers, so Sam-kyu tracks Blue Rose’s ISP address for Jae-bok… right back to Eun-hee’s house. They scatter and pretend to be busy when someone comes into the office, then stare when it turns out to be Eun-hee.
She takes Jae-bok outside to talk and confesses that she’s Blue Rose. Jae-bok is struck speechless, not inclined to accept yet another of Eun-hee’s apologies, knowing that Eun-hee used their online friendship to maneuver her into her house. She asks if Eun-hee’s rich, privileged life was boring, and if she manipulated her for fun.
Eun-hee says that it wasn’t for fun, it was because she believed Jae-bok was her husband’s lover and that she was raising his child. Though Jae-bok repeats that it’s not true, she asks what Eun-hee planned to accomplish by having her in the same house. Eun-hee replies sadly that she thought Kyung-woo would come home if Jae-bok were there.
Jae-bok asks incredulously if Eun-hee still loves Kyung-woo three and a half years after their divorce. Eun-hee says that she does, and that he’s the one who changed. She says that he’s the only man she ever has, or ever will, love.
She offers to show Jae-bok the real truth behind their divorce, then hands her a packet of photos. They all show Eun-hee with wounds on her face and body, which she claims were inflicted by Kyung-woo. Jae-bok can hardly believe that Kyung-woo would do such a hideous thing, or that Eun-hee could still love him after being horrifically abused.
Jin-wook is puttering with his guitar in the school band room when he hears someone on the piano behind him, and turns to see his dad playing along. They play a cheerful little duet, bonding over their mutual love of music.
Jung-hee had been at the school for a teacher conference, and he jokes with Jin-wook that he told his teacher that he’s grumpy lately, but that he’s a great guy. He says that Jin-wook’s bully is just jealous that Jin-wook is a better guitarist, and that no matter what, Jin-wook is his son.
Jung-hee gives Jin-wook a hug and says that he loves him, but he doesn’t get the response he’s hoping for. He hides his disappointment and turns to go, but before he gets far, Jin-wook texts him, “I won’t be sad, so don’t you be sad either. I love you, Dad.” Awww.
Jung-hee surprises Jae-bok that evening when he tells her that he won’t fight her for custody of the kids. He says that it’s not because he thinks Jin-wook may not be his biological child, because even if he isn’t, Jin-wook is still his son.
Jung-hee apologizes for doubting Jae-bok and says that he’s even tried to call Kyung-woo, but he’s not answering his phone. Between cheating on Jae-bok, accusing her of killing Na-mi, and believing even for a minute that Jin-wook may not be his, he doesn’t feel he deserves to be a husband or father.
He says he’ll grant Jae-bok the divorce and asks for a favor: He wants to keep living together in the same house until the kids grow up.
Back at the house, Jae-bok finds Eun-hee sitting alone with a glass of wine, and she joins her. She mentions that she can’t reach Kyung-woo, and Eun-hee sighs that it’s typical of him to disappear for months at a time.
Eun-hee says that she feels better after telling Jae-bok that Kyung-woo abused her. Jae-bok attributes all of Eun-hee’s lying to trauma and says that they can put that behind them and move forward now. When Eun-hee asks, Jae-bok tells her that she and Jung-hee have agreed to divorce.
Eun-hee looks sympathetic, but she dances around later that night in her craft room, elated that everything is going exactly as she’s planned.
The next morning, Jung-hee brings his mother over to watch the kids for the day. She mentions that she’s glad they’ve decided to give things another try, and Jung-hee shoots Jae-bok a pleading look not to correct her.
Eun-hee is walking on air today, and she interrupts Jung-hee’s breakfast with his mother and the kids to bring them some soup. They accept gratefully, but instead of leaving them to their meal, Eun-hee stands there grinning at Jung-hee while he squirms awkwardly.
Hye-ran brings Won-jae to see the new gym where she’s working now, and whines at her to buy a VIP membership. They’re both horrified to find Hye-ran’s stalker, the wife of her ex, in the lobby passing out flyers and telling people not to take her classes. By now Hye-ran has had it up to here with the woman’s harassment, and she chases her out of the building.
Jae-bok and Jung-hee file the official divorce papers. Jae-bok repeats her promise to be friends and raise their children together, holding out a hand to shake. But instead, Jung-hee asks her to use the three month waiting period to reconsider her decision.
Jae-bok doesn’t answer and only sends him on his way, calling after him to hold his head up and not to cry. She thinks back on all the good times in their relationship, and tells herself that she has no regrets, because what they had was beautiful.
But Jung-hee is heartbroken and unable to focus on his work because he feels so guilty about allowing his family to fall apart. He gets careless and hurts his back, ending up in the hospital.
Eun-hee rushes to his side to find him sleeping in the emergency room. She softly asks if he left her just to live like this and asks him to give her time — she’ll save him. She quickly composes herself when Jung-hee wakes, and explains that his mother sent her.
Meanwhile, Jae-bok and her friends go out drinking to celebrate her newfound singlehood. A handsome male student smiles over at the ladies, and Hye-ran and Jae-bok joke about which of them he’s checking out. Won-jae corrects them both — he’s one of her students who’s had a crush on her for a while now.
The three friends laugh and tease each other, and Jae-bok thinks that it’s her time to be happy and live an awesome life. But the alcohol gets to them eventually, and they end up moping into their drinks, whining about how much life sucks. HA.
Won-jae thinks Jae-bok got a bad hand, with both her first love and her husband stabbing her in the back. Hye-ran says that Won-jae’s late husband wasn’t any better, prompting Won-jae to retort that at least she doesn’t date married men.
Won-jae advises Jae-bok to spend the divorce waiting period thinking about what she really wants. Jae-bok sighs that what she doesn’t want is a marriage without love or trust, or to stay together out of obligation.
Bong-gu rescues Jae-bok from her weirdo friends, calling her out to see something urgent. They peer through a restaurant window to see Deok-boon sitting at a table with Yoo-kyung, Na-mi’s friend from school.
Deok-boon is accusing Yoo-kyung of calling her from the blocked number, though Yoo-kyung firmly denies it. Bong-gu doesn’t know Deok-boon, but he snarls when Jae-bok tells him that she works for Eun-hee, and the two of them go barging inside.
Jae-bok gets right to the point, asking Deok-boon if she’s the one who sent Na-mi that large deposit right before she died. Bong-gu even shows her Na-mi’s bank statement, but Deok-boon acts all offended, showing them her ID, which gives her real name as Moon Hyung-sun.
Bong-gu and Jae-bok leave, Jae-bok complaining that she knows it was Hyung-sun (we’ll switch to her real name, now that we know what it is) but has no proof. Bong-gu says they do have proof, and presents Jae-bok with a brooch he found in Na-mi’s apartment that he suspects belongs to Hyung-sun.
As Eun-hee drives Jung-hee home, she says that she didn’t tell Jae-bok he was hurt, and he agrees that he wouldn’t want to bother her. Eun-hee says that Jae-bok must be happy to have such a thoughtful husband, but Jung-hee mutters that if she were happy, she wouldn’t be divorcing him.
Eun-hee feigns sorrow at the news even as she smiles to herself, then indulges in a long, adoring look at Jung-hee. With her eyes off the road she doesn’t see that she’s about to rear-end another car, until Jung-hee cries out a warning.
Eun-hee’s arm flies out to block Jung-hee from hitting the dashboard, and something about the motion triggers long-forgotten memories in his mind. He sees a car plowing through a barrier, himself in the passenger seat, and an arm holding him back the same as Eun-hee just did.
Shaken, he asks Eun-hee if they’ve met before. She says nervously that she doesn’t remember ever meeting him, but she looks startled by Jung-hee’s question.
She helps him inside the house, but he jumps away from her when he sees Jae-bok standing on the stairs. They explain what happened, and Jae-bok snaps at Eun-hee to call her next time, because it’s her place to take care of these things, not Eun-hee’s.
After Jung-hee shuffles upstairs, Jae-bok asks Eun-hee what the housekeeper’s real name is. Eun-hee calmly confirms that it’s Moon Hyung-sun, but her eyes go wide and scared when Jae-bok holds out the brooch and asks if it’s Hyung-sun’s.
Taken by surprise, Eun-hee says that it is, but Hyung-sun rushes in and says a bit to stridently that it’s not hers. Jae-bok insists it must be, since it was found in Na-mi’s apartment, boldly claiming that Hyung-sun probably dropped it there the day Na-mi died.
Hyung-sun screams that the brooch isn’t hers, so Jae-bok casually pockets it. She says she’ll bring more things to show to Hyung-sun later, and wishes her goodnight.
Jae-bok’s hears a ringing in her coat pocket, and she realizes that she somehow ended up with Bong-gu’s phone. She goes back out to return it, since she knows he has a trial in the morning.
Eun-hee corners Hyung-sun in her room, furious that Hyung-sun carelessly left evidence at Na-mi’s place. Hyung-sun lies that the brooch isn’t hers, asking why she’d be at Na-mi’s apartment. Eun-hee says she was there because she killed Na-mi, asking if Hyung-sun thought she didn’t know.
Bong-gu’s door is broken again when he returns home, and there’s food out on the kitchen counter, so he assumes that Sam-kyu came over again. But a set of small sneaker tracks alert him to the fact that it’s a stranger, so he pretends he’s talking to Sam-kyu and says he’s getting in the shower.
While he’s in the bathroom, someone sneaks out of the shadows and starts to clean up the food on the counter. The person is slight with delicate hands, probably a woman — is it Yoo-kyung?
Bong-gu bursts out of hiding and grabs the person, whipping them around to see their face, then he lets go and backs away in shock. He starts to babble that he must be dreaming, and we see the intruder’s face… holy cats, it’s Na-mi. Na-mi is alive!
Bong-gu can’t even process what he’s seeing right now, and when Na-mi steps closer, he backs away and holds up his fingers in a cross. He looks like he’s trying not to scream, or cry, or probably both, and it takes him a long time to be able to look Na-mi in the face.
The tears win when Na-mi calls him Oppa, then they both turn when they hear a noise, to see Jae-bok staring at them incredulously. Na-mi tries to hide her face, but it’s too late — Jae-bok has seen her.
Na-mi is alive? Is this show trying to kill me?! Every time I think there’s no way this drama can surprise me again, it not only does exactly that, but in ways even bigger than I thought possible. I have no idea how Na-mi is going to explain that she didn’t die, not when Bong-gu, Jung-hee, and the doctor all saw her dead body. I can’t wait to hear her explanation though, because I’m sure it will be even better than anything I’m imagining.
As much as I dislike Jung-hee for cheating on Jae-bok, I have to admit that however he fails as a husband, he’s a pretty damn good dad. He works hard to provide for his children the best he can, and he obviously loves them deeply. Most of his pleas to Jae-bok not to divorce him aren’t because he loves her so much, but because he can’t bear the thought of losing his kids. Even when he suspected that Jin-wook may not be his biological son, it didn’t change how he felt about the boy at all. What makes a father isn’t DNA, but the love and security a man gives to a child, and on that front, Jung-hee excels.
The deeper we delve into Eun-hee’s mind, the more I think that she’s not just the vengeful, jilted wife I first believed her to be, but a severely mentally ill woman. I’m still unsure how much of her manipulation of Jae-bok is jealousy over Kyung-woo, and how much is jealousy over Jung-hee, and my feelings on that flip-flop several times every episode. Based on several revelations in this episode, I’m now convinced that Eun-hee’s endgame is Jung-hee, that this entire plan has been for the purpose of taking him for herself. My current theory (for the next five minutes, anyway) hinges on something Eun-hee did in the previous episode, when she ripped up her wedding photos with Kyung-woo and said she didn’t need them anymore. At the time it felt like a frivolous gesture from an unstable woman, but now I’m wondering if it carried a darker meaning.
What if, way back when Jung-hee was in his band, Eun-hee was obsessed with him and somehow decided they were in love? Then he fell in love with Jae-bok, but in Eun-hee’s delusional version of the truth, Jae-bok stole her man. Knowing now how far Eun-hee will go to get her revenge, I can see her finding the last man Jae-bok dated, convincing him to marry her for her money, then using him to enact vengeance against Jae-bok — and, in Eun-hee’s mind, get Jung-hee “back.” Even a week ago I would have called this theory far-fetched, but now I can believe Eun-hee doing something like this, and worse. And speaking of worse, I would never dismiss a woman who said a man was physically abusing her, but in Eun-hee’s case I don’t believe it for one single minute. She’ll do and say anything to keep Jae-bok in her grasp, and I think her claims of abuse at Kyung-woo’s hands are just one more lie to keep Jae-bok off-balance and elicit enough compassion from her to keep her (and thus Jung-hee) from leaving the house.
The only weak part of the story, in my opinion, is how Jae-bok continues living in Eun-hee’s house and listening to her excuses even after knowing how much she’s lied. Maybe it’s that compassion I saw in Jae-bok early on, particularly once Eun-hee claimed to have been abused by Kyung-woo, because she seems much too willing to put all the lies and manipulations behind them. But it’s a bit hard to understand why she would allow her children to keep being exposed to someone who is a pathological liar at best. My hope is that Na-mi’s return kicks things into high gear in regards to exposing what’s really going on, because I’m sure that Na-mi has some truths to tell Jae-bok that will make what she knows so far look like child’s play.