Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 5
Now we’re getting somewhere. After allowing herself to be relegated to the sidelines while a dangerous criminal terrorized the streets of Do-bong, Bong-soon takes the first steps in using her powers for good when an attack hits a little too close to home. Min-hyuk and Gook-doo argue over Bong-soon’s safety, but at the end of the day, it seems like only Bong-soon and her super strength can keep everyone safe.
EPISODE 5: “Seems as If They’re a Friend, and yet Not”
Bong-soon rides the subway as she reflects on her chance encounter with the kidnapper. We flash back to that moment as she belatedly makes the connection, then as she frantically tried to chase after him. Unfortunately, the trail went cold, so instead, she tapped into her other senses and attempts to piece together more details, like how he smelled of rusted metal and gasoline.
The subway groper (from Episode 1) is at it again, but today, he isn’t so lucky. Bong-soon spots him feeling up a young woman from behind, and for a second her gaze connects with the groper. He’s so certain that Bong-soon can’t do anything to stop him that he continues right on with his harassment and even taunts her to do something.
Internally, Bong-soon wonders, “Would the world become a better place if I used my power properly?” Then she glares up at the groper, ready to make things right.
The scene skips ahead to Bong-soon playing it cool as she exits the subway car. The camera pans back inside to a crowd surrounding the groper, who flails like a fish on the ground as he clutches his unnaturally bent finger and screams in agony. Yeah, girl!
At AinSoft, Bong-soon stares up at a poster of an armor-clad female warrior holding a trident. The top of the poster reads: “Chronicle of Albertan,” AinSoft’s new game. She wonders to herself what it would be like if such women existed in the real world, and then suddenly the trident materializes off the poster and drifts into her hands, as if bequeathing her with its higher purpose.
Min-hyuk appears at the moment to burst her daydream, snapping her back to reality. He acts normal as he greets her and stares thoughtfully at the energy drink she offers him before announcing that they should “get rid of her hangover.”
They relocate to a restaurant to dine on some spicy soup. In between bites, Min-hyuk inquires after the pager fastened around her wrist. She cradles the gift as if it were fine jewelry but then fumbles to find the English words to describe what it’s called. (As always, he has to correct her, and this time the word she was looking for was “wearable” rather than “wearobo,” ha.)
After Bong-soon chirps that it was a gift from Gook-doo, a weird look crosses Min-hyuk’s face, but he doesn’t say anything. She explains what it’s for, and Min-hyuk comments cryptically that he hopes she won’t need to use it.
She then recounts her brief encounter with the kidnapper, which fills Min-hyuk with worry as he tosses out the idea of hiring some extra muscle to protect them, but Bong-soon reassures him that she’ll protect him.
She promises him in such a sweet way that he brightens up immediately and is barely able to hide the smile growing on his face. The moment doesn’t last long though, as he challenges her declaration with a reminder of what she said to him last night during her drunken tirade.
Bong-soon sputters to defend herself, but Min-hyuk pointedly warns her not to drink anymore, then changes the topic to Secretary Gong’s imminent return to work.
For a moment, Bong-soon worries about being misplaced, but Min-hyuk points out that she’s still his bodyguard. He acts in his usual persnickety way, but when she isn’t looking, he gazes at her tenderly.
They return to Min-hyuk’s office, where he shows Bong-soon her newly built study area and points out the English textbooks he’s prepared for her. She pouts at the diss, but then perks up when he tells her that he’ll be in lockdown mode working on Chronicles of Albertan until it goes live.
She tries to aegyo her way onto his development team, but he shoots her down, since they’ve yet to capture his blackmailer.
Bong-soon sulks as she settles into her adorable little deskhouse, while Min-hyuk puts on his competent CEO hat. She copies down a few vocabulary words like “meat,” and “beef” (haha, they’re all food words), but she’s more focused on listening to Min-hyuk fire out orders to his team and sneaking glances at his computer.
At the walnut shop, Mom and her girls discuss the missing ballet school owner. One makes the connection that all the women who’ve recently gone missing are thin-framed, then begs Mom to watch over Bong-soon, since she could be next.
One of the walnut shop workers shows Dad the now viral video of a drunken Bong-soon waving around the metal pole at the club, and Mom speeds over to see it for herself.
Mom calls Bong-soon to rant about how she will need to leave Do-bong and probably Korea because she can’t bear the shame Bong-soon has brought to their family. Bong-soon is blindsided by Mom’s rage and soon finds the video.
We flash back to the previous night, where we see Bong-soon slouched on the ground, still clutching her pole, as onlookers filmed her with their phones. Bong-ki’s pleas for them to stop went unheeded, and so Bong-soon drunkenly wailed, “It’s not my fault that I’m strong!”
In the present, Min-hyuk looks around for Bong-soon and finds her hiding under her little desk, wincing from embarrassment. He spots the video and then proceeds to rub salt on her wounds by asking for her autograph, since she’s a celebrity now.
Meanwhile, all of Bong-soon’s victims also watch the video and confirm their reverence/hatred for her, with the schoolboys crying out for their noonim while the gangsters crow about getting even.
Back at AinSoft, Secretary Gong hobbles into Min-hyuk’s office as Bong-soon continues to hide under her desk. Thinking that they’re alone, Secretary Gong waits about thirty seconds before trash-talking Bong-soon and her freakish strength.
He describes all the rumors he knows about Bong-soon, which purport that she’s a North Korean spy or an alien before warning Min-hyuk to keep away from her.
Min-hyuk tries to inform Secretary Gong that Bong-soon is in the room with them before the secretary shoves his foot deeper into his mouth, but he’s so wrapped up in his gossip that he doesn’t notice.
Finally, Bong-soon steps out to make her presence known, prompting some angelic music to play in the background as if foretelling Secretary Gong’s impending doom.
Showcasing his unrivaled kindness, Min-hyuk suggests the two catch-up to coordinate their tasks as Secretary Gong looks at him with pleading eyes. Min-hyuk whispers an apology before abandoning him to Bong-soon.
When the secretaries are gone, Min-hyuk calls up a reporter he knows and firmly suggests they remove a certain video from circulation.
He isn’t done making calls, and gets Gook-doo on the line to notify the detective of Bong-soon’s morning run-in. Gook-doo becomes frantic to hear about the incident, which means that Min-hyuk can’t resist making a little jab at the uselessness of Gook-doo’s “wearable” in the same breath.
Min-hyuk is combative throughout the call, then leaves Gook-doo with the implication that he isn’t doing nearly enough to ensure Bong-soon’s safety.
Afterward, Gook-doo turns his frustrations onto Bong-soon for not reporting to him, then runs out to be by her side. Meanwhile, the other detectives encounter a series of roadblocks in their investigation of the missing ballet school owner and seem to be getting nowhere fast.
Bong-soon and Secretary Gong meet to discuss recent events, but first, they commence layers of apologies and non-apologies as Secretary Gong apologizes for trash-talking about her, then Bong-soon fake-apologizes for hurting him in the first place, then for overhearing his bad-mouthing, which makes him even more apologetic. As she speaks, Bong-soon waves her arms around excessively, prompting Secretary Gong to flinch each time.
She debriefs Secretary Gong on that latest, but her report is about two sentences long since, as she points out repeatedly, Min-hyuk does squat. Hilariously, Secretary Gong keeps apologizing each time she mentions it, as if he’s to blame for Min-hyuk’s ways.
Then she oh-so-casually mentions the kind-of-sort-of-important family dinner they went to where Chairman Ahn named Min-hyuk heir and ruler of all. Secretary Gong presses for more details, but Bong-soon draws a blank.
A little while later, Min-hyuk glances over and notices Bong-soon dozing off at her desk. He smirks and walks over to sit beside her, watching her head bob up and down with a soft look in his eyes.
He thinks back to the night before, as the crowd videotaped a drunk and vulnerable Bong-soon like the latest freak show. Min-hyuk crouched down to try and pry the pole from Bong-soon’s grip and convince her to leave with him, but she continued to cry out about how she didn’t ask to be strong.
It’s those words that ring through him as he studies her in the present. He reaches over to touch her head, when suddenly, Gook-doo barges in.
Gook-doo calls out to Bong-soon and wakes her despite Min-hyuk’s attempts to shush him. He gets right to chastising her for neglecting to tell him about encountering the kidnapper. He takes particular issue with the fact that he only heard of the incident secondhand from Min-hyuk, which earns Min-hyuk a prompt and piercing glare from Bong-soon.
Min-hyuk avoids her eyes before asking Gook-doo if he’s made any new arrangements to ensure Bong-soon’s safety, and Gook-doo replies that henceforth, he shall escort the fair maiden home.
However, when he asks what time Bong-soon will finish for the day, Min-hyuk dismisses him and asserts that he will deliver Bong-soon to safety. Things soon get heated as the boys argue back and forth, until Bong-soon has to step between them and gleefully voice her dismay over their hostility and her dangerous popularity.
The boys look over to Bong-soon as if noticing her for the first time, then they immediately begin backpedaling, offering each other for the task, hee. In fact, neither seem to even remember where Bong-soon lives anymore. (HA.) The fight bubbles over as the boys become increasingly insistent that the other take responsibility, leaving poor Bong-soon frowning. Gook-doo came all the over just to do this?
In the end, Min-hyuk is tasked with driving Bong-soon home, and he criticizes Gook-doo the entire ride. Min-hyuk graciously concedes that as her boss he should protect her–… but then seems to realize that she’s the bodyguard.
He starts to complain about the role reversal, until she snaps that he was the one who forced her to tag along since he said he wanted walnut pies.
After several dead ends, the detectives finally catch a break and spot the ballet school owner’s missing car on some CCTV footage. Gook-doo and his colleague head out to search the area where the car was last seen, which leads them to an auto salvage nearby.
They question one of the workers on the missing car, but he says he hasn’t seen it. The detectives and the junkyard worker size each other up when they think the other isn’t looking, but the detectives are forced to leave empty-handed.
Mom returns to the walnut shop after protesting with her friends and is positively tickled by the presence of Min-hyuk. When he tries to pay for his treats, she refuses his money, explaining that they are practically “family.”
He’s dumbfounded by the description, so Mom explains that Bong-soon is part of his corporate family, and so Min-hyuk is like her family too. Mom adds that he shouldn’t each too much pie at once or he’ll get… diarrhea. Mom’s verbal diarrhea is a little too much for Bong-soon to bear, so she quickly ushers out a speechless Min-hyuk.
At the hospital, Hee-ji visits for a follow-up and asks about Bong-ki’s whereabouts. He’s tied up at that moment treating the gangster Kwang-bok for his numerous injuries. After watching the video, the gangsters begin plotting their revenge against Bong-soon as her twin listens.
Kwang-bok vows to destroy Bong-soon, leading Bong-ki to wrap his entire head in bandages, causing some deep confusion and muffled protests, lol. Bong-ki defends his dressing technique (“Hepatitis preventative!”) and makes a quick getaway before the gangster can catch on.
Hee-ji waits for Bong-ki in the hall and tries to make plans with him as soon as he’s free, adamant on meeting him whenever. Bleh.
She comments on how fast her hand is healing, then ruefully adds that the rate is too fast. Bong-ki replies that her injury will take a long time to heal, and even if it seems better, she’ll need to continue coming in for treatment. Back away from this situation, Bong-ki.
Hee-ji gets a text from her boyfriend at that moment, wishing her well on her appointment, and she excuses herself.
At the Do house, Bong-soon searches for her drunken video but can’t find it. Kyung-shim theorizes that Min-hyuk must’ve asked the original uploader to take down the video, and Bong-soon barks that there’s no way Min-hyuk would help her out.
She starts grumbling about how much of a weirdo Min-hyuk is, which makes Kyung-shim repeat that she doesn’t think he’s gay at all. Bong-soon fires back her evidence, which includes Min-hyuk descriptive adoration of Gook-doo’s rear end.
Instead of convincing Kyung-shim, her friend goes into her own speech about Gook-doo’s magnificent tush, which only stresses Bong-soon out to be reminded of all the men and women she’s competing against for Gook-doo’s attention. I love that she’s more worried about Min-hyuk than Hee-ji.
After thinking about Gook-doo’s tasty bum, Kyung-shim makes herself hungry and heads out into the night to pick up some tofu to complete their dinner.
Growing worried when Kyung-shim doesn’t return, Bong-soon calls her phone, but the calls go unanswered as Kyung-shim tries to outrun the Masked Man lurking behind her. Kyung-shim pulls out her phone as Bong-soon’s name illuminates her screen and presses the button, but the Masked Man appears out of thin air and steps right into her path. Oh nooo!
He knocks her down with a metal pipe, then beats her as she lays crumpled on the asphalt. He raises the bar to deliver a devastating blow, but is stopped by a mighty arm. Hell yes!
Bong-soon holds the man in place as he struggles to understand his situation, then she bends the metal back until it crushes his hand before kicking him away. She hurries over to Kyung-shim’s side and cradles her friend in her arms.
Later that night, Bong-ki comes out of the ICU to tell a distraught Bong-soon that Kyung-shim is out of immediate danger and will recover from her injuries.
That night, Bong-soon keeps vigil over Kyung-shim as she recovers, and apologizes profusely when her friend wakes. To puncture the somber mood, Kyung-shim asks what happened to their food as she tries to comfort a tearful Bong-soon.
Deciding that enough is enough, Mom assembles the ajummas in her neighborhood protesting group to start escorting the younger women home late at night. What seems like a straightforward task gets complicated quickly as the ajummas try to define whom to protect.
They attempt to designate an age range, but one woman points out that with the advancements of anti-aging technology, appearances can be deceiving. Another suggests that since the kidnapper has only targeted thinner women thus far, they should focus on protecting those under a certain weight limit, which goes over probably as well as you’d expect.
Boss Tak and his boys enter the walnut shop in the middle of their meeting. He introduces himself as the CEO of the construction company helming the redevelopment effort, and the one directly opposing their protests.
He offers all the men in his company as protectors of the neighborhood and emphatically argues that the redevelopment of the neighborhood will create safer and more well-lit areas that will benefit all. However, since construction will take time, his men will protect the neighborhood in the meantime.
After Boss Tak and his men leave, the ajummas remain confused on who to trust, since the so-called construction workers look like criminals themselves. Mom steps up and recommends they “ignore” those guys and continue with their original plan, haha.
The next morning in the hospital, the mood is light between the friends as they joke about a dark topic (Kyung-shim’s wounds), until Kyung-shim muses on how scared the kidnapped women must have felt when they were attacked and had no one to save them like she did.
Mom arrives to check on Kyung-shim and to scold Bong-soon for sending Kyung-shim out and missing the opportunity to apprehend the criminal once and for all. Bong-soon doesn’t argue back and takes Mom’s verbal beating.
Meanwhile at AinSoft, a restless Min-hyuk calls Secretary Gong into his office and instructs him to sit at Bong-soon’s empty desk and “stay by my side.” The mood is confusingly romantic as Min-hyuk confesses to Secretary Gong, “It’s only when people are gone that you notice their presence in your life.”
He clearly means Bong-soon, but in the background, a love ballad blares over the scene and Min-hyuk’s gaze is meaningful as he looks at his secretary. To top it off, he hands him a box of chocolates as a White Day gift, which he’d presumably intended to give to Bong-soon. This music is killing me, oh gawd.
Gook-doo joins the twins in Kyung-shim’s room and asks her to recount the previous night’s events for him. She tells her listeners that before she saw the Masked Man, she felt something in the air. Then when she ran from him, he strangely and suddenly appeared right in front of her. (Omo, a super villain?)
The memory is enough to send chills down her spine, and she adds that if not for Bong-soon, she would’ve been toast. Gook-doo is confused by her statement and asks what she means. Kyung-shim nearly outs Bong-soon’s secret until Bong-soon squeezes her hands to stop her, answering instead that Bong-soon scared the man off with her shouting, causing the twins to laugh nervously.
It’s explanation enough for Gook-doo, who then asks if Kyung-shim got a good look at the man’s face. Kyung-shim’s expression is troubled as she replies, “That man didn’t have a face.”
Outside in the hall, Gook-doo interrogates Bong-soon on why she didn’t use the emergency pager last night. He explodes when she lies that she forgot about it, but after taking a breath, he asks if she’s hurt anywhere. Without waiting for her to answer, he tells her to get out of the neighborhood for the time being.
And though he struggles to say it, eventually he tells her to hide out at Min-hyuk’s place. Bong-soon nearly tells Gook-doo about her super strength so that he doesn’t worry about her so much, but she loses her nerve.
Gook-doo goes to AinSoft to ask the same of Min-hyuk, and Min-hyuk comments on how Gook-doo really doesn’t know Bong-soon at all. But Gook-doo warns the CEO that while he is housing Bong-soon, he isn’t to lay a finger on her.
Min-hyuk, as observant as ever, asks pointedly if Gook-doo is worried about Bong-soon only as a friend. Gook-doo evades answering, and Min-hyuk leaves it at that, perhaps not wanting to hear him confirm it.
Before he leaves, Gook-doo has one more item of business to settle and demands to know why Min-hyuk speaks informally to him when they are the same age. Min-hyuk comments on Gook-doo abusing his authority by looking up his information, then asks that Gook-doo keep his age a secret from Bong-soon.
Gook-doo threatens to start speaking informally as well, but of course, his personality won’t allow it, so he leaves after repeating his request to keep Bong-soon safe in jondaemal.
Once Gook-doo is gone, Min-hyuk says to himself, “Do Bong-soon, I don’t think your love is one-sided.”
Gook-doo calls Bong-soon at night to tell her that he will escort her to work, and so Bong-soon takes extra care as she gets ready the next morning.
Upon seeing her, Gook-doo complains about the length of her skirt and her makeup, explaining that she shouldn’t make herself too pretty. The comment and its implication instantly sets her heart aflutter.
The pair arrives in front of AinSoft just as Min-hyuk walks up. They are lost in their own little bubble, and so Min-hyuk is forced to watch their exchange from afar. Their back and forth is cracking me up, because on one end, Bong-soon is telling Gook-doo to go as if they are lovers refusing to be the first to hang up the phone. But one the other hand, Gook-doo is more blunt, and then he finally does leave first.
Min-hyuk observes Bong-soon’s euphoria with disdain but keeps his distance as he mutters bitterly under his breath. He mocks the little skip she does as she enters the building from behind and calls out to her in an attempt to burst her happy bubble.
It doesn’t work, but after she thanks him for giving her the day off to take care of Kyung-shim, he’s practically mollified.
By the time they reach their office, she’s still swooning over Gook-doo’s indirect compliment. She flits around the room recalling his words, then retreats to the bathroom to continue squealing.
As she washes her hands, her favorite fantasy Gook-doo appears to repeat the phrase in several different ways until finally he says plainly, “You’re pretty.”
When she returns to their office, Min-hyuk tells Bong-soon to stay at his house because Gook-doo said so. He’s matter-of-fact about it and tries to return to his conversation with Secretary Gong, but Bong-soon continues to gush about how much Gook-doo worries about her, and cares about her, and thinks about her, and she’s too blind to take the hint.
At home, Mom packs some racy underwear for Bong-soon to take with her to Min-hyuk’s house (HAHAHA!), and sings Gook-doo’s praises for facilitating this golden opportunity. Dad criticizes Mom for being so shameless, but Mom isn’t chastised one bit as she proclaims proudly that she will see to it that Bong-soon lives in luxury, unlike herself.
However, when Secretary Gong comes to pick up Bong-soon’s things, Mom launches into a speech about how difficult it is for them as a conservative family to send Bong-soon alone to a man’s house (this woman is playing the long game, lol), but given the circumstances, they’ve decided to accept Min-hyuk’s offer.
As they load Bong-soon’s belongs into the car, Secretary Gong asks about a large blanket Mom packed. Mom replies seriously that Min-hyuk and Bong-soon must sleep together under the blanket, earning a confused look. She then bursts into laughter and promises that she was only kidding.
At Min-hyuk’s house, Min-hyuk and Bong-soon gape at all the bizarre items Mom prepared for her daughter, which very awkwardly includes a pair of wooden wedding ducks. Min-hyuk stares at it in astonishment while Bong-soon moves to put her things away, but in the process, she accidentally pulls out some of the lace undies Mom planted.
Both are alarmed at the sight but try to play it off as if the implication isn’t printed in bright neon letters. Min-hyuk observes with forced nonchalance that her mom has interesting taste and even says the underwear is pretty… making the mood even more awkward.
They retreat to their rooms for bedtime, and for some (Bong-soon-sized) reason, Min-hyuk can’t seem to fall asleep. He looks out into the hall and wonders if Bong-soon is already sleeping.
Meanwhile, Bong-soon chats with Kyung-shim to check on her condition. As the girls talk, Mom can barely hold herself back from snatching the phone away and asking about the blanket. Of course, Bong-soon can hear all of Mom’s shameless questions while pretending not to.
Bong-soon nestles in for the night, but then struggles to drift off as her mind churns from her memories related to the kidnapper. With a determined look in her eyes, she heads out into the night alone.
It doesn’t take long before a figure follows her trail and stalks from the shadows. Bong-soon leads him through the neighborhood as he inches closer and closer, until he reaches out to grab her by the shoulder. She spins around, ready to use her strength, but is shocked to see Min-hyuk instead. Awww, were you worried?
He admits that he thought she was sleepwalking, so he followed her to make sure she was okay. When she announces her intention to catch the criminal herself, Min-hyuk tries to dissuade her and lead her back to safety.
However, something has changed in Bong-soon, and so she tells Min-hyuk, “I’ve kept my super strength a secret all my life. But now, I want to use this strength for a good cause.” They end up back at Min-hyuk’s house anyway, just in time to receive Gook-doo at the door.
Gook-doo looks relieved at the sight of an unharmed Bong-soon before announcing that he will also be staying for the night.
I have never been more ready for cohabitation hijinks in my life. After teasing us last week with the idea, I can’t wait to see what kind of hilarious situations they get themselves into. It was funny to see the ways in which Min-hyuk and Gook-doo bicker with each other in this episode, but I trust Min-hyuk to make things even more (entertainingly) awkward.
Now that Bong-soon has finally begun to see how she might use her powers for good, I could feel something in this universe shift as that unshakable listlessness Bong-soon carried within her began to dissolve. I am so excited to see what she does, because God knows that Gook-doo and his team of bumbling detectives need all the help they can get. Bong-soon isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed either, but at least she’s got the sharpest knife. So that will be helpful, I think/hope.
I am not at all surprised that Bong-soon managed to hide her secret from Gook-doo all these years just based on his observation skills. He seems like the kind of person who is content with accepting things at face value, or accepting his version of the world because that’s the only thing that he wants to believe, even if it means that he suffers for it.
I think that Gook-doo is actually a very important character in this kind of story, because he’s so committed to his belief and core misunderstanding of Bong-soon that it sets the stage for a very satisfying reversal when he finally learns the truth. What I like about having someone like Gook-doo in Bong-soon’s life is that there’s often a version of him in every woman’s life. Someone who undermines and dismisses a woman (even unintentionally) because he believes that she is helpless, doomed to be a victim, and ignorant of the true wolfish natures of men, no matter how independent she seems. That type of behavior is rampant in our society, so I am eager to see what he does after he discovers Bong-soon’s SUPER secret and secret crush, and if his reaction to those revelations will ninform each other in any way.
Min-hyuk is keeping his cards relatively close to the vest, but I think he has already figured out that he likes Bong-soon (and so have we). Now that Bong-soon’s crush is becoming more tangible, I am curious to see how Min-hyuk will introduce himself as a contender for her heart. As of now, he hasn’t got a snowball’s chance, but uphill battles are usually more satisfying anyway. Besides, with someone like Mom on his side, how can he lose?
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 4
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 3
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 2
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Episode 1
- Backhugs and schoolgirl crushes on Strong Woman Do Bong-soon
- Strong Woman Do Bong-soon’s unexpected loveline
- Park Hyung-shik arm-wrestles Strong Woman Do Bong-soon in new teaser
- Gender roles get swapped around in Strong Woman Do Bong-soon