Perfect Wife: Episode 14
Although it feels like Jae-bok is finally getting the true explanation for Eun-hee’s obsession with Jung-hee, Eun-hee steps up her lies and schemes, determined to get her man at any cost. And Jae-bok’s already complicated life grows even harder to handle when someone very close to her can’t hide their true feelings anymore, forcing Jae-bok to confront the fact that she may very well have some unresolved feelings of her own.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
When Jae-bok confronts Eun-hee with her past, Eun-hee suddenly becomes terrified and pleads with her not to tell Jung-hee that she was his stalker back in college. When Jung-hee arrives home, Eun-hee drags Jae-bok into a room and throws herself at her feet, pitifully begging her for help. She even offers to leave and never show her face again if Jae-bok keeps her secret.
Outside the door, Jung-hee hears their conversation. He backs away, pretending to be on a phone call, and just leaves Jae-bok to deal with Eun-hee alone. He gets in his car and speeds away, but Bong-gu kept his promise to Jae-bok to stay close, and he follows Jung-hee.
Jae-bok breaks free of Eun-hee’s grip, gasping that it must be all true — that Eun-hee was Jung-hee’s stalker, and that she changed her face and hair and infiltrated their lives on purpose. Eun-hee admits it all, blaming her mental illness on her mother’s abuse when she was a child as she sobs that she never learned how to love.
Having overheard this, Hyung-sun comes screaming into the room. She viciously shakes Eun-hee and spouts hateful abusive insults until Jae-bok throws herself between them and pulls Eun-hee away. Jae-bok says that an attorney (Bong-gu) is outside listening to everything and is preparing a case against Hyung-sun for everything she’s done, which gets Hyung-sun to stop her attack and slink away.
As Jung-hee drives aimlessly, he recalls a day that he and Eun-hee (when she was Eun-kyung) were in her car, with Eun-hee driving. Jung-hee had told Eun-hee that they were over once they got to their destination, and Eun-hee had gone into a sort of frozen daze. Jung-hee hadn’t seemed very concerned about Eun-hee’s feelings and had acted annoyed when she’d stopped responding.
Finally he’d yelled at her to pull over and let him out, but Eun-hee had muttered that he wasn’t getting out of the car. She’d slammed the gas pedal to the floor and ordered Jung-hee to say he would love her forever.
Eun-hee had driven the car onto a dirt road, saying that they’d die together before she’d let him leave her. She’d sped towards a ravine, intent on taking them both over the edge. But at the last second, she’d hit the brakes and thrown an arm out to shield Jung-hee, and they’d skidded to a stop just inches from the edge of the cliff.
Weak and bleeding from a head wound, Eun-hee had reached out to touch Jung-hee’s hand. He’d roused just enough to push her hand away before passing out again.
When Jae-bok can’t reach Jung-hee in the present, she calls Bong-gu, who asks how the talk went. He doesn’t mention that he’s still following Jung-hee, then Jae-bok has to hang up when Jung-hee’s mother shows up unannounced.
She apologizes for being too hard on Jae-bok earlier and cries when Jae-bok asks again if she knew about Jung-hee’s college stalker. She reveals that Jung-hee was hospitalized from the shock of almost dying at Eun-hee’s hands and forgot everything. She begs Jae-bok not to tell him that his stalker is back, terrified of what could happen if he remembers.
What Jung-hee’s mother doesn’t know is that Eun-hee is Eun-kyung, with a different face and name. She asks Jae-bok where Jung-hee’s stalker is now, but Jae-bok doesn’t tell her.
As it turns out, it was Jung-hee who took down all of the photos from Eun-hee’s stalker wall in the secret room. He pulls off the road to burn them, vowing that he’ll no longer be the weak man he’s been. After he leaves, Bong-gu salvages the one photo of Jung-hee that wasn’t completely burned.
In the shower, Eun-hee thinks about her breakdown in front of Jae-bok and starts crying again. But she gets control of herself and decides that she can’t disappear like she promised, not when she’s so close to her goal.
Bong-gu waits for Jae-bok at Won-jae’s place, quipping that he knew where she’d go because he knows her heart. Jae-bok feels bad that he came all this way when she’s too tired to talk, so Bong-gu says that she can take him to lunch tomorrow.
She turns to go inside, but he stops her as he considers telling her about Jung-hee burning the photos. But he changes his mind and sends her in, watching her go with a strange look of regret on his face.
Eun-hee is calm and composed again when Hyung-sun brings her medication. She ignores her mother until Hyung-sun reaches out to smooth her hair, then she slaps her hand away and orders her to sleep somewhere else tonight, because she has special plans.
Jung-hee looks like the last thing he wants to do is go back to Eun-hee’s house. He calls Jae-bok before he goes inside to ask what she wanted to talk about earlier, but she remembers his mother begging her not to tell him about his stalker.
Instead, she asks why he took a year off of college, and he repeats his story that he was working. He admits that he wasn’t well at the time, and that he doesn’t remember that year very well.
Eun-hee meets him wearing a killer red dress, saying it’s their engagement celebration. She pours some wine, thanking Jung-hee for being her man. He thanks her in return, then she pulls him close to slow-dance.
After a moment, Eun-hee looks up, and instead of Jung-hee as he is now, she sees the shaggy-haired rocker she fell for in college. She breathes a happy, “Oppa…” then hugs him tight.
It triggers another memory for Jung-hee, this time of Eun-hee standing in front of him with blood dripping from her mouth. She’d gasped, “I love you, Oppa,” before collapsing, and an empty pill bottle had tumbled from her hand.
Still in Eun-hee’s arms, Jung-hee goes cold and his hands drop from her waist. Eun-hee doesn’t notice and tilts her face up for a kiss. But Jung-hee comes back to himself just in time to turn his face away.
He says that he thinks it’s too soon, but Eun-hee reminds him that they’re engaged and all alone. Jung-hee thinks just quickly enough to claim that he won’t be able to control himself, and he asks Eun-hee to wait until after the wedding.
Looking at him suspiciously, Eun-hee asks if he actually plans to marry her, adding, “You won’t leave me, right?” Her words, so close to those she said when she almost drove them off a cliff, rattle Jung-hee so badly that he can barely nod.
But it works, and Eun-hee hugs him again, her suspicion gone. She whispers that she would do anything for him, but over her head, Jung-hee looks like he’s doing his best not to scream.
The next morning, Eun-hee ties Jung-hee’s tie and says that she’s going to talk to her father about putting him in charge of a major shopping center project. Jung-hee doesn’t think he’s ready for something that big, but she says he has to do well so her father… but she doesn’t finish the thought.
They head downstairs to find Jae-bok and Hye-ran waiting at the bottom of the stairs wearing matching disapproving expressions. They’ve come with movers to fetch Jae-bok’s things, which scares Jung-hee as he reminds Jae-bok of her promise not to move out. Jae-bok says that she refuses to raise her children here and tells Jung-hee to visit the kids at Won-jae’s.
Jae-bok insists on speaking with Eun-hee alone to confront her over the fact that it was because of Eun-hee’s stalking that Jung-hee took a year off school. She says that she knows Eun-hee has been watching her and Jung-hee all this time, waiting for her chance.
Jae-bok asks if Eun-hee really plans to leave them alone, and Eun-hee demurely says she will. Jae-bok warns her not to break her promise and tells her to go to counseling with Won-jae. Eun-hee balks at that, claiming that she’s better now, but Jae-bok disagrees.
Jae-bok finds Sam-kyu in his office and boldly comments that she knows she makes him feel guilty. He plays innocent, but she mentions all the overtime and work trips he sends her on, and how he even helped plan Eun-hee’s engagement party.
She says that she knows Eun-hee is behind it all, but that she knows he’s a good man, and that she hopes that side of him wins out. They clean the office together, then Jae-bok suddenly remembers that it’s Bong-gu’s birthday.
Eun-hee shows up for therapy with Won-jae as promised, and Won-jae starts by asking her to talk about Jung-hee. A dreamy look comes over Eun-hee’s face as she mentions the first time she ever saw him. They were in the same class, and Eun-hee sighs that that’s when he fell in love with her.
She says that he left a note in her textbook asking her to lunch, but we see the reality, which is that she left him the note. She’d nodded when he looked her way, and he’d nodded back, but he’d looked pretty weirded out.
Eun-hee says that after that day, Jung-hee loved her so much, he even held a concert just for her. In reality the theater is packed, and Jae-bok is even there, but in Eun-hee’s mind she was the only person in the audience. She giggles that he loved giving her backhugs, and again we see Jung-hee hugging and snuggling her after the concert.
But the truth is that the girl Jung-hee was hugging and kissing wasn’t Eun-hee… it was Jae-bok. Even though Eun-hee remembers it as a beautiful time when she and Jung-hee were in love, it was always Jae-bok.
Bong-gu bursts into Jung-hee’s office to wave the half-burned photograph at him. Angry that Bong-gu was following him, Jung-hee asks if Jae-bok put him up to this, but Bong-gu says that he hasn’t told her anything yet. He asks why Jung-hee lied about getting his memory back, and Jung-hee interprets that as a threat.
He yells at Bong-gu to tell Jae-bok if he wants, so Bong-gu calls his bluff, asking if he really means it. Jung-hee immediately takes it back, and when Bong-gu asks why, Jung-hee snarls, “Because you like Jae-bok.” Bong-gu flippantly says he’s wrong, but he quickly leaves the room.
Jung-hee’s words follow Bong-gu all the way back to his office, and by the expression on his face, they hit close to home. The lights are off when he enters the office, and Sam-kyu and Jae-bok pop up with a birthday cake.
Overwhelmed, Bong-gu complains that they’re embarrassing him, but Jae-bok teases that she knows his birthday is why Bong-gu was angling for her to buy him lunch. Bong-gu protests that he never did that, so Sam-kyu fusses at him for being ungrateful.
Sam-kyu offers to eat the seaweed soup Jae-bok made if Bong-gu doesn’t want it, but Bong-gu hilariously snatches it away. He gets choked up, and though he complains that he doesn’t even like seaweed soup, he reverently drinks every drop.
The moment is shattered when Bong-gu’s sugar mama bursts into the office to accuse Bong-gu of throwing her off for Jae-bok. Jae-bok says they’re together a lot because of work, but Sugar Mama sneers that she’s trying to seduce Bong-gu since she’s divorced now.
She screeches that everything Bong-gu owns was bought by her. Bong-gu looks embarrassed and tries to take her out to talk, but she keeps yelling, asking what Jae-bok can do for him. Jae-bok scoffs, telling the girl she should be ashamed of herself.
At the end of Eun-hee’s therapy session, she promises Won-jae that she’ll come back. But in the car she smirks to herself, offended that Won-jae thinks she’d open up to her. She goes looking at a house to buy, telling the realtor that it will just be her and her husband living there.
Jae-bok is strangely taciturn when Bong-gu comes back to the office apologizing for Sugar Mama’s fiery temper. He looks confused at Jae-bok’s stiff response, and his voice cracks as he inexplicably insists on showing her all the rich women’s numbers in his phone. It’s like he wants to shut up but he can’t stop talking, going on and on about how much money each of them has.
He’s so anxious, as if he’s trying to get her approval so he can stop feeling so guilty, but Jae-bok doesn’t give it. She just blandly says that she knows what he’s like: “Very pitiful.”
Bong-gu can’t hide how much that hurts, so he leaves the office, muttering that he’s going to join that other legal practice. On the way out he notices that his shoe is untied again, which just ticks him off even more.
After he’s gone, Jae-bok thinks about all the times Bong-gu has been there for her, even when she wasn’t very nice to him. She asks herself with a sigh what exactly she was expecting.
Won-jae listens in while Hye-ran talks to Sam-kyu on the phone, and Hye-ran reports that he’s got a tiny touch of flu. Sam-kyu sits in his office coughing and shivering, seeming more than just a bit sick. But he jumps up and pretends to be fine when Won-jae enters the office, claiming that she came to give Jae-bok a ride home.
She feigns surprise when he starts coughing, and she stays to nurse his fever. Sparks fly when their hands touch, and Sam-kyu leans in for a kiss. They fly apart when they hear Hye-ran’s voice in the hallway, and Sam-kyu quickly throws a blanket over Won-jae.
Hye-ran brings Sam-kyu some medicine, but she catches the scent of Won-jae’s limited edition perfume. She follows her nose to the blanket and whips it off, gasping when she finds Won-jae huddled underneath. She asks incredulously if they’re in a relationship, which they both loudly deny.
Na-mi gets a text from Jung-hee, asking her to meet him at their usual coffee shop. She goes, secretly thrilled that he wants to see her, but it’s Eun-hee who shows up. She raises her arm to strike Na-mi, but Brian comes out of nowhere to stop her hand.
He asks Eun-hee how she knew he and Na-mi are dating, introducing Na-mi as his girlfriend. Na-mi thinks fast, throws an arm around Brian’s waist, and confirms that they’re seeing each other. Eun-hee can feel that something isn’t right, but she leaves without creating a scene. Na-mi explains to Brian that she thought she was meeting Jung-hee, and Brian warns her to stop falling for Eun-hee’s tricks or she’ll really end up dead this time.
Back at Won-jae’s house, the three friends sit glaring at each other, and Jae-bok learns what happened with Sam-kyu through the barbed comments that Won-jae and Hye-ran fling at each other. Won-jae goes too far by comparing Hye-ran to Eun-hee, obsessed over an ex, so Hye-ran ties up her hair for a real fight.
Jung-hee walks into the middle of a three-way catfight, with Jae-bok trying to physically block Hye-ran and Won-jae from hitting each other. He’s come to see the kids, and he reads them a bedtime story until Hae-wook falls asleep. Jin-wook asks how long they have to stay here without even their own room, and Jung-hee just takes his hand, having no easy answer to give his son.
Eun-hee shows up next with a gift basket for Won-jae, and she asks to speak to Jae-bok. She shows Jae-bok a plane ticket to Canada and says she’s leaving Saturday night, by herself. Jae-bok isn’t confident that Eun-hee truly means to leave them alone after stalking them for over fifteen years.
Eun-hee hides the ticket when Jung-hee comes out of the kids’ room, telling him that she came to see the girls because they’re all friends now (Hye-ran’s expression, I’m dying). She and Jung-hee leave together, and when they get back to her house, Eun-hee leads Jung-hee to the bedroom she’s had redecorated just for him.
Jung-hee pretends to love the room, but when Eun-hee says they’ll decorate their new house even nicer, he can’t hide his surprise. She says she wants to start fresh in a new home, throwing her arms around Jung-hee’s neck as she thinks that she will never leave him.
Bong-gu goes out clubbing, chatting up a random girl then blowing it when he awkwardly shows too much interest in her father’s money. He tries way too hard to have fun, but he can’t drown out Jae-bok’s words echoing in his mind, calling him pitiful.
Sam-kyu surreptitiously follows Eun-hee around town as she shops for a wedding dress and rings. He reports Eun-hee’s activities back to Jae-bok, even telling her about the house, which proves that Eun-hee has no intention of leaving.
Jae-bok calls Jung-hee and asks him to meet her at Eun-hee’s house. On her way out Bong-gu tries to act like nothing has changed, but she ignores him. In front of Jung-hee, she confronts Eun-hee about her obvious wedding plans, and Eun-hee stammers that she was just pretending that she was still getting married so she wouldn’t be too upset.
Jae-bok informs Jung-hee that Eun-hee promised to leave for Canada this week, and stay gone this time. As Eun-hee trips her way through more flimsy explanations, Jae-bok says that it won’t work anymore, then holds out a paper to Jung-hee. Eun-hee makes a desperate grab for it, but Jae-bok blocks her.
It’s a copy of the article Eun-hee wrote about Jung-hee’s band, from back in their college days. He stares at Eun-hee as she says that she was going to tell him, but Jae-bok pulls out her phone and plays a recording of Eun-hee swearing to leave if Jae-bok promises not to tell Jung-hee the truth.
Just in case Jung-hee doesn’t understand, Jae-bok makes it clear that Eun-hee is really Moon Eun-kyung, the girl who stalked him back in college. She tells him that she’s been watching him all these years, and that she tore their family apart to get to him.
Jung-hee is in shock, horrified tears welling in his eyes. Eun-hee promises to leave, and let Jung-hee go, for real this time. She explains breathlessly that she just loved him too much to let go, but Jae-bok stands and orders her to shut her mouth. “Every time you open your mouth, you lie. So please shut it, and please get lost. Get lost!!”
I know I say this often, but yet again the show has twisted the truth on us, showing just enough so that we make certain assumptions then pulling back so we can view the big picture, which is never what it originally seemed to be. Seeing the truth of how Eun-hee and Jung-hee met, it becomes obvious that Eun-hee’s psychosis is rooted even deeper than we’ve been shown. First I thought that her memories of dating Jung-hee and being happy together were real, And that Eun-hee wanted revenge for being thrown over for Jae-bok. Then we learned she’s an abuse survivor, so I thought she was starved for attention and built up a semi-casual relationship with Jung-hee into more than it really was, and that when he broke up with her, she took things too far.
But the truth as we see it now is so much more sinister — nothing happened the way Eun-hee remembers it. She’s not just emotionally unhealthy from being abused, but really, truly, dangerously mentally ill. She’s so delusional that she even managed to switch the players around in her romantic fantasy, making it so that Jung-hee was the one who pursued her, when in actuality she was the one doing the pursuing. And Jung-hee apparently never dated Eun-hee at all — Eun-hee was inserting herself into Jae-bok’s place in reality, truly believing that she was the one he loved when it was Jae-bok all along.
What’s even more frightening is how Eun-hee keeps convincing me as a viewer that she’s just a lost, hurt little girl, in need of protection and help, when I should know better. I keep falling for her performances, like when she cried and promised to leave Jung-hee and the family alone if Jae-bok kept her secret. But then she goes ice-cold, making plans to buy a house for herself and Jung-hee, and trying to seduce him into sleeping with her. Even after seeing her break her promises over and over, I keep falling for her promises that this time she means it, this time she’ll really stop.
I don’t know how she does it, but even when I know intellectually that Eun-hee isn’t going to stop until she either wins Jung-hee or someone makes her stop, something about her makes me want to believe she’s just a poor lost lamb instead of a cold-blooded psychopath. It really hits home how in real life, people can manipulate others into bending to their will even when they know they’re being played, because I can’t even manage to remember that Eun-hee is a psychotic mess when I know she’s a fictional villain in a television show! I give all the credit to Jo Yeo-jung, who is really killing this role, playing Eun-hee to chilling perfection.
I was hoping that Jung-hee’s newfound confidence would lead to positive things like him doing the right thing, but once again, I give a character too much credit. What is it about this show that even the characters who behave the worst, still make me want to see them redeem themselves? I was wishing for Jung-hee to find the strong part of himself that he lost along with his memories of Eun-hee, and become a better man. Instead he seems to be out for revenge, possibly planning to draw Eun-hee in until she trusts him, then enact some sort of vengeance on her. I do understand why Jung-hee probably blames a lot of his past and present problems on Eun-hee and her scheming. If she hadn’t traumatized him to the point that he became weak and useless, then manipulated his family until he lost his wife and children and destroyed his career, his life might be very different now. But hurting Eun-hee won’t change the past, and it won’t make everything between Jung-hee and Jae-bok magically better. I hope he figures that out before it’s too late.
I’ve tried really hard not to fangirl over Sung Joon in this drama, but I can’t help it anymore — Bong-gu is quickly becoming my favorite role of his. And I can say that with authority, because I have seen every single drama he’s been in. He’s always been a very good actor, at times even brilliant, though he can lose energy at times and has never consistently carried that brilliance through an entire drama. But something about Sung Joon’s portrayal of Bong-gu is different, though I can’t exactly put my finger on it… he’s more subtle, more in tune with what’s going on internally with Bong-gu, than with any other role he’s played. He’s relentlessly excellent, never letting his character drop energy, even when the focus isn’t on him.
Some of my favorite scenes have been when Bong-gu was simply watching from the background (such as the confrontation at the gala, or when Jae-bok stopped the engagement), but you can read every single thing Bong-gu is thinking as he watches the main action of the scene play out. I learn more about Bong-gu from the things he doesn’t say than the things he does, because they way Sung-joon lets his thoughts play over his face, making it clear what he’s feeling even when his words say the exact opposite, is really masterful. I’ve known that Bong-gu has feelings for Jae-bok from the second episode, just based on how he looked at her in one tiny scene, even though his words and actions have primarily indicated nothing more than loyal friendship. I think this role will be a turning point in Sung Joon’s career, and rightly so.
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